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Controlling hidden audio/video components

Posted 29 Jul, 2011

"My Foxtel box and Blu-Ray player are inside a cabinet, out of sight. I don't want to leave the doors open, what do I need?"

The problem:

It seems that as more people toss out their old huge TV and cabinets in favour of sexy wall-mounted flat panel TV's, the more they realise just how much room the A/V gear takes up (and how many cables there are!). They now want to move the gear to a nearby closet or maybe just completely hide it behind closed cabinet doors.

These are both great ideas, but how can you control them once they are out of sight? Since most components are controlled by Infra-Red (IR), the question is how to get those signals through an opaque wall, door or cabinet?

The Solution:

 

The easiest solution we have to this problem is the PowermidXL IR to RF to IR Remote Control Range Extender Kit.

The PowermidXL kit comes with two components - the Powermid Transmitter and the Powermid Receiver.

Setup step 1: Plug the Powermid Transmitter unit in view of the location that you wish to use the remote control from (eg. next to your TV or on a corner table).

The Powermid Transmitter will receive the IR signals from your remote controls and in turn re-transmit them as RF signals - which can travel through walls and floors.

Setup step 2: Plug the Powermid Reciever unit in next to where your A/V devices are located, preferably so that the Powermid Receiver can "see" the front panel of all of the components you wish to control. The receiver will detect the RF signal from the Powermid Transmitter and convert it back to an IR signal.

That's all there is to it! However if you can't position the receiver in front of your components you can also add a Triple IR Emitter lead to your order. This lead plugs into the Powermid Receiver and you position the emitter onto an AV component you wish to control (up to 3).

Features:

  • Simple setup
  • Low cost solution
  • Wireless RF Technology
  • Mains powered
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Honey, you left the garage door open again!

Posted 27 Jul, 2011

Everyone with a garage has, at one point, accidentally left it wide open. Whether that was for an hour, or over night, the point is that your Ferrari, tools and other expensive items were exposed for anyone to see, or worse, permanently borrow.

Solution 1 - Monitor garage door position from inside:

With a simple reed switch connected to a plug-in SM10 Smart Interface module, an X10 Home Automation signal will be sent throughout your home depending on whether your garage door is open or closed.

If you've got a lamp inside that you use more for show than glow, then that's perfect for indicating the status of your garage door. Simply attach that lamp to an LM12 plug-in lamp module.

That's it - the lamp will now turn on when the garage door is open and turn off when it is closed - you'll have a constant reminder that you've left your garage open and exposed.

If you don't want to use a lamp, then any other X10 receiver module can receive the signal also. With a CM12 Computer Interface you could program more advanced actions for when the garage door is left open.

What you need for Solution 1
Monitor your garage door status (click to view products)

 

Solution 2 - Open/Close your garage door from inside:

Why stop there! By attaching the plug-in UM7206 Universal Module to your garage door motor, you'll be able to open or close it, without running any new wires into the house.

Setup step 1: Plug the Universal module into the same power point as your garage door motor and attach the output terminals of the universal module to the input terminals of the motor (see your garage door motor manual for further information and compatibility).

Setup step 2: Using any X10 transmitter (for example an MT12 bedside timer) you'll be able to control the garage motor. The lamp that you set up in project 1 of this solution series will turn off when the door closes and you can then go back to what you were doing (which was no doubt something better than having to go outside in the rain to shut the garage door!).

Setup step 3: There is none!

What you need for Solution 2
Controlling your garage door from inside (click to view products)

 

Features:

  • Simple setup, all of the components in these projects just plug into a power point.
  • Our Home Automation technology works over your power lines - no new wiring!
  • Don't worry about getting out of bed in the cold to shut the garage door.
  • Can also be used just to add a 2nd switch for activating your garage door.
  • Easy to expand - down the track you can add to the components from these projects and further develop your home automation system.

Enjoy Clear X10 Signals Throughout the Entire House

Posted 25 Jul, 2011

Even with a phase coupler installed, there's still a chance that X10 signals may not get through to all your devices if you have "noisy" or signal-attenuating appliances, such as computers, TVs, refrigerators and uninterruptable power supplies. Fortunately, correcting the problem is exceptionally easy with plug-in filters.

Eliminating Line "Noise"

Noisy appliances introduce interference, or "noise," on your home's electrical wiring. The more noise there is on the electrical lines, the more difficult it is for X10 receivers to detect signals from X10 controllers. Common sources of line noise include refrigerators, freezers, plug-in fluorescent fixtures, aquarium filters, fountains, low-voltage lighting, fans, or anything with a motor.

Fortunately, the problem is incredibly easy to correct with a plug-in filter. Simply plug the filter into the wall outlet, and plug the noisy device into the outlet on the front of the filter, and it will block the interference from traveling onto the electrical wiring.

Note: A quick way to test if an electrical device is adding interference on the powerline is to unplug the noisy device and test the X10 signal. If you have a signal tester, you can do this directly. If not, and if you are having difficulty getting a receiver to work properly, check to see if the X10 receiver doesn't respond when the noisy appliance is plugged in but begins responding when the offending appliance is unplugged. If so, you need a plug-in filter.

Preventing Signal Absorption

Another common X10 black hole is attributed to signal absorption. Some devices are made with power supplies that are designed to alleviate noise on the AC line. And since they often mistake X10 signals for noise, these devices absorb some or all of an X10 signal, thus defeating it before it arrives at the receiving module. Common sources of signal absorption include:

  • Computer Equipment
  • Televisions (especially big-screen TVs)
  • Audio/Video Gear (cable boxes, satellite receivers, VCRs, etc.)
  • Uninterruptible Power Supplies and Power Strips
  • Power Supplies for Laptops and Wireless Phones

Use a plug-in filter at the outlet where the signal-absorbing device is plugged in, and you'll prevent this problem from affecting your X10 system.