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#31 BlueBill

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Posted 16 December 2010 - 01:33 PM

  • We really need to work on the name, DollHouse, HARPE, etc. really stink. How about Smart Home Information Technology? Like I said we really gotta work on that! B)
  • Both the Sheeva and the Pogo look the same, similar specs and IO. So use either (as I said hardware is not the issue).
  • Those devices you mentioned about (e.q. snubbers etc.) are not going to be familiar to the end user unless your limiting your scope to engineers. Start small, think expandable and as much OTS (off the shelf) as possible. We might be able to take advantage of SparkFun's DIY hardware service (you do the design, they sell the kits).
  • Try to move away from hard drives as much as possible. SD cards of class 6 or better give good performance and are quiet.
  • The requirement on the hack for the Pogo can be a show stopper unless we can automate it for the end user.
  • Anything to do with graphics or editors or the like need to be moved out to the browser. SVG, AJAX/Javascript, HTML5 all need to be taken advantage of. NO SUPPORT FOR IE6! That doesn't mean it won't work for IE6 but trying to be compatible with that brain-dead load is annoying and unnecessary. Use Firefox if you must use an old computer.


1 yes lets get a name but for now we have to call it something (It's also been a closet project of mine for years, I used to call it Ladybug)
2 most of those NAS devices are similar, all should be capable.
3 I'll build and design the hardware, I'm good at it. I'll even offer it in assembled and kit form for folks that like soldering TQFP parts. Might even get a schmartboard version made.
4 no hard drives or much else in the HARP/E it's a peripheral with limited RAM / FLASH / MIPs, the HARP/C will have scads of that but no I/O.
5 agreed, hacking bad, plug in good, vendor supported best.
6 Cave folks still running exclusively IE6 probably have little interest in automating anything as they're too busy fighting virus's and BSODs.

#32 linuxha

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Posted 16 December 2010 - 01:37 PM

Bill, I didn't read you message correctly. Seems you and I are definitely talking about all the same things. Central controller w/Linux, various IO, semi-intelligent remote devices and networking. Sorry I'll have to sit down tonight and reread this. I'm pretty sure that we've got this pretty well covered. Now we need to move forward with it.

#33 BlueBill

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Posted 16 December 2010 - 01:49 PM

Yes that's it exactly.

#34 BlueBill

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Posted 16 December 2010 - 04:56 PM

My current CPU choice for the extender is the MIPs core PIC32MX695F512H 512k Flash, 130k RAM RTCC 64pin TQFP ($9 qty 1)

1 Ethernet 10/100
1 RS232/422/485 full flow control (+5 on pin 9) DCE
1 RS232 full flow control (+5 on pin 9, jumper selectable as RI input if using an external modem) DCE
1 ZigBee ($20 XBee S2 & $30 S2P are now ZigBee compliant)
1 128kB SPI EEPROM (possibly two)
3 Relays (1 NC/NO, 2 NO)
3 IR blaster outputs
1 38kHz IR sensor (front facing, translucent plastic)
4 GPIO
1 temperature sensor (simply for freezing pipes)
12 - 15VDC power connector (relays will be run off the raw external power, HE switch-mode 5V regulator for powered serial ports & IR blaster outputs, standard 3.3V for the electronics)
JTAG & PICKit3, ICD 2/3 headers (for developers, bootloader for end users)
Plastic enclosure, PacTec, Hammond...

Want to see a 32MX as a web appliance?

Posted Image
PIC32MX695 and datasheet a 32MX795 is the same part with CAN bus support.

Edited by BlueBill, 16 December 2010 - 05:20 PM.


#35 linuxha

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Posted 16 December 2010 - 05:52 PM

How much in small quantities? Do they have a open source compiler?

I think you might want to simplify the design to lower the price? That way you con pop them any where you need them.

#36 BlueBill

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Posted 16 December 2010 - 06:06 PM

How much in small quantities? Do they have a open source compiler?

I think you might want to simplify the design to lower the price? That way you con pop them any where you need them.


