Adding fireplace control to your home automation

fireplace-automation

[James] has an admirable home automation system which he’s been working on for years. It does things like monitor the state of the garage door, control the lights, and it even notifies him of a power failure. One thing that wasn’t on the system yet are the fireplaces he has in his home. The hardware you see above is how he patched into the fireplace remote control system in order to automate them.

The remote control uses RF to communicate with a base station. Unlike controlling home theater components which use IR, this makes it a bit more difficult to patch into. Sure, we’d love to see some reverse engineering of the protocol so that a simple radio module could be used, but [James] chose the route which would mean the least amount of hacking on his part. He soldered wires onto the PCB for the buttons and connected to them using reed relays. These let the Arduino simulate button presses.

With the rig connected to the home network he has a lot of options. The system can sense if the house is occupied. If it determines that no one is home it will switch off the fireplaces. [James] also mentions the ability to monitor for carbon monoxide or house fires, switching off the gas fireplaces in either case.

Comments

  1. fartface says:

    Or you can use what the rest of us that do this professionally use… a relay at the control unit inside the gas fireplace insert.

  2. Jason says:

    does anyone else think that automating FIRE in the house is a bad idea?

    • Mike D says:

      He seems to have taken this into account. Depending on how you look at it, depending on how it is implemented, it could be more safe than it was out of the box. From his writeup: “Another reason for implementing automated control of the fireplaces is safety. Imagine, if you will, that one of my children are the last to leave the house for the day and forgets to turn off a fireplace. With centralized control, the HA system can now automatically turn off all fireplaces when it senses that the house is empty or when the security system is engaged. Another scenario would be to automatically shut-off the fireplaces if the HA system senses a structure fire or if high levels of carbon monoxide are detected.”

  3. Max says:

    Thats hardly a fireplace he’s controlling. It’s a gas heater.

    I was hoping for a mechanical write up of how to interface a mechanical controller with my solid fuel fireplace. It has an annoying habit of melting any plastic components mounted any where near the control sliders.

  4. YS says:

    Can anyone explain to me why I get “403 Permission denied” while trying to view the link?

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