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My home automation

Discussion in 'Home Automation' started by roasty, 29 Jul 2015.

  1. bernardgreen

    bernardgreen

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    Keeping the filaments warm does prolong life when the lamp is frequently being turned ON and OFF. A capacitor across the switch will achieve this. The down side is that the switch will be discharging the capacitor when it is turned ON so the life of the switch is shortened but when the switch is easiliy accesible and access to the lamp is difficult then replacing the switch a few times can be cost effective.
     
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  3. eveares

    eveares

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    How does a capacitor shorted the life span of a mechanical switch? o_O
     
  4. bernardgreen

    bernardgreen

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    When the switch closes it puts a short circuit between the terminals of the capacitor. Any charge in the capacitor will then be discharged via the switch contacts without any resistance to to limit the current. This results in a high amperage pulse of current as the contacts close. This can result in scorching / arcing at the contact faces.

    That is why contact suppressors have a resistor in series with the capacitor to limit the discharge current to a value the switch can cope with.
     
  5. eveares

    eveares

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    That makes sense. (y)
     
  6. jeeves

    jeeves

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    Amazing stuff roasty!!
     
  7. jamesmcbride

    jamesmcbride

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    A really inspirational installation you have there roasty, I have a few questions of interest.

    What are you using to control the lights in the rooms? Do you have some sort of lightswitch and if so, how have you implemented it?
    How reliable do you find the DMX dimmer solution? Do you find yourself having to manually intervene or does it generally just work?
    Do you know if there is much in the way of power overhead in using dimmers like this in a domestic setting? ie, with a 60w bulb on, what is the power draw like at full brightness? is it 0w at off?
     
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  9. DrJimFranklin

    DrJimFranklin

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    Personally I would have simply used Trend IQE4 controllers and added as required. Use their off the shelf software and voila...
     
  10. roasty

    roasty

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    Hi James,
    Thanks for the positive comments. Yes there are some light switches, but my intention is that in time they won't get used as the system gets better. At present the lights (and heating and other stuff) is controllable 3 ways, the main way being automatic, i.e the lights come on when it's dark and when you are in a certain area, secondly you can use a smart phone or tablet/laptop to operate anything directly via a web interface, and finally you can use a switch which act as a digital input indirectly into the raspberry pi's, which can override the other 2.

    The DMX has been rock solid. I've had some of the dimmers for 8 years or so, they've never let me down.

    Some manual intervention, but that's just software, generally the system is reliable, I just write poor/rushed code at times! :)

    I've no idea if the dimmers waste power when off, I suspect there is an element of that, but it can't be much, they are always cool to the touch.

    Cheers
    Dan
     
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  11. roasty

    roasty

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    The Trend stuff is ok, but it is both limited in functionality and you can't interface anything and everything to it. With my system I can. I only ever embarked on this journey because there is no one product that can do what my system can. It couldn't 8 years ago when I started, and it still can't. Home automation is still very very basic, even the really expensive stuff. If you want to do proper automation and include everything, you have to go bespoke, and I'd argue that this will be the case for the next 5-10 years at least.

    You say "I would have simply used Trend IQE4 controllers" does that mean you have them in your home, or are you talking theoretically? I'd be interested to discuss further if you've used them to create your own system, but less inclined to do so if you've just read about them on line and thought about it a bit. There is no substitute for actually doing something, in my opinion. There exist a lot of so-called experts, with very little real world experience. Home automation is all about real world, it's simple in principle, but hugely complex and potentially troublesome in the flesh! ;)

    Cheers
    Dan
     
  12. DrJimFranklin

    DrJimFranklin

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    Dan, I work in building services, 5 of the 26 buildings I manage the services in are controlled via Trend Controllers, we are not talking small buildings, one has more than 4,000 staff in it and a new one is capable of about 2,000 staff.

    Trend controllers run and interface with all manner of equipment from lighting controllers to standby generators, electricity, water and gas meters, heating actuators, VRV's, VRF's, Chillers, Cooling towers and in fact every system within the buildings... They are only as limited as the ability of the engineers who install and program them...which usually means they have a limited budget from the designers and can only do about 25% of what is possible.

    Couple the IQE3 and IQE4 controllers to a Trend 963 BMS system and your laughing...But Trend also works with all major BMS systems from Siemens, Desigo, Cylon, Delta etc etc...
     
  13. jamesmcbride

    jamesmcbride

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    Thanks Dan,
    That is really helpful! My Home Automation is in it's early stages at the moment, just heating, irrigation, multi-room audio and a few outside lights involved at the moment. But I'm hoping to do something a bit more elaborate in a year or so when I plan to start on a new build project.

    I'll try to do a post about it soon, but basically I'm using Arduino's, communicating over MQTT and tied together with openhab. I find on the whole it works well but occasionally one of the Arduino's will drop off the (ethernet) network and I come home to a dark or cold house! I was thinking of using something a little simpler and maybe more reliable for communication - possibly RS485... or maybe I just need to code things better:)

    James
     
  14. roasty

    roasty

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    Jim, I hear you, but there is more to home automation than controlling just basic control of lights and heating. Trend probably do a good job of what I would call BMS type stuff on a large scale (and at a cost) but you are missing the point, and in any case doing that level of automation in a large building isn't innovative or complex, it's just massive numbers. I'm sorry, but BMS is not the same as home automation, it's years behind.

    Tell me how Trend can do multi room music and video. Can it manage video and photo album storage, the streaming and display of this data, plus cloud backup? Can it do geo-fencing, so that family members locations can be used to trigger activities within the home when they get within a certain radius. Can it support interface with iPhone, iPad etc.. to provide control for users? Bluetooth? What about broadband sharing and traffic shaping for different users? Can it provision quality of service for internet access, can it support internet content filtering for children to restrict and log their access to the web? Can I use VoIP phones with it, can you dial into a asterisk (or similar) VoIP exchange and have DTMF keypresses trigger actions? Is it possible to use hashtags or monitor social media to trigger events, or publish similar in the event of certain observed activities? Can Trend publish/subscribe to newsfeed/RSS? I like to use cloud services, things like IFTTT (If This Then That) to tie disparate bits of kit together, can trend support this sort of thing (Recipes)? Can Trend send emails, maybe containing a recent playlist I've enjoyed, or a daily breakdown/highlights of a list of my favourite websites? Can it backup all my Instagram pictures to Dropbox, or amazon cloud? Make an entry in my google calendar if certain criteria are met (poor weather, news items)? Will it support iBeacons, can it mute my phone when I put it on the bedside table? Can I be notified when certain people are in my house, maybe based on their Bluetooth id, or maybe their WiFi MAC?

    I suspect the answer to most, if not all of the above is, "No" Hence why Trend would be wholly unsuitable for use as a home automation control system.
     
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