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Home Automation - Anyone in to this?


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#1 Mac Dude

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 08:57 AM

I'm currently looking at replacing some major appliances (heating/cooling) and was wondering if i should look at units that integrate with home automation in some way.

That got me looking into what standards exist and it seems that it's still being fleshed out (zwave v zigbee v insteon etc).

This is more than just Google home vs Alexa. Has anyone looked into this in more depth? Any sites or info for the Aussie market would be greatly appreciated...
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#2 Master_Scythe

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 09:29 AM

Family friend (sparkie) is right into this.

 

(Apparently) The only real brand out there that's built to last like a normal household powerpoint\device would is X10.

(random google hit) http://www.enviouste...ist.php?CID=100

 

I will add my two cents in. I'm a big fan of remote control power points, but I warn you, they're all shit.

Ive tried cheap JayCar ones, expensive 'Clipsal' ones, and everything in between.

 

They've all either caught fire (luckily I was home all 4 times), or they've simply "latched" themselves on, so when you switch them off, you hear a 'click' and then it makes buzzy noises but continues to power the device (internal sparking probably).

No idea whats failed in them, I really shoulda disassembled them,  but meh, I gave up on remote, and will simply go THOR eco boards from now on.


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#3 Cybes

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 09:32 AM

Has anyone looked into this in more depth?


Personally, I love the idea a whole lot - and not just for convenience, but because there is stuff that is downright difficult for me to do. At this point, at least where I live now or have done in the past, this stuff might as well be from Star Trek for all the people I can find to install it. Thus, I have not looked further into whose version does what.

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#4 Mac Dude

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 10:13 AM

Family friend (sparkie) is right into this.
 
(Apparently) The only real brand out there that's built to last like a normal household powerpoint\device would is X10.


My (very) limited reading of X10 talks about it being ye olde home automation standard that came into being around 1975. It's current equivalent would be C-Bus, but that's proprietary. X10 uses the existing mains wiring while the newer standards zwave and Zigbee are wifi based.

Thanks for the headsup, I need to do more reading on X10...
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#5 Master_Scythe

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 10:18 AM

 

Family friend (sparkie) is right into this.
 
(Apparently) The only real brand out there that's built to last like a normal household powerpoint\device would is X10.


My (very) limited reading of X10 talks about it being ye olde home automation standard that came into being around 1975. It's current equivalent would be C-Bus, but that's proprietary. X10 uses the existing mains wiring while the newer standards zwave and Zigbee are wifi based.

Thanks for the headsup, I need to do more reading on X10...

 

 

There are a lot of modern things that can interface with X10 (apparently), so you can add things like limited wifi control.

What it lacks, is interactive feedback and such on a lot of devices.

 

I like X10 because it's that "middle ground" where most works, and the chances of failure are very low.

 

Leave a lamp on, and use X10 to turn it on\off? Pretty fool proof.

Aircon that remembers its setting? (I believe there's an IR blaster too), great!

Stereo while you're overseas on a timer? You bet.

 

I guess it depends what you want a smart house to be.
since the Samsung recording your in your home scandal, and the NSA bugging tools for smart devices, I'm a little less willing to 'Hook up' purely out of principle.

Remote control powerpoints? I'm in.

Email alert security cameras OUTSIDE the home? sure.

 

But non-open-source voice control, or 'appliance reporting' or things like ovens\stoves\irons being on remote control over the internet?.... not yet.


Wherever you go in life, watch out for Scythe, the tackling IT support guy.

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#6 smadge1

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 11:07 AM

if you wanna get into the nuts and bolts of home automation,

 

look into Microcontrollers etc.

 

I've been playing with Arduino (Atmel) and ESP8266.

 

Arduino is more of an environment than a particular product.

ESP8266/ESP32 are cheap, and extremely versatile wireless microcontrollers.

 

there are hundreds of projects on Youtube, and sites like Instructables, Adafruit, etc


Of course, all these come under the banner of IoT, and it's important these days to consider the security of you projects, the last thing you need is for your system to suddenly become part of a botnet.

 

Also Pi, Raspberry Pi

 

https://diyprojects.io/


Edited by smadge1, 05 June 2017 - 12:44 PM.

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#7 @~thehung

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 02:29 PM

 

Has anyone looked into this in more depth?


Personally, I love the idea a whole lot

 


+1

i have a massive bookmark folder on this topic, but mostly geared to maker project type things.

thats the hard road, but yeah fuck the easy road = shelling out for ridiculously overpriced and dumbed-down modular thingamajigs that force you into one vendor's ecosystem.

really, this is a subset topic of IoT. and here is a good layout of how mental the space is: https://www.postscap...ings-protocols/


----

anyway, the thing i am most excited about are open-source OS's that can run on small hardware (^like the RasPi)

in particular this: openHAB

More and more new cool devices and technologies arrive at our homes every day. But though they are all aimed at enhancing our lifestyle they all lack one important feature: a common language they could speak to each other to create a really automated and smart environment at home. The main goal of openHAB is to provide an integration platform to fix this issue.

