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Smart Home

Discussion in 'Lifestyle Management' started by Jenny TipsforME, Feb 27, 2018.

  1. Jenny TipsforME

    Jenny TipsforME Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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  2. Ryan31337

    Ryan31337 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Great blog post @Jenny TipsforME :)

    I've been a big enthusiast of home automation for many years, its great to see it finally reaching the masses. The advent of the far-field microphone arrays and cloud-powered speech recognition in Amazon Alexa/Google Home is a real game changer for intuitive voice control, they've also given great platforms for all the different equipment manufacturers to provide unified support for.

    I get the most use out of it when controlling home cinema equipment (another passion of mine), being able to sit back and just say "turn on cinema" is a lot easier than closing the curtains, turning off the main lights, turning on the side lights, lowering the screen, turning on the projector, turning on the amplifier, setting the right channel.. etc.

    Some everyday automation aspects I find useful are having curtains open/close at dusk/dawn. Also having motion or pressure sensors to enable 'corridor lighting', i.e. low-level lighting that switches on/off as you move around - especially helpful for moving around at night and to stop me forgetting to switch lights off. I also monitor power usage on appliances, so I can be alerted when the washing machine has finished, stuff like that.

    Heating controls are good, boiler level control works well. I dabbled with room-level control by adding radio thermostatic valves to the radiators but I have quite an open-plan layout so I couldn't really isolate the heat output properly. One DIY project I really want to find the time to do is temperature monitoring of my bed with feedback to an electric heated sheet. Currently the heated sheet on setting 1 isn't enough on cold nights, but setting 2 is too hot for all night long... and I always forget to turn the damned thing off in the morning :facepalm:

    Having tried lots of different devices over the years I am currently updating my systems around the Sonoff range of products: http://sonoff.itead.cc/en/

    They have a decent range that is really very good for the price (considerably cheaper than big name brands). What appeals most to me is they're also very easy to modify, if you're a big techie you can change their software easily and do things exactly how you want without relying on the internet + other company's servers :cool:

    Ryan
     
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  3. Jenny TipsforME

    Jenny TipsforME Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    @Ryan31337 I love the idea of automated home cinema. That’s giving me expensive ideas for the bedroom renovations!

    I hadn’t thought about automated electric blanket. You’d need one either designed for it or with a physical on switch which can be left on. It could be linked via a smart plug to either a temperature sensor, or more crudely an IFTTT recipe based on outside temperature.
     
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  4. Ryan31337

    Ryan31337 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Ah ha, be careful, it is a money pit!!

    The heated sheet I have has a manual slider switch for temperature settings. My original plan would be to leave the sheet powered permanently and use a simple microcontroller to short the appropriate connection on the slider switch to change temperature setting. I would also have a temperature probe connected to the microcontroller and placed under the sheet to give the current temperature for feedback.

    Now I think about it, this is a good example of why the Sonoff range is so excellent. Instead of going to all that trouble of hacking the switch, writing custom code etc. you could just use one of the Sonoff relays that includes a temperature probe.

    Set the heated sheet switch to a higher temperature. Have the Sonoff relay control the mains power to the heated sheet. Put the temperature probe under the sheet. Then use IFTTT (or your own servers if running your own Sonoff firmware like me) to tell Sonoff to simply toggle the mains power on/off to maintain the desired temperature. The temperature might end up a little more saw-toothed, but it should work OK :nerd:

    I do enjoy over-engineering things :laugh:
     
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