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The Moteino Framework

Automation framework based on wireless Moteino nodes.

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This project was created on 07/30/2014 and last updated 7 months ago.

The Moteino automation system is a decoupled framework of internet connected things designed to add convenience, monitoring, security and safety to a residence, living space and beyond. It is powered by a range of devices that are based on the Moteino wireless Arduino compatible development board. The small size and versatility enable you to build low power nodes that gather environmental data, or devices that control things in your home.

Overview video

Interface overview

This interface is maintained here.

Demo video (old interface)

Introduction and mission statement

I have long wanted to build my own automation framework for my residence. All existing solutions were either expensive, poorly designed, underperformant, bulky or not versatile enough for what I needed. So I created the Moteino, a low power wireless Arduino compatible based on the popular Atmega328p chip, that accepts RFM69W/HW/CW or RFM12B transceivers on reverse, is of SD card size, is wirelessly programmable and can fit in very small enclosures.

Among other things, I wanted this system to be:

  • Open source
  • Easy to build/replicate by those with some Arduino experience
  • Easily extensible and customizable
  • Inexpensive compared to other systems like Z-wave and Zigbee
  • Use common parts/sensors that are easy to source
  • Main components should have a very simple design, no exotic or complex frameworks/compilers
  • Easy to scale and hardware build with manufacturability in mind

Sample integrated devices

Once I tested a few revisions of the Moteino and I had a robust revision, I started conceptualizing several devices that would make it easy to monitor or control certain things like:

  • Mailbox via MailboxNotifier (aka MailboxAlert or MailMote). This little sensor box can run for many months on a small LiPoly battery and reports back motion detected at the mailbox, battery level, and the last time the mailbox was opened. It became one of the most loved Moteino based devices at our house, and very popular blog project. The love for this device grows more with every Michigan winter storm. Thank you MailboxAlert!
  • Garage door via GarageMote. This device can detect the garage doors position (open, closed, unknown), and trigger an open/close action. Very useful on those stressful days when you wonder if you closed the garage.
  • The sump pump mote via an ultrasonic sensor. Going on vacation? If your sump pump fails you could come home to a few feet of water, so better safe than sorry.
  • Motion via the MotionMote. Care to know when there's motion in your house when there shouldn't be any? Me too!
  • Lights via SwitchMote. Swap your current mechanical light switches with SwitchMotes and control your lights wirelessly in addition to the new push button. They work at 120-250V but are designed to fit US electrical boxes.
  • Water meter via a photo reflective sensor. Useful to monitor water usage for potential pipe breaks or water leakage.

System design

Artistic diagram

Self imposed requirements

To make it truly useful, flexible and secure, I imposed several critical requirements for my Moteino automation framework:

  • Remote SSL secured control. The RaspberryPi gateway computer can relay a SSL secured web interface to the internet allowing the owner to check status and take actions from anywhere on the internet.
  • Real time updates. Secure sockets allow the remote interface to receive real time updates from the Pi gateway. No more boring browser refreshes.
  • Wireless over-the-air programming of critical devices or those enclosed in difficult locations (especially the SwitchMote which is wired to mains and attached in electric boxes behind covers).
  • Use the RFM69's hardware AES128bit encryption for secure wireless communication
  • Allow Email/SMS/Pushover notifications
  • The central Moteino+RaspberryPi gateway computer has to survive a power outage and continue to receive critical messages from battery operated nodes such as MotionMote.
  • Components have to be easy to source, manufacture and system easy to scale. The network can be extended with new Moteino based devices at any time without changing the topology or disturbing existing devices.

RFM69 library

I've spent several weeks developing the RFM69 library which I made free and open source, is now widely used in RFM69 based projects, and now also forked/used in several other THP entries. I'm very happy others found my work useful and I applaud project such as the Reactron Overdrive and PlantFriends which used Moteinos (or clones) and...

