Author Topic: My House Automation Goals and LinuxMCE  (Read 1371 times)


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My House Automation Goals and LinuxMCE
« on: January 25, 2008, 10:24:28 pm »

I'm considering to put together a LinuxMCE installation for my house.  Here are my goals and how I think LinuxMCE deals with each.  My next step will be to put together a hardware list.

  * Video Media Playback (stored video, DVD, and streaming)

    This seems to be handled nicely through the Xine integration, though I haven't been able to find out much about how well and viable the streaming part is.
  * Music Media Playback (stored music, streaming music)

    I see snippets saying that this is handled, but I'm not sure how it's integrated.  All the docs focus on video.  Is the music also through Xine, or is there a separate music player?  I'm sure this will be obvious when I start playing with the system.
  * CD Ripping to MP3s

    Integration with cdparanoia handles this for me.  It looks like it automatically grabs the track and cover art info from CDDB.  Excellent.
  * DVD Ripping to DivX

    The DVD ripping seems to be a straight file copy, which does not perform any transcoding.  I expect this is to preserve all the extra functionality of a DVD.  Is there any way to do transcoding of the main feature of a DVD from LinuxMCE?  I think if there's an event fired when the rip is complete, I might be able to hook an appropriate script to that.  I'll likely need to expirement with this to make it work, or decide it's not so important to me and be happy with it how it is.
  * Handle Scheduled Plant Watering

    Since the system manages lights ok, I think it should be able to handle other switchable devices like a watering system as well.  Yes?  Maybe I'll just need to tweak some icons or something in the template.
  * Handle Scheduled Wake-up "Calls" or Notifications

    I'm not sure if there's any kind of schedule manager.  There must be, but I haven't been able to dig anything up on the formums or wiki that describes it.  Of course, I think this would be easy to craft if it's not already there.
  * Manage House Temperature through Thermostat & Room Fans
    A thermostat control is a bit more complicated than a few switched lights.  It looks like there are some Insteon controllers for certain programmable thermostats, but that part of LMCE might need some concentrated development.  Actually, it looks like some of this work is already ongoing.
    For the ceiling fans, I don't see an easy automation solution off hand, but I'll keep looking to see what I can find.  It seems like it should be doable with some switches or contact closure thingies. 
  * Handle Scheduled Bathroom Radiators

    And again, the bathroom radiators are just on switches.  So I should be able to hook them to a schedule without so much pain.  There's no way to control the temperature of those, since the controls are always right on the device itself.  So that will still have to be set manually, but in usage those will be "set and forget" things anyhow.  I can live with that.
  * Handle Security through Window & Door Sensors

    This part seems like it should be possible, but I'm not sure how to do it.  So, really I just need each window and door sensor to cause an event to get fired through the system.  Then it can easily be hooked as a security breach type of event.  The question is how to do that?  I'm guessing I'll need a zoned security panel that converts the window & door sensors to zone codes and sends them on through Insteon or X10.  Does that sound right?
  * Browse & Search Recipes

    This should probably be handled through a web-based application.  I'm pretty sure I saw that web surfing is all happy and sassy through MediaDirectors?

Any comments or clarifications are welcome, but I'm guessing a lot of the stuff I'm uncertain about I'll just need to play with to figure out how to make it work.

.  Topher