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    Wireless Control Hardware?

    I know about Zwave, but is anyone aware of any other wireless electrical controls for outlets and lighting?

    More importantly, is anyone aware of one which adds a TCP/IP stack to the switch or outlet, giving it an IP address and making it accessible over 802.11?

    I am growing tired of PLC hardware solutions...

    #2
    ZigBee, Insteon, a few others . . .

    There were some ZigBee wireless switches, dimmers and thermostats at the Electronic House Expo today. They are not on the market yet, but I will get some tentative delivery dates tomorrow.

    Smarthome is touting their Insteon system of wireless+Powerline. Other vendors also had proprietary wireless systems.

    But I don't think any of them are as far along as ZWave.

    None are IP based, but the ZigBee protocol exceeds TCP/IP in sophistication. That may be it's achilles heal when trying to reach into the low cost implimentations.

    Comment


      #3
      Lack of IP Conformity: A mistake?

      Lack of IP conformity is a major mistake, IMHO, and a glaring omission from current offerings. Once the system is IP-driven, standards-based solutions can be placed into operation. Existing development work can be used, and the proprietary solutions will open up significantly.

      A web-based configuration of a light switch would be fantastic. Lantronix and others make 802.11 and straight RJ-45 chipsets with a TCP/IP stack and a small footprint. I'm surprised nobody has attached one to a switch yet.

      Of course, the price might make it unattractive. The chipsets are nearly $100 in quantities of 1... and I doubt I'd spend more than $100 on a switch...

      Hmm.. thanks for the info, rocco.
      Last edited by dantelope; November 18, 2004, 12:19 AM. Reason: Add title

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        #4
        I have a Lantronix WiPort working - it has two serial ports and 11 I/O bits. It's simple since it is 802.11 WiFi and talks to any access point or in ad-hoc mode, and simulates two serial ports and/or uses UDP messages to read/write I/O bits. I am enhancing this with an AVR microprocessor - so the thing is also smart.

        Comment


          #5
          Yes!

          Originally posted by Stevech
          I have a Lantronix WiPort working - it has two serial ports and 11 I/O bits. It's simple since it is 802.11 WiFi and talks to any access point or in ad-hoc mode, and simulates two serial ports and/or uses UDP messages to read/write I/O bits. I am enhancing this with an AVR microprocessor - so the thing is also smart.
          Yep, that's definitely one of the enabling technologies I was thinking about. Have you connected this to an intelligent switch?

          I think what I'm envisioning is something to the effect of a WiPort/Switchlinc combination, where the SwitchLinc is responding to the serial port of the WiPort rather than PLC. This way the switch becomes a fully compliant member of my internal IP-based control network.

          In addition, I could log into the switch and configure it from the web. Or, I could use a centralized web-based configuration utility to configure one or more. I could also write applications to use this switch in just about any language out there using standard libraries and well-known techniques.

          I wonder if such a beast could be cost-effectively manufacturerd and sold -- for around the $100 or lower price point.

          Hmmmm!

          Comment


            #6
            You might check out www.control4.com

            They were brought up in the Z-Wave forum today: http://board.homeseer.com/showthread.php?t=100085

            Control4 website has very little technical info, but is worth a browse. All their stuff is IP based (wired & wireless). It will be interesting to see how their quality, reliability, support and willingness to work with other vendors (HomeSeer) all shakes out.
            Best regards,
            -Mark-

            If you're not out on the edge, you're taking up too much room!
            Interested in 3D maps? Check out my company site: Solid Terrain Modeling

            Comment


              #7
              Heard it through the Grapevine

              Originally posted by mfisher
              You might check out www.control4.com

              They were brought up in the Z-Wave forum today: http://board.homeseer.com/showthread.php?t=100085

              Control4 website has very little technical info, but is worth a browse. All their stuff is IP based (wired & wireless). It will be interesting to see how their quality, reliability, support and willingness to work with other vendors (HomeSeer) all shakes out.
              Excellent find. I recall hearing the name and even checking them out a while back, but I'd forgotten until you mentioned it.

              If their product is standards-based and doesn't require proprietary equipment (i.e., you don't have to purchase their controllers to make it all work) then I'd imagine that developers from all over (me included) would build integration in for all of our favorite products (HomeSeer).

              Their stealth mode is worrisome. When a company is in stealth for as long as they've been, I tend to be concerned there's some internal battle being fought. It doesn't appear that they've secured a channel strategy yet, and it certainly doesn't appear they've landed any big distribution deals. Gotta hope for the best, I suppose.

              Interestingly, they refer to the 802.15.4 mesh networking standard. I'm going to go research that now... anyone have any experience with it or know how it applies to IP?

              Comment


                #8
                dantelope,
                What's wrong with Z-Wave?
                -Rupp
                sigpic

                Comment


                  #9
                  Zwave

                  Originally posted by Rupp
                  dantelope,
                  What's wrong with Z-Wave?
                  Z-Wave is not directly compatible with an IP network is it?