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  • 2 × Moteino The heart of the "Moteino Framework". A little SD-card sized breadboard friendly, wireless equipped, atmega328p based development board. Would need at least 2 to make a framework of things. Also a USB version is available and the new MoteinoMEGA for larger more memory intense projects.
  • 1 × RaspberryPi This is my choice for this framework and was used to develop the central gateway that communicates with the rest of the Moteino Framework and also delivers secure websockets and live updates to internet clients.
  • 1 × MotionMote and MailboxNotifier Itself a kit of several components, makes up a truly wireless low power motion sensor.
  • 1 × SwitchMote Kit Use a few of these to replace your traditional light switches and sync your lights or control them from the internet.
  • 1 × GarageMote Kit Install one on your garage door, add a Moteino and your garage is on the internet!
  • 1 × PowerShield and HC-SR04 ultrasonic sensor The HC-SR04 needs 5V so I used a PowerShield to provide that from a LiPo battery. This is for the sump pump sensor and a parking assist project that I may also add details later. and
  • 1 × EE-SY310 photoreflective sensor This is for reading the water meter, might also work for analog electric meters.

Project logs
  • Gateway Dashboard Overview

    04/17/2015 at 15:11 0 comments

    I've been talking about a new gateway interface for a while in the forum. I will release more details and the source code soon.

    This content will be updated and improved on the dedicated Moteino Gateway page where all the source code and details will be published as they become available.

    This is a work in progress and I encourage discussion, suggestions, bug reporting in the dedicated forum I created for this and all gateway related topics.

    UPDATE: code has been posted:

    Here's a video overview and some screenshots below with graphs and other available features:

    Here are some more screenshots:


  • Automating the DoorBell via Moteino

    04/15/2015 at 12:42 0 comments

    I've added my doorbell to the Moteino Framework!
    That means I can:

    • observe/count/graph when the doorbell is used
    • get notified when someone rings it if I am not at home (email, SMS etc)
    • play a sound when I am in my lab where I have a hard time hearing the chime (did I hear it or not? should I go upstairs to check? nah… I'm too lazy busy for that)
    • ring the bell if I want to, *remotely* from your mobile device (why not right? just detecting is too boring)

    Below is a schematic of what a typical wired door bell circuit looks like, and also a photo of what it looks like in my house. The dotted green rectangle is the circuit that I have physical access to – pictured next to it in my basement (and I don't have a back door button):

    I have a single button (front door) and probably most houses do. So I only care to inject my solution for that front door button. There is typically a 16VAC transformer powered from mains that activates the chime when the switch is pressed. So there are a few issues to solve in order to tap into this circuit, detect button presses and also being able to control it via Moteino:

    • Power our circuit from the 16VAC doorbell transformer. This is a good exercise to create a DC power source from an AC source. We'll use a simple half wave rectifier to achieve this
    • Detect when this 16VAC current flows through the wire coming from the outside button. When the button is pressed, the chime will ring and our circuit detects the AC current and outputs a digital HIGH for the Moteino input pin that monitors it
    • Make the Moteino "press" the door bell button when it receives a "RING" wireless message

    Getting DC from a 16V-AC source and also detecting AC current on a Moteino digital pin are probably the most interesting problems to solve for this project. We can use a H11AA1 chip to detect AC zero-cross, and then manipulate that signal with a transistor and capacitor to get a constant logic "HIGH" that we can read on a Moteino pin (that will detect when the doorbell push button is pressed). Here is the H11AA1 output and the resultant logic HIGH after adding a transistor+cap to invert and smooth the signal:

    Here is the whole schematic and installed circuit:

    And a graph of doorbell events on the yet-to-be-released Moteino Gateway Interface:

    To see the details I explain the build step by step in the detailed blog post.

  • New ATXRaspi R2.6 with reboot function

    03/09/2015 at 14:25 0 comments

    The new ATXRaspi R2.6 (or R2.5 marked with blue dot) brings reboot functionality in addition to the shutdown function present since inception. See video above for a complete review and demo.

    The differences are the following:

    • to reboot: hold the button pressed for at least 0.5s and and less than 2s. The button backlight will dim once the reset threshold is met. Release the button and ATXRaspi will emit a 500ms HIGH pulse on the SHUTDOWNsignal pin. It will then blink the button backlight for up to 1 minute while waiting for the Pi to reboot and the BOOTOK signal to be restored by the shutdowncheck script (to become HIGH again).
    • to shutdown – nothing changes: hold the button at least 2s. As before, the button backlight pulses slowly while the Pi shuts down. Once the shutdown is complete and BOOTOK signal goes LOW, ATXRaspi waits a few more seconds and cuts power off to the Pi.

