Internet Of Things / IoT / Connected Home / Smart Houses

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  • I haven't noticed a thread on this so thought I'd start one.

    It's something I've gradually been playing with and, although none of it is essential, some of it is fairly useful.

    I installed a web accessible thermostat that's come into its own when I've gone away and forgotten to turn the heating off.

    Pedometer, scales, Garmin, etc all link into MyFitnessPal.

    I got given a set of the Hue lights for Christmas which I've entertained myself with making voice activated, flash when I get a call, etc plus slightly more mundane stuff like turning on at sunset when I'm not home.

    There's not been anything "must have" yet but it's all fairly entertaining at the moment.

    Obviously the flipside is the vast amount of data that can be accumulated on your habits from all these disparate sources.

  • did you get nest?

  • No, it was a Netatmo.­at-Smartphone-Designed-Starck/dp/B00GWKW­8SY Mainly because it was on sale (I paid about £80 or £90) and you can install it easily yourself.

  • How are you finding it? Once/when we move into our own place I'll be looking at getting something similar; I was very impressed by Nest when I saw it at a friend's place

  • We did initial testing on the Nest at work and I fell in love with it. When we finally got a chance to own our own home, I installed it and haven't looked back. The intelligence of it works well, especially with it sensing who is home, the weather outside and me being able to control it remotely.

    next up was the installation of a Dropcam with custom movement zones. The wife loved the idea of watching the dogs whilst she was at work, whilst I saw the benefit of it as a security system. I'm so impressed with it that i'm ordering two more cameras.

  • Same guy that was programming his amp is getting into this stuff..

    "Want to put in automatic stuff, so outside lights come on at night and go off in the morning, plus at midnight they go to half power. Also switch some internal lights on at dusk...."

  • Where do you work?

  • I've only had the thermostat a month or two but it seems useful. I wouldn't have paid much more for it though.

    I don't think the one I have is as complex as Nest but my schedule is so random that there isn't a pattern to be learnt (although it does try) so it's mainly the ability to change my default schedule remotely that I value.

  • a place that breaks stuff for a living :)

  • How does Nest connect to a heating system?

  • I really want to do this using pi or arduinos. I guess that the simplest would be to put a relay onto an arduino or a pi and use that, but I would actually prefer to buy something to do the boiler switching and then have the pi/arduino talk to that wirelessly.

  • How does Nest connect to a heating system?

    its a thermostat. You replace your existing thermostat which involves using a flat head screwdriver and matching up anywhere from about 2 to 6 wires. Instructions are included, but colors don't always carry over.

  • Quite a lot of devices added under 'works with Nest' program ..

    (click on 'all')

  • Yeah, so there is a standard or at least a few 'standards' when it comes to controlling heating units? Not sure I want it sending data like 'no one is home' to a server somewhere though.

  • There's only so many commands you need for "turn on" and "turn off", which is the main instruction that the thermostat unit is sending to the boiler.

    The complexity is in the control unit itself.

    My boiler has a mechanical timer - a clock tells the boiler to be on, or to be off. I'm swapping it out with a wireless programmable unit - it's a case of unplugging one, and plugging in the other (by and large).

  • Not a standard so much as a gradient of complexities and the thermostat simply needs to meet the complexity of the system in your home... which the Nest will certainly do.

    it's a lot like installing a car stereo.

  • MOC and I are working on doing this using Pi's and arduinos - currently we're in a temperature fact finding stage. We're currently using Dallas 1-wire temp sensors connected to an Arduino YUN, which is like a normal arduino except it has a wireless adaptor and a mini version of open-wrt and a small linux subsystem. This means you can stick a website on it.

    Our current plan is to put 1-wire sensors into the ceiling and have the wiring under the floor, maybe run it over cat5. The problem we have is potential temperature difference between ceiling and floor not giving us an accurate reading. So at the moment I have a wooden rig with 5 sensors attached at various heights and one actually in the ceiling to see what data we get.
    I have these reporting to a very basic webpage, which MOC scrapes every minute - then sticks the data into a graph - the data has proved very useful and made sure that we weren't taking the temperature of the ceiling itself :-)

    Next stage will be to actually do something with the sensors, we're going to zone the heating this summer, then look at replacing our aging timer with something more useful.
    MOC is looking at light control as well, we've already got the toilet and the hallway on PIR sensors for lighting. This is really useful as the hall light is quite a way from the door, so the light comes on as you open the front door at night. It was also really cheap to implement - I think the sensor cost about £13 from screwfix.

  • The Netatmo thermostat was a straight swap for my existing thermostat. Two wires to switch from one to another. It was provided with various other options to wire directly to a boiler, etc but I didn't need that.

    I did look at Raspberry Pi, etc but the faff was too great. The main annoyance is the varying proprietary interfaces for lights, thermostat, etc.

    The Philips Hue lights are good in this respect as the API has been released. At the moment I'm controlling them through IFTTT and Tasker.

  • Interesting clefty. I am particularly interested in the YUN, not something that I have used. I am actually a bit torn between using very low-cost cut-down arduinos to do this, or going the whole way and using fully a fledged pi which in the grand scheme of things are still not overly expensive. It seems unlikely that we will go as far as zoning the heating, purely because of the amount of retro fitting that it would entail. We are adding a loft extension though, so potentially could add it there. How do you find the YUNs?

  • Ah ok. I thought the boilers might be smarter than that. I've only got an immersion heater which is on/off but has a timer on it. Such high tech. So future.

  • I've done a car stereo before. Maybe I could swap the ancient underfloor heating thermostat for a Nest? Not sure it would cope, it'd have to be on for hours before we got home. Hmm, may as well leave it running.

  • I want sensor lights! Should I just look on screwfix for "PIR sensor"?

    Do you need to have electrickery certificate to do this kind of crap or can you just do it and hope no one is the wiser?

  • I'm an electronic engineering student currently working in industry, in embedded systems, and honestly it's nice seeing people getting excited about this. Electronics seems full of cynics all-too-ready to scoff at the idea of having an internet-connected toaster than looking into the innovation and interesting/useful stuff that can be done.
    I'm really keen to hear about people's projects here! It's really easy to get a pi working with any generic webcam so I've been thinking about setting that up as a timelapse or connected to a motion sensor of some sort so that anyone walking into my room gets a snap taken of them, then using the pi to upload the data to somewhere remote/secure (not always the same thing!)
    Also, it's maybe worth pointing out that a rPi is a very different thing to an arduino. The arduino being far better suited to this kind of project, unless you're connecting to the web/crunching serious data. the rPi is a basic computer, the arduino is a microcontroller.
    Anyone seriously interested should look up the mBed platform by ARM, it's like an arduino; user friendly and there are loads of libraries but it has some serious hardware. 80+MHz cpu for example! A good few of my friends at uni used this for their 3rd year projects:­-LPC1768/
    And had a good deal more success than me

  • dropcam looks great as baby monitor, cat monitor and security device. How have you found it? how much is it in the UK? I cant see anywhere to order it?

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Internet Of Things / IoT / Connected Home / Smart Houses

Posted by Avatar for aggi @aggi