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Security DVR + iNet + X10 = Easy Home Automation (Video)

Roblimo posted about 4 months ago | from the my-home-is-so-smart-it-won't-let-me-in-the-door-unless-I-bring-it-beer dept.

Hardware 25

25-year electronics veteran Conrad Lee noticed that commodity multi-channel security DVRs have both more channels than a typical household needs and more capabilities than their makers advertise -- at least, with some creative re-use of their video feeds. With a home-grown controller hooked up to an otherwise unused video channel, a run of the mill security DVR can be used as a command center for household items, like lights, locks, thermostats, cameras, or whatever else you think of) by means of controls both old-fashioned (the ubiquitous X10 devices, some of which you probably have stashed in a drawer) and new (Z-wave). He showed off his system at last month's Maker Faire -- take a look (video below) at what his clever hardware re-use makes possible, and at Lee's controller. It means giving up one (relatively) inexpensive channel, to gain capabilities that would cost quite a bit more in a ready-built system, like smart-phone control and pan/tilt control for cameras. (Alternate Video Link)

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Thanks to popup ads (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47206365)

I will never buy an X-10.

Fuck you X-10 and everything you stand for. Maybe you make good stuff, i'll never know because of your awful marketing.

Re:Thanks to popup ads (2)

lecithin (745575) | about 4 months ago | (#47206405)

You must be hitting beta.x-10.com

Re:Thanks to popup ads (1)

khellendros1984 (792761) | about 4 months ago | (#47206457)

Yes! Fuck ubiquitous, cheap industry standards, and everything they stand for!

Re:Thanks to popup ads (1)

tompaulco (629533) | about 4 months ago | (#47206863)

Yes, that is annoying, but there are plenty of other reasons not to like X-10. Like the fact that 90% of their stuff is wireless when it is supposed to be a communication over electricity standard. Why should I have to be constantly buying batteries for something that is supposed to be hardwired?

Slashdot + Beta = Annoying Website (no video) (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47206437)

Ever felt like the powers that be just don't care about what the people want?
 
Boycott Dice!
Boycott ThinkGeek!
Boycott Beta!!!!!!!

Pretty clever use of available I/O options (4, Interesting)

whyde (123448) | about 4 months ago | (#47206463)

I have to hand it to this individual for definitely thinking outside-the-box and hooking up three types of systems using interfaces you'd not expect to be used in this manner, and coming up with something which is (at least in his case) useful.

This was very gratifying to watch.

Re:Pretty clever use of available I/O options (1)

click2005 (921437) | about 4 months ago | (#47206625)

I'm sure anything useful will soon be patented by Google, Apple or Microsoft.

Re:Pretty clever use of available I/O options (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47206757)

Yeah, because faggots like you never invest in these ventures and they have no choice but to sell out. Thank for nothing, cock smoker.

Re:Pretty clever use of available I/O options (1)

click2005 (921437) | about 4 months ago | (#47207305)

I backed https://www.kickstarter.com/pr... [kickstarter.com] but ignorance is bliss eh troll.

Re:Pretty clever use of available I/O options (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 4 months ago | (#47206973)

I have to hand it to this individual for definitely thinking outside-the-box and hooking up three types of systems using interfaces you'd not expect to be used in this manner, and coming up with something which is (at least in his case) useful.

This was very gratifying to watch.

I agree. If I had this guy in an interview I'd hire him on the spot. This is what I'd call "real" intelligence. I'm very impressed. I bet in a year he is sending a regular data streem over that same line. You could have a whole I/O stream over that if you were clever.

x-10 modules (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47206513)

Yes, I have lots of those 30 year old x-10 modules, but they don't work with CFL or LED lights. I've tried disabling (trace cutting) the local on feature and using appliance modules. They work a little better that way, but aren't reliable. I finally gave up on them, but I have lots, because they're cheap at garage sales. I can't bring myself to toss them.

Hacking (4, Insightful)

Tokolosh (1256448) | about 4 months ago | (#47206555)

THIS is the real meaning of "hacking"!

Re:Hacking (1)

rHBa (976986) | about 4 months ago | (#47206745)

If I had mod points...

I just sent this to a couple of friends who don't understand what hacking is. Previously I've tried to explain to them that hacking is making something do stuff it wasn't originally designed to do and they've assumed that's just a euphemism for cracking security.

