Lighting is an important aspect of our automated home. Most of our lights are controlled via either X10 DIN-mounted Lamp Modules or X10 DIN-mounted Appliance Modules. (Some are RGB LED lamps but I’ll cover them in a later post.) Although I am a morning person, I still need a little help waking up in the morning. My lovely children help a bit but being able to have the lights gradually brighten to full brightness when it is time to get up helps a lot, particularly in the winter.
Finally, a fine day, so our decorator installed the Solatube. I was entirely taken in by the product literature the moment I read the slogan - “Stick it where the sun don’t shine!”. Fortunately the tube entirely lives up to my expectations. It’s still a little odd whenever I catch sight of the previously dingy room out of the corner of my eye. As you can see there’s still a bit of work to be done before the en suite is ready, so I have a little bit of time to get over it before that room is functional.
Tracy opened her delivery of some Fibre Optic Lights today. We are not sure what we’ll use them for yet but they look interesting:
While the lighting on the stairs was being worked on, we had no lights on the landing. To make it safer going up to bed, we used an RF remote to trigger a appliance module to turn a lamp on in the bedroom. This also had the advantage of being able to turn the light off later without getting out of bed. The natural extension of this using the new X10 lighting is to have the same “On” button triggering a sequence of light settings - a “scene”.
Well, I wasn’t sure about having coloured lights when Tracy first talked about it, but now I definitely love the idea. The effects you can create are great. We’ve been experimenting lighting different objects - like the radiator covers in our living room - but the photos really don’t do them justice. We’ve set up some neat controls based on this Colour Wheel. Tracy’s ChromaDome, from A.C. Lighting, arrived this week.
We’ve had the Pulsar ChromaZone12 controllers for ages but we’ve only just got around to ordering the lamps. We ordered four MR16 Chroma Hearts from A.C. Lighting. They look great. I can’t wait to see them in the en-suite shower. They are brighter than I expected which is good because it means we should get away with just two for the shower leaving a couple spare for elsewhere. I decided to experiment creating a small video.
I’ve been looking into controllable coloured lighting for a while. I’d like to be able to have coloured lighting and be able to control the colour programmatically. (No disco lighting effects! Just a gentle colour wash for mood lighting.) I discovered the DMX standard which is used for stage and disco lighting and also increasingly for architectural lighting. Trouble is, much of it is quite pricy. Pulsar do a nice range of LED lighting - the Chroma Range.
We started having trouble with our Harmony dimmer a couple of days ago. It was working fine from the switch and but not responding to X10 commands. We tried resetting it, but no change. Then we noticed that the kettle wasn’t responding as reliably as usual, and the curtains also seemed to be a bit slow to respond. Not good when we’re planning to add more X10 devices. Today we decided to try unplugging the electrical items that we had recently added to the house and see if any of those made a difference.
Wow! Very odd! Tracy went to use the Fujitsu that I had tried to get the touchscreen working on. Despite the fact that I only managed to get erratic movement of the mouse, it is now be working!
I’ve now placed a harmony module behind the light switch in the dining room. This was not my first choice of trial location since this room is currently mostly full of boxes - mostly boxes of cables if you ask Tracy but really a/v and computer bits too! However, this was the only switch with the large enough back box in the whole house.
I decided I couldn’t wait for the electricians to do the whole house in a few months time and I really had to know if the quite expensive LW12 2 Wire Dimming Micro Module were as good as I’d hoped. I decided to try it on the switch in the bedroom. Unfortunately the back box was too small - as I later discovered this is true almost all the back boxes in the house.