Wi-Fi home automation
There are many automation systems in the market, but only one exclusively based on Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11) and oriented to a home environment: it is coming from the hand of CISIUM.
In this article we explain and provide the material for an open source and open hardware Wi-Fi Home automation system: our contribution to the community.
The principles of our proposal are:
- Easy to use, targeted for people without technical background.
- Without the necessity of any technician to install the automation system.
- Based on a standard wireless communication: Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11)
- Taking advantage of already exiting standard IT infrastructures: router, access points, etc.
- With smart phone / tables support and interaction.
- Capable to integrated 3rd party Wi-Fi devices.
There are other wireless solution in the market for automation, but usually they are based on proprietary wireless protocols or the commonly used ZigBee (IEEE 802.15.4). There's a big inconvenience with these protocols though: standard portable devices (iPhone, Android, etc.) doesn't have support for them!
In the ZigBee architecture a gateway / coordinator is required to act as a bridge to other networks. Therefore the portables devices should connect to it first in order to be able to access to the elements in your home automation system.
It is a solution, but definitely not straightforward and easy to implement as our principles wants.
Wi-Fi is a good compromise, many people are already familiar with it and know how to configure it, it is very standardized, the existing infrastructure is huge (home and street), is widely implemented in many portable devices and it is inexpensive.
The elements we can identify:
FlyPort and FlyPort Nest.
They implement the core of any node in the home automation system, it can read inputs (button, switches, potentiometers, etc.) and to activate outputs (LED, relays, etc.). It uses the microcontroller Microchip PIC24FJ256 and the Microchip MRF24WB0MA IEEE 802.11 – Wi-Fi Module.
D-Link Wi-Fi camera. It provides a useful feedback in order to have a view of your home automation system. It doens't make sense to develop a Wi-Fi camera when there are excellent and cheap ones already existing. Wi-Fi Router. A common Wi-Fi Router used to communicate with the devices and between them. Anyway, the FlyPort supports ad-hoc networking, therefore the communication could be also point to point without the necessity of any access point.
PC. The PC hosts the web server; you could use also any standard hosting on the cloud.
The present article provides all the required information for the implementation of the Wi-Fi Home Automation. It is available the user manual - with a detailed description - the source code for the FlyPort and the source code for the web server.
Hardware is implemented with prototype boards, therefore it is required to be adapted based on your necessities, like: how many inputs, number of outputs, nature of the inputs (analog, digital, signal conditioning, etc.) and outputs (power, signal, PWM, etc.) , display, etc. The web server is a beta software intended to provide a framework of development. It has to be published and to create an attractive user interface. Some features are not yet implemented. The firmware in the FlyPort, is not the final, some features should be added, like the PLC stand alone behavior. If you need help, or you want a complete solution you can reach out to us!