Caretaker is my DIY smart home automation and surveillance project. The aim is to create a totally wireless and scaleable system to control power switches (lamps and other electrical appliances) and measure values like temperatures, brightness and power consumption. All devices should be controllable through local devices as well as mobile devices over the internet. All devices use Microchip (formerly Roving Networks) WiFly WLAN modules , which allow bi-directional communication between all devices, so besides controlling a device it can itself send asynchronous status update messages, i.e. pressing a physical button on a dimmer to switch a lamp on, will also update a button in a remote control application, eliminating the need for periodically polling the device status.
Caretaker is a completely Open Hardware and Open Software smart home solution. The main purpose of this project is to evaluate new technologies. It is in no way a finished and polished product, so it is mainly of interest to hackers, makers and developers. You need to solder (and even tweak) the devices and the software will contain bugs and is far from being a simple to use system. So use it at your own risk and don't try this at home ;-)
| The Caretaker source code is hosted at Github: |
This is a simple device that can switch 8 power outlets. It uses solid state relays that are capable of switching 8 Amps per port, but you shouldn't exceed 16 Amps in total. Each port has an LED indicating the current port state.
This is a hacked version of IKEAs Spoeka TM lamp. It is remote controlled through a WLAN module and each of the red, green and blue color components can be set independently.
This board contains the EasyVR voice recognition module: "Computer! Reduce lighting 10%!" :-)
For a quick first impression, you can start the software in a simulation mode without any physical remote devices your local workstation. How this is done is described in this quickstart guide .
For demonstration purposes I have designed five Arduino demo shields . They are quite simple so that you can also build these circuits on a breadboard.
This tutorial explains how you can create a minimal Caretaker setup with these shields and a Raspberry Pi.
Put this between a power jack and a lamp. The brightness can be controlled in 256 steps either remote or with a local push button
This is a small handy device with 10 push buttons for simple and easy control of the most importantdevices.
A controller for a DIY reflow soldering oven.
When I started to build my first home automation system many years ago, it looked like this. The base station was built with a FoxBoard and one of this sloppy remote controls that were available in most hardware stores for just a few bucks.