Control Pretty Much Any Electrical Device With Your Computer

We've discussed how to automate your home with X10 before, but if you're unhappy with its limitations and are willing to roll up your sleeves, you can tweak nearly any electrical device to communicate with your computer.

Over at DIY web site Instructables, user indestructable thoroughly describes the process of connecting an electrical device to your computer and controlling it with some simple programming. The set-up relies on a USB relay device such as USBmicro's U451, and you'll need some wire, wire cutters, crimpers and nuts to hook it all up.

His set up is fairly simple, but he does a good job of explaining the mechanics behind the USB relay device and the programming software he uses (which, by the way, is free). The resulting programs aren't necessarily pretty, but if you're willing to learn, you can get pretty complex. And, most importantly, you can do it with almost anything that plugs into the wall. Hit the link for the full how-to, and let us know your favourite home automation tips in the comments.

Computer Control of AC Devices [Instructables]


Comments

    Looks like the USB device used is only rated at 125V - Wouldn't that mean it's not compatible with Australia's 240V mains?

      It would still work but it couldn't handle a device pulling 10 amps. The most would probably be 5 amps at 240 volts. You could also replace the relay's with higher rated ones.

        Good to know, thanks :)

      Don't forget you need an electrical licence to do any LV work in australia. If you don't understand relay ratings i highly recommend you don't try this at home, as you can very easily kill yourself....

    control any AC device within 15meters of your PC..... not exactly home automation.

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