I am collecting environmental data within my house, mainly using a low cost RF sensor network based upon Atmel microprocessors, specifically ATMEGA328p using open source designed from Jeelabs and the RFM12 RF radio.
My goal was/is to be able to measure (over time), the effects of various changes we make to our lives, how it saves us energy, money, time or some other beneficial factor.
I had migrated all my data collection and processing scripts and code to a Raspberry PI. The 90+ Watt Core Duo processor +screen and disks it was running on has been switched off and only is used occasionally.
It has worked so well, I have extended my RF network to 2 other sites that I wanted to gather data from. It was so easy really, and as the JeeNodes run for almost a year on 2xAA eneloop battery’s its no bother to keep everything working. I have a Raspberry PI in each of the other locations as a collector/staging area, before pulling it back here for central processing.
(Yes – another £70, but I have to factor in savings over 3 locations now!)
Its about this time that Jean-Claude Wippler from Jeelabs mentioned (via his blog) his HouseMon project. It looked a promising mechanism to flexibly continue to gather sensor data, whilst at the same time being able to visualise some of the near real-time sensor output. Up to this point I have been collecting and manually graphing this data to deduce patterns related to changes we make in our home. I would also retire the Orange Livebox and reclaim its small power usage footprint.
Housemon was new (risk – time!), and based upon the evolving Node.js ecosphere. Whats more, Node.js ran on a number of hardware architectures that included the Raspberry PI. I took a look, liked what I saw, had an idea of where I wanted to go with it….
Over the next 6 months I evolved my own HouseMon system based off the original build, and contributed what I thought was generic enough; back to the Jeelabs version.
I will write about those additions in a few posts time as there are a few twists and turns still to make.
The changes I added/made to my system included a LightwaveRF interface, much more flexible than the original LightwaveRF offerings (imho), that can either complement or replace the LightwaveRF Wifi Link. Twitter and G+ interaction was added, as was Bluetooth, SMS and GCal support, Central Heating control, Solar HW control, etc etc.
We are almost up to date, and its almost time to start getting technical. If you want to do this sort of thing diy-ish you do have to get your hands dirty after all.
First lets skip fwd another 6 months to the present day…