"Smart Home" - rethinking

    On Habré, there have already been several publications about how IT people build houses for themselves and what comes out of it.

    I want to share my experience ("test project").

    Building your own home (especially if it is also on your own) is an extremely voluminous piece of information, so I’ll keep my story more about IT systems (we are still in Habré, not in FH, although there’s a theme too) .


    We have long moved from the metropolis "closer to nature." The townhouse (our choice at that time) seemed to be the ideal option - not an apartment in an apartment building, but not a country house yet - an ideal “test for country life”. At the same time, its “piece of land” and all central communications, two floors and no parking problems.

    But pretty soon we realized that the “countryside” was great for us, but the presence of “close neighbors” did not suit us.

    Long and painstaking searches for a suitable site began (this is a separate topic - so many nuances), but “the one who searches will always find.” Found (25 acres, LPH, 3 phases (15kW)). Bought.

    And here it began ...

    Buy and leave the site "as is" - this is not about us. They started to master it slowly - they removed extra trees, organized the entrance, built a fence (all on their own, there was no money left after the purchase of the plot) ... It was

    immediately clear that in order to build a house, you need to sell a townhouse. The sale process is very slow (suburban real estate is very difficult).

    To make it “not boring”, they decided to build a small guest house, which could later be used instead of a rented apartment during the construction of the main house and after the house was built as an “office outside with all the amenities” (as well as a guest house, of course: )). At the same time on it to test the technology of construction and make a "test" smart home.

    Construction site

    Since this house is a “guest house” and is a “warm-up” before the construction of the main house, we decided to build it using a frame technology (North American version).

    The choice of construction technology was made on the basis of two hypotheses: “fast” and “cheap.”
    The postulate “quickly” - yes, it’s true (provided sufficient funding), but “cheap” - was not justified at all (“it isn’t good cheap” - if everything is done correctly according to technology and “for oneself”, it turns out quite expensive).

    Today the house looks like this:

    The base has not yet been completed - now the snow will melt and everything will dry up, then we will deal with it.

    Briefly about the house engineering systems:

    • Forced ventilation with heat recovery.
    • Heating - (only) electric underfloor heating.
    • Cold water supply - well.
    • Hot water comes from an electric boiler.
    • Sewerage - VOC.
    • Air conditioning - split-system (not yet installed, but all the necessary highways are laid in the early stages of construction).

    Actually, during the construction itself, nothing “IT interesting” happened - a normal construction process (although I’m lying: when there was not even a temporary toilet on the site, the optics had already been thrown, the router was installed and the video surveillance system was launched).

    If the process of construction itself is interesting, this is my topic at PF .

    According to your (already accomplished) experience - think over all your systems a few iterations ahead, so as not to forget to make all the necessary “bookmarks” (“sleeves” for cable entry, think over where different equipment will stand and how much it will be; figure out how etc. - this will then make life much easier when it comes to engineering systems). To think about a “plan B” doesn’t hurt either (it’s better to have 1-2 spare options so that if something happens, you can quickly replay the decision).

    The small (test) house allowed us to implement and test the approach that had taken shape in the head for the last 6-8 years of living in a townhouse (where the developer actually did all the engineering systems for me, and this imposed certain restrictions on the smart home system (UD) which I slowly but surely experienced in my “beautiful half”):
    - Stop making fun of me: I don’t know how to use the switches - they are different on different floors - here you have to press, and here - lean your finger.
    “If the light comes on again at night, I'll tear something up with the root!”
    - You change switches faster than I can get used to them!
    - Why do we need voice control? I will not use it!
    Since here I already had no restrictions (in the form of a developer) - all systems were done as I thought necessary.

    As a result, all the electrics were made in a slightly unconventional way: there is not a single “classical” switch in the house and all the wiring is made a “star” with the center in the electrical panel.

    It looks like this:

    Blood, guts ...
    Щиток — «маленький», всего-то на установку 120 стандартных модулей (и это для домика, общая площадь которого — около 30м2).

    Но после установки всего необходимого оборудования он уже совсем не кажется избыточным по объему:

    The topology of the “star” allowed to place the controlled blocks in the electrical panel, and now you can “steer” with any “ray” at will (as “steer” is a separate topic, about this a little further).

    Of course, not all loads need to be switched through managed modules. Some of the equipment goes through the usual “automata” (refrigerator, stove, “server room” (yeah, we won't “shoot ourselves in the leg”), washing machine, etc.)

    While the construction was going and finishing was done - he took off the electric box door and corny finger poked at the right button to turn on this or that chain.

    Generally, to be honest, I have somewhat overly complicated the system - now, after several months of operation, I can see that it was possible to make a bit simpler (some consumers I divided to allow separate control - to unite into groups), but in general - The approach itself was fully justified and allowed to solve all the arising problems.

    When almost everything was ready, the real IT infrastructure began to unfold at home:

    • Router mikrotik (backup channel via LTE, vpn, capsman, monitoring and all that).
    • Two different WiFi networks are physically different access points (one network for IoT devices, the other for regular users (in general for “ordinary” users, two networks: 2.4 and 5 GHz), we would need to raise another “guest network” .. .).
    • Home automation server (“heart” of “smart home”).
    • NAS Synology.
    • Bespereboyniki ...

    Most of the "iron" was already available and moved from the townhouse.

    And here the “mind” of the house begins.

    It will take a very long time to list everything, but the essence is the same everywhere - the system “itself” detects and reacts to some events / parameters without human participation. I will give some obvious (and not so) scenarios that have undergone automation:

    “He himself came” ©


    • Day / night mode (with convenient control of both the schedule and the desired heating / cooling levels).
    • If the owners have left - transfer the system to the "night mode" to save electricity.
    • Thermostat to control the warm floor (i.e., it sets not only the comfortable temperature of the heated floor, but also the desired room temperature).


    • All left - to turn off the lights in the house.
    • At night, in the bathroom, turn on the light when motion is detected (at night, DO NOT turn ON the light in order not to “wake up”;)).
    • In the hallway at night turn on the nightlight when motion is detected.
    • Imitation of the usual "light activity" of the owners in their absence (if necessary).
    • When returning to the owners at night, turn on the "welcome" light on the veranda and in the hallway (the latter - according to the door opening sensor).


    • If everything is gone - turn off the "unnecessary" sockets (do not remember, "turned off the iron or not?"). Upon return of the owners - "to return as it was."
    • Turn on the electric towel rail for 2 hours, if the humidity in the bathroom has risen above 70% (someone went to the shower and just will dry the towel after that).
    • Turn off the heating cable in the water supply pipe if the temperature outside is above 5 degrees.

    Of course, this is only the “upper part of the iceberg” for the subsystems, but there are also other areas (such as “Security”, “Information”, etc.).

    Someone can say, well, and why is there a smart home to build? It is enough to buy merleans (obi, codin terra, k-rauta - underline the right) in motion sensors, thermostats, etc. - and solve the same problems (albeit not so elegantly). And in something it will be right, but if you do rationally, then perhaps the "double" use of the same things. For example, a motion sensor in the hallway can be an “activator” of a night light when the owners of the house and a “motion sensor” for the security system (when there are no owners). Yes, and “appetite comes with eating” - I am sure that far from all possible scenarios have been identified and automated.

    By the way, the “beautiful half” is now an active “locomotive” in the processes of automation, and, moreover, in the formulations:
    - Why do we still not automatically have ... (a verbal description of some script follows)?

    So with the switches, what?

    Despite the fact that there is no physical switch at home (the switches and buttons in the electrical panel do not count), there are no difficulties with on / off switching.

    And this happens because the light can be turned on in the following ways:

    • Wireless switch ("wireless button"), which is pasted on the wall in a convenient place (in the same place where there should be a "simple" switch).
    • “Hi, Siri! Turn on the chandelier "(says Apple Watch, MacBook, iPhone / iPad).
    • “Hey, google! Turn on lights in the kitchen ”(you can ask for both an android phone and a smart column - I have the Google Home Mini).
    • "Alexa, turn off light in the living room" (Echo Dot from Amazon).
    • Home application (iPhone / iPad / MacBook / AppleWatch).
    • The application on smart watches.
    • The application on the android phone / tablet.
    • ... (Surely I forgot something else;)

    Those. in spite of the absence of a switch, its functions are available and the ways of “switching” are much more than when using a classical solution.

    Naturally, everything works both locally (inside the house) and remotely (the main thing is that the Internet is).

    Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa - currently do not own the “great and mighty”, but from Google’s side, I think the situation will change soon - in the “beta-mode” the column already quite tolerably recognized Russian and spoke it, however, in Russian Smart home control did not work, but this is certainly a temporary difficulty.


    Then it becomes even more interesting - the boundaries between the systems slowly began to "blur."

    CCTV system -> UD

    For example, I (for the time being) have one whimsical IP camera that can “fall off” at any arbitrary period of time - the rule for it was previously configured that it rebooted itself once a day. So she managed to go on reboot and not return. Of course, this happened when I was several thousand kilometers from home ...

