Author Topic: First Home And First Automation Attempt  (Read 3389 times)


  • Making baby steps
  • Posts: 3
    • View Profile
First Home And First Automation Attempt
« on: October 03, 2011, 06:50:14 am »
Hi there, my name is Harold.

I am currently in the process of buying my first home, I'm a computer consultant currently attending college for IT Security.
I've always loved working with linux, its nothing new to me but home automation is not something I've had the money or time to mess around with.

I plan to buy a home in the next few months and work on it for the next two years or so getting it ready so when I'm done in college I can move in to my 'dream' home.
I intend to implement LinuxMCE heavily but seem to be a bit lost in figuring costs and what order I should be doing things in to get this all completed.

I will be the only one living in the home and thus the only user.
The house has five rooms and the servers and such will either go into a conditioned closet or in a finished basement. I intend to run double drops of Cat5e or Cat6-7 to each room/area I intend to setup. I also plan to install in ceiling speakers throughout the home.

I would like to try and keep it cost efficient while at the same time functional.
I do not intend to have cable tv, I would like to use hulu desktop and stream videos off a NAS.
I will be using voip vs a phone line setup and wish to install security to the fullest extent vs paying a security company.

Here are the features I intend to use:

Telecom - voip/astrisk
Automaton - follow me /etc
Media - video/rev3/hulu/dvd

I don't know if I'd bother with climate but hell at this point why not, in reality I'm looking to utilize nearly every feature I can.

I would like to use ip cameras, installing a camera into every room as well as 4-7 angles of the outside of the home.
I have a nokia N810 and an Android/Moto Droid, I'm willing to buy an orbiter pad.

I'm just trying to figure out what should be installed first, what monitors to use, etc.
I intend to install a monitor into every room and some hallways of the house that i could transfer video to, or pull up any security camera.

Security and Media are the two major features I want to implement.
If you can be of any help that would be great, and I'll be sure to get a floor plan of the home asap.
I'm still talking with the realtor.


  • Veteran
  • ***
  • Posts: 134
  • Hope to become good enough to teach others
    • View Profile
Re: First Home And First Automation Attempt
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2011, 12:36:28 pm »
so many options.....

however...given that youare just starting out..... can i strongly suggest that you look at the wiki ad user setups as well as hardware options that work well with lmce.....

in terms of the features that you intend to use...please look at the user guide and wiki as i am sure that you will find many options for the areas that u are interested in....

There a number of people including myself that havre or are currently utilising the n810.... again i suggest yo look through the forum and the wiki..... there are options for you..

Best of luck... a word of advice......look and listen to what already works and if u have access to the hardware....sweet.... however if u have knowledge and can contriubte to things that do not have support or solutions..... please free to add so that the comunity can benfit from ur experiences....



  • Veteran
  • ***
  • Posts: 146
    • View Profile
Re: First Home And First Automation Attempt
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2011, 10:56:59 pm »
Hi Harold,

Welcome to the community :)

First off if not currently using LMCE then it would be a good idea to get a box up and running just to play with. You are very lucky you will be the only one living in the house as many of us have to build systems while living with SWMBO and constantly face the firing squad  ;)

Probably most important thing is to make sure you get Nvidia cards and 2 nics in the core or else you will have issues before you even start. Also bear in mind that 810 does not support some of the newer hardware althought I'm not sure to what extent.

Some things will depend on what level of renovating you are doing such as automation would be either KNX or Z-Wave (there are others but these 2 seem to be pref technologies at the moment). KNX requires rewire and z-wave just gets attached to existing switches.

I use HDHomerun for TV and has always run well compared to PCI cards I've used plus does not takeup space in the core. For storage some use NAS and others such as myself have storage in the core.

Cat6-7 probably a better option as cost difference over 5e is minimal and it does give a little bit more 'future proofing'.

As for what order to do things its really up to what you want working first. Get a core up and running first with some media on it made sure all working well and then image often so that if/when something breaks it is easy to roll back.

Check out wiki and for hardware that works and then ask specific questions once start getting a list made.



