Home automation

Uber Home Automation w/ Arduino & Pi

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A few years ago, I became a dog owner for the first time. It was really hard leaving for work and having Cody in the kennel alone all day. I had a webcam on him, but I couldn’t watch it all day long. What if he was in some kind of distress? What if there was a emergency at the house, like a fire?

I wanted some way of getting an immediate email notification when he barks, or when something bad happens. So reading lead to tinkering, and tinkering eventually lead to making this full blown home automation system based on open source hardware (Arduino) and open source software (OpenHAB). I know I know, yet another “Arduino Home Automation” project, right? But I promise I’m not going to turn on a light from a smart phone. I’m more focused on extensive networked sensors, timely alerts, and aesthetically appealing presentation of events.

Here’s the basic idea. With Arduino, it’s really easy to connect boatloads of cheap sensors. Using this setup, that boatload of cheap sensors can now be on the internets. They can email you when things get too hot, too cold, too smokie, too gassy, or too bright. And your dog can email you by barking! You can also view the status of sensors on your smart phone. These sensor nodes are wireless, so you’re not constrained by the location of ethernet ports.

Here’s how it’s put together.

This Instructable will be a tutorial for how to build a variety of wireless sensors, and how to integrate these sensors with OpenHAB to get a system that fits into the way you naturally look for information. Aside from looking at a mobile app to see what’s happening, you’ll also receive timely email and audible notifications. This is a long Instructable, but you can jump to the sensor you’re interested in building.

These elements are the focus of the design:

  • Low Cost. Each sensor node costs less than $20 to make, so you can inexpensively scale up.
  • Flexibility. Arduino based nodes allow anyone to extend the system to their particular sensing needs. You’re not tied to only the examples I’m providing, even though I strive to provide many examples.
  • Very good reliability, up-time, and wireless sensor range.
  • I’m providing both a battery powered and wall-power sensor node design

So, here’s the list of sensors in this Instructable. I want to provide a home with the full range of human senses. Your home should be smart and sensitive…there’s a joke in there somewhere.

Dog Bark (Any Loud Noise) Sensor
Place this near the monitoring area to get email notifications of loud noise. I use it to get an email if my dog barks in the kennel, so that I can open up my kennel webcam and see why he barked. I’m lucky to have a dog that doesn’t bark very often, so when he does it usually is a cause for concern.

Washer-Dryer Sensor
Get an audio reminder when washer/dryer cycle completes - something like a “Washer Complete” announcement in the living room instead of playing a loud buzzer in the basement. No more forgetting laundry in the washer or wondering if it’s done yet. Check the status of the washer/dryer using the smart phone app, which also keeps track of whether the load has been picked up.

Light Sensor
Detect whether the light got left on or not. Displays the status of light on the smart phone app.

Area Intrusion Monitor
A PIR sensor monitors a room and sets off audio alarm / email notification when it senses a moving body.

Gas/Fire/Smoke Sensor
Although this should not be the primary fire alarm, it can be used to send an email notification to you when the sensor senses smoke, fire, or LP gas commonly used in gas-powered stoves.

Temperature / Humidity Sensor
Temperature and humidity is reported to the mobile app. Optionally, you can enable email notifications when temperature dips below/above some preset value. Helpful for detecting furnace or air conditioner failures. You can also view a chart of temperature data using OpenHAB.

Water Leak Sensor
Get an email notification and/or audio alarm when a water leak is detected.

Just kidding, I got nothing for taste. I just like that picture. A couple more sensors that don’t fit in neat categories.

Security - Door / Window / Drawer / Mailbox sensor
A battery powered reed-switch sensor that can set off an audible alarm, or send an email notification to your smart phone. Can be used to secure doors, windows, mailboxes, or drawers. It also logs the time the event happened, as well as the remaining battery capacity on the sensor.

Garage Door Monitor
This is handy if you can’t see your garage door. Use a smart phone to check whether your garage door is opened or closed. You can also set it to play an audio reminder at, say 10PM, if the garage door is still opened.

With these sensors, everything from your dog to your washer & dryer can be part of the Internet of Things in a practical and useful way.

If there is any other home sensing thing you’d like an example of, add a comment and I’ll try to get a sensor for it or use an existing sensor to fill the need. I’ve worked hard to add more sensors to the system because I want to have something for everybody. It’s only in the aggregate that this system makes sense - a bunch of one-off sensors don’t really create a coherent home automation project.

