It’s been years… YEARS! since my last post; that’s just way too long. It’s crazy to think that around the time of my last post I was dual booting Windows 7 and CrunchBang Linux (RIP CrunchBang). Since then… dual booting 8.1 and Linux Mint, to current times; dual booting Linux Elementary OS (was using in 2014, whoa full circle) and Windows 10.
I was just getting into Raspberry Pi and home automation. Since then, I have been working with a local non-profit developing Raspberry Pi curriculum for elementary & middle school aged kids; engaging them in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields. Along with the Raspberry Pi, I have been really into being active in the maker community online, branching out to the Arduino and other micro controllers.
I believe pursuing your passion as a hobby can be really rewarding, so I’m making an effort to do just that while documenting it along the way. So what have I been up to? Well below is just a little bit of what I have been up to. Check out my Instagram and Twitter to see more!
Well it turns out that the wiring in my home is up to code but insufficient to support the Z-Wave switches I purchased… The 3-way switches in the 4-Gang box would work if the traditional 2-way switches had a neutral wire running to them; this was not the case, upon further investigation there were only neutral wires running to the 3-way switches meaning that to complete the circuit I would have to use my ground wires on the 2-way switches as neutral lines which would be very dangerous. The only way to safely complete the project would be to replace the wiring running form my electrical box to my switches, which would cost far too much money for me to do. Looks like this project has met its end…
The Z-Wave enabled light switches I ordered arrived about a week ago and I soon realized I am a not an electrician for a reason. The project has been temporarily placed on hold until I can have a friend of mine come over and help me install the switches (hopefully soon).
( four Z-Wave enabled light switches and a 4-Gang plate cover.)
Now that I have the infrastructure set up for my Z-Wave environment, I just have to add devices. I need to order a 4 gang light switch set that will run about $180, so I’m holding off on those until I have money that I’m willing to use for the project. Hopefully I’ll have the switches ordered by the end of the month.
Here is the switch I need x4: http://tinyurl.com/p7pgdgz
And the 4 gang faceplate: http://tinyurl.com/pfjvz93
After I complete my Z-Wave project I plan on making a led ticker that displays messages and other info like temperature using a smartphone and arduino, seen here: http://tinyurl.com/nl8vsw9
My inline switch and dimmer arrived from Amazon Saturday afternoon, and I was able to get it installed and integrated with my Raspberry Pi Z-Wave system in about 15 minutes time. I was surprised by how easy it was; the instructions for the Nexia bridge setup seemed more elaborate than what I had to do for my GPIO add-on. Once I plugged in the inline switch and pressed the button on the front, using the web interface installed on the Pi, I was able to add the device visible to the Z-Wave GPIO adapter. After the device was added, the control for the device appeared as seen in the image below:
The slider next to the off button is to control the brightness and the other buttons are self-explanatory. I placed the switch roughly 15 feet away from my Pi and the yellow percentage is the signal strength. The Z-Wave indoor range is 90 feet, so the 96% sounds about right at that distance.
Eventually I will add a couple light switches for the kitchen (such as image below) and on Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/oup2zlx
The light switch is about $42 and I would like to replace three of the six dummy switches with the Z-Wave enabled switches, which are the light switches for the garage, overhead kitchen, and the porch light. The problem is that the current switches are the traditional/classic toggle switches and I will have to purchase dummy slap style switches to match the Z-Wave switches. $126 for the three Z-wave switches sounds a whole lot better than $252 to replace all the kitchen light switches.
Soon I will be uploading a video of the project in action.
HERE IT IS!
Z-Wave inline switch
Well my keyboard & touch-pad combo arrived finally and I dove into getting the Razzberry software installed on my Pi. I was consumed by a side project of enabling ssh and running tightvnc to access the gui; after an hour or two of pulling my hair out, I realized the firewall settings I had configured on my Linux desktop were preventing me from using ssh. After getting both ssh and tight vnc configured properly, Razzberry has been installed.. I just have to make my first Z-wave product purchase and I’ll be ready to configure and test (Phase 2) which will have to wait for pay day.
This is the keyboard I chose to use with my Raspberry Pi when I’m not connected via SSH or VNC.
My first Z-Wave device has been ordered! Check it out in my Twitter feed on the right of the page! ——>
Well I put together my Raspberry Pi with my GPIO card and installed Rasbian “wheezy”, for whatever reason my keyboard wanted to input endless characters and after a reboot I was unable to log into my Pi.. After I get a Pi friendly keyboard I’ll update the status of my Z-Wave project.
Keyboard has been ordered and I’m borrowing a keyboard later today to at least get the open remote api installed and start configuring it.