HomeAutomation always seemed absurdly geeky, but X10 starter kits are absurdly cheap these days. In five minutes, you can make anything into a remote control anything. I bought a RatShack "Plug' npower" system because it was on sale for twenty bucks. Here are some notes:
- X10 is a home automation standard. It has been around since the 70s. History of X10
- X10 starter kits are cheap, and they can be used as a remote control unit for your project.
- X10 systems send data either over 120V powerlines or wirelessly. There are bridge modules to restransmit wireless signals over wired links.
Some notes about dimming lights:
- The choice of bulb seems to matter.
- Slyvania bulbs are cheap, but make loud buzzing noises when dimmed.
- GE bulbs don't buzz when dimmed.
- Don't plug halogen lamps or fluorescent ballasts into X10 lamp dimmer modules. You need to get a special module that can dim these devices.