Monday, April 13, 2015

Expanding Home Automation

I’ve recently taken steps to expand the range of home automation devices supported by the WebCell web pages. The first new device is the RainBee16 irrigation controller from Smartenit. This is a 16-zone controller commanded wirelessly over ZigBee. At the head end, Smartenit’s ZBPLM (RJ-45 serial version) connects to the WebCell to provide the ZigBee interface. The ZBPLM also provides INSTEON control, so only one interface device is needed for both ZigBee and INSTEON.

I just installed this system, replacing a traditional irrigation controller. It was a real pleasure to be able to walk around the yard, iPhone in hand selecting an irrigation zone to check out. Even out of Wi-Fi range, the iPhone connected via cellular data and kept me in control. (I had to set up remote access with user name and password, as mentioned in my last post, for this to work.)

To get this going there was a fair amount of restructuring of the underlying web services used to communicate between the browser (on the iPhone or whatever) and the WebCell. Now that this is independent of control system, I hope to add more types of devices.

These new abilities have not yet been rolled out as update for WebCell. A little more testing and tweaking is needed.

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