VA Tester and our Giant Star

wpsuperadmin HomeAutomation, solar, USB Tester, VA Tester 3 Comments

Once upon a time on a bright and sunny afternoon, I decided to interact with some photons from that big burst of energy we revolve around. I had ordered a 6V 3.5W solar panel from Amazon awhile back but I never got around to trying it. I also had an Adafruit Solar LiPo Charger that I hadn’t used.  Part of this is research of using solar with home automation nodes that are near a window. Currently, I use AA batteries but I see them as wasteful since eventually you have to replace them. Of course you can get rechargeable AA batteries but they usually put out a tad less voltage, 1.2V vs 1.5V and still uses energy from an outlet …

HA: Living Room Node

wpsuperadmin HomeAutomation Leave a Comment

Just wanted to do a quick post about the node running in the living room. It’s similar to the other nodes except I am using a Tiny328 and a DHT11 temp/humidity sensor. Currently, this is the only node with humidity. It’s presently being powered from a 5V USB wall adapter using a USB Tester to break out the power – same one that is running the La Crosse gateway! Here is the github link that I am using for all nodes. I have adapted it to support each sensor that a node might have. It’s based on the roomNode by JeeLabs. This sketch assumes the node has been configured already with the JeeLabs rf12demo sketch.

HA: DomotiGa Web Interface

wpsuperadmin domotiga, HomeAutomation Leave a Comment

DomotiGa is an open source Linux app written in Gambas which I hadn’t heard about until now. As part of any good home automation or any connected project is a way to control it remotely and easily, otherwise it’s easier just to hit the light switch yourself, right? I am using a Ubuntu Virtual Machine running in VMWare ESXi. VMWare offers ESXi as a free version of there enterprise bare metal hypervisor. ESXi can run on most hardware but if you have trouble there are plenty of guides out there to get drivers working. One of the easiest ways to get a remote interface is a website. It is much easier, universal and platform independent compared to using an app. …

La Crosse Weather Station Gateway

wpsuperadmin domotiga, HomeAutomation, jeenode, rfm12b Leave a Comment

Its alive! Last Christmas (or was it the one before that?), I received a La Crosse wireless weather station from my mom who is obsessed with them. This one has just a small display that can gauge inside and outside temperature. What interested me is that it’s a simple 433Mhz radio link. So sometime between then and a while ago, I got a 433Mhz receiver from Sparkfun with the intention of capturing the binary data from the outside sensor. Stock photo from SFE – CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 Occasionally, I’ve seen blog posts about other people doing the same thing. Thanks to the world of Opensource, I don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Sweet! Well, that is if I could find …

Finally Some Home Automation

wpsuperadmin domotiga, HomeAutomation, rfm12b, rfmega Leave a Comment

With all the busyness of FriedCircuits and with taking a late honeymoon to Europe, there hasn’t been very much time left for other just-for-fun projects. It’s taken a long time to scale up productivity after our trip. A few weeks ago I finally started to dive into getting some sort of a start on home automation, or domotica, as its called across the pond. Since the failure of the Smart Outelet I decided to start on a smaller piece of the home automation beast this time around. Having been following JeeNodes for awhile now, I wanted to make a custom version in which I actually had done last year and never posted about it. I did some testing with his setup …

WiFi Thermostat Control Part 1

wpsuperadmin HomeAutomation, Tutorials 1 Comment

Living in an Apartment can be a challenge when it comes to home automation. Most projects require modifying or tapping into the building in one way or another. Our Apartment was remodeled before we moved in but they didn’t replace the aging thermostat. It is the old style with the lever on top that controls a glass tube of mercury. I knew I could replace the thermostat with some relays and a microcontroller or get a retail WiFi thermostat but I needed something that didn’t modify it in any away. Looking through my inventory of parts I remembered I had a micro servo from the Adafruit Motor Shield kit. This servo with a microcontroller and a Wifly radio would be perfect. The idea is that …

Smart Outlet: ADE7753

wpsuperadmin HomeAutomation, Smart Outlet 27 Comments

After completing the first version of the smart outlet, I needed a better way to monitor current usage. Using an Hall Effect sensor with an Atmega 328p didn’t work out so well. It was very difficult to get accurate calculations and it tied up the microcontroller from doing other tasks. Proper monitoring should take into account the AC voltage and zero wave crossing. First version First version where you can see the mistake in the design where I forgot the DC side power In my research travels I came across this site,, which mentioned using the ADE7753 from Analog Digital. In theory this IC is great; it does all the hard work for you. You just talk to it over SPI and grab the data. …

Kinect Sensor and Voice Control

wpsuperadmin HomeAutomation, Kinect, Programming, speech, Speech Recognition, Tutorials, VB.NET, Visual Studio, voice control Leave a Comment

In my previous post I mentioned that I had set up Microsoft’s SAPI to implement voice control of my lights. For the most part, it works well with the tweaks I did with the grammar file, except that you have to train your speech. For what I want to accomplish that will be a large issue. I want anyone to be able to walk into my house and use the system. It should be a hands free system that doesn’t make turning the lights on more complicated with having to use something like your phone (but that too, can be an option). I have been playing with the idea of using RFID/NFC but it still would involve always having your phone around; also, not everyone has …

Raspberry Pi, CommandIR and Beyond

wpsuperadmin c, HomeAutomation, php, Programming, raspberry pi, Tutorials 6 Comments

Now that I have had some time to play with the CommandIR, progress has been made. Of the two initial issues I have one left. The first issue is that LIRCD doesn’t auto start even though it is configured in the hardware.conf. While researching, I came to the conclusion that LIRC isn’t reading the hardware.conf at all. I made a change to it, enabling the listen option to try an Android app but it didn’t take effect. When I manually start LIRCD I have to include the options at the commandline. This is still a mystery but I am working with support on it. The odd thing is the init.d service script doesn’t seem to do anything. TV with IR Emitter Xbox S with IR Emitter …

Raspberry Pi and CommandIR

wpsuperadmin HomeAutomation, raspberry pi, Tutorials Leave a Comment

While reading an article the other day I had an idea formulate in my head. I have a older USB CommandIR Mini that has 4 emitters and 1 receiver. This would make a great use of the Raspberry Pi, a network based IR gateway. Originally it was only for Linux, but now it is supported in WinLIRC which I haven’t tired. Newer version of mine First thing was to do some research and see about getting it to work on the Raspberry Pi with an ARM CPU. So here is a run down of how I got it to work. Rear ports Get LIRC installed: The version that is available in the Debian Squeeze repository isn’t new enough to support the CommandIR. In this case you need to download the lastest version …