Basic Project Introduction

Computer Talk Radio is in the planning stages for a long term series about home automation for the non-nerd.  The series is expected to go for at least a quarter, plus additional follow-ups over the coming year).  Each week, one segment (about 7-10 minutes) will address the various concepts and facets of Home Automation, and it’s future place in our lives.  This is intended as a large project to encourage listeners to embrace the technologies, and improve their lives through technology.

Suppliers of review units will be given coverage by name, including capabilities, and soft reviews and comparisons.  A dedicated page will be setup on the Computer Talk Radio website to hold the information broadcast, as well as links and other purchasing information for products included in this project.  

Topics planned:  Selection of protocol, ease of programming, if-then-else statements, motion detection, lighting components, appliance components, garage control, and alarm components.  Usage of cameras is being considered, but is still pending due to personal privacy concerns.

The home is located in Anaheim, California (near Disneyland).  It occupied by the host of the show (Benjamin Rockwell), is a townhome, with 1500 square feet, on two floors, with a detached garage.  A 200Mb Internet connection is in usage, and the home contains many standard high-tech items.  Wi-fi is available on 802.11ac, as well as a separate access point on 802.11n.  

The host has completed a similar automation project about 16 years ago for a family members property, using available technology at that time.  He is familiar with the tasks involved with installing, programming, and troubleshooting various aspects.  


Wish list

If we were to control everything desired, the goal would be to to complete this entire list.  We are also welcoming additional suggestions and ideas, so don’t let this constrain your thoughts.  As you can see, this project is not intended as a bare-bones system proof-of-concept, but an example of a whole home system which serves as a brag point for listeners.  


Control Hub

The ideal control hub will communicate with multiple standards, and will have an option for external monitoring.  It will support localized If-Then statements, and also be accessible via remote.


Additional Controllers

There are a number of different solutions, so your creativity and suggestions are welcome. 
Entry 1 and 2 – Alarm Controller
Living Room – Scene controller
Master Bedroom – Alarm and Scene controller


Security coverage for windows

3 sliding windows, plus additional concerns for breakage.


Security coverage for sliding glass door

This main point of entry for the occupants has heavy traffic, but due to it’s concealment, is also a prime point of entry for burglars.  Need entry and breakage coverage.


Standard Doors

2 Standard doors, front and garage “people door”


Motion sensors

Patio – Outdoors wide angle for alarm and automation
Outdoor walkway – Alarm and automation
Front door – Automation 
Garage – Indoors standard usage
Living Room – Alarm backup and automation
Dining Room – Alarm backup and automation
Stairwell – Automation
Other rooms – Automation 


Lighting switches desired for automation

Front Entry – “decorative” switch – On-Off 
Front Hall – “decorative” switch, preferred dimmable
Living Room Reading 1 – “decorative” switch, preferred dimmable
Living Room Main – One gang, two switch, preferred dimmable
Kitchen – On-Off “decorative” switch
Dining – On-Off “decorative” switch
Patio – On-Off “decorative” switch
Garage – On-Off standard toggle switch 
Stairwell – 3-way “decorative” switch, preferred dimmable
Landing –  “decorative” switch, preferred dimmable
Master Bedroom –  “decorative” switch, preferred dimmable
2nd bedroom – “decorative” switch, preferred dimmable
3rd bedroom – “decorative” switch, preferred dimmable


Other Lighting

We have 8 different locations available for connected LED bulbs (color or standard white, rated at 60 or 75 watt)



Garage interior – Loud alarm
Dining room – Standard indoor alarm
Master bedroom – Minimalist chime or sound to indicate problem



Standard internet programmable thermostat (current is Carrier Cor, not compatible with other services) 


Standard roll-up garage door

Control and monitoring of this door would be ideal.


Cameras (under consideration)

Exterior walkway
Exterior patio
Front door
Garage exterior
Garage interior 


Closing notes

A select few companies will be chosen for on-air interviews of subject matter experts.  

If requested, review units of products greater than $200 MSRP may be returned at the end of the review period at the expense of the manufacturer.  Please provide return instructions and shipping information with the product, if so desired.  

If you have particular coverage points for your product or feature comparisons, please provide along with provided review units.