I turn it on, and so can you!
In this site we would like to exchange practical ideas about what can be turned on and off at home or outside for the purpose of automation and fun – remotely, wireless, by means of computers, cellular phones and hacking some electronics.
For example, let’s take a look at this nice remotely controlled power outlet at the top of the page. It is cool to be able to control lights or a fan, plugged into this outlet, without getting off the couch. The draw back is that for remote operation I need to keep a remote control handy. I would rather use my cell phone to control that power outlet, because it is always with me, and because smart phone has enough resources to consolidate all my remote controls.
After giving this some thought it actually appears not too hard to implement.
Here is my plan. My cell phone will send On/Off commands over Wi-Fi network to the control module, and that module will activate buttons on the remote control. Yes, it is possible to make the module physically press remote control buttons, but for now it is just easier to open the remote control case and connect wires directly to the button.
The idea of remotely controlling things at home from a smart phone is not new. Search the internet and you will find multiple solutions, either commercial or DIY.
We think, though, that our approach is less expensive, easy to build and gives user more options and flexibility because it utilizes existing widely available low cost parts.
Here are some things we should be able to control from a smart phone :
- lamps, fans plugged into power outlets
- keyless door lock
- garage door
- ceiling fan
- motorized blinds, shutters
- outside lights
- air conditioning
- start car engine
If you think of something else, feel free to add it to the list. All these devices have their own remote controls. We will consolidate them to operate from a smart phone.
Certainly, some skills in handling electronics are required for our projects, though we will try our best to keep things as simple as possible. The solution contains two parts: free software application for Android type phone and the hardware – PC board assembly, that we call Iturniton rev.1
Iturniton PC board rev.1
The major component on the Iturniton PC board is RN-171 (3) – a micro-controller from Roving Networks with Wi-Fi capabilities. The IO pins of micro-controller are connected to 6 relays (on the left) and 2 sensors.
The board is powered from DC 9-12v (marked 1) and contains voltage regulators 3.3v, 5.0v and 9.0v. The RN-171 module requires a few configuration commands to be able to work on your home WiFi network. User can enter these commands from computer either over the air in ad-hoc mode (set jumper 2) or by connecting to USB or serial port (4). See instructions page for more details.
The schematic of the Iturniton board is here.
The software application for Android smart phone has simple user interface with several configurable buttons. For Iphone users we have web page application with a similar look.
Pressing one of these buttons on your phone will send a command to the Iturniton board. The command will activate a corresponding relay, located on the left side of the Iturniton board. User would need to connect two wires from the relay to the button on the remote control.
The first revision of Iturniton board supports 6 relays, but we will be adding new features based on your valuable feedback.
What you need for this project is:
- download free application
- buy power outlet at your near by store or on the internet
- buy Iturniton board or assemble by yourself (schematic and instructions are provided)