Automating my home on the cheap, wired automation


(caleb bullock) #1

Hello everyone,
I have recently built a new home in australia, nsw. I am an electrician by trade so I Wired the house myself. I had hopes of making everything in the home connected but at the time of the build I hadn’t decided on a controller but I had an idea in mind of what I wanted to achieve which is:

-all lights controlled by any device in the home (phone, tablet etc)
-simple and easy to use interface
-reliable
-easy to add devices, different brands
-cheap

I wanted to wire the house so I could use whatever type of hub I chose to fit. So this is what ive done so far;

-data cabinet, located in the garage
-cat 5e cable ran to each switch
-Each switch is wired as a 2way switch to a 5v relay (located behind each switch) which uses the cat 5 cable for power and control

I discovered the smartthings hub, It ticks most of the boxes for me and it was cheap, I like the way it connects most of my things easily and they are easily controlled. The hub is located in the data cabinet which is connected to my gateway.

What I now need help with is choosing and configuring a device that has multiple inputs and outputs at a reasonable price. I’m after something like an arduino board that I can connect to smartthings and configure it in such a way that each pin will act as a thing. Ie i want pin 5 to show up as dining room light, and toggle it on and off using smartthings. I was hoping for an 8 or 16 channel ethernet relay board that Could intergrate with smartthings. I am no good at coding but I can handle the hardware side of things. I will upload photos soon so you can see what I’m achieving.


#2

Sounds like a cool project!

You probably already know this, but just in case not, the SmartThings hub uses the US zwave frequency, not Australia’s. I know in New Zealand it’s illegal to use the US frequency for home use, but I don’t know about Australia. SmartThings can also talk to zigbee devices, so that’s another alternative. More in the following topic:


#3

Meanwhile, most of the people using Arduino with SmartThings discuss projects in the following topic. There’s some community-contributed code to jumpstart development, and I’m sure people would be happy to help with code once you find a panel you like.

Also, this FAQ might be of interest as an overview of how you would install code someone gave you:


(Keith Croshaw) #4

If you guys have cheap remote control holiday light outlets down there like we do around christmas time, I integrated them pretty easily with the Smartthings shield.


(Like these)

I don’t have a nice write up yet, waiting on a case for my arduino + lazy. PM me if you’re interested in parts, code, instructions.


(caleb bullock) #5

That sounds like a great idea! i wouldnt mind intergrating my front door lock, it works in a similar way with an RF remote. I’ll pm you about the code.


(caleb bullock) #6

Thanks for this one JDRoberts, I am having a play with the arduino and thingshield now. hope I can figure it out, I am however, stuck on step 1: “download the entire ST_Anything repository” Where the heck do I download this from?! I’ll keep looking and see how I go. Thanks


(David Creed) #7

Hi Caleb,

I believe this is the link you are looking for:

I use the ST_Anything project currently to control and monitor a number of things in my garage, basement and soon to be implemented upstairs to control ceiling fans and additional lights. I would highly recommend utilizing an Arduino Mega2560r3 if you are not currently, it will allow you to control many more devices reliably.

Good choice on wiring everything with Cat5e, that should provide a good connection for everything. I’m not sure of the maximum length that the 5V signal will work. I think the longest run I currently have is about 10m.

Good luck, and keep us updated with your progress.

Cheers,
David


(Keith Croshaw) #8

If you’re looking to replicate RF I have a much more simple version than ST_Anything, just PM me if you’re still interested. Also depends on if your RF codes can be intercepted by the rc-switch library.


(Jared) #9

Post pictures, Caleb!