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What crazy things are you doing with HA?


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#1 MichaelT

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 11:06 AM

I recently posted what I thought were complicated goals for a new HA system I'm looking to build. The goals included a sprinkler system that would look to today's weather forecast and yesterday's rain fall levels to determine how much it should water today ... and an HVAC system that would use occupancy monitors to determine when to use the "Away", "Night" and "Morning" settings. roussell came in and assessed my goals as fairly basic. That actually got me super excited ... so ...

What crazy, unusual things have you built with HA? I'm hoping to become inspired by other people's "way out there" ideas ... so, let 'em rip!

#2 Dan (electron)

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 11:41 AM

There is SO much most of us do (besides the basic stuff), but my favorite functionality is probably the 'intelligent' lighting. At night my lights turn on based on motion and other conditions. On/Off buttons on my remotes become smart during night mode (only turn lights on to 10% or so, and 100% if you hit ON again, so you don't go blind), etc.

Remote starting my car was another fun one (start the car after I get out of the shower on a work-day, and it's cold outside).

#3 BraveSirRobbin

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 12:54 PM

Some of the cooler project I have done are design a way to monitor a Dexcom Diabetes monitor for my friend's system, create a garage door monitor so I know the exact position of my garage door (plus/minus one inch), hacked palm pad remotes and turned them into reliable vehicle monitors for my wife and my SUV's, incorporate a totally wireless DS10a into an appliance light monitor,

Other users have created gas water heater monitors, salt level monitors for water conditioners, various doorbell detectors (that includes sending an email of the person ringing the doorbell), mailbox monitors, etc...

Dan (electron) is forgetting about his cool 'key' detector!

I also like the fact that once you incorporate all of your home automation/security items into one software monitoring package you can do things like not water the front lawn sprinklers based on the wind speed of your weather station, send garabage night notifications over your audio system until you see the side gate monitor open (knowing you took the garbage can out to the street), automatically close your garage door when armed in stay mode for the night if it is open (you can also close it if armed in away mode and it is still open after a certain time period has elapsed), email phone call (caller ID info) so you know who called the house, announce caller ID through your audio system, notify your cell if you have a power outage, turn on various lights based on doors/windows open, plus lots more.

Check out some of our articles and How-To's for more information.

Edited by BraveSirRobbin, 05 July 2012 - 01:00 PM.


#4 Work2Play

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 05:06 PM

What about Dan's mouse trap? I can't find the link right now though...
As for smart sprinkler controls, check out what Pete is doing with a dockstar and a Rain 8 here

#5 nlaredo

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Posted 07 July 2012 - 12:22 AM

My current craziest is probably adding a badge reader to my garage door so I can use my work badge to get into my house when I walk home from work. People tell me it would have been easier to just carry an opener or put a keypad outside... or actually carry keys.

I've replaced every light switch in my house with insteon, and I've been tracking when I turn lights on and off for over a year now and have started trying to predictively turn on and off lights based on past history as well as learn from mistakes. Outdoor lights are excluded from this project since they have insteon motion detectors and rules based on date and sunset and sunrise. Now that I have a M1 installed, I've been installing door sensors to give lighting automation some more hints. Why is this crazy? Well, imagine sitting on the toilet and the light turns off just before you're done. Low WAF.

#6 batwater

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 07:34 PM

My "crazies" are things like automating lights to turn on/off when certain doors are opened/closed. Walk in closets, foyer closet, laundry room, shop (minimal lights to grab stuff and avoid turning on the big florescent fixtures) 3 of the six doors / lights configured this way are also on timers so that if the light stays on for x period of time they turn off automatically (this is done within the switch itself in this case though I could just as easily do that through CQC)

Working on various notifications when windows are left open and certain events occur:
-Rain
-Away
-HVAC activity
-Temperature differential vs season

Controlling everything through our Android smartphones / tablets

Michael, the way I approach this hobby is by asking the questions what can I control and what do I want to control? I solve the interfacing conundrum (device driver) and then I follow up with the automation. the automation "connecting the dots" is where the crazies come from. Once you have control, what will you do with it???