Re:Hacking (1)

monkeyFuzz (3398671) | about 4 months ago | (#47215493)

And the NSA doesn't even have to pay you for it! Yay!

Video error (0)

houghi (78078) | about 4 months ago | (#47206573)

Whenever I try to see videos on /., I get a module error andf that the player can not be downloaded.
Searching for a solution only gives me articles on /. about video or players (or linux)
It is the pnly site that gives me any error and I should not download a player as I already have one.

Oh well. Not missing that much I guess and now waiting for this post to disapear into -20 due to off topic.

Neat idea (4, Informative)

Change (101897) | about 4 months ago | (#47206595)

I saw this at Maker Faire, he's using an on-screen display generator to produce menus and output that you feed into a video input channel on the DVR, and it intercepts the DVR's RS-485 bus (used for pan-tilt-zoom control of cameras) to receive command input from the user. Pan down is parsed as next menu item down, pan right is "enter", etc. It's quite nifty. The menus are set up for individual X-10 or other commands, and you can even set up multi-event macros.

Re:Neat idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47208827)

I also stopped by his booth at Makers Faire. Was interested because I have the same Q-See security DVR he used. Very nice guy with some really clever ideas.

On a side note, his modest booth was a refreshing break from the corporatized booths and voluminous variations of 3D printers. Not hating on the Maker Faire, but I do miss the more DIY aspects from the past. I think it has become a biennial event for me versus once a year.

Home Automation is the Easy Part (1)

seepho (1959226) | about 4 months ago | (#47206675)

The hard part is getting everyone to agree on a standard.

Re:Home Automation is the Easy Part (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47206829)

Bah, how hard can standards be? They're called "Standard" for a reason!

http://xkcd.com/927/ [xkcd.com]

Re:Home Automation is the Easy Part (1)

tompaulco (629533) | about 4 months ago | (#47206903)

The great thing about standards is that everyone has got one.

warranty voided? and how long before some kind of (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 4 months ago | (#47206893)

warranty voided? and how long before some kind of lock out is added to the DVR's?

Re:warranty voided? and how long before some kind (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47219893)

Warranty on what?
Voided how?
The X-10 things, as mentioned here, are quite old, well out of their warranty.
The Z-wave, who knows, but they are not demonstrated in the video, but I suspect they'll be doing the task they're designed for, and hence the warranty could hardly be voided.
The DVR warranty? It's sending (via RS-485 bus) control signals to "a camera", exactly as it's designed to do. It's receiving video signals from "a camera", again, as designed. How can the warranty be voided by something doing what it's designed, built and bought to do?
The "camera" is a signal generator that generates whatever camera signal you desire (within reason, it seems to be a basic CRT kind of early Pong level of display complexity kind of thing).
Nothing in there to break any warranty of any component.
And this would likely cause DVRs to sell better, use 3 cameras for security, use the 4th camera to control your home automation.
So why would anyone trying to sell DVRs make them less attractive to buy? What special kind of idiot says "I don't want to make money giving people what they want without any effort on my part"?
Maybe mentioning this capability for home automation and also having for sale the equipment needed to set it all up would sell even more DVRs (and, obviously Zwave and Inet2DVR sets).

Meh ...why use the DVR? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47207439)

Not sure why the DVR + the extra board comes into play, especially with the cryptic control method ...'iris' is actually a menu, 'swipe right' to activate a macro, etc. One gray screen with blocky white text to control it all.

I have an X10 system with Active Home Pro running on a spare laptop in the basement 'network closet'. I just VNC directly to that laptop (either from another computer or my phone) and access AHP through that. The graphics look like actual graphic switches, sliders, knobs, etc and are grouped by 'rooms' and labeled with what they do. Just click the switch from a computer or tap the screen on the phone and the module (or macro) is activated. Another VNC port to access web cameras, etc.

If you bought an X10... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47216759)

In the days of the horrible X10 web ad onslaught, I vowed to never EVER buy anything from them, and anyone who did is directly responsible for that web annoyance. Just like buying from email or FAX spam, you are financially enabling them to continue spamming others.

How to I get in contact with this man? (1)

snero3 (610114) | about 4 months ago | (#47227137)

I am interest in how this is going....
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