turn on/off generator wirelessly using a cell phone?

Is it possible incorporate the arduino to give a cell phone the ability to control ( turn on/off) a generator through a GSM/GPRS network?

generator

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Which cell phone? Android or Apple ? or other ?

Please give more details

Great feature to have in a BLACKOUT....

rogerClark:

generator

?????

Which cell phone? Android or Apple ? or other ?

Please give more details

blackberry? motorola dynatac?

Motorola BRICK.

Ok how about for an android phone. If lets say a blackout occurs , I want to, using my phone, turn on a generator from some remote location.

yup, you can do it with a GSM/GPRS shield, your arduino, enough power to run your generator and your arduino (well the power is out that's why you need it) some sensors, some relaying, and a bunch of programming time

Do you suppose that during a blackout, the cell phone network will continue to function?

The requirement of your phone is that it has some sort of signal output in response to a call, either pre-existing or hacked by you, which sounds more like a phone problem than an Arduino one. If you are still talking about what phone to use, why don't you simply use a GSM/GPRS shield?

jremington: Do you suppose that during a blackout, the cell phone network will continue to function?

actually, they may...

We were two weeks in South Florida without power after Hurricane Wilma... Towers were functioning, mobile phones worked. A lot of th towers have backup generators...which are switched when the power goes out with an automatic transfer switch. I have such a generator in FLA. The switch disconnects the service power and then connects power to the household circuit (a very important feature).

BulldogLowell:

jremington: Do you suppose that during a blackout, the cell phone network will continue to function?

actually, they may...

Indeed. Any phone service that can't keep going in a blackout will be the phone service that went out of business after the last blackout.

Well I suppose it would spoil all the phone if I point out that any modern backup generator system has an autostart feature that senses the power went out and kicks over the electric starter until it senses power on the output for more than 5 seconds or something like that, making the cell phone unnecessary. All Hospitals, Police Stations , (some schools) and many modern companies have such equipment. Everyone has seen it in the movies.

Ok lets just say that the generator doesn't have this autostart feature, in essence its basically building a GSM based cell phone controlled remote switching circuit using the arduino and connecting it to the backup generator. This feature is a part of a monitoring & controlling project i'm working on, where the controlling part would be to implement this feature. Does anyone know how to go about building this circuit ( schematic) incorporating the arduino gprs/gsm shield

Do you want to start with the easy part or the hard part ?

Indeed. Any phone service that can't keep going in a blackout will be the phone service that went out of business after the last blackout.

Some of you may recall reading about Hurricane Katrina, which wiped out New Orleans a few years back. The cell phone network was among the first things that failed. Not a blackout, but definitely a disaster of the first magnitude!

turn on/off generator wirelessly using a cell phone?

The problem you will probably encounter is that from what I've seen, cell phone networks usually don't allow server type setups to be accessed inside their systems. If you have a GSM/GPRS card of some type that can be called and sent an SMS message or audio tone from a cell phone, then there are some possibilities.

I'm just curious - and all the cautionary things that I might have said have already been covered.

Doesn't a GSM shield allow incoming SMS messages as well as outgoing messages?

I have used a program called SL4A for experimenting with Android programming. It can search through SMS messages so, presumably it could check regularly and if it found THE message it could send a Bluetooth command to an Arduino.

...R

Unless I have missed something it sounds relatively straight forward to me! :D

Assuming you have some way of maintaining power to an Arduino and GSM shield when the lights go out then send an SMS to the Arduino to tell it to turn the genny on?

Yes i read this online http://www.instructables.com/id/Controlling-AC-appliances-through-sms-Using-Arduin/ and thought about applying the same concept for the generator by simply sending an sms to the arduino to turn it on. I was gonna use this as well http://playground.arduino.cc/Learning/9VBatteryAdapter to maintain power to the ardiuno. Im guessing the hard part is figuring out how to interface the arduino with the generator?

The real problem with sending an SMS is delivery time. Whilst they are usually delivered promptly they can take some time, especially if there is a major problem such as power outage.

And then, as you say, there is the problem of starting the generator. Arduino activates a relay which engages the starter motor, but when does it release the relay?