Sunday, 18 January 2009

DIY: The Walking Closet Lights

One of our great WAF factors is for sure the Walking Closet and the way the lights are handled there.
You open the door, et voila ... the magic happens.

Offcourse this is not something revolutionary new to have lights going on when you walk in, and you can easily walk into any DIY shop and buy a motion detector aka PIR and have it hooked up to the lights, but if you want to take something that is scalable and reusable for the futher, and can be easily extended and controlled from a central place in the future, then do read on.

So that said, some of our friends were nicely surprised and wanted to do something simular and before they run off and buy a silly aka non scalable solution to control the lightening in the walking closet, we thought to put this DIY together for first time X10 users and hook them up to a wonderfull world of Home Automation with increased WAF Factor.

Project Cost

The total project cost for the lightening controls is less as 100 € aka 1.000 SEK, and is fully reusable if and when you want to increase your Home Automation Projects.

See it is an investment in the future, that is not lost if you don't go ahead as it still controls the lights in the walking closet.

If you already did the initial investements, the cost is even smaller (see breakdown below).

Project Scope

So what do we need to make this work.

A way to detect someone walks in the room (motion detection), turn on the light, and if no motion is detected, turn of the lights again.

Translated into simple X10 Modules, we would need an appliance module to control the light, a receiver to receive the "hey, someone walked in the room, put on the lights signal" and offcourse someone to shout again once the room is empty.

In our case, we will combine the controller and receiver by using the TM13 Module, to receive the RF Signal, and control the lamp status with ON / OFF (the TM13 does not dim, but that is for the next DIY project)-

We just plugged the TM13 in the outlet, and put the IKEA lightening used in the closet in the TM13 outlet.

If this is your very first DIY, make sure everything works with the standard house code A before you change that one to something else. I will make another one on housecodes in X10 later on, for now go ahead with the A code.

Every TM13 controller has as unit code 1 so by putting the controller in the wall socket, we now have a lamp that is called A1.

The second step in our mini project, is making sure that our Lamp A1 is put ON and OFF whenever we walk in the closet.

For this we will use the MS13 Motion Detector, also called Hawkeye. Our wireless motion detector will send a RF signal to our TM13 receiver and says "hey, someone walked in the room, put on the lights" but also keep track whether the lights should go off after a certain time interval and tell the controller to shut down the lights after e.g. 4 (or 8 or 16 or ...) minutes of no motion.

So after you have put two AA sized batteries in the MS13, and tried the ON / OFF buttons and you made sure the lights are going ON and OFF (remember, this is a very easy way to make sure you are set up correctly) the fun starts on getting the right angle for Motion Detection.

Since the receiver and motion detection are two seperate units and the motion detector does not need any wires, you can play with finding the best angle to detect the motion, without false positives.

My experience is to wait at least a few days / weeks before even considering using the screws on the motion detector to put it firmly in place, and when that time comes, actually use the velcro approach instead.

In our little walking closet project is the SM13 still sitting nicely in the window, as that just works like a charm.

Shopping List

OK, first things first, we are in now getting any money or so from the below guys, and actually to be honest you even can find cheaper providers if you are living in the Netherlands, or surf around. However with intellihome we have had very good experience and good customer service, plus the shipping cost is for free, and the 5+1 package make the prices competitive again.

The TM13 Controller: 25 €
The SM13 Motion Detector: 40 €

Total cost: 65 €

However, if and when you want to do this little project, I surely suggest to add a little extra, so you can get much more value for money.

If you buy the SM13 Starter Pack for 75 € and add the SS13 slim controller to it for 35 € you meet the free shipping condition, and you can actually make quite some really nice variations to the theme or just do a little extra.


So Anneli, I would really recommend you to buy the above for Bernt for your walking closet and get him started.

He may want to go for the Computer Starter Kit directly though, which allows to do exactly the same, and much more, but here the price is above 100 € and that will be for the second DIY and shows we did not loose any money :-)
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