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Denmark
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Hello guys!
First of all, I'm pretty new to all this. So don't mind if i'm saying something really wierd.

Well, to the topic.

I want to make a large scale Arduino project.
I've searched a lot in here and on Google and found some interesting topics, but they don't seem to cover the same area as I want to.




Project Home Automation System:



Info:
This system is a project that i want to make, to learn a lot about Arduino and electronics. It is going to be used in my apartment.
It's a fully automated home system that can control almost everything in our apartment. I want a tablet or some kind of controller, and be able to control everything from this.
Some have done this before, but i can't find anyone that did all what i want.
The system should be a power saver. Which means that i want it to use as less energy as possible.


So, what should it do?(more information below this chapter)



  • It should be able to control the blinds(curtains) in the entire apartment.
  • It should be able to control the LED lighting in the living room.
  • It should be able to power on my projector.
  • It should be able to control my screen for the projector(up/down)
  • It should be able to change between my TV, Media Center, Playstation 3 and Wii.(Including the sound)
  • It should be able to control my (fire)alarm, which i will make by my own.
  • It should be able to control a webcam.
  • It should be able to read the temp. in the different rooms.
  • It should be able to turn on/off and dim all the lights in the apartment.(And still be able to use the contact on the wall)
  • It should be able to power on different things in the apartment like the TV.
  • It should be able to control a AC. (But with it's own temp. censor and on/off switch)
  • It should be able to lock/unlock our front door.
  • It should be able to control a "morning" light, that turns on when we have to wake up.
  • It should be able to be controlled by and Tablet, or some other touch-remote.
  • It should be able to be controlled from anywhere in the world, by a web interface.
  • I will make an application for the Tablet or the other touch device to control it.
  • The app should also function as a keyboard and mouse for the media center.
[/size]
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Denmark
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    More information:

    • It should be able to control the blinds(curtains) in the entire apartment.

    - In this module i want to be able to control all curtains/blinds in my apartment.
    On the controller(The tablet) i should have a button that say "Open" and "Close". Then i want some kind of slider so that i could adjust it manually, like if I only want it to be 34% open. I will be using a motor that will be connected to the blinds. But I'm not sure what motor to use. Because it have to be "a little powerful" because the blinds can be a little hard to open. I'm thinking a stepper motor would do the trick, or what?. And then for censoring when the blind is fully opened or closed I'm thinking of using some magnet censors etc. so it wont continue to run after it is fully opened. Would that be possible?
    This is what I'm looking for:

    Just with blinds instead of curtains. He got the full open/close and the manually adjust.
    And I'm not sure if the correct word is blinds. But they look like this(just the type):
     


    • It should be able to control the LED lighting in the living room.

    - I plan on getting LED strips installed in my living room. All the way around, so the lights will light down the walls, and on the ceiling.(so 1 big LED strip on the walls, and 1 big LED strip on the ceiling)

    Like the arrows on this picture:


    Then i want the controller to be able to turn the LED strips on/off(Both the one down the walls, and the ones on the ceiling.) And have some "party" scripts/buttons on the tablet, that make them strobe, fade and change color etc.
    If it is possible i would like to connect them so they could be used for ambilighting, but i have no idea how to do that on the TV. I should be possible to do it when the Media center is activated like this: http://captain-slow.dk/2011/02/26/ambilight-with-arduino-and-processing/
    But with the TV i have no idea.


    • It should be able to power on my projector.

    - I will be using the infrared signal to turn it off/on.


    • It should be able to control my screen for the projector(up/down)

    - Almost the same as for the blinds/curtains. It would take the same motors but it wont need the magnet censors because it's always in a fixed position (up or down)



    • It should be able to change between my TV, Media Center, Playstation 3 and Wii.(Including the sound)

    - Another hard one. This depends on the TV i think. I might have to make some motor/servo that would press the button on the TV xx times for each console. Or got some other ideas?



    • It should be able to control my (fire)alarm, which i will make by my own.

    - What i want to do here is make my own alarm, and maybe some fire alarm. The alarm should only have door/window censors because we have a cat. Not sure, but they shouldn't be to hard to make/buy and make them usable for arduino. Then i would add some siren / strobes and maybe some GSM unit that could alert me if anything happens. If possible also integrate the fire alarm somehow.

    [/list]
    « Last Edit: December 03, 2011, 07:53:58 pm by Zonax » Logged

    Denmark
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    • It should be able to control a webcam.

    - I'll buy a few cheap webcams that can pan/tilt. Then they should be reachable from the controller (and the web server so i can see them when I'm away from home) Maybe i'll just buy some webcams with an integrated web server and then just make a link on the app.


