Thanks to Home Assistant, automating the various systems that run your home is easier than ever. But you still need to make a connection between those systems and your Home Assistant setup, which can be tricky if the manufacturer didn’t have this use case in mind. When [Simon] wanted to automate his home heating system, he discovered that most Home Assistant-enabled thermostats that he could find didn’t support his two separate heating zones connected to a single boiler. The easiest solution turned out to be to design his own.
The original heating system consisted of two control boxes that each had a 230 V mains connection coming in and a “request heat” control line going to the boiler. [Simon] considered replacing these with a simple off-the-shelf ESP8266 relay board and a 12 V power supply, but figured this would look messy and take up quite a bit of space. So he bought a neat DIN-rail mounted enclosure instead, and designed a custom PCB to fit inside it.
The PCB holds a Wemos D1 Mini connected to two relays that switch the two heating circuits. The D1 runs ESPhome and needs just a few lines of configuration to connect it to [Simon]’s home network. There’s no separate power supply — the 230 V line is connected directly to a 12 V DC power module mounted on the PCB, so the new system is plug-and-play compatible with the old.
Complete PCB design files are available on [Simon]’s website and GitHub page. There are several other ways to make custom thermostats for your home, with an Arduino for example. If you’re interested in repairing your own heating system, or want to optimize it even further, there’s a whole community out there to help you.
Homebrew HVAC systems are one of those projects that take such a big investment of time, effort and money that you’ve got to be a really dedicated (ideally home-owning) hacker with a wide variety of multidisciplinary skills to pull off an implementation that can work in reality. One such HVAC hacker is [Vadim Tkachenko] with his multi-zone Home Climate Control (HCC) project that we covered first back in 2007. We now have rare opportunity to look at the improvements fifteen years of part-time development can produce, when a project is used all day, all year round in their own home. At the start, things were simple, just opening and closing ventilators with none of those modern MQTT-driven cloud computing stuff. Continue reading “Is This The Oldest Open Source HVAC Project In Existence?”→
Have you ever found that, despite having a central heating and air conditioning system, that not all the rooms in your home end up being the temperature you want them to be? Maybe the dining room gets too hot when the heater is running, or the bedroom never seems to cool off enough in the summer months. If that sounds like your house, then these motorized “smart vents” from [Tony Brobston] might be exactly what you need.
The idea here is pretty simple: an ESP8266 and a servo is built into the 3D printed vent register, which allows it to control the position of its louvers. When connected to your home automation system via MQTT, the vents allow you to control the airflow to each room individually based on whatever parameters you wish. Most likely, you’ll want to pair these vents with an array of thermometers distributed throughout the house.
While [Tony] says the design still needs some testing, he’s released smart vents in a range of sizes from 2×10 to 6×12 inches. He’s also provided excellent documentation on how to print, assemble, and program the devices. It’s clear that a lot of care and thought went into every element of this project, and we’re excited to see how it can be developed further by the new ideas and contributors that will inevitably pop up now that it’s gone public.
The world has been shaken to its core by a respiratory virus pandemic. Humanity has been raiding the toolbox for every possible weapon in the fight, whether that be masks, vaccinations, or advanced antiviral treatments.
As far as medicine has come in tackling COVID-19 in the past two years, the ultimate solution would be to cut the number of people exposed to the pathogen in the first place. Improving our ventilation methods may just be a great way to cut down on the spread. After all, it’s what they did in the wake of the Spanish Flu.
While most of us have been content with swing and sliding doors for the vast majority of our needs around the home, the revolving door remains popular in a wide variety of contexts.
It’s a confounding contraption that always feels ready to snatch and ensnare the unwary user. However, these doors do have certain benefits that have allowed them to retain popularity in many public buildings around the world. Let’s dive in to why below.
[Neighborino]’s smart home system controls the windows, blinds, outlets, and HVAC. But by the time the high-rise apartment was ready for occupancy in 2015, the smart home controllers were already showing their age. You see, the contractor had installed an app to run the home’s programmable logic controllers (PLCs) on stock Galaxy Tab 3 hardware. Yes, that’s a tablet originally released in 2013. They then built the tablets into the wall of each apartment, dooming the homeowner to rely on the vendor forevermore.
It was not long before [Neighborino] and their fellow residents were dealing with stability problems. Bloatware from both Samsung and Google was causing major slowdowns, and the PLC system’s unpublished WiFi password prevented replacement of the controllers.
Being an Android developer by trade, [Neighborino] set siege to the walled garden before him. The writeup details the quest to execute what would be a straightforward hack on anything but the x86 hardware that was being targeted.
The first fruit of [Neighborino]’s efforts was a hack for the aged tablets that would display the WiFi password, allowing owners to connect their own controllers to their smart homes. Of course, this is Hackaday, so you know that [Neighborino] didn’t stop there.
Despite having to deal with two different versions of Android and tablets that were built into the wall of the apartments of non-hacker neighbors, [Neighborino] succeeded in sideloading an APK. This freed them from the shackles of the company that installed the original system and gets longer life out of their Snowden-era Samsungs. A de-bloating tool frees up memory and restores the systems to a nearly performant status. A reboot scheduler keeps the x86 tablets running without user intervention, and of course the WiFi password revealer makes yard waste out of the previously walled garden.
Portable air conditioning units are a great way to cool off a space during the hot summer months, but they require some place to blow the heat they’ve removed from your room. [VincentMakes] got a portable AC unit for his home, but he found that the place he wanted to put it was too far from the only window he could use to dump the hot air. Having too long of a duct on the hot air exhaust increases the back pressure on the fan which could cause it to prematurely fail, so [Vincent] used an extractor fan to automatically give is AC unit’s exhaust a boost on its way to the window.
Because his AC can operate at low, medium, and high speeds, he chose an extractor fan that also supported multiple speeds and took care to match the airflow of the AC and extractor fan to avoid putting too much strain on either fan. He designed a system to automatically set the speed of the boosting fan to match that of the AC using a Hall effect current sensor to measure the AC unit’s power draw and an Arduino Nano for control. A custom PCB interfaces the Nano to the Hall Sensor and control relays, and we have to applaud [Vincent] for keeping the +5V DC and 230V AC far, far away from each other. In addition to this fine electronics work, [Vincent] also built an enclosure for the fan controller that allows the fan to be mounted on top at an angle, which helps avoid having hard bends in the exhaust duct.