Can I test the software first?
Yes. You can download the latest version of
MaxCtrl here. The limitations: Every midnight, MaxCtrl will quit
and you will have to restart the program. Other than restarting, you will
be using the latest, fully functioning version of MaxCtrl. You should also
realize that MaxCtrl can interface to a wide variety of external hardware
including the X10 CM11A, X10 TW523, TAPI (Voice, FAX, Caller ID) modems, the LDP
2-Way IR Interface and the LDP Expansion Chassis with status sensors, relays and
temperature sensors. Obviously, you need certain hardware for certain
functions. You don't need any hardware for MaxCtrl to run, but you do need
hardware to fully exploit MaxCtrl's capabilties.
What is MaxCtrl?
MaxCtrl is a complete Home Automation package. Included with the software is a 2-way X10
and true 2-way IR interface. MaxCtrl runs in Windows 3.1x or Windows 95 or Windows NT.
Your computer needs 8MB of RAM, a mouse, a free printer (parallel port), and about 8MB of
Do I need a PC?
Yes. MaxCtrl is also a computer program that needs to be running on your PC. The monitor
does not need to be on although the CPU must be left on. Unlike some home automation
packages which download to an external electronic box, MaxCtrl is much more powerful and
flexible requiring a PC. For instance, MaxCtrl can log events with time and date stamping
to files for later review, or start another computer program, or play a sound file, or log
an event to a special window, or create complex logic chains including And and Or logic
Does this use much power?
No. At idle with the monitor off, most PC's consume about as much energy as a 30 Watt
lightbulb. At $.09/KiloWatt-Hour, a PC costs $.0027/Hour or $1.94/month. The savings from
being able to control when lights turn on/off will more than save the energy used by the
PC not to mention the convenience and security advantages. MaxCtrl also gives you a great
use for that old PC you don't use anymore or for the new PC you just bought.
Is MaxCtrl hard to setup?
No. Almost everything is done with mouse clicks except when you need to type in the name
of something like "Mary's Bed Light".
What's the basic idea of how MaxCtrl works?
You define every event you want MaxCtrl to know about. The events could be X10, IR, Time,
Sound, Log To File, Log To Window or System Command. Then you link the events together to
form chains of events. The chains can be very simple or very complex depending on your
particular needs. You also have great control on how these events execute with many
optional parameters such as Time Delays, Random Delays, And/ Or/ Not type Chains, Toggle
chains, Chains that control other chains, Catchup for power outages, Automatic Data
Saving, DDE links, and much more.
What is X10?
X10 was developed in the late 1970's as a method for transmitting control signals through
existing house wiring while the power is on. X10 is the easiest and most common method of
controlling lights and appliances. You don't need to rewire anything. X10 modules have two
wheels that set the module unit code (you can have 256 unit codes). You plug your lights
into these modules and then plug the module into an outlet. That's it. MaxCtrl can then
control that light or appliance. If you want, many other X10 devices exist like
replacement wall switches, wall outlets, 220V control, thermostats, and on and on. You can
buy these modules through LDP or many other sources such as Walmart, Kmart, Home Depot,
Sears and Radio Shack.
What is IR?
IR stands for Infrared. Most remote controls use IR to communicate to its equipment. Most
VCR's, TV's, Stereos, Automatic Drapery Rods and such use IR. MaxCtrl can send and receive
What do you mean by TRUE 2-way IR?
MaxCtrl can send, learn and recognize IR signals. Some other systems only transmit
"canned" signals. Some other systems transmit canned signals and can learn an IR
command. Very few, and nothing this affordable and powerful, can send, learn and recognize
IR signals. If a system can't recognize an IR signal, then the system will not know when
you have pressed a button on a remote control or what the button was. True 2-way IR means
that instead of only being able to record a signal a play back the signal on command,
MaxCtrl can also recognize the signal when transmitted from the remote control. There is
no set maximum to the number of IR commands MaxCtrl can be trained to recognize and