[mythtv] Mythtv and HomeAutomation

Kevin Wambsganz wambs at verizon.net
Wed Feb 20 22:57:15 UTC 2008



I'm currently working on MythRecipe and a few folks were curious about my
home brew "home automation system". Below is some information about it.


Initially I used MisterHouse, but I found that Perl does not handle thread
management every well. I needed to communicate with serial ports quickly, 5
times a second, and MisterHouse does not do that well. Jakarta, does this
much better, plus it has a great web server built in. So, I built a system
that controls a lawn sprinkler, alarm system, sound system (output only),
HVAC (8 zones), door bell, mailbox. Jakarta runs a numbers of threads which
monitors the alarm, HVAC, etc. This worked well, but for light control I was
using X10. 

X10 does not work well because there is a lot of interference in the power
line wires. Many times the lights would not come on correctly. So I research
a bit, and found that a Crestron light control system, while expensive, work
fine for me. Plus it provides control for keypads. The Jakarta is the master
in the system, while the Crestron unit responds to light command. Its used
TCP/UDP/IP between the crestron and Jakarta. While the Crestron unit can
provide a web server, it is limited and the touch panels are very expensive
(>$2000) each. So, Jakarta serves the web pages which are built to be touch
controllable. Its just standard HTML, javascript, and JSP stuff. 

My home automation system consists of the following: 

- A crestron central light controller which manages lights and keypads in
every room. 
- A jakarta web server, which handles the sprinkler system, alarm system,
HVAC, sound output, doorbell, and mailbox. Most of this is controlled thru
relays, digital inputs, and analog inputs via the serial port on a PC. The
same PC which runs the jakarta web server. 

I have partly merged MythTV and the home automation system in the web page
interface only.  The interface to the home automation system has always been
a web page. So on the Jakarta web server, I added mythweb (php)  which runs
on apache. Apache handles myth php stuff, jakarta handles java stuff (home

This took a huge amount of work, running wires, installing relays and
controllers. It also cost a bit, mostly the Crestron stuff, although I
bought a lot of it thru Ebay. To program the Crestron stuff you have to know
how to program  it. I did this is a previous job for 6 months.  This type of
work does NOT pay well.

The work is on going and is customized for my system and thats while I
did/do not actively advertise it. This is not as easy as MythTV, and MythTV
is not really that easy, yet.  


It would be great to integrate some home automation stuff into mythtv.
However, we need to find some inexpensive HW that works well and does not
take a PhD to setup/install. 




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