I have been looking into home automation for some time, but haven't committed to it just yet mostly because of the price tag. Last year (2010) I bought these remote control outlet on/off switches so I could turn my xmas tree lights on and off via remote for about $20 (USD). Here is a link to them on Amazon:
What to do with them the other 11 months out of the year? I know! I'll plug them into lamps! Still, it wasn't exactly what I wanted just yet...
I wanted to expand their functionality and useability (mainly I just wanted to get rid of some of the multitude of remotes I had in the living room). I soon found out that they were controlled by Radio Frequency (RF). I decided to incorporate them into my universal remote control, but the remote only works using infrared (IR).
It's time to tear something apart and create something new out of the pieces!
Step 1: Gather your stuff!
First, you need to gather up all of the tools and items that are necessary for the project.
Arduino (I have an Arduino UNO r2)
Remote control from a RC outlet
Universal remote control (I used the Logitech 1100)
some 22 gauge wire
6 NPN transistors
1 IR Receiver module
1 IR Transmitter module (optional for programmable remote)
project box (optional - I used a hollowed out book)
Needle nose pliers (optional, but always helpful)
Exacto knife (or some cutting utensil - not pictured)
Book (optional - not pictured)