Quote from bradburts on November 28, 2011, 17:29
Keeping DC side again then there are home plugs such as the x10 which will do the AC job for you. I have seen PIC guides which show you how to drive an x10 network from a PIC. I cannot remember if you have to interface to AC though to communicate. Maybe you could buy this module. May be worth having a look for ideas.
Yes, X10 would be fine, but I'm not sure what it's compatibility is with Linux. The only set of X10 module's I have had direct experience with were Serial, and had no known Linux support. Maybe that's changed since in the last several years. I have not needed it, so have not looked.
(ok, did a quick google search for linux x10 and got this for Dummies. Might be a good start if you want to go X10 route. )
Quote from celerity on November 28, 2011, 17:47
I can actually solder, but would be wary of going near anything with mains current, unless it was a (very) well documented hack.
120V is not really that bad to work with, especially since there is no reason to do this 'hot'.
To give you some idea, I'm still somewhat confused why nobody is talking about fuses with relation to wrhii's proposed solution. Presumably this is obvious to anyone with even hobbyist electrical knowledge, but not to me
There's no reaon for a fuse when you are using a relay that is rated to support the 120VAC anyway. First of all, the relay will serve as a 'fuse' if more than 120VAC shows up (for some unknown reason), and secondly the relay separates the 5V from the 120V. Most of the relays I've linked to are actually Solid State as far as I could tell. Thus, no reason to fuse.
That's not to say you can't, or that it would be bad to put one in line, but no requirement for it. Also, keep in mind that in all of my comments when I'm saying 'main', what I really am talking about is no different than wiring a light switch. No one puts a fuse on an individual light switch. You have circuit breakers installed in the house for a reason.