May 18, 2024

House automation is big proper now in shopper electronics, however regardless of the broad availability of merchandise in the marketplace, hackers and makers are nonetheless spinning up their very own options. It could possibly be as a result of their conditions are distinctive sufficient that business choices wouldn’t lower it, or maybe they understand how cheaply many automation duties will be carried out with at the moment’s microcontrollers. Nonetheless others go the DIY route as a result of they’re anxious in regards to the privateness implications of pushing such a system into the cloud.

Seeing what number of of you had been on the market brewing bespoke automation setups gave us the thought for this 12 months’s Home Sweet Home Automation contest, which simply wrapped up final week. We obtained greater than 80 entries for this one, and the competitors was fierce. Judging these contests is at all times exceptionally troublesome, as almost each entry is a standout accomplishment in its personal means.

However the judges solid forward valiantly, and we now have the highest three tasks which shall be receiving $150 in retailer credit score from the parents at DigiKey.

First: SCADA Good House

The judges finally gave the highest spot to this automation project from [stefan.schnitzer], which stands out by being designed across the Supervisory Management and Information Acquisition (SCADA) idea that’s mostly used to manage industrial processes. This multi-level hierarchy separates the bottom stage “discipline units” akin to environmental sensors and stepper motors for working valves from the higher stage supervisory units, which on this case are Raspberry Pis which host a visually putting HTML consumer interface that may be accessed from tablets or smartphones.

The documentation for this construct goes again a number of years, and it’s fascinating to learn via how completely different units had been introduced onto the system. The interoperability with OctoPrint, permitting the house automation show to point out variables akin to extruder temperature and time remaining, was a very good contact.

Second: 15 Years Of Automation

In an extraordinarily shut second is the awe inspiring automation system constructed up by [Bernard Kerckenaere] over the last 15 years. Whereas the challenge wasn’t documented in real-time (to be honest, didn’t exist in 2009), [Bernard] does a formidable job of explaining the origins of his system and bringing us up to the mark on how issues had been constructed out over time.

All of it begins with two kilometers of CAT6 being pulled all through the home, with a complete of 164 particular person runs. Simply 22 of these are used for TCP/IP networking, the remaining 122 are used to hold energy and information to sensors and units everywhere in the home utilizing RS-485. Every 24-port patch panel accommodates 4 Arduinos in customized PCBs to behave as intermediates between all the downstream units and the Raspberry Pi which runs the entire present.

By his remaining tally, the system consists of greater than 30 particular person sensors, 8 thermostats, 29 lights, 3 dimmers, 17 wall sockets, 6 blinds, two electronically locked doorways, plus the storage door. Oh, and there’s a centralized audio system that pumps tunes from the media server out to 10 audio system via 5 amplifiers. [Bernard] is certainly placing each meter of that CAT6 to good use on this system.

Third: Tablet Dispenser Robotic

In comparison with the large whole-house undertakings that battled it out for the highest two spots, this cute little bot might sound a bit misplaced. However the judges had been all all blown away by the incredible documentation [M. Bindhammer] put together for this challenge to assist with their remedy schedule.

Technically talking, simply the robotic’s central rotary mechanism may have gotten the job carried out. However the hope is that this extra anthropomorphic dispenser, full with an OLED show for a face and a speech synthesis module, could make a every day remedy routine a bit extra nice. There’s a transparent software right here for aged sufferers who might require extra frequent reminders about when and why they should take their medication.

Honorable Mentions

As traditional, we had a couple of particular classes for this contest. Along with their base numerical ranking, the judges had been advised to maintain an eye fixed out for tasks they felt finest exemplified the spirit of every one.

Creature Comforts: Good Residence Air flow

Consolation is essential in making the place you reside actually really feel like residence, so the Smart Apartment Ventilation system from [Nik Reitmann] was an ideal selection for this class.

Whereas he did have the power to manually management the air flow system in his condo, [Nik] wished to automate it so it might usher in recent air within the mornings and evenings as a mater of routine, and in addition kick on anytime the temperature began to get too excessive indoors. However being an condo, he couldn’t precisely rip out the outdated system — no matter he did needed to be detachable and make no everlasting adjustments to the built-in system.

