Electrical conduit allows you to run cables outside, underground, and in other nasty places. Sometimes though you have to get cable into places that look impossible, such as under an existing concrete path or driveway that you can’t rip up. It’s not as hard as you may think. I used a technique called “water boring” to install a conduit under a concrete footpath in just a few minutes, without having to dig up the path.
One of the little time-saving tricks I use in my home automation system is setting the Ethernet MAC address automatically on each device. This saves having to set the address manually in the sketch of every device.
I’ve written it up in a tutorial on the Freetronics site:
I’ve found that the second-hand Ethernet switches I use in my home automation system have annoyingly loud fans, so I modified them to run the fans more slowly and connect to my Arduino-based environmental monitoring system.
I’m using Ethernet extensively in my Arduino home automation system for communication with devices distributed around the house, so being able to also provide power to those devices over the same network cable is a big time saver. Until now I’ve been using a “DIY” approach to Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) with midspan injectors sending about 10-12V down the wire, but I’m now converting it all over to use Netgear switches with 802.3af (48V) PoE support built in.
This episode covers some of the options for PoE with Arduino, and demonstrates how you can do it both in a cheap DIY method and using commercial PoE switches.
The automation switchboards in my house have Ethernet interfaces thanks to an EtherTen (just like an Arduino Uno, but with built-in Ethernet and PoE) mounted inside. This episode shows the switchboard internals, including how the EtherTens switch output loads around the house. It also shows the termination of the house network that starts out as a bit of a mess, but is much neater by the end of the video.
A basic introduction to the approach I’m taking with linking high-voltage devices in my house to the automation system, and how logical inputs are associated with outputs using MQTT.
Apology: The “threat” I attribute to Andy in the video is not something he’s ever said, or something I’d expect him to say. He’s a peaceful soul, and it was purely hyperbole on my part when I was recording the video!
If you’re just getting into home automation and go searching for Open Source HA projects, you’ll discover there aren’t any obviously dominant players – more a mix of partly-developed personal projects that aren’t very portable. Why is that?
As part of my SuperHouse home reno the entire house has been rewired, including replacing all the light switches with Freetronics Arduino-compatible control surfaces running on the LAN using Power-over-Ethernet. To save time assembling all the switches I designed a custom PCB for the control surface.
Early this year my family was flooded out of our house when water came through the ceiling during renovations, and we’ve been living in the recently built workshop at the back of the garage ever since. Well, last night the garage flooded as well. Oh joy. And to make it even more interesting, I learned a lesson never to leave running electrical equipment on the floor. Or to stand next to it, in water, while it’s running.
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