Home Automation Projects

I was always intrigued by the idea of automating the routine parts of my life. Over the years, I looked at different technologies and approaches, but I couldn’t find the approach that would be both simple and cheap and open to tinkering. Finally, thanks to a colleague, I discovered Arduino - an awesome platform supplemented by a lively community of makers. I’ve built quite a few Arduino-compatible devices and some of them are still chugging away.

More recently, I came a cross a SmartThings platform and so the bulk of my HA setup nowadays is based on ST. Although my own devices are still playing an active role.

Attic Fan Thermostat

Thermostat PCB

This is my first big project related to Home Automation. The Thermostat is Arduino-compatible and I built “from scratch” - design the schematics, PCB and the case.

I built it in 2011 and it has been controlling my attic fans without any glitches or even a single reboot ever since. The schematic is extremely simple: it’s just an ATMEGA328 microprocessor, a 5V voltage regulator, a few connections for digital sensors - temperature, relative humidity and barometric pressure - and a dry relay for switching a load. The thermostat can work either completely autonomously - monitor (and broadcast, if an optional ZigBee radio is connected) sensor readings and control the fan based on the hard-coded threshold. Alternatively, it can be controlled by a home automation system wirelessly. Theoretically, SmartThings could control the thermostat, but unfortunately the ZigBee radio I have connected to the thermostat right now is not 100% compatible with SmartThings.

Garage Parking Assistant

The Garage Parking Assistant serves the dual purpose: (1) it helps to park a perfect distance from the wall and (2) it feed the car presence data to the home automation system via the ZigBee wireless mesh network.

Weather Station (TODO)

The goal is to build a complete weather station from scratch - mechanics, electronics and software. The station should be completely solar powered, should communicate with the home automation system via the ZigBee wireless mesh network and should include the following sensors:

  • Temperature
  • Relative Humidity
  • Barometric Pressure
  • Light Sensor
  • Anemometer
  • Wind Vane
  • Rain Gauge

Optionally, it might include sensors for reading air quality, detecting certain pollutant, radiation, etc. Naturally, because the plan is to power it with a solar panel, the power consumption will limit what sensor will be practical to include in the final design.

March 6, 2013 |

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About Me

George Sudarkoff Climber of rocks, maker of things, husband of wife and father of kids. Manage DevOps @SurveyMonkey. Views are my own, but damn they are good views!