X10 Remote Kettle

It has been a while since I wrote a blog entry so I thought I’d write a few posts to describe the current state of our house (with respect to home automation, not the washing up or the mess made by my two lovely children). I’ll start with a few posts covering the most useful features of our automated home.

The most important device we’ve automated is the kettle. We “prime” the kettle after making a cup of tea by filling it, switching it on but turning it off at the mains (with an X10 Appliance module). We can then turn it on using either an X10 RF Remote, a web interface, timers or via a number of other mechanisms. This is a real time saver. I can “C-c k” from emacs and only go to the kitchen when the kettle has boiled rather than going to switch it on and wait while it boils.

Tracy says that this is just laziness. I probably used to empty/load the dishwasher while waiting for the kettle, so perhaps she is right. She prefers the fact that you can hit a remote button by the front door when you come home on a cold day, or from upstairs before you come down in the morning, and have the kettle waiting when you get to the kitchen.

The house computer also monitors the mains current and attempts to turn the kettle off for you if it sees a drop in current usage equivalent to the kettle usage. At the moment, it’s working off the whole house current usage data so it doesn’t always work but it still often manages to recognize the change and switch off the kettle at the main while you are filling the kettle.