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I'm getting ready to start a project of my own using arduino and powerline communication to create a smarter house.  I was just curious if anybody else had tried this already and if you had any success with it.  Powerline technology has been around for close to a hundred years now.  What drew me to this idea was the fact that it would allow me to transmit instructions to every outlet and switch in my house without any additional wiring or wireless networks.  I could modify (pretty extensively) an electrical outlet purchased at a hardware store and then simply go around the house replacing all of my outlets.  They would all receive the same data over the wiring already in the house, however, they would only carry out the commands associated with their id.  Even cooler, is the fact that I can also transfer large amounts of data very quickly with this home "network".  I'm really excited for the opportunities this presents!  If you guys have any other ideas that you think I should implement please let me know.  I hope to get this system up and running from my computer within the next couple weeks and then onto a mobile app for android.  I have a lot of work cut out for me though as I first have to convince my parents to let me mess with their house a little  smiley-lol
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So you are going to reinvent the X10 system of AC control over power wire?  Been around for decades. Do play safe around household AC power, it can shorten your lifespan considerably.

http://www.x10.com/automation/plugin_controllers.html

Lefty

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This is a great project and I believe you should look into it deeply.  However, your timescale is a bit optimistic.  There are many factors to consider besides the technical aspects of it.  Things that will grab you later like making your circuitry fit inside the outlet box without creating too much heat; remember there's no ventilation in there.  

I don't want to discourage you, but think about automating one outlet or a plug strip or something else simple first to get your feet wet.  Then read about the pitfalls of this like noisy appliances and split phases in some countries.  

Have fun.
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Trying to keep my house under control http://www.desert-home.com/

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Lefty, I have a great deal of experience with household wiring.  Not only have I installed the wiring in new houses, but I have also had to correct all the jerry-rigging that the tenants at my father's mobile home park have worked up in an attempt to steal power.  I am also well aware of how the x10 system works.  Quite frankly, it is ugly and the software it comes with is a real pain.  My goal with this project is to create something a little more eloquent and possibly even cheaper.  Further down the road it is my intention to add voice control and automated computer tasks.  So yes, I do plan on reinventing the x10 system.  However, I posted this on here so that I could gain some insights from my fellow modders.  I am sure many of you have had experience with home automation, as I have, and have learned through experience exactly what you do and do not want in such a system.  I am not satisfied with what the market offers now so I have decided to change that.  In the future try to respond under the assumption that the person you are speaking to has some knowledge and has done a little research.  You will come off as a much nicer and considerate person that way.

Draythomp, thank you very much for the encouragement and the pointers.  I have worked with computers for quite some time now and have definitely killed my fair share of equipment in the past due to oversights on my part.  I will be sure to consider the ventilation aspect when installing the boxes.  My goal is to have one fully functional and tested outlet box and switch prior to creating or installing any others.  However, once that step is complete, I don't imagine that it will take me much time at all to recreate the process with other boxes.  Also, I am currently using several powerline ethernet adapters to extend the network at my workplace.  My workplace is an engineering firm (I'm the IT guy) and has an unbelievable amount of noise due to the fact that they not only design, but also fabricate.  So I already have a little experience with powerline networks, but I do plan on several long nights and lots of research.  I'm glad I have this forum as a resource!

Keep the responses coming!  My goal is cheap, invisible, and easy for technophobes to learn.
As I said in my original post... this is going in my parents house  smiley-lol
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I have used devolo ethernet over powerline (85 Mbit version) in a project and I was quite happy with it. An Arduino could log its data over the powerline to a server on a different location. Worked out of the box !  Think I want the new ones (1Gig over powerline IIRC ) for Xmas smiley
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In the future try to respond under the assumption that the person you are speaking to has some knowledge and has done a little research.  You will come off as a much nicer and considerate person that way.

No disrespect meant or given. Nothing in your original post suggested your hands on experience working with AC power nor even your age for that matter, just your goals. We have a running topic around here somewhere where we discuss how much help we should give to new posters asking for help interfacing with AC power, or if we should offer any help at all. There is a school of thought of "if you have to ask, then you shouldn't mess with it", and I tend to bend to that side of the issure. Often these are minors with giant ideas but little experience. It's not a black and white issue, trust me.  My suggestion to 'play safe' with AC power is a good reminder to anyone, because it is given with good intentions, believe me. I worked in a oil refinery for 27 years before retirement and I saw first hand some very serious injures to experience trained journeymen level electricians, it wasn't a pretty site.

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In the future try to respond under the assumption that the person you are speaking to has some knowledge and has done a little research.


That is the root of the problem. If we are to always assume competency in electronic and power safety from every poster asking for help, advice, or suggestions on working with AC power, it brings back the issues I just discussed. We get so many new members of all ages and experience levels here, it really is a active forum. So do you at least see my side of the discussion? I belive there is pretty high level of mutual respect shown on this forum, much more then many others I have visited. You will seldom see any flaming threads around here, It's really a pretty friendly forum. 

