Author Topic: Home Monitoring  (Read 4048 times)

dlatch

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Home Monitoring
« on: March 12, 2014, 01:09:22 PM »
Our home is also our business.  We run a 4 suite Bed and Breakfast in western NY state.  The main part of the building is over 210 years old,  has two additions outside the main brick walls of the inn, and is a little over 6300 square feet.  There is a lot going on in our inn.  There are 3 water heaters, 3 HVAC units and 2 laundry rooms.  There are area where water should be, and where it should not be.  I need to monitor temperatures and humidity in certain areas and control ventilation.

I have a number of places where I would like to track temperature, humidity, water levels, etc.  The walls of the inn are over 18" of brick and some areas do not have convenient wiring access.  I want the information fed back and accessible from an internal web page.  I have played around with an Arduino and am fairly comfortable with the product.  After reviewing this website and the Motino product,  I think I can accomplish my goal with with 3 Motinos (for process monitoring and control) and a Raspberry Pi for the web page.

Has anyone done such a thing?  Does this seem feasible and the correct way to go?  I am not too worried about the programming aspect, I do that for a living. 

Felix

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Re: Home Monitoring
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2014, 01:21:07 PM »
Hi dlatch,
Every scenario and environment is different, so it's always hard to say YES it will work flawlessly because there are so many factors involved with wireless transmissions. In most cases it will work. I myself have not tested with 18" brick walls. But I'm sure others did similar things. I would say the best way to tell if the RF will serve you well is to get a pair of Moteinos with RFM69HW radios (higher power) and run some tests with the Send/Receive sample sketches, the out of box settings should be pretty good, and even those settings can be tweaked for higher sensitivity etc. If Moteinos won't work I don't know what else will.
Other than that if you're comfortable with the programming I'll say you should have a pretty smooth ride and some fun enhancing your inn home :)

dlatch

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Re: Home Monitoring
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2014, 12:55:03 PM »
I just ordered 2 Motinos - 1 with USB and the other standard.  Unfortunately I did so before reading your post and I ordered the standard power models.  Assuming my tests work out, I will be ordering a third unit in the near future - I can make that the HW unit and put it on the other side of the brick wall. 

I don't want to confuse your ordering system, is there a way to update my order to 2 HW units?  I have already done the pay through PayPal thing.  I could PayPay you $2 to your email address.  But  if it is a pain, don't worry about it and we will see how well the standard models work.

Felix

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Re: Home Monitoring
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2014, 01:00:18 PM »
I'll try to remember to upgrade them. Thanks!

dlatch

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Re: Home Monitoring
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2014, 01:09:09 PM »
Wire and Sensor Distances.

I assume standard bell wire will work well for connecting sensors to the Moteino.  Has anyone done an investigation on practical, maximum wire distances between the sensor and the Moteino?  Is 40' to 50' OK?

For sensors, I will likely be using the DHT11 or 22 for temperature/Humidity readings.  I will also be using HC-SR02 to monitor the water level in a 180 gallon, vertical water storage tank.

Felix

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Re: Home Monitoring
« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2014, 01:15:26 PM »
Hm, I would recommend against anything more than a few feet at most. Moteino works at 3.3V and even 5V will drop quickly over long wires (they are essentially resistors, longer wires = greater resistance).
Besides, running such long wires defeats the purpose of Moteino which is meant to replace long wires and CAT5 and stuff like that. Isn't it a lot more convenient to just place a Moteino where you need it instead of running long stretches across your property?

dlatch

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Re: Home Monitoring
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2014, 11:51:42 AM »
I concur that shorter is better.  I was wondering if anyone had done any research on it.  Looks like I may try it myself.  Not just how far a single sensor can be from the Moteino, but what is the impact of total wire length of multiple sensors being monitored by a single unit.

Its a balance, isn't it?  I will start with monitoring the temperature and humidity at 4 spots and the water level in the tank.  I want the temperature readings to control exhaust fans.  I will ultimately want to monitor conditions in 10 to 12 locations.  Obviously a single Moteino can monitor multiple sensors and feed back the data.  The more Moteinos, the more complex the configuration/communication.  I was hoping to avoid a mesh configuration.

Felix

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Re: Home Monitoring
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2014, 12:01:34 PM »
You won't need a mesh, and yes one would be too complex for such a simple scenario.
There are wire resistance calculators to calculate voltage drop over long wires, for instance: http://www.nooutage.com/vdrop.htm

dlatch

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Re: Home Monitoring
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2014, 06:02:31 PM »
It looks like Coot and I are trying to do a very similar thing, with an RPi collecting info from Moteinos and displaying the info on a web page.  I will be taking a slightly different tack on the project so I will journal my progress here in the forum.  It will be interesting to watch how we choose to overcome the various technical hurdles.

dlatch

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Re: Home Monitoring
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2014, 06:23:34 PM »
My two Moteinos showed up yesterday and my Raspberry Pi was delivered today.  The first thing that I noticed is that my low wattage soldering iron kit is missing.  Off to Radio Shack to purchase a new soldering iron.

