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'[OT] Re: Home Automation'
1999\01\08@012934 by Michael J. Ghormley

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Luyen Tran wrote:

> I'm going to do a 'Home Automation' project that controls light,
> temperature, yard watering ... Can anyone who has been working on a
> similar project share your resources? Thank you very much.

I will share one of my first computer automation experiences.  My client
had a sprinkler system that ran off of a timer.  He noticed, however,
that the lawn would sometimes be watered when it didn't need it, and so I
was given the task of designing a water-as-needed system.

I made a crude moisture sensor, I adjusted it a little, I fixed a relay
to turn on the water, and it worked first time out of the gate!

A couple of well-watered weeks later, my client was having a *very* fancy
garden party on a warm Sacramento summer afternoon...

Of course, the computer sensed the lawn was dry and turned on the
sprinklers, drenching the party-goers.  He was picking canapŽs out of his
shrubs for a month!

The Lesson:  Sense for dryness and have the computer set a flag.  Then at
midnight or 3AM, test the flag and water as necessary.  It saves water
and avoids that particular flavor of granfallooning.

Michael

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1999\01\08@081010 by Fansler, David

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On a more on-topic note, I once started a similar home automation project
for our new house.  It was to consist of a LCD touch panel in each room that
would control the overhead light and hvac for that room.  Time and temp
would also be displayed.  A couple of master units would control an outside
sprinkler system and an internal alarm system.  The kithchen unit would be
capable of sending a message to each unit (with an audio alert) of a meal to
be ready.  After prototyping the first unit I decided to make my life
simpler and put light switches in each room.  The sprinkler is run by Rain
Bird, and the alarm system has wires pulled but no hardware yet!

The LCD touch panel is still a neat piece of hardware.  It was purchased by
a company by the name of C Sys Labs (http://www.sbusiness.com/csys/default.htm)
<http://www.sbusiness.com/csys/default.htm)> .  It has a parallel interface
(bi-directional), several font sizes and elementary drawing abilities.

David V. Fansler
Network Administrator
AutoCyte, Inc.
800-426-2176 Ext. 261
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