By reverse engineering the air flow controller’s entrance panel, he was capable of sneak an ESP8266 into the combination and take management of the system as if the buttons had been being pressed bodily. He was even capable of pull energy from the wall mounted panel, so there’s no addition wiring wanted. With the brand new electronics housed in a 3D printed enclosure that surrounds the unique unit, it makes for an exceptionally clear set up.

Effectivity: Water Heater Automation

On account of an unstable native electrical infrastructure, [Rogan Dawes] was trying to maximize the effectiveness of his residence photo voltaic system. Noting that one of many largest vitality drains was the water heater, the purpose of this challenge was to automate the unit so it might modify the goal temperature of the water relying on the present energy state of affairs. For instance, if the grid is functioning and there’s ample energy, the water heater shall be set to its most temperature. But when the home is working on battery energy, the temperature shall be lowered to preserve vitality.

By way of {hardware}, [Rogan] is utilizing a Sonoff THR320 to manage the resistive factor within the heater, and an ATTiny85 to learn the present temperature through a thermistor. The standing of the house’s electrical system was already being monitored via the inverter, so all that was left to do was pull all the pieces collectively inside House Assistant.

Rube Goldberg: Palms Free Chess Clock

Whereas there’s one thing to be mentioned for conserving issues easy, it’s no secret that we’re huge followers of the convoluted right here at Hackaday. If there’s a extra advanced method to do one thing, we’re all about it. This automatic chess clock from [Mykolas Juraitis] is a very tremendous instance. Not everybody wants a CUDA-enabled chess clock working on a NVIDIA Jetson Orin Nano, however for those who’re the sort of one who takes their sport severely, you’ll actually respect its options.

The speedy single-board laptop, particularly designed for machine studying functions, powers each voice and picture recognition software program. You possibly can function the clock utilizing pretty advanced voice instructions, and due to OpenCV, it’s capable of monitor the method of the sport and run it via a chess engine to find out who’s at the moment successful.

All The Information: Cell House Energy Monitoring

With vitality prices on the rise, it’s changing into extra necessary than ever to maintain an in depth eye on your own home’s utilization. However what if your own home isn’t tied down to 1 spot, and there’s no everlasting grid wiring to faucet into?

That was the distinctive state of affairs that [Tom Goff] needed to face when his father-in-law requested him if there was a means he may see how much energy his RV was using when plugged in on the camp website. This referred to as for a system that could possibly be simply eliminated and put in, was sturdy sufficient to deal with life on the street, and naturally, able to safely dealing with 230 VAC.

The ensuing system does the heavy lifting with an ESP32 and a PZEM-004T electrical vitality monitor module, with an OLED show to point out data on the entrance panel. However the true killer function right here is the Bluetooth connection, which is tied to a smartphone software. This lets the consumer examine their present vitality consumption with out having to go bodily have a look at the field.

Whereas it was designed for RVs and cellular houses, it’s not onerous to see how the electronics could possibly be used to watch the vitality utilization again at residence. You wouldn’t technically want the heavy obligation enclosure in that case, however it does make the set up look that rather more skilled.

Retrofit: Good Underfloor Heating Controller

Lastly, we’ve the Smart Underfloor Heating Controller from [Red Tuka]. This impressively engineered improve provides distant management capabilities to an current heat water heating system by working the dozen valves which direct water all through the home.

That is achieved with twelve MOSFETS, that are in flip related to the board’s ESP8266 through a MCP23017 I2C I/O expander. As well as, for every valve there’s additionally a DS18B20 temperature sensor that connects up alongside the right-hand aspect of the board. Whereas there’s rather a lot taking place on this one PCB, [Red] did a wonderful job of conserving all of it orderly, and we particularly just like the standing LEDs for the valve MOSFETS.

New Yr, New Challenges

Didn’t get time to enter this contest? Is residence automation not your factor? No worries — that is simply the primary of many contests we’ll be working in 2024. We promise there shall be loads of alternatives to get some free components out of the tremendous of us at DigiKey over the 12 months is over.

Keep tuned to Hackaday for the announcement of our subsequent contest shortly.