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Home Automation - Implementation

Star My actual implementation.


It is good to route all the wires from all the sensors back to a central location in the basement (under the stairs).  This is better for maintenance and for upgrading.  Think of this as the low voltage version of the electrical main panel.

The wiring can all be done with Cat-6 wiring and sometimes multiple sensor Vint wires can share a Cat-6 cable.  The wiring needs to be in-wall fire rated.

Labeling the wires is important.

For sensitive sensors it is best to put the Phidget sensor module at the sensor point in each room and then route long Vint wires back to the Automation Main Panel because Vint is digital and so not effected by interference.

Whenever a wall switch is needed then it is best to use an Insteon module even if you then need to use a plugged-in power supply to produce the lower voltage needed by the thing you are controlling.  Also even when you don't need a wall switch it is typically still best to use an Insteon module because the wiring is easier and the electrical code for wiring them is fully established.  In practice, the Phidget PC interface is mainly for sensors, ie inputs rather than outputs.



Magnetic sensor switches on all windows (12VDC)

Glass break detectors (Acoustic on wall anywhere - Honeywell Intellisense FG-1625F )

Magnetic sensor switches on all doors (12VDC)

Movement sensor switches in all rooms (115VAC to 12VDC via wall wart in room wall)

Door bell switch (12VDC)

Zone motion sensors lampposts (115VAC to 12VDC via wall wart)

Outside temperature (in shade under deck) (3 wire VINT)

Temperature in each room (3 wire VINT)

Humidity in each room (3 wire VINT)

Temperature on outside of wood fires (3 wire VINT)

Temperature on pipes at various points in hot water system (3 wire VINT)

Error conditions on radiant heating system

Temperature sensor on oven to see if left on (3 wire VINT)

Temperature sensor above cooktop to see if left on (3 wire VINT)

Detect position of vent dampers eg on kitchen extractor fan

Smoke/CO alarm sensor (separate from legally require smoke alarm system)

Air quality monitoring sensor eg CO2 level

Grow room sensors

Detect curtains open or closed

Detect blinds open or closed

Wellhouse status eg water levels

Septic status eg water levels

Momentary Decora wall switches (used to tell app to set eg Scene)

Current flow to main panel

Current flow to house sub-panels

Flood sensor (Basement)

Keypad to enable/disable alarm when leaving house


Grow CO2 level

Grow soil moisture

Grow soil temperature

Grow air temperature

Grow soil Ph

Grow air humidity

Grow light level

Grow plant height sensor (interrupter beams at different heights)



Other inputs

Front door camera (Ring)

Kitchen/living room monitor camera

Upstairs landing camera

Basement stair camera

Driveway camera




Insteon (with Alexa)

All interior lights handled by wall dimmer switches

All electric oil radiators handled by wall switches

All fans (Vents and ceiling fans) handled by wall dimmer switches

Outside lampposts turn on via sensor line

Outside wall flood lights by interior wall dimmer switches

Dishwasher via kitchen wall switch

Coffee maker via kitchen wall switch and wall socket

Oven via 230V wall switch

Vent damper control eg kitchen extractor

Curtain drape open/close

Blinds up/down

TV flicker simulator (115VAC)

Colored party lighting and laser effects via wall switch

Sauna heater (to pre-heat)

Front door bolt via switch on vestibule wall

Garage door opener

Siren outside

Siren inside

Watering valves for garden (24VAC from 115VAC)

Grow LED lights (115VAC)

Grow vent fans (115VAC)

Grow heat mat (115VAC)

Grow humidifier (115VAC)

Grow CO2 injector (115VAC)

Grow extractor fan (115VAC)

Grow Recirculating oscillating fan (115VAC)

Grow heating radiator for air (as opposed to roots)

Grow water bubbler airator

Grow water valves (various nutrition types) turn on (24VAC from 115VAC)


(When no wall switch is needed then can be done with Phidget output connected to solid state relay contactor.  Still best to use Insteon as the wiring is easier.)



Claxon alarm siren (one inside, one outside)

Adjust house radiant heating temperature

Where music from master PC is played.  Relays switch line audio to local sound systems.

Relays to control IR universal remote control


PC IR Blaster

Surround sound system (TV volume) (use PC interfaced universal IR blaster) (and somehow Alexa)




Automation Main Panel

This can be a purchased wall mount cabinet or you can implement your own in the same way you implement wall kitchen cabinets using a 2x4 carcass and purchased oak-look doors.  Initially you only need the 2x4 carcass with a plywood back and floor.  Make it a decent size, eg 2'6" high 4' wide (double door), and 1'6" deep.  Any spare space can be used for storage.  You can use this as a prototype for your kitchen cabinets.

Automation Main Panel Drawing 

Mount it on the wall under the stairs.

In the cabinet will be all the (Phidget) electronics that provides the IO to the PC controller.  The PC running the Master instance of the HouseMaster software will be nearby, connected via USB to the Control Cabinet.  You can put the PC on a wall mounted ergo arm.





Prototype Interface Board

This is the setup I used when playing around with possible solutions and writing the software.

Greenhouse Controller Interface Prototype