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Using a Remote

After you set up your home automation software, you might want to configure it so you can use a wireless remote to control some of the devices on it (or to receive the signals from a motion sensor that you’ve set up elsewhere). To do this, you’ll need a transceiver and a remote. An easy option here is to pick up a Powerhouse Mini Transceiver for $15 (see Figure 7) and a SlimFire 2-Unit Remote (see Figure 8). (Both are manufactured by X-10.) Here’s how you set them up to work with your system.

Figure 7

Figure 7 The PowerHouse Mini Transceiver listens for signals from your remote and sends them to your home automation software.

Figure 8

Figure 8 The SlimFire 2-Unit Remote sends simple commands for two home automation addresses to a waiting receiver.

To set up the Mini Transceiver, plug it into an outlet and make sure that its antenna is extended. Then, set the SlimFire’s codes to a couple of house codes that aren’t already used by your system (using the instructions that come with the SlimFire).

Next, in the Indigo software interface, click the Trigger Actions button in the left column and then click the New button at the window top. In the Create New Trigger Action window that appears (see Figure 9), be sure that the trigger tab is selected and then select X10/RF Command Received from the Type pop-up menu. From the Received pop-up menu, choose On. Set the Address pop-up menus to match the address that you gave to your SlimFire remote.

Figure 9

Figure 9 In the Create New Trigger Action window, you can set what happens when a command is received from a remote.

Click the Action tab, and in the Type pop-up menu, select what you want to have happen when you press the remote button. In this case, because you’ll turn on the lamp module you just installed, select Send Device Action. In the Device pop-up menu, select the lamp module that you just created. Finally, in the Name field, give your new trigger a name, and click the OK button.

Now, when you press the button on your remote, the lamp should turn on. You can repeat this for the remote’s off button, and you can set its other on and off buttons to different house codes to control a different device.

The beauty of this approach is that you’re not limited to one device. You can set up an Action Group in Indigo and then have the remote turn on that Action Group to cause a whole bunch of things to come on at once. This is great for setting just the right mood or for turning on just the set of lights you need to get in the house safely late at night.

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