Property Monitoring

First post so please be gentle ! What I want to achieve is I think fairly straight forward and has probably been done already by others, I have a lifelong interest in tinkering but don’t have any time to sit and learn Arduino programming + everything else needed to do this by myself.

I would be happy to discuss a bit of a project with anyone keen (and with some time) on a non commercial basis of course.

Basically I want to monitor some simple analogue and digital functions in several properties that have mains power and wifi and send the info back to a cloud service or specifically set up hosted website.

Any suggestions from anyone much appreciated

http://openenergymonitor.org/emon/buildingblocks/ct-sensors-interface

start here

Thanks - Thats a great site thanks and clearly it covers the energy monitoring side of things in great detail.

If I just want to know a water tank ran dry (float switch contact closure) what's the simplest and lowest cost method of getting that info back to me in hardware terms ? (Not SMS please, I would prefer to use Arduino or something similar). As before all locations have WiFi

Hi scribley9

what's the simplest and lowest cost method of getting that info back to me in hardware terms ?

Consider the ESP8266 micro controller with built in wifi and TCP/IP stack. There is an Arduino core available for it, which means you can program it using the Arduino IDE.

The ESP8266 comes on different versions of breakout board. The -01 version has a couple of usable GPIO pins, the -03 version has five. In the UK, they cost about £2. They need a 3.3V supply.

There are then options on the software side. You could program the ESP8266 to call a web service API to send the switch status.

I've chosen to use an MQTT library to send status messages via an MQTT broker running on a Raspberry Pi to a web application written in Python and Flask.

Regards

Ray

Thanks Ray - An excellent suggestion that is sincerely appreciated and very much along the right lines. In my mind an important part of the project was the ability to place sensors exactly where required without the need for them to have to communicate via a local receiver/controller/hub.

That project would be much easier but way more expensive.

Using a ESP8266 micro controller it would seem I can give each low cost device a unique ID and allocate one device for each function I want to monitor?

Still reading but hopefully (but not clear so far) the device can retain or achieve the following ...

Unique device ID
WiFi access code
URL of target for data
Some simple elements of internal monitoring so it can advise its own status (low battery)
Timer to re send contact status at pre-set intervals even if no change of state (heartbeat)

Can you advise where to go to offer this as project or involve a freelancer ?

Unique device ID
WiFi access code
URL of target for data
Some simple elements of internal monitoring so it can advise its own status (low battery)
Timer to re send contact status at pre-set intervals even if no change of state (heartbeat)

These would be part of the program loaded onto the ESP8266. Some features (e.g. a unique hardware ID code, or a function to read the supply voltage) are available in the microcontroller's API and can be accessed if coding using the vendor's SDK directly. They are not yet included in the Arduino core but are scheduled for introduction.

How do you envisage these sensors being powered? They draw 150 - 200mA when active, but much lower when put into a standby or sleep mode.

Can you advise where to go to offer this as project or involve a freelancer ?

You could post something in the Gigs and Collaborations section of the forum.

It would help people if you could also clarify your requirements on the other end of the system. Are you looking for a dashboard, where you log in periodically and check the status of the sensors? Do you want alerts sent to you, for example by email? Do you need to record and display history for trend monitoring?

These might give you some ideas:
Blynk library
Souliss framework

How do you envisage these sensors being powered? They draw 150 - 200mA when active, but much lower when put into a standby or sleep mode.

Hopefully a 3v Lithium Battery would be sufficient as long as the device can 'sleep' the majority of the time. http://www.buyabattery.co.uk/wireless-alarm-batteries/cr123a-cr123-3v-wireless-alarm-batteries/wireless-pir-detector-battery-cr123a-cr123-3v-lithium.html

It would help people if you could also clarify your requirements on the other end of the system. Are you looking for a dashboard, where you log in periodically and check the status of the sensors? Do you want alerts sent to you, for example by email? Do you need to record and display history for trend monitoring?

Nothing written yet, (but it is to be done of course) clearly a bespoke hosted AP on our own server would be favourite but no problem to test using a pre existing cloud service or even Twitter. The hope is that there will be dozens of the devices deployed. Probably meaning a need to use a look up table at the receiving end to apply real world labels to the received info. Maybe some kind of mimic panel ? The end requirement is preferably to have useful human readable info eg, 'Water Tank Float Switch at Property XYZ' rather than just a squirt of code.

History of activity of each device/trend monitoring is a nice idea and a bonus