Posted on 11 Comments

SuperHouse Vlog #58: Wires NOT WiFi for home automation!

I get the same comment over and over again about my home automation system: “Why didn’t you just put an ESP8266 in it and use WiFi? You’re living in the past! Wires make it so hard!”

Not so fast, my friend. This video explains why in many situations, wires beat wireless.

11 thoughts on “SuperHouse Vlog #58: Wires NOT WiFi for home automation!

  1. Totally agree with your arguments. I wouldn’t say better.

    I came from the broadcast industry and I have no doubt that reliability in all environments are granted only by wire connections.

    Wifi might be easy and cheaper but I only consider them if I don’t have way/space to run the ethernet cable inside the wall.

  2. I’d love to hear your thoughts are options for controlling lights with hard wired connections beyond rewiring everything back to the breaker box.

  3. I trying to flash a SONOFF device using an Arduino IDE under Windows 7, and there isn’t PORT available when I select the board Generic ESP8266.

    Could you help me?

    Thanks,

    José

  4. Right up until the point when my Ethernet switch PSU failed with a faulty capacitor at the weekend I fully agreed. That brought an abrupt stop to my Arduino powered home monitoring solution that uses hard wired Ethernet whilst the wi-fi router carried on.

    1. It could just as easily have been the AP that failed 🙂

      You said it’s a faulty capacitor: is it one of the little blue Netgear desktop switches? I’ve fixed so many of those over the years.

      1. A Linksys 16-Port 10/100.

  5. Hi Jonathan,
    I just became a patreon subscriber to let you know how much I appreciate your work.

    I have 2 quick questions. I notice that none of your lighting circuits have dimming circuitry. Is this something that you are going to add in the future. Also, where did you buy your mains cabinet? I have been looking for a US compatible mains box that supports breakers and relays and have come up empty except for the occasional way over priced commercial gear.

    Regarding light dimming, all of my lighting circuits are 110v led bulbs and require a zero crossing circuit for proper arduino controlled dimming. I found a web site article that you might be interested in if you are planning on adding dimmer capabilities http://esp8266-projects.org/2016/04/mpdmv4-mains-dimmerswitch-html/ check it out.

  6. I totally agree with your arguments, but must admit that it is a bit much to compare controlling the light in a house via WiFi with against controlling a plane via WiFi… There are no human lifes directly involved when a light doesn’t turn on on a remote command 😉
    Overhere in the Netherlands we have concrete walls in most situations and we only have mains running through the walls to the switches and lightpoints. Modern houses might have additional dedicated leads for Ethernet but it will be hard to centrally switch all lights using relays due to how mains is installed in the house. And it is not allowed (offcourse) to run Ethernet in the same lead as mains.
    So that means I almost have no other option than using WiFi or 433Mhz; I prefer WiFi in that case. And make use of a dedicated AP only for the WiFi connected components.
    I have also read some articles (https://tech.scargill.net/esp8266-mesh-experiment/) about creating a Mesh network out of ESP8266’s to prevent reaching limitations of AP range and max amount of concurrent connections. But that concept is not stable yet…

    1. My point was that the solution should be appropriate to the problem. In many cases WiFi *is* the appropriate solution, and I use it a lot. But I constantly have people tell me that I *shouldn’t* have hard-wired because it would have been better to use WiFi.

  7. Absolutely agree! Sonoffs are great, but I’m tired of them randomly getting offline. If they just make the same but with a bald wired link! Jonathan, maybe you can recommend some ready-to-go wired solutions for home automation?

  8. Came across your youtube page and this site recently, on the lookout for an approach as I head into a refurb and extension project on a new house. I really enjoyed your switch controller build and the switches themselves are cool.

    I have to say though I don’t really buy your arguments here, especially for lighting control. A fully wired system is the way things were done when they was no alternative, going all the way back to the 70/80’s. It seems to me that as a hobbyist, which I assume both and your audience are, the exciting part of HA at the moment is all wireless based. Non wifi based networks like zigbeee and others seem to where the all the development effort is going. For lighting, the standard range now includes dimming and both white spectrum and colour changes, none of which are addressed in your wired projects (that I can see?). Projects like zigbee2mqtt.io are trying to break down the garden walls between proprietary systems and allow an intermingling of brands across switches and devices. Passive switches that can emit a signal just from the power generated by the action of pressing the button are available now, leading to the possibility that the house of the near future wouldn’t have *any* wires in the walls, let alone cat5.

    As a man who is obviously very handy with a soldering iron and putting together custom PCB’s – have you ever consider that old adage that to a man with a hammer, everything begins to look like a nail? 😛

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