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asked What's the best way to wire my house so that I can control lights and thermostat via Internet?
I want to be able to go to a web site and turn my lights on and off, maybe se a camera of what's going on, control the heat and more. What's the best solution.
And got the following answer:
The X-10 system, originally marketed by BSR in the late seventies, still exists today. There's a horribly commercial, splashy, huckster web site selling the vast majority of the hardware online, but it's also carried by Fry's Electronics and a number of other brick-and-mortar outlets as well as (I'm told) Radio Shack. The X-10 standard is known worldwide. It transmits control information for lamps and appliances from pushbutton, wall switch, or computer-interfaced controllers over the power lines of your home or office to "modules" which are plugged in between the appliance or lamp and its power outlet. I have a CM-15A controller in my office, which connects to my PC via USB. I can configure lights and other modules to do what I wish either on a timed basis or in response to wall switch controllers I've placed. This works even with the computer shut down, once the control settings are loaded. I also have software from X-10 which interfaces with the CM-15A and can control it in response to commands over the internet. I can either log into the "ActiveHome" web site and talk to my CM-15 there, or I can use other third-party software on my PC to control it directly from a web interface, accessed from anywhere. There are lots of other interfaces and myriad open-source and third-party software solutions for Windows, Linux, and Mac OSX for controlling these X-10 interfaces. Some googling using the phrases "home automation" and "x-10 open-source" will get you a lot of very informative results. There are other home control systems out there ... products from Lutron and Insteon among them ... but by and large they're far more expensive. X-10, at $20 or so a module, is CHEAP and reasonably reliable when properly implemented.