Home Automation – Getting Your HTPC To Turn On When You Get Home – Part 1

Home automation is something that has always interested me. It’s always been either way too expensive, or way too complicated to setup. Fortunately it’s quite inexpensive these days, and the learning curve isn’t quite as steep. Getting your XBMC HTPC to turn on when you walk in the door is now possible, and I’ll outline the steps needed to achieve that in a three piece series. This will be beginner friendly and hopefully easy to follow. If you have any questions please ask in the comments.

In this first part we will be setting up our HTPC for Wake On Lan (WOL)

There are some pre-requisites involved with this setup. You will need the following:

  • Android Phone (in order to follow this guide and set it up like I have)
  • HTPC capable of WOL (Wake on lan)
  • Android app Llama
  • Android app Remote Launcher (I use the free version at this time)
  • Optional: Static IP assigned to your HTPC

I will split this guide up into sections in order to make it easier to read and follow.

Part 1 – Configuring XBMC/HTPC for Wake On Lan

This section is largely going to be different for almost everyone who follows it. For the specifics you will need to refer to your motherboard/NIC documentation.

Basically you need to make sure you have WOL enabled for your network interface card and in the BIOS. Most of you are using your on-board NIC on your motherboard, so looking through your motherboard booklet, or pdf will yield the best results. I’m running Openelec and all I had to do was enable WOL in the BIOS. If you are running a different linux OS (ubuntu), you can follow this guide, or if you’re running windows you can continue below.

In Windows 7 you can do the following to make sure WOL is turned on for your NIC.

1. In your network connections page right click your NIC, and chose Properties

network connections

2. Click Configure at the top

nic configure

3. Click the Advanced Tab, click Wake on Magic Packet and click Enable. Do the same for Wake on Pattern as well.

wol enable

After you’ve enabled WOL, you will need to get the MAC address of your HTPC. There are a couple ways to do this. The way I did it, and probably the easiest is through your router. My router has a “Client List” page that displays every connected device. It lists the name, IP, and MAC for everything. If your router doesn’t have a feature like this (highly unlikely) you can get the MAC address by doing the following:

For Windows 7:

1. Click the Start Button or press the Windows key.
2. In the start menu search, type cmd.
3. Hit Enter to execute the command prompt, or click on the cmd entry that appears.
4. Type in ‘ipconfig /all’ without the quotes
5. Locate your network adapter and note the MAC address. It will be beside ‘Physical Address’
windows mac address

For Linux:

1. Open up a shell window (or from an ssh console session)
2. Type “ifconfig -a”
3. It will be beside ‘HWaddr’
linux max address

Jot down your MAC address for future use.

Great work! The process of enabling WOL isn’t tough, but it varies between operating systems. From here you can now move on to Part 2, which is setting up and configuring Llama on your Android phone (or tablet).

Part 2

Home Automation – Getting Your HTPC To Turn On When You Get Home – Part 2

Part 3

Home Automation – Getting Your HTPC To Turn On When You Get Home – Part 3

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