03/16/2016 at 12:46 •
I'm happy to report that the system has worked really well over the last couple of months. My wife has really taken to using the scheduling and really loves the weather display on the way out the door. As predicted the built in wifi ended up being too spotty for any streaming. I purchased an TP-Link Archer T1U nano wifi usb dongle and that works perfectly. We can now stream movies and watch the news online without any issues. It really helps to have some children's videos playing while making dinner. I'm still using Homegenie but have began the process of switching over to Home-Assistant. Home-Assistant works with the components I want to work with and is a bit easier to get up and running then OpenHAB. I don't mind the challenge of OpenHAB but I just do not have the time to commit to it at this point in time.
01/13/2016 at 13:16 •
It's been up and running for over a week and I just wanted to post my thoughts.
1) It's been adopted quite well by my wife and it's already proving to be very useful with grocery lists, appointments, and useful weather info on the way out the door.
2) While I've been using HomeGenie for the automation aspect, and I have no issues with it so far I'm still looking into openHAB. OpenHAB seems to support many more devices and have a lot more support. I just need to get past the initial learning curve since I do not have a background in anything relating to what I need to learn to make it work. I've started playing with the software on my laptop just until I can get it up and running. I'll transfer over to the panel once I'm confident in deploying it.
3) Wifi - The wifi on the mini pc is doing fine for the minimal amount of data required for its core functions, but it isn't capable of streaming a movie from my NAS or playing a stream online. I may look into a nano usb wifi dongle to see if that helps. The bluetooth doesn't seem to have any issues.
01/05/2016 at 13:36 •
Well I finally was able to mount the panel and complete the project last night! I Used some 3/4" aluminum angle mounted to the wall with toggle bolts. I drilled some holes through the top of the frame and through the angle and glued nuts to the angle over the holes. I would have liked to use jb weld or thicker angle and threaded it but this was all that was available. Since the screws will just be preventing the panel from falling off the angle I figured hot glue was enough to keep the nuts in place.
Once the angle was made I had to install the recessed outlet box. I wanted the panel mounted in a way that didn't show any wiring so a recessed tv box and a low profile power adapter would do the trick. I hardwired the outlet in the recessed box from the light switch below.
Once the outlet was wired and the angle mounted it was time to install the panel!
01/01/2016 at 19:50 •
i decided to try Homegenie for the home automation software and got it up and running fairly quickly. I also installed the Aeotec micro switch module to control my outside garage lights. The garage lights can only be switched from inside the garage and there's no access to the garage from inside the house. It has always been annoying to light the driveway with my garage lights until today!
Once the micro module was installed in the 2 gang switch box I "included" into the system with the z-stick. I added it as a module in Homegenie and it just worked. I'm really excited about this feature and can't wait to add some more home automation features. Here's a video showing the panel controlling the outside garage lights:
Next up is mounting the panel!
12/30/2015 at 17:18 •
I had been keeping track of my project with photo's and decided to post it here on hackaday. I've posted most of the work to date in the details section. As far was what's left:
1) Wall Mounting: Design the backing board for the display so I can securely flush mount onto my wall. I'm going to look for some 1/8" plastic sheeting today and some wall mounting hardware.
2) Power: Instead of running the cable to a plug located lower in the wall I might buy a recessed outlet kit such as this http://amzn.to/1ktxmoZ and run power to it from the lower outlet. Doing this would eliminate visibility on the cable and power adapter as it would sit directly behind the panel and minimize the chance that any little ones in the house will unplug and pull on the cable.
3) Home Automation: I need to experiment a little further with OpenHAB and see how it functions. I need to install the micro module in the garage and sync with the z-wave stick to see it up and running.
4) Sync: I need to add the family account to my wife's phone so she can start syncing and using the panel
1) Connectivity: I'm concerned about the BT and Wifi in the panel. As the modules are built into the Mini PC, and the Mini PC is enclosed behind the LCD screen there may be some issues. Since I have 2 USB ports on the side of the unit available I would buy some mini USB adapters for BT and Wifi to see if those work better
2) Appearance: I was hoping to have a cleaner appearance but the router diameter did not match the Mini PC and there's some slight gaps in that section. I do not have a drill press and as a result the LED/Buttons were not aligned perfectly straight. All in all I'm OK with the appearance but I had some higher hopes for the finished product. If I do another version I will focus more on aesthetics.
Possible future additions:
Sound: I currently use BT and pair the panel to a BT speaker in the kitchen. With various audio outputs available in this system (Mini PC and display control board both have audio out) I can add some speakers directly to the unit. I'm not sure how the sound will work by using small laptop size speakers in the system and currently the BT is working well.
Battery: The Mini PC has a built in battery but the display does not. I am thinking about installing a battery for the display. Power outages are minimal in my area so this would just be an exercise to learn some new things and being able to call it a diy "tablet".