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jingram
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Joined: 09 Feb 2003
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Location: Urbana, IL

PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2003 3:15 am    Post subject: alarm clock Reply with quote

Any ideas on how to turn electronics equipment off and on using, say, some kind of controller board connected to a serial or parallel port? I'd like to use my computer as an alarm clock, but I'd rather not leave my stereo on all night (it was made in 1975, so I try to treat it kindly).

The basic idea is a cron job runs a script (that I'll write) that turns on the stereo and then plays a given mp3. What I need is suggestions for a controller board/program to control it.

The requirements are:

1) It has to be cheap (<$35 would be nice)
2) It has to work with linux (I don't want to have to write a driver or
anything like that). :wink:
3) There should be some kind of command line program to interact with
the controller board.
4) If need be, I can build a circuit, as long as some one can point me to
a schemetic and a parts list.

Does anyone have any experience with this sort of thing? I've looked around at various linux "home-automation" site, but almost every thing looks like overkill for something this simple. Any suggestions are welcome.
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perry
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Joined: 18 Nov 2002
Posts: 142
Location: Cornfields of Indiana

PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2003 3:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe some of the X10 stuff (www.x10.com)? One of their appliance modules should do the trick. Here's a bunch of Linux software: http://home-automation.org/Software/Linux_and_BSD/
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jingram
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Joined: 09 Feb 2003
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Location: Urbana, IL

PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2003 3:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not sure about X10. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it all wireless? I'll look into it, but I'd rather just hook it up directly to the computer. They're only about 4 inches apart. :) Thanks for the link though.
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squanto
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Joined: 20 Apr 2002
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Location: Rochester, NY, USA

PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2003 4:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What about a serial cable with a relay that will be connected instead of (read "in parallel with") the on off switch of the stereo?
I am sure you could find lots of info on how to control a serial port on the internet... :?:
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jingram
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2003 6:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Could you elaborate a little bit about that? It sounds ideal for the problem, but I'm not sure how to go about setting up the hardware. I'd rather not modify the stereo. Programming the serial port I can do.
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Juki
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2003 7:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you want to build hardware yourself check:

http://www.epanorama.net/links/project_pc.html
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jingram
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2003 2:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sweet! I also found http://www.joethielen.com/phantom/home/. It looks like I'll be stopping by the electrical engineering department's storeroom and buying some parts. Thanks for the help.
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KiTaSuMbA
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2003 4:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In a similar vein, there was a mini How-To for controlling a coffee maker through the parallel port under linux. I guess the basics are practically the same so you'd probably benefit from reading that. Search for it at the tldp.org
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jingram
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2003 5:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll look into that too. The only difference I can see is that most of the circuits I've seen can only provide 100mA, whereas my stereo draws about 2 amps. I'm kind of worried about doing something bad to my parallel port (and my motherboard) if I try using a higher current.
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KiTaSuMbA
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Joined: 28 Jun 2002
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2003 8:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jingram wrote:
I'll look into that too. The only difference I can see is that most of the circuits I've seen can only provide 100mA, whereas my stereo draws about 2 amps. I'm kind of worried about doing something bad to my parallel port (and my motherboard) if I try using a higher current.


You should use an electrical relay so that your parallel operates a small current circuit _linked_ to the higher one.
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Juki
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2003 9:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You don't directly control your stereo with parallel port. You have to use relay which is connected via transistor or FET to parallel port, so high current is not drawn by parallel port. There is a basic circuit to do that:

http://www.geocities.com/micgm/circuit/circuit.html

I'm interested to do some kind of home automation, but like my all projects this is not implemented yet.
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