Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Remote W800 Deployed & Remote System Summary

I just installed the new W800 at our other house. In keeping with my tradition of cheapness, I ordered the bare $49 W800 instead of the $75 kit. I made my own power adapter from a leftover 9V wall wart and a 3.5mm mono jack (tip positive). I had 3 different 9V wall warts to choose from in my junk box, one output 8.7V, one 10.5V, and the third put out 11.5V. The W800 would only work with the highest output wall wart, which jives with the output from power supply from the first W800. Instead of the kit antenna, I connected the W800 to a set of leftover TV rabbit ears. I'm not looking for long distance reception as it's a small place. Finally, I had an extra serial cable in a spare parts bin.

I'm using xPLW800 and it works perfectly. I installed a few devices from my leftovers - 2 DS10A's as leak detectors and a few Hawkeye motion detectors. The motion sensors, combined with the Bluetooth tracking, will allow the system to track occupancy and execute the security lighting scheme if we're not around.

So far, the remote thin client is loaded up with:
* CM11A on a USB-serial adapter, using xPLCM11 for lighting/device control
* W800 on COM1, using xPLW800 for occupancy, dusk/dawn & leak detectors
* xPL Rocket for remote pan/tilt control of the USB rocket launcher & AirLink netcam wire-tied to it
* BlueTracker for occupancy detection
* EventGhost with xPL Plugin for all automation logic

With those apps running, there's still about 190MB of RAM free after I did the 512MB upgrade. CPU utilization is low, typically around 5-10% and briefly jumping to about 20-25% when an X10 command is issued. I can probably add a couple more small apps without killing the system.

The thin client is turning out to be the perfect device for our application. It is slow, but we don't interact with it at all, unlike our main home's automation server. It has low power consumption (10-12W), solid state disk reliablity and auto-powers on after an outage. I thought about putting it on a UPS, but since we won't be at house very often, I'm wary of leaving a UPS there. I've had one UPS burn up after several months and 2 others ended up with cracked and leaking batteries.

I've been very pleased with EventGhost as the heart of the system. It's lightweight in memory and CPU, has many useful plugins (Network Sender & Receiver are key for me) and has tons of flexibility with integrated Python scripting. It wouldn't be very useful to me if it weren't for the great xPL plugin I wrote ;)

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