Particle Photon Home Automation

Enable phone and web app control of 16 station sprinkler, internal lighting, household appliances, at my vacation home.

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The heart of this project is the Particle Photon. Custom PCB modules, 3D printed enclosures, Android SW, and web front ends were developed to allow remote control of certain household functions. Projects included in-wall switch modules, inline switching "bricks" for plugged lights/appliances, and a 16 station "precipiSTATION" sprinkler control module.

Schematics, gerber files for PCBs, and parts lists with Digikey links are available. Autodesk Inventor solids model files, associated .stl files for the 3D printed enclosures are available. App Inventor 2 Android app code and web page files are available. Documentation/files are located at

Available on Tindie at

The in-wall switch module has a custom PCB mounted inside a 3D printed shell, and includes a 120 VAC to 5 VDC switcher, a relay, and a Spark Core microcontroller with Wi-Fi. The prototype uses a mechanical switch for direct switching but the goal is to make that a capacitive proximity detection sensor by the end of the project. It all fits in a standard US in-wall outlet box. This module and its SW are working now. Warning - all of this was designed considering voltage creepage and circuit separation of high voltage and low voltage circuits and is believed to be completely safe but keep in mind none of this is UL approved.

The Wi-Fi enabled inline switch provides Wi-Fi control of plugged in lights or appliances. This module uses the same PCB as the light switch above but has an enclosure akin to a low wattage power brick. Power in is via a 3 prong IEC cord. Power out is via a standard US 120 VAC NEMA plug. The module is designed to support switching a full 15 amps (traces and ounces of copper are there). This module and its SW is working now.

The 16 station Sprinkler control PCB uses the 24VAC input for the sprinkler solenoids to power itself, and drive the sprinklers based on control data from an Android app. This module has been bread boarded and works and is now being tested. It will be packaged in a waterproof commercially sourced enclosure.  The Android app uis about half done.

The landscape lighting control uses several inline switch modules along with 12VAC transformers to control the LED landscape lighting.

On the software side, Android apps have been developed using MIT’s App Inventor 2 graphical programming language (App Inventor was started at Google and picked up by MIT). It is relatively easy to use and allows you to create okay looking apps without knowing any Java or Android internals (I do not know Java or Android). There are great tutorials for it that provide excellent sample applications.

I started this project off simply because I needed to control things from afar at a vacation home. But might as well submit it for the Hackaday prize. And hopefully some of you will find the circuits, enclosure designs, and apps useful.   Should begin posting files etc in the next week or so.

  • Finally, Something to Show

    Joe Menard02/26/2015 at 00:10 0 comments

    So I started this project long ago and was only able to sporadically pay attention to it. I finally got it mostly done and have created a website that has better descriptions, more thorough documentation, as well as schematics, PCB design files, parts lists, firmware, android app code, 3D print CAD designs, etc.

    You can find all this at my website As I say on that site, I am sure there will be an error or three that I have carelessly missed, hopefully only in documentation or web site operation creation. I have all of these working so presumably the designs are sound.

    The Light Switch and Power Brick have very dangerous voltages inside (170 VDC) - if you choose to try them, be VERY VERY careful as these voltages are lethal. The sprinkler controller (named precipiSTATION) is low voltage and safer. It is a fairly full function controller, and has some level of complexity in its firmware and android app as a result.

    Everything is open source under the MIT license (except precipiSTATION which is trademarked).

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Brooks Nelson wrote 03/21/2016 at 18:26 point

I am starting on a landscape lighting project.  I am hoping to use an Arduino.

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Greg wrote 11/13/2014 at 16:38 point
Any progress on this?

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iblinguist wrote 09/02/2014 at 16:45 point
I'm really looking forward to the completion of this project. I have been searching the web for just this project, but hoping it would have been more mature :) Thanks!

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