    • It should be able to read the temp. in the different rooms.

    - Just some censors that can tell the temp. in the different rooms.(and one outside!)


    • It should be able to turn on/off and dim all the lights in the apartment.(And still be able to use the contact on the wall)

    - I'm planning on getting LED lights in all my rooms because this could save me a lot of money instead of using halogen spots. Then i want some device so i can turn then on by the remote(and dim them!) but also be able to use the normal contact on the wall. I have no idea how to do this, does anyone have an idea of how to?


    • It should be able to power on different things in the apartment like the TV.

    - Same as with the projector. Some kind of device that can turn on the TV and other stuff.


    • It should be able to control a AC. (But with it's own temp. censor and on/off switch)

    - I got an mobile AC (Installed AC's are not standard equipment in Denmark.) installed, which i want to be able to control via the Remote/WEB interface.
    Ex: have a temp. censor in the living room and make it turn on the AC when the temp is above XX degrees.
    I would also like to view the temp and then be able to turn on th AC from the web interface. (when I'm off work, i can check the living room temp and turn it on.)


    • It should be able to lock/unlock our front door.

    - I'm buying one of these electrical locks that opens when powered.


    • It should be able to control a "morning" light, that turns on when we have to wake up.

    - I've got a "morning light" now, but i want this feature to be able to schedule when and how long this light is turned on via the Controller/WEB interface.

    • It should be able to be controlled by and Tablet, or some other touch-remote.
    • It should be able to be controlled from anywhere in the world, by a web interface.
    • I will make an application for the Tablet ot the other touch device to control it.

    - I'll buy a Tablet that runs android and use an app to control all these things. That means i have to create an app where i can log in, and then control the entire apartment. I would also need a web interface so i could do the same just on a PC.

    • The app should also function as a keyboard and mouse for the media center.

    - Then i want to use the tablet as a mouse/keyboard when my Media Center is on.(instead of having a mouse/keyboard present)
    I might have seen an app that could do that.

    [/list]

    So, what do you guys think? I know it will take like 8 years to do, but thats cool with me. Do you have any questions, ideas or improvements to this project?

    And finally, where do i start? I'm thinking of making them in modules.
    For example:
    I'm starting out with the web server and app. Because then i have the "server" of the project where all the other modules should be connected to.
    Then maybe add the curtain module and so on.

    But what do you think? How should i approach this?

    Thank you very much for your time and help.[/size]
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    nr Bundaberg, Australia
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    Holy home automation Batman!

    That' a heck of a project for someone who is "pretty new to all this."

    Quote
    where do i start?
    Good question.

    So far I've only read the headings and looked at the pics, that said I'd look at starting with some LED lighting. It's always a thrill to get LEDs working and that might be a confidence boost.

    Quote
    I'm thinking of making them in modules.
    Good thinking, if you don't the project is doomed.

    ______
    Rob
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    Rob Gray aka the GRAYnomad www.robgray.com

    Denmark
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    Holy home automation Batman!

    That' a heck of a project for someone who is "pretty new to all this."

    Quote
    where do i start?
    Good question.

    So far I've only read the headings and looked at the pics, that said I'd look at starting with some LED lighting. It's always a thrill to get LEDs working and that might be a confidence boost.

    Quote
    I'm thinking of making them in modules.
    Good thinking, if you don't the project is doomed.

    ______
    Rob

    Hello Rob, and thank you for your reply.

    Yep, that's a very big project. I think it could be done, and as a stated earlier times not an issue. I got plenty of time so i don't need to rush it.
    I thought of starting with the LED lights too. Theres a lot of info on this site about LED and i already made it in the living room i have now. So how to set them up and stuff is not a problem.(The truth is that I'm moving soon, to a new apartment where i would do all of this.)
    And making the Arduino turn the LEDs on/off shouldn't be too big a problem. (I want the LED's to be RGB)


    And I'm glad to hear that you agree with me in making this project in modules. It would become to overwhelming if i made it all at once.


    But what about the "core" or "server" of this project? I'm guessing i need some kind of Arduino board that ties all the small modules together and sends the information out on the app/web server via the Ethernet shield, is that completely wrong?

    Thank you.
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    Quote
    is that completely wrong?
    Broadly speaking that's about right. There's a heck of a lot of thought needed though to arrive at the right balance in the distributing of smarts. You can have really smart nodes and no central controller at all right through to dumb nodes and a PC as the controller.

    Typically somewhere in the middle is about right.

    Things like node cost, non-volatile storage if you are logging, safety, security, reliability etc all come into play and there will be many trade offs.