If you like this, please consider voting for me in the Instructable Contests using the vote button on the upper right. I would appreciate it.

Thanks for visiting my Instructable!

Step 1: Usage & Explaination

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I’ll start off with some videos explaining how this system works and how it can be used. If this is still interesting, the rest of the steps detail how to build it. You’ll see these videos repeated on the steps for the individual sensors. The home automation and “IoT” space is so fragmented right now that there’s a lot of cynicism about whether or not the smart home can work or is actually useful. Besides showing you how the system works, the videos help lend some credibility to the project.

1. Detailed Video Explaination

2. Wireless Laundry Room Sensor

**
3. Wireless Garage Door Monitor**

**

4. Wireless Uber Sensor**

**

5. Security - Wireless Door Sensor or Mailbox Sensor
**

There are a lot of “Arduino Home Automation” projects out there. My project is unique for the following reasons:

  1. Cheap - each sensor node is only $20, including the wireless transceiver.
  2. Flexible - I’m providing the design for wall-powered sensors as well as energy efficient battery powered sensors that can run for a year on 4xAA batteries.
  3. Best wireless solution - the RFM69HW in this project is energy efficient and has great range. Many other wireless solutions make compromises. Bluetooth is energy efficient, but poor range. Wifi has ok range, but can’t be battery powered for a year.
  4. Attractive and secure user interface - the OpenHAB UI is available as a mobile app (Android and iPhone), but is also accessible through any web browser. And the communication between the display device and the Raspberry Pi is done using encryption and authentication. So your home automation system stays private.
  5. Controls commercial products: If you happen to have Sonos speakers, Insteon lights/plugs, or z-wave at home, you can use OpenHAB to control those devices too. OpenHAB isn’t just for this Arduino project.
  6. Allows you to integrate any sensor to your automation needs. Commercial home automation system might not provide the niche sensing “thing” for which you have a need, maybe because your needs are unique.

The heat map below shows the range of the RFM69HW wireless transceiver used in this project. I produced the map using a GPS module connected to an Arduino with a RFM69HW transmitting the coordinate. I walked around outside with this GPS Arduino while another Arduino sitting inside my house received the GPS coordinate every second. I then mapped the GPS points. I’m able to send data 7 houses away, through many walls. Zigbee, bluetooth, Z-wave, and wifi can’t do this for just $4.

This is an example page from the user interface.

This project doesn’t require hugely expensive equipment. The technical challenges are surmountable. And the outcome is pretty cool.

Step 2: Parts List and Initial Prep

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Parts List

I’ll try to point you to the cheapest versions of the components I used, so most of these links will be to good old ebay.

Once you get the parts, you’re pretty much ready to start building. The only mandatory soldering step is for the RFM69HW transceiver. They arrive as a bare chip, and require that you solder 22-gauge hookup wire to the pads. Follow this wiring diagram to solder wires to the RFM69HW and you should get something that looks like the following series of pictures.

Step 3: Create Arduino gateway and OpenHAB

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Once you have at least two RFM69 chips soldered with wires, we need to make the wireless gateway and setup the Raspberry Pi with OpenHAB. It’s basically two Arduinos connected together using I2C. See the wiring diagram above and the instructions below. The communications path looks like this.

The wireless data is sent from the sensor node to the RFM gateway in the form of a struct. The struct data is then passed from the RFM gateway to the ethernet gateway using I2C (those two pairs of wires on pins A4 & A5). The ethernet gateway takes each individual piece of data from the structure and post it to the MQTT broker. The MQTT broker (Mosquitto) on the Raspberry Pi picks up this sensor data, and sends it to the OpenHAB program also sitting on the same Raspberry Pi.

Here’s what the gateway looks like when you’ve got 22 gauge hookup wires connecting the two Arduinos. You can see the RFM Gateway Arduino on the bottom. It has the wireless transceiver mounted on it. On the top is the Ethernet Gateway with the ethernet cable connected.

_ Create Arduino Gateways_

Components Needed:

  1. Two Arduino Uno Clones with 3.3V/5V switch set to 3.3V.
  2. One Wiznet 5100 ethernet shield
  3. One RFM69HW w/ wires soldered on

One Arduino will be designated the “RFM Gateway” and the other is the “Ethernet Gateway”. On the RFM Gateway Arduino, wire up the RFM69HW like you see in the wiring diagram at the top of this step.

RFM69HW To Arduino

  • NSS to Pin 10
  • MOSI to Pin 11
  • MISO to Pin 12
  • SCK to Pin 13
  • GND to Ground
  • 3.3V to the 3.3V header
  • DI00 to Pin 2 (interrupt)

Plug the ethernet shield on the “Ethernet Gateway”. Hook together these two gateway Arduinos for I2C using male-male dupont cables, or just hookup wire if you have some around:

  • Ground to Ground
  • Analog Pin 4 to Analog Pin 4
  • Analog Pin 5 to Analog Pin 5

Download the two gateway Arduino sketches above.

_ **Prepare The Host Computer

**_

Next, we need to install OpenHAB on the host computer. The host computer in my case is a Raspberry Pi. It’s nice to use the Pi or similar single board computer because of the low power consumption. But if you’d rather use a Windows or Apple computer, that’s fine too. OpenHAB works on all of those machines.

Follow the wiki article on the OpenHAB site to install it on a Raspberry Pi or PC/Mac.

https://github.com/openhab/openhab/wiki/Quick-Setup-an-openHAB-Server

And the final thing we need on the host computer is to install the MQTT broker called “Mosquitto”. If using Raspberry Pi running Raspbian, use apt-get like this:

sudo apt-get install mosquitto mosquitto-clients python-mosquitto

If you’re not using a Raspberry Pi as the server, download the Mosquitto install for a Windows or Mac. It’s very easy to say in a tutorial “install this”. But let’s face it, for new Linux users, there will be problems that aren’t covered in the tutorials. Just being honest here. Things like permissions (sudo), start up issues (chmod on the init.d file), or just transferring files to the Raspberry Pi (“mount” USB drive). Just don’t expect to be able to finish the installation quickly if you’re new to Linux, and be prepare to google. Feel free to ask questions in the comments, I know how frustrating Linux can be. If all else fails, there’s always the option of using the Windows version of OpenHAB and Mosquitto. The great thing about OpenHAB is that the operating system doesn’t matter - you can start on Windows and move to Linux at a later date and all the configuration files can just be moved over and it’ll work.

Once you’ve gotten this far, you can move on to creating the individual sensors. Each of the next steps of the tutorial covers a single sensor, so you can jump around to the sensor you want to build.

Step 4: Garage Door Monitor

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Use this ultrasonic sensor setup to do things like tell if a garage door is closed, or if there is a car in a spot. Basically, anything you can sense with a distance sensor. The sensor is reading the distance from the sensor to the object in front of the sensor. It then sends that distance data wirelessly to the gateway and that data is processed by OpenHAB to evaluate to “open” or “closed”.

The ultrasonic distance sensors can be found on ebay for about $3 each. Hook it up according to the wiring diagram above. See youtube video for how it works.

Install it above the garage door when the door is opened. My installation looks like this.

The two files attached to this step are the Arduino sketch for the garage door monitor and the OpenHAB configuration file. The Arduino sketch includes code for a temperature/humidity as well as a light sensor, but you don’t have to use it if you don’t want to. The sketch will work without the sensor. More details on the light sensor and temperature/humidity sensor later on in the Uber sensor section.

Step 5: Battery Powered Reed Switch - Door / Window / Drawer / Mailbox

Sensor

[](http://cdn.instructables.com/FJP/H6MC/HYSU49Q0/FJPH6MCHYSU49Q0.LARGE.jpg)

This battery-powered wireless Arduino sensor can be used in a number of ways - pretty much anywhere a magnet could be attached to a moving part. It can be used as a security sensor by enabling the audio alarming and email notification, or maybe you simply want to see the window/door status on your smart phone.

Here’s the basics of how this battery powered unit works. You can mount it under your mailbox to get notification when the mailbox gets opened.

You can also mount it on top of a door or window like this. This one has been mounted on the side door to my garage for a while.

Here’s two youtube videos that show you how this can be used for notification and security. The first one shows how to use this to be notified when a door is opened/closed. I neglected to include in the video a clip of the Raspberry Pi playing an alarm sound. But any event can be associated with a unique MP3 file, so you can play a loud audio alarm as a deterrent, just like a real burglar system.

This video was from a previous Instructable I made of a mailbox notifier. It’s here only for completeness and to show how flexible the system is.

To build this sensor, follow this stripboard wiring diagram.

