The following two videos explain what this project is supposed to do.
An interface conveys information and allows the user to control things. Most home automation platforms rely on a “virtual interface ”. You pull out a smart phone and open the app to see what’s going on with your house and turn lights on and off. That works OK when you’re away. But looking at a virtual representation and parsing the information on the display takes work. It requires focus, and doesn't feel intuitive.
I wanted to make a “physical interface” - a small model house that physically mimics the things I want to know about with my real house. So when the garage door is opened, I want the garage door on the model to also open. This model house could sit on my coffee table, and I can glance at it to see if the garage door has been left opened before going to bed. Or I can have this on my desk at work, connected to my home via VPN. When I’m at work, I can glance at it to see if the front door has been left opened. This physical interface can be as creative or as utilitarian as I make it.
So, in the following steps, I will
- Build a model house to display things like door position, energy usage, and whether a light has been left on.
- Build an energy monitor using the Open Energy Monitor Arduino library, and feed energy use information to the model house and to OpenHAB
- Provide a couple ways of sending door/window position to the model house. Show how the Wink Hub and the Wink "Tripper" contact sensor data can be utilized in a DIY home automation system.
- Use Wink and Arduino to perform outputs, like open/close the actual garage door or turn lights on and off.
The model house has some servos and LED's wired to an Arduino controller. This controller subscribes to MQTT messages that indicate door positions and energy usage, and actuates the servos accordingly. Same idea with the LED that indicates whether a light is on or off. There's a few options for getting this sensor information to the MQTT broker, so I'll detail that in later steps. In the middle of it all is a Raspberry Pi running a MQTT broker (Mosquitto) and OpenHAB. Although OpenHAB is not needed to run the model house, it is needed to provide the interface for the smart phone app, and allow remote monitoring and actuation. Just because I want to have a physical interface doesn't mean I'm ready to throw out the virtual one.
The model house also has two buttons. One of the buttons toggles a zigbee lightbulb on/off. The other button opens and closes the garage door (on the REAL house).
Part 1: House Construction
Part 2: Inputs (Sensors)
Part 3: Outputs