  • NEEDS to work for LinuxMCE
  • ***
  • Posts: 1402
  • If it ain't broke, tweak it
    • View Profile
Re: First Home And First Automation Attempt
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2011, 10:45:27 am »
What they said ^

The only additional advice I would give, and it is in a similar vein to what has already been said, is don't plough in guns blazing burying cables left, right and centre and generally ripping your new house apart. Get a test system up and running first, and when you feel you are ready to live with it, put everything in place temporarily e.g. tack cables down and live with it for a good while, maybe 6 month to a year. If you are still hungry for more after that, then chase in the cables, install light switch backboxes etc when you next decorate :-)

This is the approach I am going to use when I move into my first home soon, and I've been using LMCE for several years (but I am crap, you need to factor that in).

Best of luck!

1004 RC :: looking good :: upgraded 01/04/2013
my setup ::


  • Veteran
  • ***
  • Posts: 134
  • Hope to become good enough to teach others
    • View Profile
Re: First Home And First Automation Attempt
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2011, 11:17:44 am »
Hi Harold,

One other point to note ... you don't need to spend large $$$$ to get a test system up and running... there are plenty of solutions and options available to you..... i suggest you have a look around at some of the user setups and the hardware they use...... ie there are some that use the asus m2n boards...... they are old now in terms of technology.... but they still can be purchased for next to nothing.......and they work well and are fairly reliable... if you have some old hdds lying around.... use them....... and as mentioned previously..... get a feel for it and enjoy steps....

best of luck :)


  • Making baby steps
  • Posts: 3
    • View Profile
Re: First Home And First Automation Attempt
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2011, 09:35:39 pm »
Thanks for all the suggestions guys, sorry for the late reply. College has a way of occupying my time.

I'll work on a test rig, I tried it in virtual box which seeing as its meant to work with all this hardware was a really stupid idea.
I was thinking to use Cat 6-7

My original idea for the tvs was to embed them into the wall. basically rip out all the dry wall run my lines from scratch and install the tvs within...
But instead I'm thinking it'd be smarter to just use wall brackets and mount them, I've seen these new Asus eee boxes that I'm thinking would work great as a backend for the tvs.
I have been combing through the wiki although there is one thing I have been having trouble figuring out.

How does the software turn the tvs on? My assumption would be either an ir dongle or via RS232, that being the case would any tv that supports RS232 work? It dosn't have to work out of box, I can configure things in linux no problem. (or if I have problems I don't mind staying up all night to fix the, lol)

One thing I'd really like to do is try and get a quote for what all this is going to cost me so I know what I'm really getting into.
TV's will be one of the most expensive aspects and I'd like to have touch screens in some hall ways and such, although IF I could wall mount an ipad that'd work great if supported, even more so if it could play back video.... I'm guessing the ipad couldn't do the video but I'm sure I could find a budget tablet to get the job done


  • Guru
  • ****
  • Posts: 485
  • A day w/o LinuxMCE is like a day w/o sunshine!
    • View Profile
Re: First Home And First Automation Attempt
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2011, 09:13:35 pm »

Welcome aboard.
From personal experience, I can recommend LG TVs for rs232 control. Insure when you purchase that the specs list that the serial or rs232 port is for service and control, not just service. Then I bought a USB-to-Serial adapter, and a null modem adapter. then just plug it in. All plug-and-play.

I mounted my 50 and my 32 inch models on the wall. Behind the bracket mounting I have cut in a small ( standard dual-gang wall box at any home depot, lowes, etc ) from this I run power, hdmi, and a USB>Serial cable.

Significant Other approved, as you can see no cables.
As to MDs. I have 2 types. One in a small desktop mini case, and one is an actual Foxconn Nettop appliance. The nettop appliance is mounted directly to the back of the 32 inch TV, and the other MD is in the entertainment center , which is built in the wall beside TV, and looks like any other DVD/BluRay player.

But to get back on topic. I highly recommend LG TVs. Again, verify rs232 is both service, and control. then its plug-n-play.

Best Regards,


p.s. more details in my User setup linked below.

".....Because Once you've LinuxMCE'd....."
System stats located at my user page: