Tuesday 4 February 2020

The Home Automatization Platform openHAB

The main reasons for automating your home will be efficiency, convenience and security.  It also allows you to implement intelligent designs that automate systems that would otherwise not be at all practical.

It is important to understand measure and monitor the systems you design and to own them. It is also important to turn everything into a number, state or command no matter what system or equipment you are modelling. 

The approach openHAB uses is perfect for creating cheap and fairly easy automated systems that are a mix of different DIY devices and products.

If you want to get started, get a Raspberry PI (old computer or docker runtime..) and set up openHAB.  You can use the PaperUI to install bindings and see if you can get them working with any smart devices you have in your home.  I like to use the HABPanel to make simple UIs for monitoring and controlling devices.  There is plenty documentation and if you have the determination and patience you can access your openHAB over the internet securely.

If you can do that you can build systems that, for example:
  • monitor temperature and humidity
  • turn on / off ventilation fans
  • detect when you are home
  • set your thermostat setting
  • get the current weather forecast
  • turn on heaters
  • open ventilation flaps
  • charge batteries
  • control lighting levels and hue
  • monitor energy consumption
  • mow your lawn
  • monitor solar power production
  • charge electric cars
  • collect and display calendar data 
  • pull in data from the cloud
  • turn on music
  • ...
The real power of this type of home automatization comes when you make rules across these different system. ie.:  "When the grid electric price is low and the home battery is below 20% turn on the irrigation system until I get home then play Led Zeppelin in the Living Room."

OK that might not be a useful rule but I hope you get the potential of these ideas.  I hope to demonstrate some more piractical examples of projects that I have done.

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