(1) A blank ATMEGA328P-PU
(1) HopeRF RFM69HW 915MHz transceiver (North America) Use this 868MHz version for Europe / Asia
(1) screw terminalfor battery connection
(2) 1MOhm resistor for voltage divider and pull down resistor on reed switch
(3) 0.1uF ceramic capacitor for voltage divider , and supply capacitors
(1) 10uF tantalum capacitor(for output)
(1) Oscillator: 8MHz oscillator preferred
(2) 22pF capacitors for oscillator
(1) one LED, I used red
(1) 220 ohm resistor for current limiting LED
(1) 10k ohm pull-up resistor for reset line
(1) Reed switch
(1) strip board about 3x6 inch
(1) 24 pin socket to mount the ATMEGA328 on
(1) AA battery box, could be 3xAA or 4xAA

If you’re new to Arduino, I recommend some research on how to make a bread- board Arduino, since this is what it is. Do a search on putting Arduino onto a bare bones ATMEGA328P-PU. Notice that the Arduino is running on the Pro/Mini 8MHz bootloader in my build. You can use either 8MHz or 16MHz, but 8MHz conforms to the Atmel specification for 3.3V operation.

The two files attached are the mailbox Arduino sketch and the OpenHAB configuration file. You’ll have to download the Arduino sketch onto the ATMega microcontroller. Follow along with the OpenHAB configuration file to make the necessary changes on the Raspberry Pi (or PC/Mac if you’re using a computer instead).

On the Raspberry Pi (or PC/Mac), place the MP3 file for the audio under the folder for any audio alert you want to play. Look for this code snippet in the configuration file.

rule "send email and talk"
when
Item itm_mailbox changed from OFF to ON
then
playSound("aolmail.mp3")
sendMail("myemailaddress@gmail.com", "subject line here" , "email body text")
end

I had a hard time measuring the battery current consumption. My general use Radio Shack multimeter might not be able to measure small amounts of current very reliably. I think it consumes about 0.1mA in sleep mode. Since the microcontroller sleeps most of the time and only wakes up to transmit when the door opens or closes, I estimate a 4xAA battery pack will last 1.5 years. The one I have mounted over the side door to the garage has been there for about a month, so time will tell.

Step 6: Uber Sensor - General Build Instructions

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[](http://cdn.instructables.com/FC2/EJYH/HZWJ5A6T/FC2EJYHHZWJ5A6T.LARGE.jpg)[](http://cdn.instructables.com/FY7/MHJC/HZZRMIBW/FY7MHJCHZZRMIBW.LARGE.jpg)

Here’s a video demonstration of each element in the Uber Sensor. I’m not great with youtube, so please excuse the amateur effort here. Hopefully it’s enough to show you what the setup is capable of.

I combined several sensors into this wireless Uber Sensor node. This sensor is powered via USB adapter, but it communicates wirelessly to the gateway, so you can place this where ever it has access to a power outlet. And you don’t have to build the whole thing, you can pick and choose which sensors you actually want.

  • Bark / Noise Sensor: Pretty sensitive when pointed in the right direction, and includes a sensitivity pot for adjustment. I ’m using it to notify me if the dog barks. The system emails me when sound sensor goes off, as well as turning on an indicator on the OpenHAB display.
  • Temperature / Humidity: Displays the temperature and humidity on the smart phone interface.
  • PIR Presence Sensor: Used as a security sensor to email you when movement is detected.
  • Smoke / Gas: Detects explosive gas (propane, methane, natural gas), as well as smoke. Sends an email notification when these are present.
  • Flame Sensor: Detects a flame, and sends email notification.
  • Light Sensor: For detecting if a room light is left on

This single sensor node covers about half of the home automation sensors I set out at the beginning.

The OpenHAB user interface looks like this. You use your smartphone to access the user interface, where you can enable email notifications and alarming for the sensors you want. Once the alarm is enabled, you’ll get an email the moment that sensor detects something.

Let’s say you had the dog bark alarm enabled, and your dog barks. You’ll get ONE email notification of that event, and the alarm status for “bark” will light up. You will not receive more email if your dog keeps barking. You can use your smart phone to acknowledge the alarm by hitting the “off” button next to the alarm status. It’s only if your dog barks again after this manual acknowledgment that you’ll receive an additional email notification for barking.

You can use whatever container you want for the sensor. I used a cheap food container and poked holes through it for the sensors.

The next six steps of the Instructable cover the hardware wiring of each of these sensors and some tips for using each sensor.

The two files attached above are the OpenHAB configuration file and the Arduino sketch for the Uber sensor. For the Arduino sketch, you can use the code as is even if you don’t use all the sensors. You just won’t get valid data for the sensors you don’t wire up.