    The install script was updated to support the reboot function and is backward compatible with all previous ATXRaspi revisions. Here's a photo of the required wiring to the GPIO and an example wiring of the chrome button offered at the LowPowerLab shop:

View all 18 project logs

Build instructions
  • 1

    The Moteino Framework is made up of many different devices that have their own build instructions. Each device has been linked in the description and in the logs to their own page on my blog where you will find instructions, sources, guides. Most build instructions for the various projects can be found at and cab generally be accessed through the main menu.

    The Github repositories containing source code, eagle files, and any CAD/visual data are found here.

See all instructions

Enjoy this project?

anthony.webb wrote 09/28/2014 at 21:58 point
One of the real critical components to a project like this is the packet/msg design and how to identify devices and their properties on the network. This may be beyond the scope of the this HaD project, but have you given any thought on on the packet/msg protocol that the devices would use to share state, etc? I presume you have something you are using in your own project, is it something you would be willing to share?

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Felix Rusu wrote 09/28/2014 at 23:56 point
That would be more of a transport/app layer, you can certainly do that. What I mainly provided was a network layer. You can implement a struct kept in EEPROM that describes the physical properties and description of a node that can then self publish. I did something like that for SwitchMote - see the SwitchMote config sketch:

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[this comment has been deleted]

Felix Rusu wrote 09/28/2014 at 01:01 point
Thank you sir, I appreciate your comments :)
My best wishes to you as well!

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David Cook wrote 09/19/2014 at 04:30 point
Hey Felix,

Thanks for including LoFi in your architecture log posting (I see its distinctive yellow pigtail poking into one of your pictures). I appreciate all of the hard work you’ve put into Moteino over the years, including the many revisions, and extensive support. I hope it is selling well for you.

Even though we are competitors in this event, we obviously share the same passion. If you are ever in Chicago, drop me a line so we can meet up.

Best of luck,


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Felix Rusu wrote 09/20/2014 at 14:30 point
Hey David, thanks for your thoughts. You're actually far ahead in the competition (vote wise), and you've put a fair amount of work, congrats. It's about less than 1.5 years since I started making the first Moteinos so not very long. I love Chicago but we end up driving there only when we have friends over who've never been and they want to go with us. Thanks for the invitation :)

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Richard Johnson wrote 09/13/2014 at 03:00 point
Nice project.
How open is the network of the devices?
Is it possible to be hacked? I don't like RF control systems for this reason.

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Felix Rusu wrote 09/13/2014 at 16:20 point
You have a choice of AES128bit hardware encryption on the wireless transmissions. Then you can implement your own algorithms to avoid any potential replay attacks (which BTW would require a fairly high tech attacker).

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Eric Tsai wrote 09/03/2014 at 18:28 point
Hi Felix. I'm a fan of your RFM69 library, and use it in my own Hackaday project. Glad to see you on here! I've been using your RFM library to integrate wireless sensors into another home automation platform called OpenHAB, and it's been really great.

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Kenji Larsen wrote 08/25/2014 at 21:46 point
Congratulations, Felix, on being a THP semifinalist - you certainly deserve it!

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hneiraf wrote 08/24/2014 at 04:55 point
Moteino is definitively the best RF integrated Arduino clone.
I've tried others, but moteino is far the best option.

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Fernando Faria wrote 08/22/2014 at 13:21 point
Really nice project.

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Don Oldridge wrote 08/08/2014 at 21:39 point
Great project, it looks like it will address a number of problems, and make it easy to add new types of sensors and automation. Kudos on a well-documented project that looks great.

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Jasurbek wrote 08/05/2014 at 01:31 point
Very nice, can you measure the time of flight between two sensors ?

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Saxx wrote 07/31/2014 at 06:54 point
I have bought about 8 Moteinos and now use them as temperature and mumidity sensors around the house. I have connected one as a gateway to my server that logs temperature, humidity, uptime (Moteino battery life), RSSI and battery voltage. The data is uploaded to a MySQL database using my own API.

You can read about my projects on my (Not updated in a while tho...)

Now I'm making v3 of the logging system with display and barometric pressure in addition to the above mentioned.

Thanks for the Moteino and expect more orders from me :-)

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dickson wrote 07/30/2014 at 10:41 point
Rock star.

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