Go big or go home automation….

First and foremost:  I know, the title really is terrible, but my wit is adjusting to the 30 degree temperature swing our little corner of the world experienced over the last 24 hours.

Last fall, we put in a pool.  The crazy weather over the last six months, though, means that we still have a few more odds and ends to complete before we can officially call it done.  Two things in this project have led me to put a little investment into home automation over the last few days.

There are some pretty fancy (and expensive) systems for controlling your pool.  Most of the Pentair systems start at around $600 for just the controllers and go way up from there.  While I would have loved to control all of that through the Pentair systems, I did not want to add another two thousand dollars to the cost of the pool, so we opted out of that one.

While the electricians were here last week, I mentioned those systems, and the electrician said he would add switched for the pool lights and pump.  I asked him if I could replace the switches he installed with a few home automation-compatible switches, and he said sure.  So, with the right controller, I can control my pool lights and pump from a standard home automation system.  So I started thinking, which is always an expensive proposition.

In addition to that, per our building code, we need to put an alarm on the back door, since our pool layout is such that the house forms one side of the barrier around the pool (our new fence is the other three sides).  Of course, I could have just purchased a $20 door alarm, but where is the fun in that?  So I went shopping and found a door sensor and alarm unit that will meet our building codes and let me add some additional monitoring to the house.

As for the technical specs, I went with the Universal Devices controller with the PLM module from SmartHome.com.  The overall completeness of this package was a huge draw, not to mention a fairly substantial REST API interface which should allow me to tinker with integrating the controller with some other items in my home.

I bought a few of the simple Insteon toggle switches and a four pack of the Insteon open/close sensors for the starter pack, as well as the Insteon Siren for the alarm sound.  My hope, however, is to tie all of this in to my Amazon Echo unit so that the Echo can generate the audio alerts for certain actions.

So yea, I may have spent a little more than $20, but this little adventure into home automation is something that I have wanted to investigate for a few years now, and it seems like the right time to do so.  That, coupled with a convenient sale on Insteon products from SmartHome, let me to jump into this a bit more than I initially planned.

Stay tuned for more updates as I get the system up and running.





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