Adventures in HA – Part Zero

Posted: September 27, 2013 in HA, Hacking and playing, Hardware

Over the last few years I’ve occasionally stuck my toe in the Home Automation (HA) world. Generally I’ve then retreated quite rapidly as the costs, complexity and/or general chunkiness of the components put me off.

More recently I managed to get a cheap X-10 controller and plug-in switch which I had rigged up to turn on and off the Xmas lights. It was running a very early beta of an open source piece of software called HomeGenie. While this was fine for a simple on-off solution, it wasn’t without issues, mostly related to X-10 itself.

I’ve always preferred the concept of a mesh based radio network as used by Z-Wave and ZigBee. However, the price of the sockets, sensors and controllers has always been stupidly high for casual users to play with. While new controllers like NinjaBlocks, SmartThings and Almond+ appearing it seemed that the price point for entry might just be falling.

Granted, it might also be because I’ve got a job that ‘requires‘ me to stay abreast of technologies like these, and they do seem to be relevant to the business, so I do need to order these things to play with…. so it’s a lot less of a gamble now…

Anyway, eBay is also your friend, so I’ve managed to procure an Aeon Labs Z-Stick 2 controller and a simple on/off socket.

I’ve successfully used HomeGenie to control the Z-Wave socket from various mobile devices, much to my daughter’s delight. However, while the software has come on leaps and bounds since I first tried it, i still feels a little ad-hoc.

Time to look at the alternatives. At least until I can justify buying a Vera Lite 😉


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