What is openHAB?

openHAB is a software for integrating different home automation systems and technologies into one single solution that allows over-arching automation rules and that offers uniform user interfaces.

This means that openHAB

is designed to be absolutely vendor-neutral as well as hardware/protocol-agnostic
can run on any device that is capable of running a JVM (Linux, Mac, Windows)
lets you integrate an abundance of different home automation technologies into one
has a powerful rule engine to fulfill all your automation needs
comes with different web-based UIs as well as native UIs for iOS and Android
is fully open source
is maintained by a passionate and growing community
is easily extensible to integrate with new systems and devices
provides APIs for being integrated in other systems

 

[emphasis added]


Edited by @~thehung, 05 June 2017 - 02:31 PM.

no pung intended

#8 Mac Dude

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 04:19 PM

Thanks for the feedback!

I hadn't really thought about home automation really being an IoT discussion, but obviously it is.

I like the idea of build-your-own. The key is deciding on the right platform. There are some standards that don't force you down a one vendor solution and that's what interests me. Given the differing level of maturity I'd say that my automated home of the future will include a mix of custom stuff and OOTB solutions - some things just aren't worth re-inventing while others must be built from the ground up to get exactly what you want.

Thanks for the links, I have a lot of reading in front of me which is great :)

As for what use I'll put any research, I have two projects in mind - our current place which will be where I can experiment, and another home which we will renovate and move into in about 4 -5 years time. The second house gives us more scope to build in technology where required.
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#9 Jeruselem

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 05:53 PM

My employer can build those based on c-bus systems but it would cost a fortune with just hardware, let alone programming.

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#10 scruffy1

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 07:17 PM

i'd like fuzzy logic switching, so i can tell a voice control things like :

 

"make the room a little warmer"

or

"turn down the lighting, and make it less blue"

 

it ain't here yet

 

however, in retrospect when i had dimmers fitted to lots of house lights, which are shite with led (strobing is horrible when you go low),i wish i'd left the 240v fittings and bought a case of these - https://www.banggood...-p-1039841.html

 

the max brightness could be better, but the range of  hues they can manage is quite good, and the dimming is excellent

 

compared to phillips version (extortion), they are the bargain of the century

 

occasionally they go bunta and you need to reboot with some bluetooth gymnastics, but by and large the one i have in the living room is sweet  :)


Edited by scruffy1, 05 June 2017 - 07:17 PM.

ummmmmmmmmmm............


#11 Mac Dude

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 11:04 PM

Found out about Home Assistant. Like OpenHAB but a less mangled language it seems.

The plot thickens.
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#12 Nich...

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 04:08 AM

The last I looked into it, a couple of years back, it was mostly looking at climate control type stuff, Nest vs other options.

Security from outside intrusion vs ease of use seems to be a bigger problem than most other domains, because yeah, who wants to come home to their fridge being turned off or etc.
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#13 Mac Dude

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 07:32 AM

The last I looked into it, a couple of years back, it was mostly looking at climate control type stuff, Nest vs other options.Security from outside intrusion vs ease of use seems to be a bigger problem than most other domains, because yeah, who wants to come home to their fridge being turned off or etc.


Yeah it's the automation of heating/cooling and security that most interest me, though as you point out the importance of home network security becomes even more important.
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#14 Jeruselem

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 08:58 AM

Wireless encryption really needs to improve before I'd use a wireless system.

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#15 twinair

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Posted 07 June 2017 - 11:25 AM

Wireless encryption really needs to improve before I'd use a wireless system.


http://www.zdnet.com...me-iot-devices/

Haven't time right now to search for any more recent information, but I will find some more soon.
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#16 Master_Scythe

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Posted 07 June 2017 - 12:44 PM

This might be up peoples allys

 

https://mycroft.ai/

 

 


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#17 twinair

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Posted 21 June 2017 - 02:38 PM

Well I have delved into the Apple HomeKit world.

I've bought some sensors for doors and garage. I'm going to introduce some switches, HD cameras and automated tasks. Basically, what ever I can automate.

Not sure how good or bad this kit is, but seeing as I have a large Apple ecosystem at home, makes sense to make use of my devices.

So far so good.


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#18 g__day

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Posted 21 June 2017 - 10:22 PM

Google SmartThings and the Groovy programming language for mobile apps for home Automation.

 

https://www.smartthings.com/

 

Seems to be a slick offering


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#19 Mac Dude

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Posted 21 June 2017 - 10:37 PM

Google SmartThings and the Groovy programming language for mobile apps for home Automation.
 
https://www.smartthings.com/
 
Seems to be a slick offering


Unfortunately not supported in Oz and if you import it there may be frequency problems...
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#20 Mac Dude

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Posted 24 June 2017 - 04:53 PM

Looking to dip the toe in with our new ducted heating.

While the Nest controller looks great, it doesn't really do zoning like we do unfortunately. Also there are some much cheaper Honeywell controllers that integrate with Amazon Echo(which we have) and IFTTT.
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