I decided to try some home automation projects using Z-Wave. Since Z-Wave uses a wireless protocol for sending commands, there aren't the problems from using a powerline protocol. And, since Z-Wave uses a wireless protocol, it is very easy to add wireless battery powered devices.
I ordered a Mi Casa Verde VeraLite to use as the controller. This will let you control any of the Z-Wave devices in your house, as well create custom scenes. It also has a web server, where you can control your devices and scenes.
The first small project that wanted to accomplish was to automate turning off the lights in the garage, as these tend to be left on. I bought a couple of Z-Wave light switches and motion sensors. Once the devices were paired, it was pretty easy to configure a scene that would turn on the lights when motion was sensed, and a scene that would turn off the lights 2 minutes after no more motion is sensed.
I can also control these devices from an Android device using the Home Buddy application, even when out of the house.
Since these Z-Wave devices are working pretty well, some of the other projects I want to work on in the next few weeks/months are:
- Z-Wave control of garage door opener, with sensor to detect the door remaining open
- Control of lighting when watching movies
- Detection of washing machine / dryer cycle to trigger a notification on completion
- Control of other lights that tend to be left on.