Automated appliances from remote location!

I am hoping to automate kitchen appliances from a remote location, over the internet.

I want to do this using an arduino uno, and I believe the relay shield would be correct? It says it handles up to 360v AC, I have 120v appliances (standard).

I need to ultimately control my appliances (or appliance, one is fine) over the internet, from a different state actually.

For those of you who are computer savvy (I assume almost all of you, haha),

I need to be able to:

Have my arduino run by itself off the ac adaptor, turning on and off my appliance on a schedule, designated in the C++ code. Then.....

I need to manually wake up my home computer via Wake On Lan (WOL) from a remote computer over the internet. My home computer will use direct ethernet connection for this instead of wireless. I will use a VNC program such as teamviewer or LogmeIn so it's as if I'm already there! Then I want to stop the arduino's current schedule, modify the code, and reset it so that the arduino can then run on the new code. I would continue to change as needed.

For example:
I would for example have my coffee maker set to turn on twice a day, but maybe next month I want to
have it only turn on once a day, for a specified amount of time each day.

Total Beginner! I know C++ however. Dad is an electrical engineer, has breadboards and crap sitting around, but I never understand what he's talking about so please, anyone, I appreciate help!

Although there are possibilities to reprogram your Arduino over the network (TFTP bootloader), I don't think it's necessary for your application. You can have one program on the Arduino and change only it's configuration (which can be stored in the EEPROM for example). This way you can install a webserver on the Arduino and change the times when your coffee machine is started using your browser, you don't need to start your PC (at home) to do so, no problems with VNC, WoL and the like, just the Arduino stand-alone.

I would go along with the last post, keep it simple. Make sure you consider both security and safety. You don't want other people playing with your appliances. I am also wary about turning things on and off remotely when you are not able to check its okay to do so. The most likely problem I can think of is that you forget you have plugged a different device into your relay then start turning it on/off.

Why would you want to turn on your coffee maker from a different state?

The project is just conceptual to control electrical appliances remotely. Lights, etc could be used in it's place. The coffee maker was just an example :wink:

Would an ethernet shield be required for this? How does the arduino connect online?

This is the relay shield I was going to get:

It doesn't have

You won't get happy with this shield if you really connect your coffee machine to it, 360 W are by far not enough (at least not for my coffee machine, I don't know your's).

You need the Ethernet shield (or any of the WiFi shields, but they are usually not as easy to handle as the Ethernet shield) to have Internet connectivity. You then have to connect that Ethernet shield to your router, switch or whatever else your using for your network connectivity. If you wanna access it from any device on the Internet, you probably have to reconfigure your router to forward a port and set up some DDNS or any equivalent.

Edit: I apologize, yeah it's 360W...

The device I'm using is under that amount though. It's probably about 150 watts.

I'm just wondering if this relay shield is the standard for this kind of thing, or If I'm going to electrocute myself.

Don't I have to run mains through the relay shield?

There are 4 relays on the board. Each relay provides a "normally open" and a "normally closed" connection.
You do run mains to the relays which are optically isolated from your control circuits.

The relay states it can switch 3A at 120V, so you want to be sure that whatever you connect does not exceed that, otherwise more power will go through the relay than it can safely handle and there will be a risk of fire.

Once you connect mains to the shield you have mains in close proximity to all the other bits on the board and the conductors, e.g. the terminals, are exposed. So, while the power is on it would be like working with a live mains plug with the top off. If wires come loose for some reason they can come in contact with other other conductors and you will either get a short or other components will become live.

You need to ensure that when you are working on the circuits it is not live and when it is live it is not possible to come in contact with exposed conductors, for example by placing everything in a perspex box.

Having a Residual Current Detector (RCD) on the mains supply is a good idea in case of accidents.

If you're nervous about wiring up the mains (with good reason), Sparkfun carries this IoT Power Relay - COM-14236 - SparkFun Electronics which means you don't have to worry about it. More expensive way to do it of course.