HV Up And Running

Smart Home Diary

The HomeVision is now up and running! It is getting me up in the morning, controlling my AV system, reminding me when my favourite TV programs are on and sending the house to sleep at night. Here’s a description of what I’ve come up with so far.

Wake Up
Depending on the day of the week the HomeVision sends an on command to the X-10 chime module at my bedside. For example, it starts chiming at 7:50am on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8:00am on Wednesdays and Saturdays and 10:00am on Fridays (my day off) and Sundays. As well as the chime the HomeVision turns on the ceiling lamp plus the two bedside lamps for 5 seconds before turning them off again. This series of events is repeated every 30 seconds until I push B4 (either on or off will do as I’m usually fumbling at that time of the morning) on my beside controller. This combination of flashing lights and chimes wakes EVEN ME!

Controlling the AV System
After “teaching” the HomeVision the commands from my selection of remote controls I now turn the whole lot on and off with one button on my remote. When turning on the system it also checks to see if it’s dark (this is tracked dynamically and determined by the longitude and latitude settings you enter for your location). If it is dark then the AV room ceiling light will be switched on. The TV comes on and is switched to external. Next the AV amp is powered up then the VCR1 input and Pro-Logic are selected. Lastly the Satellite receivers are turned on. (I leave my VCR on all the time as it distributes to other rooms in the house).

TV Reminder
I always used to forget to watch “This Life”, “Tomorrows World” etc but not any more! I have set-up some scheduled events to signal when my favourite programs are about to start. Now 2 minutes before the program starts the HomeVision checks to see if the AV system is on. If it is it toggles the AV rooms lights twice (if they’re off it’ll switch them on then off again or vice versa). I could also have the HomeVision turn the TV to the right channel but I haven’t implemented that yet.

Sleep Mode
Again this is activated by one button on my One-for-all remote control. First the HomeVision checks if the AV system is on and if it is it shuts it down. Then it dims the hall light to 50%. It gives me 30 seconds to leave the AV room before shutting the lights in there off. Five minutes later and the hall light is turned off as is the sub-woofer in the AV room.

The Future
I haven’t explored any of the inputs and outputs yet. I’d like to connect my doorbell up to the unit and see if I could get it to send an SMS message to my GSM phone if someone rings the doorbell when I’m out. To do this I’ll need to connect the HomeVision up to a PC with a modem (I’m using a laptop at the moment for convenience). I don’t want to tie up my Pentium but I’ve an old 486 DX2-66 that should be just the job. I’ll also need someway of telling the HomeVision when I’m in and When I’m out. Well that’s it for now.

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