I’ve been doing a lot of research into home automation, a/v distribution and data capture/monitoring recently and whilst I’ve found a endless amounts of information there seemed to be a few issues present across all solutions:

-Price
-Standards
-Availability
-Support

I did mention the Home Automation Hub (http://www.homeautomationhub.com/) project I stumbled across last month in a blog post but had initially dismissed because it appeared that the project had been abandoned. However, Derek, part of the project fortunately dropped me an e-mail to inform me the project is very much still alive! This solution therefore hopefully doesn’t fall short on any of the fronts the others (Control4, Crestron etc) do.

-Price: The central hub itself is a repurposed livebox router which I found on eBay for about £5. The additional hardware I need to control, collect and display data appears to vary but it’s modular and most modules appear to be very reasonably priced.
-Standards: The software running on the central hub is open source and can interface with existing devices using a whole host of standards. Support for additional standards could be developed at a later date.
-Availability: I found plenty of live box routers on eBay- I’m not sure if they’re still sold commercially but I imagine if there was a point in the future when they’re no longer available the image will be ported so it can be flashed onto alternative hardware. There are a number of options for the modules required for control, collect and display data so I think there will always be something available.
-Support: As the project is open source the community support is great and there appears to be activity on the hah forum everyday!

Initially I was going to order the hah parts bundle from the shop http://www.homeautomationhub.com/content/hah-parts-bundle but the pcb is currently out of stock so I’m researching for a bit longer :)

It looks like most of what I want to collect / control can be handled by Jeenodes http://www.dbzoo.com/livebox/hah_hahnode – RF enabled AVR328P boards using the same development tools as the Arduino. In addition to:

-Room Board (for monitoring temperature, light and humidity)
-Expander Plug (for general purpose digital I/O)
-Input Plug (for general purpose analog input)
-Infrared Plug (possibly to interface with a/v equipment or maybe add light/mains control to my harmony remotes?)
-Relay Plug (in the hope to control lights and potentially sockets- I don’t think the board currently uses latching relays so this would probably drain the batteries far too quickly- hmm…)
-OOK 433 Plug (in the hope to hijack the data from my weather stations and maybe the current cost energy monitoring devices)
-Graphics Board (display some of the info without having to access a mobile/computer and open a web browser)
-Extension Cables & Plug Headers and Battery Holders to hook everything up

The hahnode article on the hah website shows a novell way of repurposing an Airwick Freshmatic Compact http://www.dbzoo.com/livebox/hah_hahnode#airwick_hahnode to house the jeenode, provide power and detect motion- so I’ve ordered a few of these too. Shopping List (prices include p&p):

£10.00- Livebox Router (eBay)
£11.25- TTL Connection / Programming Cable (HAH)
£18.00- 3x Airwick Freshmatic Compact (eBay)

I’ve yet to place my order with jeelabs but my cart is looking something like:

Things I’m still yet to think about:

-Doorbell (integrate with the system? http://www.bwired.nl has inspired me- I love the idea of having a camera capture a photo when the doorbell is pressed)
-Security (Cameras, Door/window open/close/lock/unlock?)
-Boiler
-A/V distribution (my satellite receiver(s) are on the network as is my 4×4 HDMI matrix)
-Phone (I don’t currently have a phone connected to my landline but I do have some ip phones I’ve been playing with… I also like the idea of adding a mobile to send/receive sms but this might be overkill as twitter or something could be potentially be implemented more cheaply)

The cameras which are currently looking most appealing: http://www.ebay.com/itm/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=220875730715&ssPageName=ADME:X:RTQ:US:1123

Lots to still think about!

L

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