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Setting Up the Modules

After you have the home automation software up and running on your Mac, it’s time to work on the other end of things: the controllers that will actually make things happen in response to the signals from your Mac. The example I’ll use is a plug-in lamp controller, but the principle is the same for any basic home automation controller, whether it’s a light switch, wall socket, or some other goodie.

Here’s what you’ll need to do: Set the controller address and plug in the controller.

Set the Controller Address

Each home automation device in your house has its own address made up of a letter (A–P) and a number (1–16). The letter is referred to as the house code, and the number is that device’s number in that particular house code. Remember the house diagram you created earlier? Now is the time to use it to set the device’s address so that all the devices in that zone have the same letter. For example, suppose that your living room is zone B. If you’re installing the plug-in lamp controller (see Figure 3) into the living room, set the house code to B and the number to 1. Other devices in your living room will also use house code B, but they will use different numbers.

Figure 3

Figure 3 The LampLinc PLC Plug-in Dimmer is one of many, many available X10 home automation lamp controllers.

Plug In the Controller

Now you can plug the controller into the wall. If it were a light switch or wall socket, you’d need some basic electrical skills, but the procedure is essentially this: Turn off the power to that circuit, replace the old device with the new home-automation one, and turn the power back on.

I’ll show you how to test the controller after setting up the software below.

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