The CPU is $9 from Newark, it needs very few support ICs. The other expensive parts are the Ethernet jack, connectors, case (optional?) & the MAX3160 $9. Relays aren't expensive and PCBs dual layer are cheap enough in quantity.

I have a older kit that I never released that was designed as a very basic RS485 extender with IR. I'll have to dig up the specs and post the schematic but here's an image.
Posted Image

#37 linuxha

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Posted 16 December 2010 - 06:27 PM

Ah, that makes more sense, you' ve done most of the work already!

#38 BlueBill

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Posted 16 December 2010 - 07:50 PM

Ah, that makes more sense, you' ve done most of the work already!


You too, I'm reading your book now.

#39 BlueBill

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Posted 21 December 2010 - 03:06 PM

After pouring through all your comments here and in several other forums I'm getting very near to the final specification before I begin drawing the schematic.
I've settled on a main MPU (PIC32MX695F512H) and most of the I/O options.

1 Ethernet
1 XBee S2 (ZigBee)
2 DE9 serial ports DTE (1 RS485,422,232. programmable to 5 ports by double duty, the CTS/RTS & DTR/DSR pins can be made RX/TX pins!)
3 Relays (1 NO/NC, 2 NO)
1 RTCC with trickle charger (DS1388)

Suggestions needed on

SD card or micro SD mounted internally or 256kB of SPI EEPROM?

Four 1/8" stereo jacks with various I/O from IR out, IR in, GPIO, analog, 1wire. Making it versatile as it's technically eight I/O lines (two per jack) all under control of a secondary PIC. I'm trying to keep it from getting jumper happy so I'd appreciate your comments on what you'd like to see with four 1/8" phone jacks. If I left something out do tell.

PS name suggestions also appreciated. Magnus One? DUCK?

Edited by BlueBill, 21 December 2010 - 03:27 PM.


#40 Dan (electron)

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Posted 21 December 2010 - 07:33 PM

Would it support IR triggering, or will the IR input only be used for learning (i.e., the Ocelot only supports processing ~1 IR signal/second, making it mostly useless for accurate IR tracking)?

As for storage, I guess that's just a matter of cost. If it has an SD slot, then one could use various sizes of SD cards, but micro SD is cheap enough nowadays, so either way I would be happy.

Will it be able to support ZigBee standards such as the just announced ZigBee Input Device standard (from a hardware perspective)?

#41 BlueBill

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Posted 21 December 2010 - 09:04 PM

It'll have a single 38kHz IR priority input on one of the IR / GPIO jacks. It could be used for learning as well. Using it as an IR input will need all three pins on the jack.
I'll use a fairly fast PIC for processing IR and will be using a hardware capture module to make it as snappy as can be, certainly much faster than the Ocelot. IR isn't a very fast protocol, what do you mean by IR tracking?

I'll probably forgo the SD card and stick with a simpler 256kB EEPROM. Although small it's mostly for dishing out the web pages and device settings.

As for ZigBee I'm going to use the cheap & cheerful XBee S2 or SP2 (long range) module, it supports firmware upgrades so it may be possible. www.digi.com will have more info.

Another crumpet of where I'm going with the HVAC part. From another forum.

The first thermostat will be wireless (just two wires for a power supply)
I'm trying to ween people off conventional thinking for wall thermostats. I'm also designing my HA/HVAC hardware for a connected user (someone who uses the internet regularly) and is familiar with a browser.

Technically the thermostat on the wall need no user interface, but traditionally people are used to one.

Posted Image

Edited by BlueBill, 21 December 2010 - 09:21 PM.


#42 linuxha

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Posted 21 December 2010 - 10:00 PM

Would it support IR triggering, or will the IR input only be used for learning (i.e., the Ocelot only supports processing ~1 IR signal/second, making it mostly useless for accurate IR tracking)?

As for storage, I guess that's just a matter of cost. If it has an SD slot, then one could use various sizes of SD cards, but micro SD is cheap enough nowadays, so either way I would be happy.

Will it be able to support ZigBee standards such as the just announced ZigBee Input Device standard (from a hardware perspective)?


What is IR tracking?

I suspect that the Linux portion of this will be able to do IR trigger and learning. I was able to do this with LIRC.

