X10 Remote Kettle

4 Apr, 2011 - 2 minutes
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).

X10 Heating

6 Nov, 2005 - 1 minutes
I’ve read all sorts of articles about how people have wired up the heating in their homes to make them controllable. They all seemed terribly complicated. We felt sure there should be an easier way. When we got our boiler replaced, we asked the heating engineers to put in an extra room thermostat under the stairs in the future node 0. (Of course, there was nothing under there at that time and they thought we were mad.


4 Nov, 2005 - 1 minutes
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.

Jack O'Lantern

29 Oct, 2005 - 1 minutes
In preparation for Halloween on Monday (and so that we could serve pumpkin soup to our guests) I carved up a pumpkin. We decided to try installing an LED light in it and the result looked pretty good. (It looked even better when I remembered to wipe off the biro I’d used to mark out the features. ;-) We used an X10 RF signal to trigger a short chase effect and play an appropriate sound.

First Blind

2 Oct, 2005 - 1 minutes
Since we couldn’t find suitable blind material being sold separately, we resorted to buying the cheapest Faber Blind with the material we wanted. Pulling the material off the blind and attaching it on our pole was a little daunting. (Not to mention the difficulty of finding a large clean space to work in.) We decided to use velcro rather than the usual double-side sticky tape, which I think made it even more difficult to make sure that the material was aligned properly.

Fibre Optic Lights

30 Sep, 2005 - 1 minutes
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:


27 Sep, 2005 - 2 minutes
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”.

Fancy lighting

25 Sep, 2005 - 1 minutes
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.

Pulsar lighting

6 Sep, 2005 - 1 minutes
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.

Initial web interface

24 Aug, 2005 - 1 minutes
Concentrating on function rather than appearance, I’ve made a start on the web interface that will form part of the interface. Items with the relavant backend hardware work - i.e. the dining room curtains, one of the temperature sensors, and the all-important kettle. I’ve even started keeping the data from the temperature sensors to make some graphs. I’m very pleased with the look of the logo. It’s derived from a photo of a great card we received when we moved in, made by Cilla, my brother’s wife.