I've came across Arduino today and it looks like it's exactly what I have been looking for. I'm trying to prototype a X10 alternative solution for a house we are hoping to build next year. I'm only looking at "sensing" part of it at the moment before moving on to actually controlling things. My goal at this stage is to be able to collect information from many sensors in different rooms and be able to consolidate all data within a single database.
I've looked at SDK and samples and they all look very sound - that part I can handle. I'm a total lame in hardware though and have a few questions that can hopefully find answers here:
Say, I wanted to handle around 50 sensors - temp, motion, light, humidity and so on - they all don't have to hook to a single board, I guess I could use a few Arduino Uno + Ethernet shield setup so they each sense their near area and push data to the server over the network. How do I hook sensors to the board - does each one has to be connected individually or I can use a "bus" wire (I am sorry for using wrong terminology here - don't know how it's called) so they all sort of connect to it in parallel? Will the board be able to figure which sensor is sending and will not the signals interfere with each other?
What's the maximum/suggested length of the cables to the sensors? Are there only analogue sensors? Are there digital T sensors for example? Are digital sensors "better" than the other type?
How do I hunt for compatible sensors? I guess you can interface pretty much any sensor but there are sensors that are just "friendlier" in terms of connecting and reading their data and don't require figuring out your own library for parsing its output at a very low level and do all sorts of math around it to get the proper number?
Sorry if the questions above are all stupid, I will appreciate any advise given. Many thanks!