-Ben

#7 znelbok

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 08:11 PM

Crazy Things - crazy to one is normal to others (me)

Here is what I do that is not standard

Camera on driveway detects motion and if the TV is on it will open the PIP and display the image on the screen for a minute. A horn sound will also be played on teh kitchen touchscreen. If the alarm is armed I will get an SMS.

I had a rat trap connected to the M1 to let me know when it went off http://www.charmedqu...1&highlight=rat This would send me an SMS is the alarm was armed. I was at work having lunch playing cards and I got a message telling em I had caught a rat - everyone laughed at (with) me at how far I had gone.

When I go to bed at night I press a button on the remote to turn off all the lights over 12 seconds, close the garage doors, change the channel on the TV to the station I watch in the mornings and turn the volume down to an acceptible morning level. If the ceiling fans are on in the bedrooms they are left running and then turned off at 2am.

The A/C is intergated and when a zone (each room is a zone) is turned on, if there is a ceiling fan in that room it is also turned on. This allows the setpoint to be raised almost 1 degree when cooling and thus saving power.

I fill the horse water trough every morning automatically.

The electric fence voltage is monitored and I get an alert when the voltage drops. This alerts me to stock putting pressure on the fence or a branch etc. has fallen on the fence and it needs to be "fixed".

When the kids were younger, I would shut their doors at night. In the morning they would open their door and the TV would come on and change to the kids shows. This would only work after 6:30am.

9am the TV's turn off and lights turn off. THe kids know that they need to then get dressed and do something other than watch TV.

My water tank has an ultrasonic level transmitter on top and I use the M1 to monitor the level (the M1 was modified to handle 4-20mA signals).

The A/C has a roof duct that draws in fresh air from outside. If the outside temp drops below the colling setpoint the system switches from cool to vent automatically..

My power meters are "smart" meters (nothing smart about them, they are just digital) and they are connected to a PLC that reads the Wh pulses and every 15minutes an End Of Interval (EOI) pulse is received and i calculate my electricity bill and display it on the kitchen touchscreen.

My saptic tank is montiored by the HA system. Pump runtime, UV light, Blower and water level will all alert me to any problems.

Some of the boring common stuff.

Laundry door turns on the laundry light when opened. If not closed it turns off after 10 minutes, otherwise closing the door turns it off.

Kids going to toilet at night bring on lights at a very low level for 10 minutes.

Kids bedroom lights dont work through the day. They would turn the lights on rather than openening the curtains so I put a stop to that. The motion sensor outside also detects sunrise/sunset (light/dark) and enables them automatically at night.

There is probably a lot more thats I cant recal right now, but it should give you something to think about.

Mick

Arming the alarm turns off the TV's, A/C, lights and 10 minutes later checks that the garage doors are closed.

#8 Lou Apo

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 09:50 PM

chicken coup door is automated. Opens/closes like a draw bridge.

#9 Dean Roddey

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 11:28 PM

Paying the rent, sort of.

#10 Basildane

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 08:45 AM

I have hundreds of "things" going on. Here is one.

When someone enters the den, den lights ramp up for 3 minutes, if dark.
However, if the TV is on, den lights lock on 10% and don't change when someone enters the room.
Except if the phone rings, then the den and bar lights fade up to 50% so you can walk to pickup the phone. When the phone call is completed, 20 seconds later, den and bar lights fade back to TV viewing level.

#11 kwilcox

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Posted 15 July 2012 - 09:02 AM

Fortress continually learns our lighting usage patterns at night then replays them during away mode. This was pretty much all custom programming using the HCA Object model. for example, as our kids are getting older, their bedtimes are are getting later too, so the house is automatically adapting their bedroom lights-out times during away mode. I ummm think its adapting our lights-out times (downward) as we get older too. For similar reasons, bathroom lights may be coming on more often in the 2AM timeframe..

