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Connecting the sensors to your security system follows the steps we outlined in 6 Since the garage door sensor has only two leads, each wire is connected to a terminal of a zone input When connecting to a security system or a home automation system (like the Stargate), this sensor can be set up to signal the control panel to take whatever action you deem necessary if it is tripped With security systems that offer the level of X10 functionality that the Omni series provides, a series of events can be triggered when the garage door is opened
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We ve been banging the Omni system s gong pretty loudly for the last few chapters But even though we re enjoying the added benefits of connecting to the Omni system, we don t want you to think that you need to buy a US$1,200 security system to get whole house automation You can add a Powerflash module to generate a signal for your X10 devices
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Other Ways to Use a Powerflash Module
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The Powerflash module isn t only meant to work with a garage door sensor The Powerflash module works with any sensor that detects a contact closure (like a door sensor) or the presence of a low-voltage signal (between 6 to 18V AV, DC, and audio) The Powerflash module differs from other X10 devices in that it doesn t receive commands; rather, it sends X10 commands from its own inputs This device plugs into a wall receptacle and when a contact closure is made or a low-voltage signal is applied to the terminals, different behavior can be programmed For example, the Powerflash can be connected to the garage door sensor that we just installed Then, when the garage door opens, an X10-capable light can be turned on automatically
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The Powerflash module provides three different modes:
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Mode 1 All lights are turned on and one appliance is sent either an
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Mode 2 All lights are sent a flashing on or off signal Mode 3 An on or off signal is sent for a single unit code
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Setup The Powerflash, pictured in Figure 8-11, connects to leads from your sensor, then plugs into a power outlet When the sensor detects a break in the contact (that is, when the garage door opens), the Powerflash module will send a signal to its preprogrammed X10 companion device (or devices) to turn on In this case, let s set up a lamp in the mudroom to turn on when the garage door opens
The Powerflash module is used to add X10 capability to sensors (Photo courtesy of Smarthomecom)
Installation requires a little mechanical ability, but it is very simple:
1 Make sure your sensor is located near an AC receptacle The leads from the sensor must be able to reach the receptacle If it cannot reach one, you will have to splice additional wiring to the leads 2 Strip the insulation from the sensor s wires 3 Attach the contacts from your garage door sensor to the Powerflash device 4 Plug the Powerflash into a wall receptacle 5 Set the Powerflash to Mode 3, Input B (this configures the module so that a single device is turned on) 6 In the mudroom, plug a lamp into an X10 module These modules sell for US$1299 An example of a plug-in X10 module is shown in Figure 8-12
An X10 module
7 Plug the X10 module into the wall
Using Other Devices with a Powerflash Module
We simply use an X10 lamp module for the sake of explaining this project more simply Since this project utilizes X10, you could program any X10 device to activate when the garage door is opened For instance, another way to illuminate the mudroom in our example is to replace the light switch on the wall with an X10-compatible switch By the same token, you could connect an X10 appliance module to your stereo When your garage door opens, the X10 module could automatically turn on the stereo so you are greeted with music upon your return home
Configuration Once everything has been installed, configuration is simple enough Locate the two dials on each of your X10 devices Again, these dials control the House code (A-P) and Unit code (1-16) In order for the garage door s action to be interpreted by other X10 devices in your home, set the House and Unit code on the Powerflash to the same code used on the X10 lamp module Remember, with X10 you are not limited to controlling just one device If you want more than one device to operate when the garage door opens, set the Powerflash module and all the devices you wish to activate to the same House and Unit code