HAFT (Home Automation For Tenants)

Useful, affordable automation without any permanent house modifications

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A project to design a system of sensors and actuators to automate lighting and appliances around a home. Among the many home automation projects out there, this one is specifically aimed at situations where modifying the home (wall wiring, switches, replacing light fittings etc.) is not viable, and instead uses a combination of inline and battery operated nodes.

(WARNING - purely conceptual project at this stage)

This project is largely to fill an existing need - I rent my house, and can't exactly start rewiring fittings or switches to provide some decent monitoring or automation. As such, this project has two main goals:

  1. Be completely retrofittable, no house modification necessary (no holes in walls, doors, or rewiring things).
  2. Doesn’t require a significant initial investment in the system to start using the most basic functions (looking at you, Belkin)

To achieve this, we're looking at a similar basic topology to many existing systems - a central hub that acts as a bridge between the local WiFi network, and the much lower power, lower bandwidth mesh network that the automation nodes communicate on (fairly common in these systems). A separate low power wireless network is going to be critical to meet the goals, as many of the nodes that can't be powered from a wall socket will be battery powered by necessity (and who wants an automation system that requires running around the house changing it's batteries every couple of days?). We appreciate that there are plenty of systems already out there (a quick search on shows…..3218. Holy crap), and so a large chunk of the initial work will be reading through a bunch of those to try and see what can be reused. We'll also start looking at some existing hardware, to see how viable it might be to convert existing products.

A quick rundown on the sort of stuff we’ll be targeting first:

  • Standalone sensors (light, temperature, movement)
  • Inline IR transceivers (to control appliances)
  • Inline adapters for light sockets
  • A centralized networked control interface

All hardware and software designed as part of this project are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

  • Light Timer Adapter Teardown

    novirium04/23/2016 at 08:27 0 comments

    So, I found one of these at Bunnings a few days ago (AUD $20):

    It's an inline bayonet light adapter, capable of controlling the light on a timer after dusk. I had initially hoped that it had a built in motion sensor, but it's a more basic dusk/dawn detector. Dusk/dawn detection isn't particularly useful for me personally, but I figured it'd be interesting to see how a compact(ish) commercial product handles the task of supplying power to some control logic, as well as switching the load. Depending on what the internals looked like, I even had some hope that it might prove to be a simple conversion to fit a wireless transceiver module in there somewhere.

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