I did this after I learned that many criminals monitor light usage patterns to detect when "away mode" programs are running.

Edited by kwilcox, 15 July 2012 - 09:03 AM.


#12 Basildane

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Posted 15 July 2012 - 10:20 AM

One of the first tasks I did around 15 years ago, was to automate the HVAC systems.
When all windows are closed in a particular HVAC zone, then it runs air conditioning or heating.
If a window opens, that zone is turned off and fans turn on, if the temperature is extreme.

Also, if rain is detected and windows, doors, garage, sheds are open, voice announcements are made over the speaker system telling you to close them...

If any doors are opened and stay open for more than 5 minutes, a voice announcement is made that you left the door open...

#13 MichaelT

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Posted 16 July 2012 - 09:44 AM

To say that these ideas have inspired me is an under statement! I love the behavior-based (instead of schedule-based) implementations. Overloading your work security badge, starting the car if it's cold out and garage door sensing is awesome! ... and my wife dreams of a farm, so when znelbok and Lou Apo offered up farm based ideas SHE was now suddenly engaged. ^_^

So ... I hate to ask and demonstrate my ignorance ... but ...

If I want to do some of these things and then other complex (read: multi-sensor input decision-making), what hardware do I need? I know I'm going to need a "server" to run my HA software, but I have seen a lot of "Elk" references here. Am I going to need Elk?

Thanks for your patience while you teach me how to walk ...

#14 MichaelT

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Posted 16 July 2012 - 09:45 AM

... Also, if rain is detected and windows, doors, garage, sheds are open, voice announcements are made over the speaker system telling you to close them ...


By the way ... this is AWESOME! Is there anyway to put man doors and windows on actuators, so the system could open and close them?

#15 Basildane

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Posted 16 July 2012 - 10:10 AM

By the way ... this is AWESOME! Is there anyway to put man doors and windows on actuators, so the system could open and close them?


Certainly you could, but this would very expensive and labor intensive to install motorized windows... The garage is fully automated. That was easy.

To say that these ideas have inspired me is an under statement! I love the behavior-based (instead of schedule-based) implementations. Overloading your work security badge, starting the car if it's cold out and garage door sensing is awesome! ... and my wife dreams of a farm, so when znelbok and Lou Apo offered up farm based ideas SHE was now suddenly engaged. ^_^

So ... I hate to ask and demonstrate my ignorance ... but ...

If I want to do some of these things and then other complex (read: multi-sensor input decision-making), what hardware do I need? I know I'm going to need a "server" to run my HA software, but I have seen a lot of "Elk" references here. Am I going to need Elk?

Thanks for your patience while you teach me how to walk ...


We are into farming too. Irrigation is pretty easy to control. What I am working on now is a chicken-cam and egg detector. I'm thinking of using a Netduino to base the egg detector on.
the problem is a few of our chicks are naughty and peck their eggs open before we get to them...

I would like to share of a screen shot of my security control panel, I wrote it myself in C. It shows the floor plan, live status of all doors and windows, motions, thermostats, lighting control, irrigation, and security camera views.

Another project I'm working on is automating an electric fence, with short circuit detection. We have several e-fences to protect the garden and chicks from predators.

I've done some really cool stuff with VoIP... We have servers running that control all communications, and know in real-time if an incoming call is a telemarketer. If so, our phones never ring, the telemarketer gets to talk to my server, which responds like a real person and ties them up with a nonsence conversation - and records it for our amusement.

Oh, and there are card readers at the doors for access control. Everything is integrated. Video phones in the house and at work. If my front door rings, I can see who is there from my office 40 miles away. I can even unlock the door and let them in. I can answer the doorbell from my car. That freaks people out.

There is lots more... Welcome to the club.




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