More Home Automation

RandomJoeRandomJoe Solar Expert Posts: 472 ✭✭✭
Just browsing Ken's HA thread again, and thought I'd mention mine too, now that it's accessible. I've only just started with it, so not a whole lot on there, but you can see how warm I have the heater set today anyway! ;)

I'm using a Tridium Niagara JACE, we use these for our commercial HVAC projects at work. I liked them so much I finally bought my own! There are all kinds of options for the things, mine has a 34-point I/O module, Lonworks card, and Modbus communications. Between the Lon and Modbus interfaces I can add in a huge amount of hardware.

Currently I only have the HVAC system attached (Distech Lon programmable controller) plus a few temp sensors around the house. Plan to add just about anything I can think of...! I already have a power meter to install in the breaker panel (similar to a TED) if/when the weather ever cooperates - my panel is on the outside of the house.

I will also be pulling in data from the solar system and weather station. Both are monitored by another computer, so I will be writing a daemon to use oBIX (a particular schema of XML) to pass the data in for logging and control.

One of the really sweet things about the Jace (to me, anyway) is the logging capability. You can see that by opening up the History folder in the tree. You can adjust the time/date range shown, or zoom in on a portion of the current graph by click-dragging. (Both ways too - click-drag up or down will adjust the scale!) Right-click on the History folder, and there is an option for Chart Builder, you can put several things on a single chart. Pretty cool.

The system is at - note it currently uses Java. I can switch it to HTML-only, but that's not nearly so nice-looking. If people have problems with Java, I'll switch it!

One note: For some reason, Firefox on OS X (at least, for my setup) has issues. Some things work, but not perfectly. Safari is fine, and Firefox on Linux or Windows is fine. IE on Windows also works.

And if anyone is interested - or just very bored! :p - my weather station is at - I'm using wview to collect the data from a Vantage Pro 2 station and generate the pages.



  • RandomJoeRandomJoe Solar Expert Posts: 472 ✭✭✭
    Re: More Home Automation

    I've gone ahead and switched the guest account to straight HTML - not as pretty looking, but much faster to load the first time around.
  • a0128958a0128958 Solar Expert Posts: 316 ✭✭✭
    Re: More Home Automation

    This is a nice start. Interesting to see how a LON based system is set up.

    Best regards,

  • n3qikn3qik Solar Expert Posts: 741 ✭✭
    Re: More Home Automation

    That's a good start. These PLC's can do some neat things.
  • RandomJoeRandomJoe Solar Expert Posts: 472 ✭✭✭
    Re: More Home Automation

    Excellent! Figured out how to "talk OBIX" (it's just a particular form of XML) using Python, so my Mate logging script has been revamped to accomodate.

    My automation website now has the solar system (complete with spiffy graphic) online. There are also some trends available, the points with trends have a different background color, and clicking them takes you straight to the trend graph.

    Now that I can easily see the data from the FX, I'm not very impressed... Especially with the AC readings. The voltage readings fluctuate quite a bit, especially the one that it says is "AC In" and I know my grid voltage does NOT fluctuate anything like it shows. The amperage readings are also really lousy - I can be drawing 3-4A from the inverter and it still says 1A. I would hope this is because I'm way below the inverter's total capacity, but it does make those sensors useless for my purposes...

    But I can now also switch the inverter's mode (drop/use grid power) from the automation panel, so I can utilize all the info available to determine when to do so. The HBX function in the Mate is nice, but pretty limited as it runs solely off battery voltage and time delays. I'm going to use Net AH In/Out so I can start the inverter early to maximize the solar panel production during the day.

    In case anyone is interested, my Python script for the Mate has been totally reworked. The original version was "hardwired" to my system, I now have a Python class that is generic - will work on anything from a Mate plugged into a single device up to a 10-port hub fully loaded. It creates a 10-slot list of dictionaries. Each slot in the list represents a port on the hub (or, if direct-connected, only slot 0 is used) and the dictionaries contain tags for all the properties pertinent to whatever device the script finds there. Probably still not as much error-handling as could/should be, but so far has been perfectly reliable for me.

    Another class handles the XML feed to my automation panel. That's quite specific to my setup, as it needs to fed specific points to specific folders, but if interested you're free to take a look!

    Not going to say I'm a programming guru though, you aren't guaranteed high-quality code there! :p

    I need to do some writeups on what I've done and add that to my website, the Python files will be there as well, once I get them published. I'll mention here when I get that done.

    Hm. Added the links to my signature, but nothing showed up. Do they not work retroactively?

    Here they are, not buried in text!

    Automation System:
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,327 admin
    Re: More Home Automation

    Scroll down a bit under the posting window, there are Additional Options:
    • [ ] Show your signature
    From what I seen, you turn this on with your next post, then your signature will show on all subsequent posts automatically. I believe you have to go back and edit each older post to show signature.

    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • RandomJoeRandomJoe Solar Expert Posts: 472 ✭✭✭
    Re: More Home Automation

    Ah, okay. Never paid attention to the extra options! :blush:

    This is fun - the overcast changed to lots of puffy white clouds zooming across the sky, and the charge controller is having one heckuva time keeping up. Charge watts is all over the map! :D
  • RandomJoeRandomJoe Solar Expert Posts: 472 ✭✭✭
    Re: More Home Automation

    Finally found a 'round tuit' and updated the website. I'm sure it'll change a bit over time, but there's a little data there on what I've done. I also have the Python scripts for the Mate interface posted now.

    Remember, I'm not a professional programmer! :p

    I wrote and use them on Linux, but am not doing anything Linux-specific with the current version. They ought to run on other OSes as well, primarily just have to change the serial port variable to suit. The original version implemented a 'curses' display, and I'm not sure if curses works on Windows...

    The only module I use that isn't included with standard Python is the pySerial module, which is of course necessary to talk to the Mate in the first place.
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