Hello World from Canada


New Member
Hello, My name is Steve and I'd like to introduce myself as one of your newest members.  I got started with Home Automation about 30 years ago when I was a teenager back in the days of Radio Shack and X10.  I thought it was the best thing ever! Then, long term I discovered some of the limitations of X10 and lost interest.  I was waiting for the day that would see the inevitable drop in prices and simplification/reliability of systems.  Imagine my surprise when that didn't happen.  Anyways, life, wife and kids won out or wore me out, whichever way you want to look at it.  I bought a house 15 years ago and just finished renovating it 4 years ago and have been looking for an inexpensive Home Automation system ever since.  My lowest quote by the pros at the time of reno was $25,000.00.  That was WAY too expensive.  I wanted an all in one system that did it all, including Audio and Video.  I made sure when I renovated that I put conduits in the walls and placed LAN,audio/video, IR wiring in all the right places.  I upgraded my security system so that one day I could connect to the HA system.  I made sure I had empty electrical boxes and empty speaker boxes in the walls and motion sensors installed to ensure future expandability.  I also have a wiring closet that houses all my computers and HA equipment.  I wanted to settle on LinuxMCE but the WAF factor was too low.  Linux and my wife and kids did not mix well.  Instead of two separate systems Windows and Linux, I settled on a trying to find a windows solution.  Now inexpensive is fine, but free is better so I went about trying to find open source projects that I could use.  The main requirements are free to low cost software and low energy consumption.  Hardware is hardware, used or cheap is what I look for.
So far here's my system:
I have a 15 Tb FlexRaid Win 7 file server that runs MediaPortal TV Server, EventGhost, Calibre Ebook Server, USB UIRT and MS Office tools.  It's on 24/7 (soon to have wake on lan implemented).  It's hooked up to one screen in the office and one screen in my Bedroom.  I then have several Android Tablets and Phones (Win8, ICS or lower) for various family members.  They run a fantastic Android program called terRemote which talks to EventGhost and another Android program called Tasker which also talks to EG.  I just recently added an Insteon Hub (2242-222) with HouseLinc and a few switches to get started.  I wanted Houselinc to talk to EventGhost, but that is something I can't get working right now.  The Wife loves the fact that terRemote is the one central place to turn things on and off and check status of Audio/Video.  We are very happy right now (meaning my wife is happy).  Other than the fact we have to access a separate program for Insteon on Android.
My future short term plans are to get Insteon access thru terRemote, then hook up an HDMI switch to the TV server so that I can hook up a kitchen and living room screen.  Get my security system and other various switches and dodads working thru terRemote and EventGhost for a complete and very, very inexpensive Home Automation system.  
My very, very long term goals are to install a 5V DC or 120V AC system that is directly hooked up to solar panels or battery packs for all those chargers and adapters that eat away at my bank account. I want to be able to go outside and look at my Electricity Meter and not see it moving.  I understand it's a fantasy, but hey gotta dream right? 
My current project is a basketball net for my kid in the driveway and trying to figure out how to keep track of equipment status centrally across the house for each of the tablets and phones running win8 and android.  My only problem is picking an open source Home Automation program that will allow the use of Insteon, EventGhost, Bluetooth and WiFi (Not expecting much right?).  I LOVE, LOVE EventGhost/terRemote/Tasker. It's what  dreamed about 15 years ago.  Hoping to find that last piece of the puzzle here.
Anyways, That's me......Nice to meet everyone and please feel free to say HA!.....errrrrr, sorry, Hi!
Welcome to the forum Steve!
You will find lots of information here relating to automation et al.
Everyone is friendly!
Here I have converted my outdoor LV lighting now to all LEDs.  One neighbor has put a couple of solar panels up and is charging the batteries that he uses for his LED illumination.  Its been doing fine now for a couple of years.  With the LED lighting I have moved from the older massive toroidal transformers to little DIN mounted 12VDC transformers.
Welcome! Seems like you've managed to get quite a ways in your project.  I too was exposed to X10 even back in the 80's through my father - we automated our xmas lights and his bedroom; I found CT when several attempts at implementing X10 didn't work for me due to CFLs and other noise, and it was time to finally automate my home.
You've used a couple products I've never heard of so you may have some valuable knowledge to contribute as well - I'm sure many would love to hear more about your setup - if you have the time, please consider adding some to the gallery and blog sections to show off some of what you've built!
I've a small setup on a totally off grid log home in Southern Ontario,Canada.
This is one I built from scratch using a horse to pull the logs out of the bush and simple block and tackle to hoist the logs.
I soon discovered a pure sine wave inverter was a must for home automation.
This is slowly growing with my latest adds being 4 IP cameras which I can view from my city home.