Go Down

Topic: Insteon, Z-Wave and Apps (Read 9304 times) previous topic - next topic


We're working on a project to make Arduino into a Home Automation powerhouse.

We've created a free web service that connects an arduino through the internet without the need to punch a hole in your firewall, remember your IP, setup Dynamic DNS or pay an exorbitant fee for a static IP.

Also, we're adding Insteon and Z-Wave functionality through serial connections to a Dual Band PowerLinc Modem from SmartLabs and the HomePro ZCS101/201 with lots of sample code.

Check out the project here:



This sounds really neat, but I'm not sure I fully understand the "free web service" part of it.  You are hosting the web service?  Would users (like me) be able to upload web-specific code to connect with the Arduino?  Or will it just be limited to some preset canned functions?

I definitely like the idea of leveraging the Arduino for home automation.  Sounds cool.


Thanks Ethan. 

We've put out a new video showing some stuff we've been working on.

Experimental App Video

I'm also looking for some beta testers and people interested in joining the project. Send me an email (danny at customctrl.com) and let me know a little about yourself if you're interested.

For that matter, I'm curious what people would like to see... Reply with suggestions/thoughts/comments below.


See Custom CTRL on Kickstarter


May 04, 2011, 02:17 am Last Edit: May 04, 2011, 03:16 am by ArduinoAndy Reason: 1
For about the same cost, a person could obtain Micasa Vera 2 which is built on a very solid platorm.
If you add up all the options there is no comparison. Sorry, but you really need to do your cost analysis.
Having your home automation system using a 328P was a noble effort but it does not have the
CPU horsepower it takes to run a modern home automation system.

"Never trust an Internet bully who insults and makes fun of your level of intelligence."


  Where to begin... Throw out the operating system and all of a sudden things run faster and more reliably than you ever imagined they could.  If you were a less active member of the forum, I would challenge your understanding of what the Arduino can do.
  For that matter, we've built it and with the connection to the Cloud it's more than a solid platform.  As high-end home automation systems cost thousands, this isn't really a question of racing to the bottom on price. Rather I would argue we can offer the best of what other systems can do with a new user experience.
  If you still think that other product on the market have it just right, I would encourage you to talk to the owners of those systems...
You will find more than a few people looking for more.

Best Wishes,


  Just re-read your comment from months ago - must have missed the first part of your question.

The web service lets you relay commands of all types to and from the Arduino.  Although there are 'canned' options, you could conceptually do anything from requesting sensor data to triggering a relay on the easily accessible headers or communicating with a custom sketch.

All of this functionality is also accessible through the web, apps and just about any other modern programming language.
You could also use it to trigger 'webhooks' that open up the capability to all sorts of notification and alarm capabilities.

I hope that finally answers your question.
Sorry to have missed it the first time.


May 04, 2011, 03:10 am Last Edit: May 04, 2011, 03:17 am by ArduinoAndy Reason: 1
As high-end home automation systems cost thousands
^^^^^ This is bull
Take a gander at the following links.
8) 8) 8)
"Never trust an Internet bully who insults and makes fun of your level of intelligence."


I totally agree.  Hence customctrl.com.
The point is that the user experience is what's important.


May 04, 2011, 03:34 am Last Edit: May 04, 2011, 03:40 am by ArduinoAndy Reason: 1
The "gee whiz experience" wins every time over system functionality.
I really don't think so. What the home automation system can do for the $$$$ is what counts.
8) 8) 8)

BTW ... if your cloud goes down will your home automation system still work?
"Never trust an Internet bully who insults and makes fun of your level of intelligence."


Wow, is it hot in here?  Or, is it just me?

My problem with all of the commercial home automation controllers is simply, price and being caged into their way of thinking.  Paying U$90+ dollars for a light switch is above my willing price point.  Especially since I don't have a clue how long it will last or if it will eventually kick on by itself with no one around to turn it back off.  Sure, fancy web interfaces give you something to show off at the bar, but the girls will still go for the muscles of that guy over there by the Porsche.

I really, really like the idea of multiple little computers controlling various things with fail safe code built in to protect in the event of DSL modems going up in flames or a car taking out the telephone just down the road.  A single automation controller would be nice, but what happens when it gets knocked off the shelf by the cat you're baby sitting and leaves the water running in the garden? Price point is really important for the items you need a lot of and U$60 for a device that turns off your TV over the web seems a bit much, especially since you probably could do the same thing by having a note by the door to remind you to turn off the TV on the way out.  It's hard to put a price tag on that

On the other hand, if one is doing it for the fun and satisfaction of being able to do it; for the experience of building something from the ground up based on one's own ideas, for demonstrating to the world that one can actually do this stuff on one's own, price is a minor consideration.

I say, build your web service and market the heck out of it to those that see value for whatever reason.  Let the folks that don't really have imagination or the willingness to solder that last little pull up resistor in at 3:00AM go buy the fancy HA controllers and U$90 switches.  They'll never have the satisfaction of doing it all on their own just because they think they can.


Want an idea for the home automation?

Automate the house to simulate human presence inside. That would buy my attention wether it was made from a tiny15 or a Pentium IV.

I think that if you want to do something like this, you'd need to distribute the computation. That way, comments saying that a 328 is not enough wouldn't be valid as the computation involved would be spread around the house. However, the price of this would grow exponentially.

So, if you want to come to market, bring something new to it... even if it is the price. ;)
This... is a hobby.


Your project sounds great! A few questions though:
- When controlling house installations, I like the idea of being able to control anything manually also. Does the customCTRL box allow digital input for sync between 'real life' control and app control?
- What xbee versions do you use? And are those external modules/build in?
- Is the setup arduino compatible, and what interface is used for uploading of code?

Good luck with the project.


Hi! We are working on an open source domotic project to control objects using different tecnologies.
Here there is the forum topic http://arduino.cc/forum/index.php/topic,58844.0.html
Community is open to all contribute!!
Freedomotic Open IoT Framework
We need your help. Please contact us for contributing


Wow, that's a wicked video and wicked presentatioN!!!

I see that you're using a Droid X in the video... that's what I use too!


I'm using X10 instead of Z-wave though, but your APP blows my web GUI out of the water with the compass and all the sensor read out.

Is this an open source project?? Are you going to be posting your schematic and codes?? I'm very interested!

Go Up