I decided to make a domotic home the day I had to move to my new house. Since I had to made new wirings, I started searching for an inexpensive yet easily improvable solution that could grow with time. I found out the gce-electronics boards and tested one, then I decided they were the best choice for my intents. I put one of those boards in every room in order to control lights, appliances, shutters. A dedicated board manages the heating system, doorbell, ground floor door, external courtesy light and alarm bells. In total I have 7 boards (5 of which are IPX800 v2, the other 2 are IPX800 v3: about 1000€ ). Two 3in1 (temp, humid, light) sensor – one inside, the other outside) connected to the analog ports of two boards, collect important information and permit to take action accordingly (as shown below) – about 100€
If I would choose a simple slogan to describe the type of installation I’d go for “open to expandability”. In many senses.
Lights and appliances could be controlled by standard switches (connected to the board as digital inputs), so the result is such you don’t notice there’s much more behind. Despite of this, I immediately started working on a device that could help manage the whole house from a single place, and could add some intelligent behaviour. So in August 2011 I started the ipx800touchpanel project: it’s basically a device that puts together an Arduino Ethernet board with PoE (responsible of comunicating with the IPX800 boards) and a 3,2” LCD touch display that creates a map of devices displaced in every room, permits to show their status, controls them, and enables some extra features. This is a opensource project so everyone can access and modify the code to extend functionalities or correct bugs. In its full-optional version it costs about 150€ and consumes as less as 2,5W of energy.
It is, as told before “open to expandability” – in the software-related sense.
In order to keep an easy installation of extra devices I bought a PoE switch and a UPS that keep the whole infrastructure on 24/7
(second hand items: 70€+20€ on eBay) .
Now that’s what I have: adding just a small touchpanel system I can manage over 50 devices, viewing their placement inside the house and checking their state in realtime. No computer nor big monitor needed, no difficult wirings ( just plug a ethernet cable).
Extra feature intruduced by this touchscreen system:
– scenarios: sequences of actions that are scheduled with a single touch – like: move all shutters up, or, turn off all lights.
– conditions on scenarios/actions : like “when going out, if it’s night, turn on courtesy light for 5 mins.”
Some remarkable aspects I’d like to talk about:
– we don’t need alarm clocks anymore: at a desired time in the morning shutter in a specific room moves up so you can naturally wake up. In the weekend shutters have a different timing.
– I’m currently working on a alarm system the seamlessly integrates with the existing environment: just need to add some magnetic switches on front door and windows, and some ir presence sensor, connect then to the digital/analog inputs of IPX800 boards, populate the touchscreen with related devices and prepare some scenarios to be lunched when some conditions occur. Using IPX800 boards made the system “open to expandability” in the hardware-related sense..
– I’d like to remark that this kind of installation is extremely simple to deploy and doesn’t need much expertise to be extended: if you know how to use a screw you can do it. Of course what helped most is the fact that I had a house to renovate, and I forecast most of the improvements I’d be doing later. So I can say once more: “open to expandability” – in the architectural sense.