Advice On Building My House

Discussion of the online video show SuperHouseTV, where Freetronics co-founder Jonathan Oxer hacks on his house using various Open Source hardware and software. [SuperHouseTV site]
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Sixfold
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Apr 20, 2015 5:49 pm

Advice On Building My House

Post by Sixfold » Mon Apr 20, 2015 6:47 pm

Hello Jon, all,

So I recently stumbled across the SuperHouseTV videos and have finished them all. I noticed most of them are rather dated and was wondering, if after having used your system for awhile, would you make any changes to the version reflected in the videos?

I will be constructing a new house in the next few months, and I have been trying to determine the home automation setup I will be using. Where I will be building (Rural Missouri, USA) the code requirements are rather lax (IRC 2009 as suggestions rather than rules), but I would still rather not have anything insurance would balk at (assuming the worst). Designing for 120VAC (I don't see any reason to touch the 240VAC, crazy high voltage :D ).

So the current plan is to wire all the lights and outlets as normal (with regular 120v switches), but run everything on its own circuit to terminate at the main box. Also wherever a wall switch is located, I will install an additional empty wallbox and run Cat6 into it. Then, at my leisure, I can remove the standard 120v switches and convert that particular light/outlet to relay/triac driven functionality. This method will leave some blank wall box covers around, but I have pre-approval so I'm not worried about the WAF.

Inside each of the empty wall boxes I will be adding an Arduino nano, a 7-60vac to 5vdc buck converter, an ENC28J60 based ethernet adapter, and some sort of led and switch combo (unsure if i want to use CapTouch or another method).

Other side of the Cat6 has commercial PoE/DHCP to a defined automation subnet.

At the mains box, an Uno (possibly a Mega) with w5100 ethernet and a relay driver. I used your posted schematics and was able to make a 16 relay driver using some perfboard. The MCP23017 has enough addresses i can add 7 more of these. Potentially allowing for 128 relays to be driven. I think this should be more than enough. I can then save the ports on the Uno/Mega to drive any Triacs.

For communication I will be using MQTT (thanks for that as well!) tied most likely with OpenHAB or some sort of Python solution I write myself. Currently this is running on a Raspi but I'll probably upgrade to something that will host a large NAS in addition to my other services.

As I side note I will be running Cat6 everywhere for motion sensors, doorbells, window monitoring, things i havent even thought of yet, ect.

I have a programing background and CCNP, but no 'official' electrical training.

Do your worst, pick it apart, tell me why it won't work!
Its brand new construction so I can potentially take any route. Financial constraints do exist. I have a personal preference of Wired over Wireless.


Thanks,
Nathan

oneflatfoot
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Jul 31, 2015 3:56 pm

Re: Advice On Building My House

Post by oneflatfoot » Fri Jul 31, 2015 4:06 pm

Hey Nathan.

I was wondering what route you decided to go with on your build. I will be starting my new construction by spring and I could really use some advice.

Thanks,

Jeff.

Sixfold
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Apr 20, 2015 5:49 pm

Re: Advice On Building My House

Post by Sixfold » Tue Oct 13, 2015 8:01 pm

Jeff,

I am still working on getting my house started. Looking like a month from now. I was going to do a detailed explanation of how my system is setup once I have all the photos and video from the house build. It is basically as above. However, commercial poe is a pain. Plan to build some sort of injector yourself. Your going to want the DC volts pretty high because of the line loss but not so high a cheap DC to DC buck converter can't handle. 36 or 48 is what I'm going to use. I've built some prototypes. Being in the US I found it gets pretty tight in a single gang box. Its possible but I will probably do double gang in the house. I'm also working on my code a bit. I will release that as well when I get my other stuff up. Main thing is that my raspi is the state device and it either listens or pushes to the other devices, and does all the logic. The switches are super dumb and only send a 'press' and recieve a 'led' on or off. That way I can change what a switch does simply by changing the code on the raspi.

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