Primitive Blog (Tag: wemo)

WEMO: Remote control like X10 but better!

Years ago I set up X10 in the house. It mainly the controlled lights and worked okay. There were problems though. Firstly I had to use a serial based controller that I plugged into one machine so relied on that machine working. Secondly x10 runs over the electric cabling - mostly that was fine but it doesn't traverse circuit rings and sometimes would get interference from other devices. Finally there was no feedback as to whether a command had worked or not, nor any status command.

Wemo fixes all this and more. For about 20 a device you can pick up a little box you plug into an outlet (no wiring needed) and after running an android/iphone app connect it to a local Wifi network. You can now run the the same app on your tablet / phone to turn on and off devices remotely. Now obviously this only works when you are connected to the local wifi so not terribly useful yet.

Next however fire up a little Linux VM (only needs command line access not GUI) and install - Ouimeaux. Now you can switch on/off devices remotely, get statuses from a SSH session. Add the commands to the cron and you've got a nice scheduler. What's more there program runs in server mode giving you a simple Web front end. There are other wemo devices too but I've only tried the basic switch model. I may see what the other ones are like too. To my mind this would give you a cheap (20 after all) remote on/off switch for a server too! It's not quite ipmi but better than nothing.

By Primitive Designs