1wire Attic Cooling


[RagingComputer] built this 1-wire attic cooling fan. He’s using an Ubuntu server loaded with OWFS to control everything. The 1-wire temperature sensor is interfaced using USB while a serial x10 module sends out commands to be received by another x10 module near the fan. Back in the day we had covered a linux home automation project. We also covered HVAC hacks such as the smart attic fan and a 1-Wire HVAC monitoring system.

28 thoughts on “1wire Attic Cooling

  1. seems like something better suited for an arduino, actually. Rather than have an entire PC taken up with the task of managing this, one could have an arduino powered by a small solar panel, or even a plain wall-wart. set it and forget it.

  2. @ second

    Unless your solution of ‘better’ would be running your simple freaking attic fan from a 1024-node beowulf cluster networked to 172 arduinos, I think tommy has it right.
    We have done ‘better’. there are functional solutions for a simple attic fan that don’t require a rack of servers.

  3. @stunmonkey

    there are those who complain that hackaday has turned into a haven for “pseudo hackers” with their newfangled arduino-this-and-that

    i prefer to think of it like Perl. There’s 5 million ways to do something.

    Sure, way #5 is not as good as way #29, but, in the spirit of learning and education, explain why without the holier-than-thou attitude that so many hackaday visitors parade on the comment boards.

    honestly, this place is worse than slashdot now, and that says a lot – its a giant piss parade where a hack is listed that has some element of “cool” in it and 50 people then bitch that its not documented “well enough” or they whip out their might epeens and proudly proclaim “i can do it better nubcakes”

  4. @jeremiah: Except for the fact that the pre-existing server allows for better control and can still do it’s job as a server. I have never seen the point of dedicating a $35+ *development* platform to a single job.

  5. @ sixth

    Quality control is hackadays problem, not the hackers.

    I can’t fault anyone for their level of skill or lack thereof, as long as they are trying – that doesn’t mean every amateurs failed project needs accolades however.

    There are too many really good things happening out there, if hackaday really wanted to spend any effort to cover them. Instead they just troll instructables and smoke pot.

    Every real maker, even the bad ones, have a basement full of common everyday hacks that exceed the crap on here lately. Its about standards. Let the students learn. just don’t try passing it off as cutting edge hacking.

  6. I’m the first to admit that my setup is ghetto fabulous, but it was done with crap I mostly had laying around or intended to buy anyway. http://owfs.org/ has examples that are much more polished than mine. Like I said, I wanted an excuse to play with 1wire.

    The computer running it is also my mythtv backend, so it has always been on anyway.

    That said, I’m open to constructive suggestions and always looking to improve.

  7. Agreed, just to simulate a 120V thermostat, this is overkill, and therefor a “bad” hack
    But to make it a “good” hack, all one has to do is make it do something a thermostat couldn’t.

    For example: It could look up the weather, and if a cold front is coming in, postpone the cooling for a time when it will be more efficient. It could have different settings depending on time of day or expected outside temperature within the next few hours. It could cool down the attic in cold summer nights, to help with air conditioning the next day…

    Would it be more efficient to take advantage of cold air at night for a more efficient cooling, or would it be cheaper to let it get up to maximum temperature and only run the fan when needed?

  8. @Stunmonkey,
    Indeed, though I would start with a pc then goto a microchip.

    1st, 2nd 3 2 1 is a little twerp thrashing out a 6 year old meme. I imagine he has submitted some terrible hack that got thrashed and is now bitterly taking his “revenge”.

    Oh and Nth !!

  9. Why?! A thermostat that can handle the load the fan produces would most likely cost less than the annual electric cost of keeping a computer on 24/7. This was more an excuse to see “Hey guys look what I did in LINUX!” than anything else.

    I have to admit the temperature logging is kind of interesting, though. (At least it is for a couple minutes, until you realize it doesn’t really matter and you could stick a wireless thermometer probe from Radio Shack up there and see the attic temp and humidity on the same display in the kitchen that shows the outside temp and humidity.)

  10. I hope there’s a bit of code that says if it’s realy hot up there, it might be a fire & don’t run the fan. [real-world attic fans have a second thermostat that does that].

  11. An extension cord running through insulation is no bueno. I really hope that that setup is for testing purposes and it’s since been changed to something proper. Otherwise I like the project.

    Some have said ‘just buy one’, but there are instances when more control is good. A store bought thermostat is likely an on/off @ x temp. Having this type of control one could use much smaller fans (read: less energy use) and turn them on individually. Or having multiple sensors in multiple places and use one control system.

  12. Nice hack. To the nay sayers, this is a good learning hack, plus with more units you could develop a complex system say turn on attic fan, turn off air, and lights, or whatever. neat hack and lots of potential.

  13. So he used a desktop computer to save power when he could have just set up an arduino or basically any themostat to do the same thing. Seems incredibly inefficient and impractical. He just needs to smack his power wasting roomate.

  14. Not bad, not bad at all. However he’s using an older version of OWFS to support everything. We’re up to 2.7p24 at the moment.

    I expect Debs for the new version to be up within the week.

    I should know, I’m on that list behind the project he’s applying. Incidentally that’s the DS USB adapter he’s using.

  15. @Stunmonkey – an oldfarttech agrees with that.

    My only reservation about this one is – lookit the power wiring! It’s otherwise very high tech, but the fan connection suspended in mid air (etc)? It seems to me that the neatest hack or wonderful power saving comes to nothing if somebody gets electroluxed or the house burns down as a result. 5.5 amps through any connection is not inconsiderable.

    *Overall* I worry when I see huge effort put into the code of something, then things go totally pear-shaped when it comes to the hardware and electrics. “Crazy” and “rough” do not have to also mean “unsafe”.

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