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Author Topic: Idea for Arduino integration.  (Read 5703 times)

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Offline eldaria

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Idea for Arduino integration.
« on: April 09, 2014, 03:53:12 am »
I recently got hold of the Arduino Starter Kit and have been playing around with it.
My long term idea was to use it with Home automation in mind.
And then I was looking at the SDK for the Almond+, and had an idea.

What if there was a bridge and a simple way to add stuff to the Arduino and then the Almond+ would pick it up like any other sensor/device?

My thought was something like this:
On the Arduino you create a template that contains the information that the Almond+ needs for understanding what you connected.
On the Almond+ you have a program running that reads the template from the Arduino, and translates it in to a "fake" sensor that you can then associate to the Almond+.

So basically the template needs to contain everything that the Almond+ needs to know, like if it is an Input or Output device, and how it should read the data.

The Arduino can then in turn use all kinds of sensors and devices, everything from 1-wire to motor shields.
Doing this approach makes it unnecessary to do add support for everything in the Almond+, and it widens the things you can connect.

I was thinking to add one near my fridge and freezer and have a small temperature sensor going inside to keep an eye on the inside temperature. But since the Arduino has multiple IO, I could also add all kinds of other stuff like binary switches to sense if the door is opened or closed, and so on.

Each sensor I have on the Arduino then passes it's information to a sub process that contains the template that is known by the Almond+.

Well just an idea that i'm throwing out there. ;-)

Offline Mike

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Re: Idea for Arduino integration.
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2014, 06:04:23 am »
I have been thinking about this too, i realy want this to becomes possible  :D
An arduino could be an ideal low cost/hobbyist alternative too high priced multisensor hubs. The range of possible sensors and actuators is much more diverse then zwave/zigbee will ever achieve in the coming years, if at all.

I am using several arduinos to control some RF wall-sockets and relays based on light and motion sensors. Initially I was trying to send some sensor data over serial RF link but this was notoriously unreliable. Currently I have added a Raspberry in the mix for logging temperature sensors etc, it also has an RF link to command the arduinos and of course has IP connectivity. Via some scripts on the raspberry i 
I drifted towards this setup because adding a ethernet/wifi doubles the cost for an arduino shield and smaller form factors are not possible. Zigbee/zwave shields are an option but even more bulky and costly.
If direct IP connection would be a requirement for connecting an arduino to the almond+the price for an arduino+shield+sensors would come close to retail sensors and I would personally loose some interest.

In the end the setup is somewhat more complex but it combines the excelent IO capabilities of the arduino with the connectivity of the RPi.

Offline eldaria

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Re: Idea for Arduino integration.
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2014, 06:28:40 am »
Actually my idea was to have multiple ways to connect the Arduino.
One was Ethernet/Wifi shield, but I was also considering Serial connections, and using a USB to Serial adapter.

Basically one Arduino is hardwired to the Almond+, and then if needed passes information to other Arduinos through various means like 1-wire or Xbee.

I'm still new to Arduino so my idea is more of an abstract nature.

Offline Patrick Wilson

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Re: Idea for Arduino integration.
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2014, 10:03:26 pm »
Actually my idea was to have multiple ways to connect the Arduino.
One was Ethernet/Wifi shield, but I was also considering Serial connections, and using a USB to Serial adapter.

Basically one Arduino is hardwired to the Almond+, and then if needed passes information to other Arduinos through various means like 1-wire or Xbee.

I'm still new to Arduino so my idea is more of an abstract nature.

There are probably multiple ways to do this.  Both our Almond and Almond+ already have the serial console port available to accessing the Router.  If you are using our Almond+ and want to play with the SDK,  you might prefer to use something the Arduino Wireless SD Shield might be a place to start. 

I neither a programmer nor am electronics expert,  so this isn't a project for me,  but I must confess that Zigbee/Xbee paired with Arduino sounds pretty interesting.  I believe you can also play with the Arduino WiFi Shield if you are really into this stuff.

I'm trying to convince a friend to build me a Zigbee controlled Coffee machine,  so that I can start my afternoon coffee on the way home from work via the Almond+ Mobile Apps when they get here.  It would also be nice to be able to start my coffee from my nightstand,  so it is ready before I actually step out of bed. He seems to feel that an Arduinio could easily accomplish this lifestyle changing device. 



« Last Edit: April 09, 2014, 10:35:15 pm by Patrick Wilson »
Patrick Wilson
Victoria, BC Canada

Offline eldaria

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Re: Idea for Arduino integration.
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2014, 03:06:17 am »
Hi Patrick

I'm into electronics, although many years ago I actually did anything more complex it still sticks. :-).

Depending on your coffee machine it should not be to hard to do it.
I have one of those 1 button automatic espresso machine that grinds the beans and stuff, but it takes only a minute to make a cup of coffee so not really needed.
But if you have one of those brewing kind of machines, then I suppose if you prepare it with water, filter and coffee, then a simple wall plug type switch would do.

I read into Xbee, and from what I found was that although it is using the same frequency as Zigbee, they are not compatible, as they use a different stack. So it will not be possible to use the built in Zigbee in Almond+ to interact with Xbee directly.
But if I succeed with my idea, then it it should be possible to use the Arduino as a gateway to the Xbee network.

I had not thought of the built in serial console, not sure if would be possible to use it, but I might look into that. Maybe you guys know if it has a /dev entry on the router?

My thought was to use a USB-Serial such as the one that came with the Dev units, I also have an Ethernet shield, but I have not come as far as learning to use it. ;-) Still only on 6th project in the book. And I don't even think the book covers the ethernet shield.

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Re: Idea for Arduino integration.
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2014, 04:48:04 am »
Actually, there's an XBee version that should work with ZigBee - http://www.digi.com/products/wireless-wired-embedded-solutions/zigbee-rf-modules/zigbee-mesh-module/xbee-zb-module
Problem is, the kit is more than the Almond+ will retail for.

Offline eldaria

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Re: Idea for Arduino integration.
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2014, 09:06:21 am »
Hmm, interesting, but that is for a full kit, is that really needed?

Quote
ZigBee RF Module Development Kit includes:
(2) XBee low-power modules
(2) XBee-PRO extended range modules
(4) XBee USB interface boards
All necessary antennae, power supplies, cables, and Quick Start Guide.

Also a bit odd that they have different for different regions, I thought ZigBee was the same all over?

Quote
XK-Z11-M is for USA and Canada
XK-Z11-M-WA is for Austrailia
XK-Z11-M-W is for all other international customers

Anyway just a single module is $17, not sure you can use only this or if you need something else from the kit.

LGNilsson

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Re: Idea for Arduino integration.
« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2014, 10:46:36 am »
The reason as to why they have different versions is due to the transmit power, in the US that can be a lot higher than in the EU for example.
As for the rest, I don't really know, but the Almond+ supports ZigBee Pro HA 1.2.

 

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