What is IR tracking?

BTW, I just received Simplehomenet's ZBPLM. I suspect this means I should be able to access ZigBee devices. I won't be able to get any until next month and I'm starting off with Simplehomenet's stuff. I also found my USBUIRT. I know that's supported under Linux. I also have several Iguana Work IR transceivers (both work with LIRC). The two things I really want to see are Lutron RadioRA2 and an available Z-Wave interface (I believe LinuxMCE has support for this). My DollHouse will follow these lines. Right now I have SVG working with JavaScript and next week I hope to have AJAX and JSON (or XML) working with my floor plan software.

#43 linuxha

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Posted 22 December 2010 - 12:24 AM

The first thermostat will be wireless (just two wires for a power supply)

I'm afraid this part got me. A thermostat with two wires fr the power supply? How do you control the HVAC when the thermostat has no external interface and just 2 wires. I must be missing something here.

I'm trying to ween people off conventional thinking for wall thermostats. I'm also designing my HA/HVAC hardware for a connected user (someone who uses the internet regularly) and is familiar with a browser.

Technically the thermostat on the wall need no user interface, but traditionally people are used to one.

Thermostat external interface vs. starting up a browser on laptop, PC or netbook. the external interface will win. If it's a smart phone interface then it will win but the majority of the folks don't have one. Don't give up on the browser idea (or mobile app) but have a manual backup.

#44 BlueBill

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Posted 22 December 2010 - 09:37 AM

:) I forgot the subject line was a thermostat with ZigBee.

I was thinking a truly basic display and interface to appease anyone not wanting to go too far into the future. I have a nice all season setback thermostat and now that I've programmed to my liking I never touch it, so that pretty user interface and LCD are of little use now. My idea of a wall thermostat is little more than a temperature display and up, down & fan. The lowest cost will just be a temperature and possibly humidity sensor with RS485 or ZigBee. Of course I'd rather be using my iPad or iPhone to control the temperature, it also appears the new Apple TV 2 will support apps wouldn't that be interesting.

If you thought getting the thermostat controls off the wall was radical then how does this sound. Move the main controller "brains" into the cloud. Just like online banking. Although radical for HA/HVAC it's not a new idea and may very well be the future of many apps. Remember the controllers are autonomous and once programmed they just do their job. The cloud would offer all the things a home Linux box could and more such as monitoring and would always be up to date.

Edited by BlueBill, 22 December 2010 - 09:40 AM.


#45 mustangcoupe

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Posted 22 December 2010 - 12:31 PM

After pouring through all your comments here and in several other forums I'm getting very near to the final specification before I begin drawing the schematic.
I've settled on a main MPU (PIC32MX695F512H) and most of the I/O options.

1 Ethernet
1 XBee S2 (ZigBee)
2 DE9 serial ports DTE (1 RS485,422,232. programmable to 5 ports by double duty, the CTS/RTS & DTR/DSR pins can be made RX/TX pins!)
3 Relays (1 NO/NC, 2 NO)
1 RTCC with trickle charger (DS1388)

Suggestions needed on

SD card or micro SD mounted internally or 256kB of SPI EEPROM?

Four 1/8" stereo jacks with various I/O from IR out, IR in, GPIO, analog, 1wire. Making it versatile as it's technically eight I/O lines (two per jack) all under control of a secondary PIC. I'm trying to keep it from getting jumper happy so I'd appreciate your comments on what you'd like to see with four 1/8" phone jacks. If I left something out do tell.

PS name suggestions also appreciated. Magnus One? DUCK?


What about the discussion of the "modular" approach? how would I add extra inputs? will there be some type of buss that I can connect another box to which may contain more of the 1/8" jacks as GPIO inputs?

I'll probably forgo the SD card and stick with a simpler 256kB EEPROM. Although small it's mostly for dishing out the web pages and device settings.

What about the "hackability" will the lack of storage space stop people (DIY'rs)from wanting it and furthering the project

The first thermostat will be wireless (just two wires for a power supply)

Can you also consider a battery powered simple box with a transmitter and onewire temp sensor? for sensing remote locations in the house?




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