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Part I: Home Automation > Automate a Light

Chapter 1. Automate a Light

What You Need
  • An X10 wall switch

  • An X10 motion detector

  • Two AAA batteries

  • An X10 controller (optional)

  • Replacement faceplate (optional)

  • Circuit tester

  • Screwdriver

  • Wire nuts

For a list of specific parts used in this project, refer to Exhibit A at the end of this chapter.

If you live in a home that's more than 20 years old, there's a very good chance that you have light switches in odd places, or that you need to cross a room in order to turn on a light. In my case, I have to walk across a dark and frighteningly cluttered basement, so I often end up leaving the light on and wasting energy. If I could automate this light switch so that it turns on when I enter the room and turns off when I leave it, I would save myself both money and frustration.

The best way to ease your household into home automation is to start small. This will build your confidence, and make the other people in your household more comfortable with the idea of you replacing switches, cutting holes in walls, and otherwise performing tasks normally done by someone who charges $150 an hour.

Figure 1-1 illustrates the project's simple design, which includes a motion detector and a control mechanism. The motion detector is triggered simply by someone entering the room, and will then send a signal telling the control mechanism (an intelligent light switch) to turn on. Just as when you manually flip a light switch, the intelligent light switch will close a circuit and provide electricity to the light.

Figure 1-1. The conceptual design for an automated light.



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