    My preference is for smart nodes (roughly = to a small Arduino) each of which can handle maybe 10 sensors etc. These nodes report to a large(ish) master maybe like the new Due that's coming out. This system runs by itself with no PC required, but every day or so you connect to download data and upload new commands.

    No reason the master can't be internet aware as well.

    I would use a wired network because wireless is too expensive IMO, others will disagree though and it depends on the nature of the building. Probably some combination of wired/wireless will be right.

    This could take a year just to design smiley
    ______
    Rob 

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    • It should be able to power on my projector.

    - I have a 3 years old projector, that is still in use today. But i want to figure some way to turn it on and off. The most simple way would be to glue or drill a servo/motor on the projector and then make it press the power button 1 time when starting, and 2 times when shutting of the projector.


    • It should be able to control my screen for the projector(up/down)



    Most of the automatic screens out there operate on a low voltage trigger, likewise most projectors have a trigger output. That's the easiest way to automate that part.

    Have you considered using an IR emitter to turn the projector on rather than push the button? Seems like that method would be easier to me.

    This project uses IR to turn an amplifier on/off:

    http://www.instructables.com/id/Arduino-turns-off-idle-Amplifier/
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    Quote
    I'm guessing i need some kind of Arduino board that ties all the small modules together and sends the information out on the app/web server via the Ethernet shield, is that completely wrong?

    Do you have the arduino and ethernet shield? If not, then get them (recomended to get the wiznet w5100 shield), start experimenting, and come back with specific questions about specific issues you are having.
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    Denmark
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    Quote
    is that completely wrong?
    Broadly speaking that's about right. There's a heck of a lot of thought needed though to arrive at the right balance in the distributing of smarts. You can have really smart nodes and no central controller at all right through to dumb nodes and a PC as the controller.

    Typically somewhere in the middle is about right.

    Things like node cost, non-volatile storage if you are logging, safety, security, reliability etc all come into play and there will be many trade offs.

    My preference is for smart nodes (roughly = to a small Arduino) each of which can handle maybe 10 sensors etc. These nodes report to a large(ish) master maybe like the new Due that's coming out. This system runs by itself with no PC required, but every day or so you connect to download data and upload new commands.

    No reason the master can't be internet aware as well.

    I would use a wired network because wireless is too expensive IMO, others will disagree though and it depends on the nature of the building. Probably some combination of wired/wireless will be right.

    This could take a year just to design smiley
    ______
    Rob 



    Okay, explain me this:

    "Smarts"?
    "Nodes"?

    And sorry for these questions. I'm new to all this, but any advice would be appreciated because that way i can make a lot of research on these topics.
    But if possible i would run it without a PC because i want it to use as little engergy as possible. If it's even possible to run all this without a PC.



    Quote
    Most of the automatic screens out there operate on a low voltage trigger, likewise most projectors have a trigger output. That's the easiest way to automate that part.

    Have you considered using an IR emitter to turn the projector on rather than push the button? Seems like that method would be easier to me.

    This project uses IR to turn an amplifier on/off:

    http://www.instructables.com/id/Arduino-turns-off-idle-Amplifier/

    Way! That's a very very good idea! That would make it much more easy then using a physically motor at the projector.
    Thanks for the advise!

     

    Quote
    Do you have the arduino and ethernet shield? If not, then get them (recomended to get the wiznet w5100 shield), start experimenting, and come back with specific questions about specific issues you are having.

    No, i don't have anything yet. I'm just planning this right now. First of all i want to know if it is possible, and if someone had some advice on which devices i should use, so i could research it.
    But from what i know then it should be possible to use some Arduino device and the Ethernet shield.
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    You might want to do some reading at the below forum to see what others are doing. Lot of gizmo info there.

    http://board.homeseer.com/
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    Smarts - The amount of processing power, your PC is very smart, an Arduino is reasonable clever, and a humidity sensor is dumb.

    Node - A point on a network, so if you have Arduinos connected around your house via RS485 or Ethernet or whatever each one is a node.

    Now you could have a PC at every light switch but I think most people would agree that's an overkill. At the other extreme you could have no processors in the field, just a 1000 wires running from a PC to every switch and sensor in the house. That's also not a very good solution.

    Other things to think about...

    If you are monitoring say a switch and using that data to control something, what happens when (note I say when, not if)  your program or the power fails. What's the backup? If it's just for the home theatre volume control it doesn't much matter but if you are controlling access/egress it does.

    What protocol will you use to communicate between the nodes? It has to be reliable with error detection, missing data detection etc etc.
     
    ______
    Rob
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    Quote
    The system should be a power saver.
    If you want to save power do it by hand.

