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.