Computer controlled switch?

I am looking to close a circuit using software on my pc, and if possible through the network but worse case I can connect to a specific pc.

I have a door mechanism that opens when a certain circuit is closed, so I want to be able to control that door from my office.  I can do any wiring or add a circuit board to a pc that about 15 feet away.

I was thinking some kind of circuit board, or even splicing into a serial port or parallel port and connecting that to the PC.  Then on the PC i would need some kind of program that all it would be is a button that when I press it, the circuit is closed, either for the duration I'm holding down the button, for a certain amount of time after the button is pressed or anything really.

I'm no electrical engineer of software programmer, but I have a base understanding.  I am in IT and know how to solder and basic programming.

My ultimate solution would be some logic board that has an RJ-45 connection that I can give an IP address so I can open the door from any computer on the network and two pins/connections out to close the circuit.  Sending a command to the board from command line would be just as well as a small program that displays a button.

Thanks in advance.

Vyger6 years ago
You can get everything you need and more at smarthome.com.
Its called home animation and it allows you have control over a lot of things.
It started off with sending X10 signals over the house wiring to turn lights on and off. I bought a kit a while ago. The software allowed you to make a schedule for whatever light configuration you wanted and then uploaded it into the control unit. It connected to the individual light controls and turned them on and off according to the program.
Now its a lot more sophisticated. It can control appliances and thermostats and even the water. It can be linked to remotely over the internet. So you can monitor and control your house from anywhere. Its also modular so you can start with just a basic system and add on to it if you want to. The appliance units are simple relays that plug into the power socket and then the appliance plugs into it. When it gets a x10 signal it either turns on or off. Simple, relatively cheap, and pretty cool.

This is for the X10 stuff

http://www.smarthome.com/_/X10_Compatible/_/23X/land.aspx
seandogue Vyger6 years ago
I have a whole bunch of X10 modules tucked away in a box for future use. I bought in about 10 or fifteen years ago after discovering their wireless cameras. Very affordable, simple to use, and durable as heck. The web pages are absolutely annoying though and look like the work of a spamster or madman.
Vyger Vyger6 years ago
Wow, they have gotten way more advanced than I knew, now you can even use your phone.

Essential Info
SmartLinc is an affordable and flexible web-based controller perfect for controlling wall switches, lamps or appliances, thermostat and many more INSTEON devices. SmartLinc integrates INSTEON technology with any web-enabled device, allowing you to setup and control INSTEON devices from inside your home, in the backyard, at work, in the car or on vacation halfway around the world! Whether you are a DIYer, an electrician, or a home automation integrator, you will enjoy the ease with which programming is accomplished. A simple plug-in installation sets up in minutes and will allow most web-enabled phones or PDAs to control your INSTEON network from almost anywhere. As an added feature, SmartLinc includes IP camera support, giving you the versatility to incorporate watching and controlling your IP enabled surveillance cameras through you web-enabled interface. SmartLinc puts the power of managing your entire INSTEON home automation network in the palm of your hands.

Use an Arduino Duemilenova, and its USB connection to your PC is the quickest way. An Arduino with an ethernet shield is another possibilty.

Alternatively the "Mbed" could do it with little more than an external RJ45 connector and a couple of transistors.