What’s In My Toolbox?

One of my friends was talking with me about home automation and asked me what tools he needs to get started.

Before I suggested any specific tools, I told him:

1) The best tool you’ll ever use is your mind. Learn, research, think – make informed decisions.

2) You don’t ever have to crack open a wall plate to have a great home automation setup. You can use smart bulbs, smart plugs, and smart power strips to perform tasks that you might otherwise install a smart switch or smart outlet for. If that’s all you need, then don’t worry about the rest until you’re ready for something more advanced.

3) The right hand tool is whichever tool will best perform the task at hand.

Having explained all of that, he still wanted to know what to stuff in his tool box, so I put together a basic list for him.

Continue reading “What’s In My Toolbox?”

Getting Started!

Welcome to the Smarter Home Club’s first post.

I’m Doug, a software engineer from Florida.

My background in home automation goes back to the 2000’s, when I lived in NC. I’d worked from a home office for a year or so while waiting for office renovations. A few weeks before my new space was ready, there were a series of neighborhood break ins.

That worried me – a lot! As a recent home buyer, I was “house rich, cash poor” and couldn’t afford monitored home security, but I worked more than half an hour’s drive from home.

My solution was to buy a stack of X-10 wireless door and window sensors, some power line noise filters, a receiver, light switches, power outlets, and floodlights.

At the time, X10 devices were a couple bucks each if you bought specials from the company or from resellers on eBay. I bought a CM15a interface and a V572RF32 transceiver. I then wrote my own home security app in VB.net which sent a text message to my phone if a window or door opened while the alarm was set.

I didn’t worry about a break-in while I was at work, but I wouldn’t exactly say I had peace of mind…. I spent the next tow years refining and perfecting my home automation and security system, enjoying it just under a year before I moved to FL and would need to start all over again!

That’s how I got started.