Friday, June 12, 2015

Baby steps to home automation, part 2

When it comes to home automation, you could use any number of systems such as a off the shelf turnkey solution such as Insteon.Check with your hardware store for more details. You could build it yourself. Unless you are experienced at it, I would let a professional do it, if for no other reason of safety to yourself and others.  If you do do it yourself, you will have to write the software to make it all happen. Though most of it may not be that hard, it can be daunting to the inexperienced. Again get a professional and a mentor. Also any drawings in this article are oversimplified and not to be used in actual systems.  What to do first? You want to make a plan of what you want to do including any budget considerations. (What is it going to cost?)

Home Automation – Requirements Checklist

Functional Areas:
        Standalone time-based controllers
        Remote infrared or wireless (RF) controllers
        Local PC only
        Local PC w/Internet access enabled
       Optional telephone interface for status and control
    Security & Monitoring
        Alarm System Integration
        Standalone system with outputs
        Standalone system with auxiliary inputs/outputs
        Custom Alarm System
        Motion detectors (people or vehicles)
        Security cameras (archive motion triggered video clips)
        Zone intrusion detectors (infrared)
        Local siren alarm
        Alerts (pager or email or dial-out)
        Door/Window/Gate open sensor
        Barking dog deterrent
        Flood lights

    Activity Monitoring
        Cameras to monitor children or pets
        Pet feeders, pet doors, automatic cleaners, pet containment
        Electronic door latches
        Activity logs
        Disaster Recovery
        Sensors: water level, extreme temperatures, wind, smoke, rain
        Alerts (pager or email or emergency dial-out)
    Scene Lighting
        Everyday after dark lighting scheme
        Night time pathway lighting
        Event lighting scenes (parties, dining, mood settings)
        Dusk/Dawn sensor or calculation from latitude & longitude
        Motion triggered lights (i.e. front porch, backyard, interior rooms)
        Vacation schedule after dark lighting scheme with auto-variance
    Home Entertainment (A/V) Controls
        Room lighting: control drapes, blinds, dimmers
        Device power up sequence and configuration
        Play selection (CD, DVD, VHS, Cable, Satellite, Media PC)
        Channel/volume control
        DVD/VCR/DVR control (play, pause, stop rewind, fast forward, eject)
    General control
        Single control –simplified (macro commands)
        Remote programming control from the Internet (e.g. TIVO or other DVR)
        Home HVAC Controls
        Heating and cooling based on single/multiple internal thermostats
        Set Heating/Cooling temperature targets via program
        Control HVAC mode (Auto, Heating, Cooling, Off)
        Ceiling fan controls
        Send status on demand or periodic reports
        Monitor pool/spa water temperature
        Control window shades to lower room temperature

        Surveillance Cameras
            Stationary cameras with video cable plugs into TV or computer webcam
            Pan/Tilt/Zoom (PTZ) cameras (hard-wired or wireless)
            Continuous recording of video capture on motion detection
            Remote viewing from the Internet (live stream or capture files)
        Sprinkler controls (rain detection shut off)
        Integrate custom systems (requires computer interface)
        Appliance controls (electrical water heater, other)
        Integrated Pool/Spa controls

It is apparent, you will need to do some research, not only potential products but, doing some price research. We will go into the above in more detail at a later time.

Now you do not have to implement everything, Maybe even one item is all you need. Now that we have that out of the way, Lets go back to the discussion.  Last time we said that home automation is basically being able to turn something on or off remotely. Let us refine that a little bit. We actually need something to be controlled, a device to do the controlling, and an interface to oversee the controlling.
Something to be controlled can be digital such as on or off like a light switch. That is pretty easy. In some cases though, we need to be able to adjust a device to a certain level and that is analog sort of like measuring with a ruler, light dimmer switch or even with a thermometer.

We need a way to control devices based on a pre-setup instructions which may or many not be dependent on the time of day or feedback from sensor devices,  We can send a signal to turn on an electronic switch as if you just simply turned on light switch or we could use an electronic valve like on a water faucet to adjust those things that are analog.  For example you may want to dim or brighten a lamp. We use a stepper motor that can turn in increments in two directions to adjust a light dimmer switch. This would be as if you were turning the knob on the dimmer. Of course you will want a light sensor to get feedback on how the lamp is doing.

If you build it yourself, you can use everything from a microcontroller such as the Arduino to a full fledged computer. The system will need to be able to output the current status and let you change it if need be. For a computer you will need to have some kind of web server installed. The Arduino has a simple interface to be able to ouput to the web if the ethernet shield is attached.

So now you have remote control via a simple web page. Next time we will spend some time in the big long list at the start of the article.

My code for this is copyrighted. All code is available from the web if you do a web search. many examples for the Arduino.

1 comment:

  1. excuse me sir, may I look living room lamp code ? I need example.. thanks you so much...