Getting Started

In the world of Home Automation, there have been tons of products and platforms over the years. Some were inexpensive but lacked great performance and others were spot on with reliability but required the sale of various body parts to afford along with professionals to install them. So it’s been a bumpy road with many different proprietary products promising to fill the gaps. Fast forward to today where have drastically smaller chips, wi-fi, tablets, smart does that affect the home automation market?

We can divide the products in to two categories. First there are the professional-grade Home Automation products that still require a team of professionals and whole home rewiring. These systems can be incredibly complex and expensive. They are usually installed at the time of building and can be a real pain to retrofit.  Next there is the kind we will be focusing on: The Do-It-Yourself category. This actually represents a large portion of the market and can usually provide the exact same results as the large expensive professional systems with the right setup and planning. And that is where we come in. Xoxide is going to walk you through all the steps necessary to create the simple one or two item install all the way through the whole home deployment.

How it All Works

In the DIY category there are still tons of options to consider. The variables range from communication protocols, to voltage requirements all the way to color matching faceplates and remote smart phone apps that allow you to control the items in your home from anywhere. But don’t worry, we are going to do the heavy lifting for you and lay all this out in a way that makes it easy to decide what products you need and you can rest assured that all the devices that we offer are compatible with each other. However, if there is something you want to achieve and you can’t find the products on our site to do it, please let us know! Our experts are more than happy to help you and we have access to thousands of products. Keep in mind that we tailor the featured online selection so that the average beginner is not overwhelmed, but that doesn’t mean we can’t help you with achieving your wildest automation dreams.

One of the many great advantages to using the products we offer is that they can be configured directly on the device without any complicated setup, software configuration, or expensive controllers. You can start out as small and basic as you wish. However, we do offer and recommend the various central controllers and software products for those looking to build out or scale up their home automation because this provides a more centralized, manageable interface that also makes it much easier to customize each component in your system.

One of the main technologies that you will find in the DIY market of Home Automation products is something called PLC or Power Line Carrier. PLC is a technology that has been around for a long time now and is a solid concept, albeit the implementation of it in a reliable manner has taken some time to mature. PLC technology uses your existing wiring in your home to transmit signals. Basically it puts a small little electrical signal across the wires that other products can ”hear” that in no way affect the operation of the existing electrical home wiring.  Here’s an example…

The controller, a smart phone in this example, sends a signal to switch on the module that the lamp is plugged into. But what’s happening in the background?


The phone is on the home wifi which is connected to the SmartLinc module. The SmartLinc then in turn sends a control signal out over the home wiring that the LampModule “hears” so that it knows what to do.

For these wired/plug-in components, a phase coupler also helps taking advantage of the two electric “phases” that exist in your home electrical wiring. This ensures signals are routed properly to all plug-in modules around your home, regardless of what phase they are on.

Click to enlarge the below image.

Insteon Products that we are showcasing here are in our opinion amongst the best in the DIY category, highly modular and scalable (and cost-effective). Insteon also takes the PLC concept one step further by creating what they call dual band products. That means that they not only send the signal across the existing wiring for plug-in modules, but they also send a wireless RF signal to and from all dual band modules making many devices communicate wirelessly. In fact, all Insteon products also act as repeaters in the home so signals can easily travel from one end of the house to the other without interference. This also allows for wireless-only devices as in the next diagram with the Door Lock example.  

Here is another example of how the Insteon products can create a network of items throughout the home and have some amazing interface options to control all these modules. Control interfaces range from your smart phone with the SmartLinc app (available for Android and iPhone), PCs and Macs, hand-held remotes, wall switches and even hand held touch screen remotes such as the TouchLinc

In the next section, we will look at a few scenarios of what you can accomplish with these amazing products.

Sample Light Switch Scenario