Step 7: Uber Sensor - Security / Area Presence Sensor

[](http://cdn.instructables.com/FNS/ASOA/HZCIY0OT/FNSASOAHZCIY0OT.LARGE.jpg)

This Arduino sensor can be used as a security sensor for detecting intrusion, or as part of the home automation system to sense when a room is occupied. The idea is to use your smart phone to enable the alarm notification when you’re out of the house. Then, if the sensor gets tripped, you’ll get an email, as well as an indicator on your OpenHAB smart phone app.

The PIR (passive infrared) sensor costs less than $3 each from everyone’s favorite online sensor store, ebay. Just do a search for PIR sensor and look for something that resembles the pictures here. Follow the wiring diagram above for hookup. Note that the sensors have a sensitivity pot and a hold-time pot. The hold time isn’t very important for our use, but you should adjust the sensitivity to something reasonable. You can set the sensor to ignore a dog in a kennel for example, but still catch an intruder. If you have a free-range dog or cat, it’s a bit trickier to set the sensitivity. You can use black electrical tape to cover up part of the globe if you want to narrow down the monitoring area.

Like the rest of the Uber sensors, the programming (Arduino sketch and OpenHAB config) is in Step 6.

Step 8: Uber Sensor - Dog Bark / Noise Sensor

[](http://cdn.instructables.com/FFR/O5RP/HZCIY2BP/FFRO5RPHZCIY2BP.LARGE.jpg)

I’m using the sound sensor to send me email notifications if my dog barks. But this can easily be used for other purposes - like monitoring if an alarm is going off inside the house. The sensitivity of the sensor is easily adjustable.

The sound sensors can be found on ebay for about $3 each. There’s not really a model number for the sensor, just look for one with a pot for you to adjust the sensitivity. When it’s hooked up, there’s a red LED that turns on when you speak loudly into the microphone, indicating that the sensor output is high. If the LED is on even when the sensor is in total silence, adjust the pot until it turns off. Then make some noise to see how loud a sound level is needed to make the LED turn on.

Like the rest of the Uber sensors, the programming (Arduino sketch and OpenHAB config) is in Step 6.

Step 9: Uber Sensor - Light Sensor

[](http://cdn.instructables.com/FFR/AAKB/HZCIYEJB/FFRAAKBHZCIYEJB.LARGE.jpg)

Above is the wiring diagram for the light sensor. The resistor is a 10k Ohm resistor. Search online for “photo resistor”. The photo-resistor is a very common components, and you can usually get a pack of ten for just a couple bucks. When putting this together, the photo-resistor tends to fall out of the dupont cables. It helps to put a few bends into the wire before inserting them.

In the OpenHAB configuration, look for this line:

if(itm_uber1_light_mqtt.state < 350)

Adjust this number to change the sensitivity of the sensor to your needs.

Refer to Step 6 for the Arduino code and OpenHAB configuration.

Youtube video demonstration

Step 10: Uber Sensor - Temperature / Humidity

[](http://cdn.instructables.com/FAP/YCPX/HZCIY2BG/FAPYCPXHZCIY2BG.LARGE.jpg)

The temperature/humidity sensor I’m using is a digital sensor, model number DHT11. It’s a common sensor, and costs about $3. It’s usually blue. There is a slightly more accurate version of the sensor, the DHT22, that’s usually white. If you want to use that one instead, make sure you uncomment the define statement found in the Uber Sensor Arduino sketch.

//#define DHTTYPE DHT11
#define DHTTYPE DHT21

Other than that caveat, this sensor is pretty easy to set up. Wire up like the diagram above, using a 10k resistor. Just like all the other sensors, simply download the UberSensor Arduino sketch and it should work.

The Uber sketch updates the sensor data every 6 minutes (360000 ms). You can edit this update rate by changing this line.

if (time_passed > 360000)
{
float h = dht.readHumidity();
// Read temperature as Celsius
float t = dht.readTemperature();
.....

Here’s the sensor to look for.

Step 11: Uber Sensor - Flame Sensor

[](http://cdn.instructables.com/FL5/7T3X/HZCIY2AY/FL57T3XHZCIY2AY.LARGE.jpg)

Safety Note: This sensor is not meant to replace local fire code mandated fire protection.

