Updated: 01/08/04

X-HOME! has been in development over the last four years and has grown substantially over the past year and a half. X-HOME! was soley a custom, PC-based, multi-tasking system (written completely in Visual Basic 5.0) running under Windows NT and Win98.  Most recently, I have replaced a significant portion of my custom HA system (Lynx-10 and all custom boards and S/W) with the JDS Stargate and its companion, the JDS IR Expander

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 Introduction & Description
 Computer Hardware
 Computer Software
 Computer External Interfaces
 Operations & Capabilities


I am now using one of the Stargate's COM ports to control what is displayed on the touch screen. Inputs from the Touch screen eventually get sent to Stargate for processing. I have finally integrated a Basic II Stamp Controller (BS-II, by Parallax Inc)) such that is acts as a "Gateway" between the Stargate HA controller and the Touch screen.

 Using simple ASCII messaging, I have Stargate sending predefined ASCII messages to the Basic Stamp II, such as "MAINMENU". Once the STAMP receives this message (1 of 100 or so messages possible), the Stamp sends a bunch of ASCII commands/strings to the Touch Screen display via separate serial interface. This commands sent by the Stamp are basically a bunch of ASCII strings which tell the touchscreen to draw series of boxes, lines and text on the display (such to draw the Main Menu). A sample of code required to draw a filled box in the center of the display is:
The display has a resolution of 600x300 pixels. In this example, the "BF" stands executes the "Box Filled" command, the box's upper lefthand corner is at 200 (x) and 100 (y), and the box's bottom righthand corner is at 400 (x) and 200 (y). The box's dimensions are therefore 200 x 100. Since the display is monochrome, the box can be filled either Black (0) or White (1, as in this example).

 Now that I have won a SECANT Cardio system (check out : No. 2), I am integrating it with the Stargate X-10 system. Although the Cardio system has built in X-10 feaures such as scheduling and macros, I have decided to allow the "more-robust" Stargate to be my main X-10 controller and therefore use the Cardio system as my dedicated Alarm system controller (seeing that it has a nifty digital key made by Dallas iButton which activates the alarm and also features direct interfaces for up to 16 wired Passive Infrared (PIR) detectors). The Cardio and Stargate systems will use a dedicated housecode (all 32+ commands) in order to send information back and forth to each other (such as alarm Status, Zone Status, etc...). For security reasons, the alarm can not be activated or deactivated by Stargate via X-10. The Alarm can only be controlled by either one of two Dallas digital keys or via the Touchscreen interface of the Cardio System (located just inside the foyer where you enter the house).

My Introduction to HA

I was first introduced to home automation one day while browsing through a local Radio Shack. I had decided to purchased an X-10 timer/clock unit and a couple of lamp modules to control my outdoor lights/lamps. After getting home and setting up the tiny system, I grew more and more intrigued with the possibilities I could dream a full blown x-10 system could do. I then decided that the only way I am going to get all the functionality I wanted was to develop my own hardware and software for such a system. I had previously tinkered with several DSP ISA cards (digital and analog inputs/outputs) and had developed some interesting serial communications code using Visual Basic. It seemed as though I had the right ingredients so,... I was ready to conquer the challenge!

Computer Hardware

The X-HOME! PC was put together with mostly used and custom-built equipment. Some of the parts had to either be purchased or built as is the case with the I/O and Relay EISA Interface cards and the Telephone Interface circuitry. The following is a semi-accurate list of equipment:

Computer Software

The X-HOME! software is the heart of the X-HOME! system.  Written completely in Visual Basic 5.0, the software consists of 11 different modules running simultaneously under Windows NT while implementing  DDE for communications between program modules.  The software modules are listed below:

Computer External Interfaces

    There are various external interfaces for X-HOME!.  They are as follows:

Operations & Capabilities

Pictures & Diagrams
(These are just some quick sample pictures of my Touch screen displays)

Controller/Touch screen
Main Screen
House GUI/Layout
X-10 Event Scheduler
X-10 Event Log
Phone Book/Dialer
Analog Clock!



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