First step -
Get the RPi up and running.
If this was a regular server, I would install either a traditional LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) configuration or a MSServer/SQL Server configuration - but the RPi is basically a stripped down cell phone with just 512Mb of RAM.  Need to go as light weight as possible.  My plan is to install Lighttpd (instead of Apache), SQLite (instead of MySQL) and PHP.  I am uncertain if I will be logging my data into SQLite or an even lighter environment like rrdtool.  I will install and evaluate both.

This guy has a clear, step by step, page on loading and configuring lighttpd, SQLite and PHP.  Got it working quickly -
http://sharedmemorydump.net/post/2013-07-22-running-it-all-on-the-raspberry-pi-part-1

 Fortunately we can stand on the shoulders of giants!



« Last Edit: March 21, 2014, 12:09:55 AM by dlatch »

cootcraig

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Re: Home Monitoring
« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2014, 12:09:07 AM »
It will be interesting to watch how we choose to overcome the various technical hurdles.
Yes, I'm starting with software I have worked with before, but I'll be looking at other projects
and comparing.

cootcraig

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Re: Home Monitoring
« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2014, 12:18:24 AM »
I am uncertain if I will be logging my data into SQLite or an even lighter environment like rrdtool.  I will install and evaluate both.

I was thinking I might use SQLite to store and forward messages to increase the probability of
delivery somewhere. This is a new concept to me, I'm not sure what to look at for frameworks
or ideas.

This guy has a clear, step by step, page on loading and configuring lighttpd, SQLite and PHP.  Got it working quickly -
http://sharedmemorydump.net/post/2013-07-22-running-it-all-on-the-raspberry-pi-part-1

I will look at that post.  How do you plan to update pages?  Ajax polling, websockets?

Fortunately we can stand on the shoulders of giants!
Yes and Yes.  I know that Felix R. is an inspiration.

Felix

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Re: Home Monitoring
« Reply #12 on: March 22, 2014, 02:37:15 PM »
Fortunately we can stand on the shoulders of giants!
Yes and Yes.  I know that Felix R. is an inspiration.

Aw, thanks for the flattering compliments, but really ... I'm just a guy who spent a few more nights trying to make all these things work together. So maybe being stubborn would be a better qualifier :)

dlatch

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Re: Home Monitoring
« Reply #13 on: March 27, 2014, 09:28:55 AM »
I have to admit that I am uncertain how the web page formatting/updating will occur.  I guess that is the least of my concerns, at this point, as it is the area where I am most familiar.  There are a number of techniques that can be used.  I think the first thing I will do is simply get all of the data to display on a page refresh.  Then I can worry about updating it.  I'll cover this later in the log. 

I have made an initial purchase of 2 Moteinos.  One fully loaded with a USB connector and flash.  One with flash but without USB.  I ordered the separate USB adapter.  I will likely be ordering a couple of more but

I have had a number of goofy technical issues that have slowed my R&D.  After getting my 2 Moteinos, I had to go purchase a new soldering iron.  Then I soldered the headers onto the boards.  Then I realized I didn't have any male-female jumper wires!  I only had male-male.  Aarrgh.  Back to Amazon.  I also ordered a pack of 10 - DS18B20 digital thermistors.  I had ordered a pack of DHT11 thermistor/humidity modules (about the same time as my RPi) but I failed to notice they are shipping out of Hong Kong.  I should see them in a week or two.

With luck I should be able to begin experimenting with my Moteinos this weekend.

jbeale

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Re: Home Monitoring
« Reply #14 on: March 27, 2014, 04:32:10 PM »
If you have 50 feet of wire going to a sensor, that wire is also an antenna. If you have a thunderstorm, a lightning strike somewhere in your neighborhood can cause damaging voltage levels on the Moteino (and sensor).  Also, any local radio transmitters can cause interference any time. You can fix a lot of this* easily with a simple series resistor, parallel capacitor and zener diode or other surge supressor, but only if you design those things in.   

*Not counting a direct lightning hit, of course!  Direct hits may be rare but you can get "lucky". As a kid my crystal radio had about 50' worth of wire antenna running from my bedroom window to a tree in the yard. We lived on a ridge top. Either the tree, or my wire did take a direct hit one night, and the house caught fire. Fortunately I was not in my room, and we quickly got the fire out although many electrical items in the house were literally toast: light fixtures, telephone, radio, etc.