There’s nothing tricky about this sensor. There’s no model number for the flame sensor, but if you search on online for “flame sensor”, you’ll see lots of buying options. Each flame sensor should cost about $3 each, and look like this. I’m using the analog output of the sensor to register a flame, so the pot is irrelevant. That’s why the digital output pin is not used in the wiring diagram.

Similar setup as all the other Uber sensors. Wire according to the diagram above, and download the UberSensor.ino sketch. When you get to setting up the OpenHAB configuration on the Raspberry Pi, you can adjust the analog value that constitutes flame.

 if((itm_uber1_flame_mqtt.state < 900) && (itm_uber1_flame_alm_enb.state == ON))
{
sendCommand(itm_uber1_flame_alm_sta, ON)
}

If you’re trying to use this in a kitchen you may need to adjust the sensitivity. I’ve found that a fairly large flame is required to set these off…so they’re not for early detection.

Sensor sitting in box:

Step 12: Uber Sensor - Smoke / Flammable Gas

[](http://cdn.instructables.com/F52/P2RP/HZCIY2BB/F52P2RPHZCIY2BB.LARGE.jpg)

Safety Note: This sensor is not meant to replace local fire code mandated fire protection.

I’m using a MQ2 sensor to detect smoke and flammable gas like propane, methane, and natural gas from cooking stove. You can find it online for about $5. It uses a heating element inside as part of the detection sensor, so it’ll feel very warm when in use. Look for a sensor that has the analog circuity built in, like this picture.

Just like all the other Uber sensors, download the Arduino sketch and follow the OpenHAB configuration file.

The sensor is pretty sensitive. You can adjust the analog value that constitutes a detection alarm by changing this line in the OpenHAB configuration:

if((itm_uber1_gas_mqtt.state > 220) && (itm_uber1_gas_alm_enb.state == ON))
{
sendCommand(itm_uber1_gas_alm_sta, ON)
}

I’ve found the value “220” was good enough to not get any false alarms.

Youtube video demonstration.

Step 13: Washer-Dryer Smartifier & Water Leak Sensor

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These nice Victorian gentlemen will show you how they’re using the Laundry Sensor.

If your house is like mine, you have the laundry room in the basement. When I was single, I only went down to the basement once a week, so problems went unnoticed. Forgetting a load of wet laundry was really disgusting. The laundry room light sometimes got left on the entire week. And I couldn’t tell if if the washer/dryer was still running without going down stairs. Only the dryer buzzes, and sometimes I’d miss it. Now that we have a baby, we’re doing laundry every other day it seems, so it’d be nice to have a dashboard view to tell us if the washer/dryer is running. And instead of having a dryer buzzer down stairs, I wanted the audible signal for both washer and dryer up stairs.

The schematic above is a great combination of sensors for a laundry room.

  • Sound Sensor determines when washer or dryer cycle starts and completes
  • PIR Presence Sensor used to determine when a completed load is picked up
  • Water Detection circuit senses if there is a water leak or overflow, or a flood in the basement.
  • light sensor circuit from the Uber sensor is used to determine if the laundry room light is left on.
  • Temperature/Humidity sensor - because it ’s so cheap to add another sensor

The intention is to display the washer and dryer status on a smart phone or tablet in the kitchen or living room - somewhere that you can easily glance at. Similarly, the Raspberry Pi and speaker would also be sitting in the living room so that the audio announcements are more likely to be heard. The audio signal for washer completion or dryer completion can be a friendly sounding MP3 file. Heck, you can record your own voice saying “get the laundry!” and use that sound file if you want. In the demo, I used the ugly robot voice to say “washer complete” or “dryer complete” because text to voice is available by default in any OpenHAB installation.

The PIR sensor should be positioned so that the sensor would naturally sense you as you’re moving around getting the clothes out of the machine. My awkwardness in live video doesn’t demonstrate this point well, and I was trying to not set off the sensor prematurely. You shouldn’t have to purposely wave your hand at the sensor.

If your laundry room is in the main part of the house where people walk through, the PIR sensor would not work for you as a way of indicating the load has been picked up. You can replace the PIR sensor with individual magnet and reed switches on the washer and dryer doors. It’s a simple substitution, so I won’t detail the circuit. With the reed switch wires going to the washer/dryer door, the installation is a bit more invasive, but it has the benefit of being a more positive indicator of laundry pickup.

--Hardware --

I split up the schematic into two for clarity, but my demo actually has both circuits and the light sensor circuit from the Uber sensor all integrated into one wireless Laundry Room sensor. The attached Arduino sketch will work regardless of whether or not you include the optional light and temperature sensor.