    Quote
    It should be able to be controlled from anywhere in the world, by a web interface.
    That would be fun to do, but think long and hard before turning it on especially if you are going to boast about your home.

    I think you should start by listing your real objectives for this project which may be learning, a sense of accomplishment and so on and deciding if the project will satisfy those aims.

    Once built the system will require maintenance and to be configured to do tasks so although things will be automated you will still have work to do. Make sure you document the system thoroughly, label cables terminals and so on.

    Where you live are power circuits in a star configuration or in a ring configuration, this may influence control design.

    Graynomad hit the key design consideration, to what extent do you wire everything back to a central controller (there could be a lot of wire), and to what extent do you distribute intelligence.

    One company was going to make "smart power plugs", this sounded like a good idea to me, but I don't know how far they got.

    You should research home automation networks and products, either to use them or to make use of the design ideas.



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    You might want to do some reading at the below forum to see what others are doing. Lot of gizmo info there.

    http://board.homeseer.com/

    Thank you for this link. Theres a lot of good reading in there.




    Quote
    Smarts - The amount of processing power, your PC is very smart, an Arduino is reasonable clever, and a humidity sensor is dumb.

    Node - A point on a network, so if you have Arduinos connected around your house via RS485 or Ethernet or whatever each one is a node.

    Now you could have a PC at every light switch but I think most people would agree that's an overkill. At the other extreme you could have no processors in the field, just a 1000 wires running from a PC to every switch and sensor in the house. That's also not a very good solution.

    Other things to think about...

    If you are monitoring say a switch and using that data to control something, what happens when (note I say when, not if)  your program or the power fails. What's the backup? If it's just for the home theatre volume control it doesn't much matter but if you are controlling access/egress it does.

    What protocol will you use to communicate between the nodes? It has to be reliable with error detection, missing data detection etc etc.
     
    ______
    Rob

    Thanks for the translations.

    So I'll have to design my system so that it wont be overkill but able to do the tasks i need. I see some advantages in wireless transmission. But i will have to figure a way to make this secure, reliable and stable.

    Again, a very good point. I need to have some sort of backup solution. I'm not worried about access problems.(I'll be using a mechanism so power/system failure wont affect the manual entry.(Key) But you are right about that i need to think of what happens when the power/system is down.




    Quote
    Quote
    The system should be a power saver.
    If you want to save power do it by hand.

    Quote
    It should be able to be controlled from anywhere in the world, by a web interface.
    That would be fun to do, but think long and hard before turning it on especially if you are going to boast about your home.

    I think you should start by listing your real objectives for this project which may be learning, a sense of accomplishment and so on and deciding if the project will satisfy those aims.

    Once built the system will require maintenance and to be configured to do tasks so although things will be automated you will still have work to do. Make sure you document the system thoroughly, label cables terminals and so on.

    Where you live are power circuits in a star configuration or in a ring configuration, this may influence control design.

    Graynomad hit the key design consideration, to what extent do you wire everything back to a central controller (there could be a lot of wire), and to what extent do you distribute intelligence.

    One company was going to make "smart power plugs", this sounded like a good idea to me, but I don't know how far they got.

    You should research home automation networks and products, either to use them or to make use of the design ideas.

    What i mean by a power saver is that it should use as little energy as possible, without affecting the performance of the system.

    By making this system available in the entire world, i open up for a major security issue. That's a fact. There are some possibilities to protect the system like a MAC filter, password protection etc. But the question is if it would be safe enough to use. 

    Good point about the documentation. It makes the life a lot more easy when theres problems.

    I think i need to do a hell of a research, finding some ideas on how to make this, how to design it, control and secure it.
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    It should be able to exchange air inside and air outside and know the times when that is more efficient than A/C. The knowing when to do that takes lots of 'smarts' and would benefit heavily from weather forecast info.

    It should be able to make solar heating/power units work to best efficiency, though with an apartment there is less opportunity for those. It's amazing how much heat a box at the window can bring during winter.

    Air outside can be a form of free solar power even when it's the energy-low "power" of cooler night air.


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    I think you are on the right track already, you definetly have alot of time and work ahead tho
    Im an electrician and I've seen some crazy stuff, I've seen a house that we had to wire every light,switch, outlet to a panel on every floor, thousands of feet of wire to do basically the same thing you are looking to do, except they paid a hundred thousand dollars for the system and three times as much for labor and wire
    most of that stuff should definetly be tackled independently, and id suggest buying a bunch of atmega 328s with bootloaders and making your own boards for the specific part, maybe saving space and saving some money
    The controller device if designed with an arduino would probably have the biggest screen on 2.8 in, since atleast I haven't seen any bigger used
    definetly a cool idea
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