If you’re considering automating your home, lighting is the best place to start. But if you’re afraid that handling bare electrical wires will leave you with an Einsteinian hairdo, pick up Intermatic’s Home Settings Starter Kit.
The kit, based on Z-Wave radio-frequency technology, consists of one HA07 remote control and two HA03 plug-in lamp modules. Plug the module into an outlet, plug your lamp into the module, program the remote, and you can now turn on the light from nearly anywhere in your house. No need to change out the existing outlets or switches in your home; no need to deal with bare wires.
Push the button on either the remote or the module itself, and the lamp will turn on or off (depending on its current state). Push and hold down the button and the module will behave as a dimmer switch, reducing or increasing the lamp’s brightness. Since this is Z-Wave technology, the remote is always aware of what state the module is in. If you turn the lamp on or off at the module, pressing the button on the remote will have the opposite effect; i.e., it will turn the lamp on if it’s off and off it’s on. Z-Wave operates on a mesh network, so if one module is out of range of the remote, any remotes that are within range will relay the commands until they reach their intended target.
Although the remote has only 12 channels, limiting you to 12 individually controlled devices, you can create up to 12 groups with up to 16 devices each for a total of 192 items. The remote features an astronomic clock that will automatically turn controlled lights on at sunrise and off at sunset, taking daylight savings time into account. You can also create 28 other timed events.
To control devices from your PC, add Intermatic’s HA23 ThinkEssentials package ($50) or a similar application from another manufacturer—all Z-Wave products are interoperable. Lighting is just the beginning. Catch the bug and you’ll want this technology throughout your home.
Flight of the Conchords
Easy-to-use, inexpensive, feature-rich home automation.
According to Jim
PC controller costs extra; only 12 device profiles.