Look forward to any contribution you can add to the Arduino world.

Lefty
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OK, got it.  Now a question: how come you wanna use the powerline instead of RF? 

Don't get me wrong, I use both in my house and really, really like the little XBee modules.  Yep, they cost a bit, but I haven't had a failure yet and they work extremely reliably for me.  Of course, I send commands and status over them, not data streams and I have an inherent liking for little radios, so I may not be a good testimonial.

I have developed a real dislike for the X10 stuff, but it is cheap.  One of my goals is to eventually have massive control over my house and when I can buy an X10 outlet for less than $10 it's hard to pay more for something else.  I wonder if I could retask the little devices to work with an XBee in them??? 

However, the thing I've noticed in automation is knowing the state of a given device at any time.  Think about having the various devices tell you what state they are in on some interval.  For example, a light switch tells you every 5 minutes or so that it is on or off.  This way you can have real time status without having to store the status.  If a kid comes in the room and turns on the light, you will know it and turn it off while he's on the toilet.  Could be fun.  This kind of thing comes in handy for me with the outside lights.  They turn on and off automatically, but sometimes I turn them on and check for coyotes at the fence and forget to turn them off.  A little alarm sounds when I go to bed telling me I screwed up and left them on.  It has been my experience that allowing for real time external events changing things is a necessary part of the planning.

Your outlet could sense that a device is pulling power and some piece of code could decide to delay turning it off.  This would stop the outlet from killing the blow dryer while your mom is trying to dry her hair one evening.  You could allow the water heater to run even though the time is wrong if there was a heavy demand for hot water because you have guests.  That kind of thing.
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Lefty, please forgive me for reading into your post more than was meant.  I'm just used to having to deal with adolescence who know "everything" (I volunteer with the middle school students at my church).  I will try to better follow my own advice and assume good intentions in the future!

Draythomp, I'm glad to hear you also share my dislike of the x10 system.  I simply want more than they can ever give me.  Relationships like that never work.  The reason I would like to use powerline instead of RF is because I do plan to use it to transmit large amounts of data as well.  My goal with this system is for it to be all inclusive, meaning that I want to be able to do much more than simply automate my lights.  I plan on incorporating every aspect of my house into this system: the intercom system, the security system (motion sensors/cameras/door and window sensors), the phones (VoIP), the surround sound, my modified roomba (via Bluetooth), the kitchen appliances, my pool vacuum, my jacuzzi, my sprinklers, my air conditioner and humidifier, my gas fireplace or even my grill, backing up my computer onto an external hard drive that is unplugged when not in use, and a bunch of other stuff that I have written down at the office and not with me now, everything is going to be controlled via powerline communications.

All of the sensors (mostly ac/humidity) will update the program hourly so that I can track changes and try to cut costs.  I will also have the switches and outlets send their on/off status, however they will probably only do so when their status changes.  There really isn't a need for each switch to tell me every five minutes that it is off.  The only time it will change its status is either when it is remotely told to do so or when someone manually "flips" (or pushes) the switch.  Ideally I would like to have some sort of touch screen display that can show a floor plan of the house and the locations of each switch/outlet.  On this display all of the switches/outlets in the "off" position will show grey and all of those in the "on" position will show electric blue.  I will be able to control all of these from the display and can choose to turn off entire rooms (but now I am getting into the programming aspect of the project).  I absolutely love DIY projects, however, I hate the fact that they look like DIY projects.  The control panel(s) should blend in with the house and serve multiple functions.  Perhaps they will include web browsers.  Perhaps they will be equipped to allow for video calls so as to allow me talk to relatives or friends while cooking up dinner (which will not be automated as I greatly enjoy cooking).

Anyway, I continue to have ideas even as I begin to pull together the necessary supplies for this project.  As you all can probably tell from what I have said in the last couple posts, I have a tendency to take a cool idea and blow it up into a huge ginormous idea that will takes lots of time and money.  Maybe once I get the plans together and have something more concrete I'll get onto kickstarter... hmmm....
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hello Experts,
i want to learn about the power line communication,i want to do a project using a micro controller,but i have no idea where to start,i have no experience neither too much knowledge,so kindly some one help me that how i can learn and make a project on this topic.i shall be very thankful to all of you.
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hello Experts,
i want to learn about the power line communication,i want to do a project using a micro controller,but i have no idea where to start,i have no experience neither too much knowledge,so kindly some one help me that how i can learn and make a project on this topic.i shall be very thankful to all of you.

Start with working through the examples - http://arduino.cc/en/Tutorial/HomePage - to learn the does and don'ts of the Arduino (C++based) language.
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Rob Tillaart

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Tack another vote on for RF from me. Everything you described you want to do can be achieved by either RF or powerline. Certainly in some circumstances, the feature trying to be implemented will be easier with RF, and easier with powerline in others, but the list of features you're asking for, as a whole, doesn't lend itself to either option in particular.
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