05/17/2016 at 13:23 •
After almost 2 years in operation and development the current version of project Noah has reached its end. This undignified end did not come because of any hardware failure or software issues but because of a single unavoidable action.... we moved.
Yes, I had to pack up and leave for a bigger house needing to take 8 year's worth of carefully installed infrastructure with me. Now this move in itself could have been considered a project and after all the cut wires, hundreds of cable ties, meters of trunking and hours of disassembling I realized something profound....
A home automation system built by and for an electronics enthusiast is a deeply personal and customized system. It is something that gets done because we get wrapped up in the idea of how cool it would be to automate things and to use this collective knowledge and power we have over electricity to bend daily things to our will. We get so wrapped up in features and ideas that we miss out on some fundamental principles of what we really wanted to accomplish. I have yet to find or come up with a system to beat the simplicity and reliability of the humble light switch.
It is this simplicity, reliable and transparent operations of something like a light switch that we need to strive for. A true home automation system should not be VISIBLE, it should not have to be ASKED to complete a simple task, it should not require a university degree to WORK with and control, it should not CONSUME more power and resources to implement than a simpler solution, it should above all else be SECURE.
It is with this wisdom that I now stand in my new home rethinking my approach to home automation. Until such time as I have a better solution I will continue to flip a switch Ad infinitum.
As a last word I would encourage anyone attempting to build their own system to do so as it will teach you a wealth of knowledge about many disciplines you rarely get doing any other project. But do not get lost in the implementation and forget about the end goal ... simplicity.
11/13/2014 at 10:51 •
It's been a while since I have posted anything on the project. I've been busy with another set of projects so haven't gotten around to updating this one. Still testing the Noah unit and finding allot of software bugs I need to sort out. But the system is running in an acceptable manner as I can control all 8 outputs from my phone using SMS.
I still need to implement a SMS return that will show what is turned on and what isn't. Also working on porting the interface to the web instead of a fixed Java app.
So much work and so little time. Sometimes I wonder how the guys do it that whip out a home automation system in a months time....
07/30/2014 at 21:10 •
Finally got the time to update on the installation over the weekend. After some teething problems related to me and 220VAC I successfully rewired everything from the old system into the network cabinet and connected it to the new Noah unit.
Some will notice that this unit is called the NoahPi Node. This is simply done because the Noah system is already paired with a RaspberryPi for control and will eventually form part of multiple nodes I will be installing at my home and the office as well as as a remote site.
For those interested in how I made the front panel I will add some instructions in the instructions section on creating the front panel.
Below the obligatory installation photos. WARNING: Never mess with your house wiring unless you are qualified to do so or have a friend that happens to be a certified electrician nearby to assist.
07/28/2014 at 12:06 •
Installation over the weekend was successful. Still playing around with the pictures but will upload them soon. In the mean time I have created the system diagram. As with all weekend project this was done after the system was actually created but o well...
The idea with Noah is to have a board you can control using something as simple as a computer and modem or create a unique networked node you can deploy anywhere with a internet connection and control it from a central control application/website.
I have the SMS controller software up and running but the advanced app still needs a viable front end to work. Below is the system design as well as a few pictures of the SMS app and the Advanced Node client.
Some of the application screenshots:
07/26/2014 at 21:09 •
Got my new camera today (Canon EOS 1200D) so I updated the images on the project page with a few higher res images. I also added some photos of the enclosure assembly below.
From the photos you will notice allot of perspex being used because I love working with it. I use it as mounting surfaces, front panels, standoffs or anything else I that needs easy reshaping to fit a specific purpose.
It is especially nice for creating front panels because its hard enough to provide a solid panel and soft enough to easily drill and shape holes like the one I did for the LCD.
07/25/2014 at 06:31 •
The burn in test completed without any issues this morning. All the inputs and outputs work in the basic firmware. LCD also displaying nicely. The 12V battery charged from empty to full capacity overnight without adding any stress to the input regulator. Looks like we are go for installation tomorrow after I complete the rewiring of my cables to the network cabinet.
Below is a photo of my aging Noah V0.1 system that I will be replacing. It's been running for about 4 years now. I never took really nice quality photos so apologies in advance. Also this is before the extra outputs and sensors where connected.
This is where I will be installing the new Noah V0.2 unit. My network cabinet upstairs nicely positioned for neatly wiring in the new cables.
07/24/2014 at 06:31 •
Finally got around to adding my first Hackaday project. I never realized exactly how much work goes into posting details about a project like this. Descriptions, details, documentation and allot of writing. It appears I came here somewhat unprepared.
Anyway I am currently running the burn in and safety tests on Noah (because you know safety, house wiring and 220V AC go hand in hand). Once everything passes and I installed it into my house over the weekend I will finish creating the projects page at my website and make the software and hardware available to all.
Keeping fingers crossed.