John. I know my web site could be a lot better and it is definitely on my list of things to do! Home automation is a rapidly changing industry and new products are released weekly. The big driver is improvments in technology and lower cost of the technology.
My business is designing home automation systems that meet customers specific needs. There are so many types of products available, I recommend that customers discuss (via phone or e-mail) their needs or objectives with me before they buy products. This can save the customer money because they will then be able to select and purchase products that will work for them, and expand later without having to replace products.
My company sells a huge variety of home automation equipment despite the small offering on the web site.
To get started using your Pronto you need to purchase a transceiver. This product converts the Pronto IR signals to a coded signal that will be sent down your home's AC powerline. Now, you need something connected to the powerline that will receive the signal and do something, like turn on a light. These devices are X-10 receivers and come in many varieties. The most common type of X-10 receiver is the type that controls a plug in lamp, or a switched light.
Since you mentioned that you have lights that are plugged in, you would need an X-10 lamp module. There are two types available. Of the two I highly recommend the type that has a "soft start" feature and "memory dim", and "Automatic Gain Control". This type of lamp module is more expensive than the standard type but the features are well worth it.
"Soft Start" brightens the light from Off to On over a 1-2 second period saving your eyes and light bulbs. It dims to Off over a 1-2 second period when you turn the light off.
"Memory Dim" memorizes the last dim setting your lamp was at when you turned it off. It will resume to that dim level when you turn the lamp back on. Lamp modules that doen't have this feature go immediately to 100% brightness first, and then you can dim them down to a lower level.
"Automatic Gain Control" is extra electronics that improve the module's sensitivity to X-10 transmissions. This can save you a lot of frustration that you may experience with modules that doen't have this feature. AGC can compensate for electrical noise on your AC power line that interferes with X-10 signals.
Please send me an e-mail if you have any questions or would like to order the equipment you need to get you started. By the way, X-10 light switches have even more options to consider so please contact me or someone qualified in this area before you purchase.
RCI Automation[Link: ourworld.compuserve.com]