    So I could not leave this situation.

    I came up with the following solution: Synology in the video surveillance system not so long ago had the opportunity to use requests to “external” systems.

    I set up a simple rule “if the connection with the target camera is lost - send a request to the smart home system so that the latter restarts the camera on the power supply” (tritely distorted the power of the PoE injector using the “smart socket”).

    Voila! Works! Regular self-rebooting of the camera - blocked as unnecessary.

    It would be more correct of course ...
    … поменять PoE-инжектор на нормальный PoE-коммутатор и там задать правила, по которому запустить «Power Cycle» для конкретного порта, но это будет позже…

    By the way, exactly according to the same principle, you can make a video surveillance camera - a “motion sensor” in the UD system.

    UD -> Video Surveillance

    Another task is to illustrate the interaction “in the opposite direction”: when the owners of the house are to turn off the surveillance cameras located inside the house (the cameras inside are set as we like to travel: it's nice to “look home” from somewhere and see that everything is good and see that the robot vacuum cleaner is working, and not huddled somewhere in the corner and sneaks off;)).

    In this task, the “smart home” (based on geo-data) determines whether there are any of the household members “nearby” and, if so, it initiates the transition of the video surveillance system to “Home Mode”, in which part of the cameras is turned off.

    Data analysis

    No serious system can do without sensors (of a completely different type) and their data storage system - here comes the possibility of multivariate analysis.

    For example, at some point in the house there was one unpleasant thing - the bottom of the windows began to "sweat", the condensate was also found at the end of the entrance door (rich condensate). They began to look for the cause - a search in the forums, the use of some preventive measures - did not give a result. But it turned out all simple - it was enough to look at the readings of the humidity sensor in the room - at some point the humidity increased by 10-15% from the normal state. With the new data, it became easier to search for a solution - in the farm in the topic about ventilation, it was assumed that these were the consequences of the presence of "overflow" of air inside the recuperator unit, which resulted in excess of the "inflow" over the "exhaust hood". Another possible reason for this is a clogged filter inside the ventilation system.

    It turned out that this is exactly the case: replacing the filters and sizing a couple of critical places with sealing tape in the recuperator unit completely solved our problem - condensate disappeared everywhere (and the humidity returned to normal values).

    It is also interesting to look at the reaction of the system when the automation parameters change: for example, how will the change in the thermostat value in the contour of a heated floor affect its electrical consumption?

    But, unfortunately, there is practically no analysis at the current time, but the data is accumulating ...

    To be honest, you already want to give some such things to the AI;) - let him analyze and suggest the most optimal values.

    It is a pity that so far it is only from the realm of fantasy.

    Equipment and software

    In this article, I deliberately bypass some technical details and do not give specific recommendations on hardware and software (although I can, of course), this is not very important, the main thing is the principles (which can be applied on almost any modern system with varying degrees of convenience). implementation).

    For me in the "smart home" the following things are important:

    • Independence of automation processes from external “clouds” (all automatic processes should work even in the absence of Internet access).
    • The variability of the equipment (do not limit yourself only to products of only one manufacturer - you must be able to integrate devices of different vendors among themselves)
    • A variety of management methods (web, applications, voice control (Siri, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa) - who knows how it will be more convenient to use in real life (and the real point in time)?).
    • Flexibility to build various automation (developed scripting scripting language - so that this little thing could not overshadow the "flight of fancy" in the process description).
    • The relevance of the states inside the system (when I just started “immersion in the topic”, some devices were generally without feedback (livolo, for example), then feedback appeared (with changing devices, of course), but often the relevance of statuses was a big question - had to check).
    • Minimum delays (the time from the command / "button pressing" to the visible reaction of the system should be as short as possible so that it does not cause temporary discomfort from operation).
    • Predictability and stability (no unauthorized "drums" that turn on / off the light (especially at night;)) should not be).

    Of course, any UD system (and any critical IT system) should be backed up and reserved (in general, it’s not for me to tell you about it;)).


    Generally speaking, “rethinking” is not quite the right word in the title, rather, it is “development”: in the last 6 years since I wrote :
    For me, “smart home” is when there is some problem area in ordinary home life, some decision is made for it, which starts working without human participation and allows you to forget this problem area for at least a long time, and ideally forever.
    my opinion has not changed. The principle remains the same , the systems have simply become more complex and interesting, the hardware has changed (several times), the sphere of influence and the area of ​​responsibility of the “smart home” have increased.

    PS and the townhouse we sold and we are preparing for the construction of the main house ...

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