By now, you’ll have gotten down the drill. Assemble the sensor on the Arduino using the schematic and the photos. Download the sketch to the Arduino. Configure the OpenHAB using the configuration text file attached.

The water probe can just be wires coming from the prototype shield. You can use any long wire needed to reach from the sensor assembly to the floor of the laundry room. I stripped ethernet cables and made use of the inner conductor pairs. My assembly looks like this. Amazed I actually remember to take progress photos this time.

Assemble the sensor into a tupperware container. I used a screw to hold the ends of the water sensor probe apart. The weight also helped keep the probes on the ground.

Once the circuit has been assembled, you have to calibrate the sound sensor pot. This is pretty easy to do. Adjust the pot until the sensitivity is such that placing the sensor against the dryer or washer (while running) sets off the output LED. This youtube video demonstrates what it should look like.

--Software–

The OpenHAB screen looks like this. It will indicate whether the machine is off, running, or finished running (but hasn’t been emptied). Once the machine has been emptied (an assumption made by the PIR sensor), the state of the machine returns to off.

The OpenHAB configuration file needed to create this page is attached.

If you have the alarm notifier enabled, a water leak alarm will email you when it goes off. A water leak alarm will also constantly sound the alarm sound.

You will want to edit the Arduino code a little bit depending on your washer or dryer. I put in some constants to decide how many noise detections indicate the machine is running, and how it determines the machine stopped running, and also how frequent to examine the sound sensor. For the majority of dryers this should work. But your washer has some cycles where it’s adding water which may not set off the sensor as consistently, so you may want to extend the time or reduce the counts for the washer. Download the .ino file and change the relevant lines of code:

  if ((millis() - sound_time_1)>500)
  {
    sound_time_1 = millis();    //reset sound_time_1 to wait for next Xms
...



  //after X number of sound checks...
  if (sound_count_1 >= 40)
  {
    //sound_count_1 = number of times sensor listened



if ((sound_detected_count_1 >= 8) && ((sound_1_device_state == 0) || (sound_1_device_state == 2)))  //number of times sensor registered sound
    {

Whew, that should do it for this sensor.

Step 14: Charts! Visualize your data.

[](http://cdn.instructables.com/FZJ/445D/I0NWKM21/FZJ445DI0NWKM21.LARGE.jpg)

Charts are really easy to do. You can add charts for any data you have coming in, even digital data (like garage door open/close). It makes the most sense for analog data like temperatures and energy consumption. Do the following to add charts to your sitemap.

  1. From the OpenHAB website, download and unzip the addon files:

http://www.openhab.org/downloads.html

  1. Grab the file name “persistence.rrd4j-1.5.0.jar” and put it into the folder.
  2. Open up the <

\OpenHAB15\configurations\openhab.cfg> file, and add “rrd4j” to the end of this line, like this:

persistence:default=rrd4j

Now we need to tell OpenHAB which data items we want to collect data on and how often. Create a file name “rrd4j.persist” in the folder <\OpenHAB\configurations\persistence>. Add the following configuration text to that file. I’ve included my copy of rrd4j.persist if you’d rather use that.

// persistence strategies have a name and a definition and are referred to in the "Items" section
Strategies {
    // for rrd charts, we need a cron strategy
    everyMinute : "0 * * * * ?"
}

Items {

  //list the items you want to trend and store
  itm_garage_temp : strategy = everyChange, everyMinute
}

Now we just need to decide what page we want to add the chart to. Going to the sitemap file, pick any location you want (you can experiment, no big deal), and add this line to .

Frame label="Charts"
{
    //change period to 4h for 4 hours, D for 1 day, 3D for 3 days, W for 1 Week, 3W for 3 weeks...
    Chart item=itm_garage_temp period=h  refresh=10000
}

For any other data item you want to chart, just add that item into the rrd4j.persist file, and put it in the sitemap in the same way.

419 bytes

Step 15: Not So Uber

[](http://cdn.instructables.com/FXM/K5MC/I0R19Y78/FXMK5MCI0R19Y78.LARGE.jpg)

Perhaps “uber” is too bombastic a title. My setup isn’t perfect. Here’s the list of deficiencies and bugs, from the most to the least glaring. Thanks to commenters for making it obvious that I should add this step.

