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Topic: Holy grail (Read 2635 times) previous topic - next topic

rajdarge

I am looking for the holy grail of home automation :)
currently i have bought some land, have some sketches for a house and am thinking about home automation before i build.
frustration: with the various companies that are trying to sell me (usually just an expensive  control box) which often leads to an expensive set of companion hardware that is closed to anyone interested in arduino and even more expensive. A wall switch and light fitting might be $40 installed by an electrician. But prices are around $400 for the switch and $400 for the light fitting if  even a hint of automation is involved. For an entire house it will likely cost more than the house itself.
confusion after deciding that a partial diy solution is the only practical way forward. Mostly to do with the many standards out there. I have done sooo much reading on really great hardware platforms like 1wire  rs485,  modbus, cbus, canbus, zigbee, z-wave, bacnet, dali, x10,... . But to get a lightswitch to talk to a light and actually turn it on while a central controller listens is a bit of a nightmare.
this is what i am looking for: i am having trouble finding a pool of low level hardware that at the most basic level turns on a light and tells the user the light switch is now meant to be on or off (simply). Secondarily it can be integrated and controlled by a remote device and or central control unit.
wifi is a dead end as bandwidth from other devices like phones, printers, laptops need it more and its just not going to work for an entire house of automated switches.
So is there a holy grail? Or should i just as my sparky to install standard fittings everywhere?

pert

x10 seems like more of a workaround for people who don't want to run cables. Since you can design your system into the house as it is built it seems better to just run dedicated cables if you are going to use a wired communications network.

For communication between devices in my home my personal preference is Ethernet just because it integrates seamlessly with my PC network without requiring any sort of an additional bridge device to link to it. That's not to say other options may not be superior. Certainly wireless solutions have some advantages but I prefer a wired connection.

Nick_Pyner

A wall switch and light fitting might be $40 installed by an electrician. But prices are around $400 for the switch and $400 for the light fitting if  even a hint of automation is involved. For an entire house it will likely cost more than the house itself.
You have summed it all up extremely well.... Now all you need do is make the value judgement about how important it is for you not to have to get into the habit of turning the light off when you leave the room, or whether the money is better spent elsewhere. Once done you may be able to end the
Quote
confusion after deciding that a partial diy solution is the only practical way
and realise that another practical way is to not bother.

rw950431


I get the impression that industry has basically given up on the actual house wiring due to lack of standards and is instead focused on wifi-enabled smart devices that plug in to existing sockets (eg the Philips Hue lightbulbs).

mauried

Remote Light switches are often a problem due to the lack of a neutral wire.
A normal light switch simply switches the active wire to the light and doesnt need a neutral wire.

MikeLittle

New code requires a neutral in the switch box (NEC). Makes it fun running wires, as boxes need to have volume for more wires.

Keep the lighting circuit at 15A (14 AWG). 12 AWG wire gets pretty stiff once you start twisting 3 wires together. Also allows for more wire in box. I think the largest single gang box can take 3 12/2 wires and one device.

gioscarab

Community robotica / programmazione Arduino
www.gioblu.com
PJON multimaster communications bus system for Arduino and IOT https://github.com/gioblu/PJON

Jimmus

The reason all those fancy home automation companies can charge out the wazoo for their controller boxes and switches is that they expect you to be adding automation to already wired houses.  Communication over power lines or wireless using devices that must fit into switch boxes and light sockets and outlet boxes is not trivial.

However, you don't need all that.  You can just use normal light switches (that cost like 75 cents at Home Depot).  Just wire them to your own controller boxes.  You can connect them directly to digital input pins on any Arduino, use a pull-up or pull-down or internal pull-up resistor, and read them with simple digitalRead() functions.  As long as you don't exceed 24 volts, you don't need those wiring tracks to conform to any code.  You don't need 14 gauge wire, you don't need to supply a neutral, and you don't need a certified electrician to work on those parts of the system.

The other side of the system that actually turns on and off lights could be relatively simple as well.  you could use simple old fashioned relays.  Or solid state relays.  Or go fancy and use opto-isolated Triacs.  If you plan to use LED lights (and why would you not?) these can be relatively low power.  Like 15 watts.

It looks like you want a central controller system.  It might be too far away from some lights and switches to just run 5 volt high/low signals reliably that far.  But you could put smaller sub-controller boxes in strategic places that communicate using RS-485 or something.

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