                  Zigbee is actually faster (5-6 times) than Zwave and consumes significantly less power. Zwave would be better if you have only a few nodes... but I don't (and neither do you judging from your posts )

                  Honestly, I have nothing personal against Zwave or any other technology. I'm just wondering why my house devices can't use my internal wireless IP network to send/receive control, configuration, and status requests.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Actually I have 19 Z-Wave nodes now although this may or may not be a lot to some. I do know that my Z-Wave installation is flawless in its transmissions.

                    As far as using the "wireless IP network". Given enough money I'm sure developers will do this but the majority of users get into X10 because of cost and live with it's short comings.
                    -Rupp
                    sigpic

                    Comment


                      #11
                      IP vs. X10

                      Originally posted by Rupp
                      Actually I have 19 Z-Wave nodes now although this may or may not be a lot to some. I do know that my Z-Wave installation is flawless in its transmissions.

                      As far as using the "wireless IP network". Given enough money I'm sure developers will do this but the majority of users get into X10 because of cost and live with it's short comings.
                      I'd consider 19 nodes "a lot"

                      I understand (and agree) that many people use X10 for cost reasons. I'm not "the majority". I'm the guy who has a huge investment in an ethernet network, both wired and wireless, and would like to use it, along with standard IP protocols, to talk to the devices in my house.

                      I don't believe I am alone in this desire.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        I'm fooling with the WiPort because it's standards based and cutting edge - as are the similar products from dpac and one other I cannot remember now. But moreover, I like wiring a $4 megaAVR (Atmel) microprocessor to the WiPort and writing what ever code I want for the little gizmo to behave and do I/O as I please and communicate with the LAN and Internet. If I were doing a real product, I could purchase a license from Lantronix and add my code to the code on the WiPort - it has a big fat memory '186 in it. But the AVR is easy to program in-circuit in C and can power off the WiPort at will to get to a few mA of power consumption.

                        If (when?) there are high quantities and made in Asia versions of such embedded wireless controllers, there's no reason such a thing cannot cost well under $50 at retail. Look at what a PCMCIA WiFi card costs - or even the CF cards.

                        But then, I'm more in to fiddling than anything else - especially if it doesn't have a negative WAF coefficient.

                        ZigBee may trickle down into the residential market. Meanwhile, Z-Wave has a void. But standards tend to be the enemy of first-to-market startups.

                        Ah, heck. It's a cheaper hobby than Bass Fishing Boats and airplanes and other passions.
                        Last edited by Stevech; November 18, 2004, 11:27 PM.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Electronic Fiddlers

                          I hear ya, Steve. You know what would make a great project?

                          1. Decode the inner workings of a SwitchLinc 2380 and figure out how to make it respond to serial commands.

                          2. Attach the SwitchLinc to your WiPort and write a web-based API on your WiPort that will bridge commands to the SwitchLinc -- e.g., http://100.23.149.34/presetDim?value=20

                          3. Market it. Or send it to me and I'll cut you in :-)


                          Extra Credit:

                          4. Tell your wife you're going to be rich, rich, rich.


                          Theory:

                          - Most consumers want the benefits of wired functions
                          - Most consumers are NOT building new homes
                          - Most consumers do NOT want to punch holes in their walls or pay for wiring
                          - Wireless technology is cheap
                          - Standards-based development is cheaper than the alternative, which implies that software built with it will be cheaper than the alternative
                          - Bringing cost and hassle down will increase consumer adoption
                          - Increased consumer adoption will result in increased market size
                          - Chicks dig rich people

                          LOL.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            On the low tech end, but the below wireless transmitters/receivers might be of interest to the DIY types to remotely control relays and other gizmos. The Holtec encoder/decoders used with them are also cheap at ~$1.50 each.

                            http://www.futurlec.com/Radio.shtml
                            Why I like my 2005 rio yellow Honda S2000 with the top down, and more!

                            Comment


                              #15
                              I (and others) have done really cheap wireless thusly. I bought some radio controlled teeny cars - itty bitty cars. $5 or so with controller at Target as I recall.

                              Open up the teeny car, remove the R/C receiver. Most are 4 channels of on/off, intended for left/right, forward/reverse. Disconnect the motors. Disconnect the battery. Keep just the PCB receiver. It's about a half inch square.

                              Wire up an LM317 voltage regulator for 1.5VDC. Use it with a wall wart power supply, or a bigger battery, or solar gizmo.

                              Put a longer antenna on the receiver. Some are 27MHz (6 ft antenna is good), some are 49MHz, so a 3 ft antenna is good.

                              Now rip the guts out of the controller and power it from, usually, 3V with an LM317 with different resistors. Long antenna.

                              So, now wire one of the four outputs of the receiver to a relay or power transistor driver. Then hook that to whatever is to be controlled.

                              On the controller - use the corresponding push button. Then get fancy and have the push button circuits interfaced to a PC or whatever, as contact closures, so softrware can control.

                              I did this and got 50ft range through a few walls.

                              There's a website on hacking these R/C cars - can't find it just now.
                              ==========
                              I don't now why, but it's a phobia: getting cheap stuff to work well beyond its intended purpose is fun.

                              Receiver photos. I can upload transmitter photos if anyone is interested.
                              Attached Files
                              Last edited by Stevech; November 19, 2004, 11:23 PM.

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