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What software & hardware do i need to have my computer control different types of servos and motors around my house?? Answered

i would like to be able to control man servos, motors and lights from one central computer/server in my house.
to do so i assume i would need some sort of hardware to make the connection between computer and the external devices and some sort of software..
any help would be greatly appreciated.

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DarkRubyMoon (author)2010-02-06

For lighting and larger motor devices, the cheapest way to go would probably be to use x10 home automation system.  It comes with pre-made software to automate lighting and their is a project appliance to operate motors.  However, this is ideal only for plug in devices.  For smaller motor devices and servos, you'll need to purchase a controller board.  I just bought a Motor-bee circuit board that allows computer control via usb of small motors and a servo.  It comes with software and allows custom development.  There are similar boards,  but you start getting into electronics that is more complicated than my skill level.

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RavingMadStudios (author)2010-02-06

Really all you need is a bunch of X10 or Insteon modules and a fairly inexpensive software package like Powerhome or something similar.

Here's a link to how one person approached this kind of project.

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Grathio (author)2010-02-06

Things like this are traditionally done using microconttollers, (Arduino is the most common for beginners.)  They have thier own development tools and usually require programing in C or BASIC.

Another option is to use Phidgets, which takes (most of) the complicated electronics out of the system by letting you just plug stuff in via USB, and lets you program in almost whatever language you want.  The down side is that the components are a lot more expensive.

There might also be some home automation systems that can really make it simple without having to write your own software, but I don't know enough to say, and I'm sure they would be one of the most expensive options.

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NachoMahma (author)2010-02-06

.  A microprocessor/controller, such as the Arduino or DMX, might be a better choice than a computer. You can program/control/manage them using a PC, but they will run on their own without wasting PC resources. YMMV.

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