1) The Dual-Gateway Dumpling Conjecture

The RFM and Ethernet Arduino gateways can be combined into one. It should be just a simple one-line edit to the RFM69 library. When I was making the gateway, I had some poorly soldered transceivers and got confused. I haven’t gone back to fix the problem…because I’ve been too busy working on this Instructable. It is sloppy claptrap programming on my part.

2) The RFM-RaspberryPi Integration Hypothesis

There is a Python port in the works for the RFM69 by a coder name Eric Trombly. I haven’t tried it yet. If it works, it means you can skip the Arduino gateways altogether. I would be very interested if someone does try it. His Github: https://github.com/etrombly.

Of course, that jerk chose to start his project after I went through the trouble of making the gateways. Darn him!

3) The Uni-Directional Communications Field Problem

I don’t actually talk to my field nodes - the field node to base communication is single-direction only. All of my sensor demos can be done with uni- directional wireless comms, but admittedly bi-directional communications would be more efficient for the security sensors. There’s no technical reason why the RFM gateway can’t talk to the RFM nodes…other than it requires a more thoughtful approach to the communication scheme…you know, the actual programming part.

4) The Lack-Of-Ack Conundrum

I also don’t acknowledge the wireless transmissions from the field nodes. No reason why not to ack, since it’s actually built into the RFM69 library, and not acknowledging actually wastes wireless transmissions because I transmit- with-retry on most nodes. It would make the sensors more robust. The fix would require a bit more code on the transmitter end, but not too bad.

List of future improvements.

1. Spend more time with my 8 month old.

2. Do more chores.

3. Work on the hypothesis, conjectures, problems, and conumdrums :)

Seriously though, if someone wants to improve on the gateway, please fork my Github! I would welcome the improvements. That said, I’ve had the garage door monitor for months, and the battery powered security door since mid-August, and both have been working great.

Step 16: Conclusion

[](http://cdn.instructables.com/FB6/3GLK/HYSU49R4/FB63GLKHYSU49R4.LARGE.jpg)

I tried as much as possible to make this tutorial accessible to most people. This isn’t one of those projects that require a 3D printer, a CNC machine, and hundreds of dollars. Nor is it a project that makes use of one-off items that others can’t replicate. I’ve tried to point out workable alternatives to some of the more technically difficult portions. I think beginner Arduino users would have no problems making the wall-powered wireless sensors work. If you’re interested in making this project, go for it! For the few places you might get hung up, here’s what you can do.

  • Linux. The Raspberry Pi is a good, cheap, lower powered option for the web server. But if you don ’t want to use Linux and just want to get this home automation project off the ground, no problem! Both OpenHAB and Mosquitto can be installed on a PC or Mac. So the host machine doesn’t have to be a Raspberry Pi. The configuration files work on any OS without change.
  • Soldering. It takes me quite a while to solder the battery-powered Arduino sensor. If you want to get started quickly, just stick with the wall-powered Arduino sensors first. You ’ll still have to solder wires to the wireless transceiver, but that part is pretty doable.
  • Serial monitor is your friend! On the Arduino sketches, I kept the useful troubleshooting printout statements in the code. If you ’re having trouble, just connect the sensor node Arduino to your computer and view the output on the Arduino serial monitor.

This project has taught me a lot. At first, I just wanted to solve the practical problem of monitoring my dog. Then it became “hey look at all these other sensors I can use”. In the end, it made me think more deeply about connected devices and how to meaningfully present all the information coming from DIY “internet of things”.

I can take credit for the Arduino sketches that form the gateways for this project. As far as I know, no one has published a way for translating RFM69 wireless data into something that OpenHAB understands. I appreciate all the open source projects out there that made my home automation setup possible. Thanks to OpenHAB for putting so much thought and flexibility into the home automation platform. I’m grateful to the people on the English OpenHAB Google forum for answering my many configuration questions. Thanks to Mosquitto for a great MQTT broker. Thanks to the developers behind the Arduino MQTT library and Low Power Lab for the Arduino RFM69 wireless transceiver library. Open Hardware and Open Software do amazing things. If someone wants to take my RFM69 gateway code and improve upon it, please do, it’s open source.

Also, thanks to Instructable member makendo.

Any questions, feel free to ask it in the comments.


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NOTE ATTRIBUTES

Created Date: 2014-10-06 04:48:38
Last Evernote Update Date: 2014-10-06 04:48:38
source: Clearly
source-url: http://www.instructables.com/id/Uber-Home-Automation/
reminder-order: 0