Anth's Computer Cave

AAIMI Home Automation 02 features smoke-detection and manual-overide mode.

23rd August, 2015

This article covers an older version of AAIMI. Click here to see the current article series.

The second alpha release of the AAIMI Home Automation system is available now, bringing new features and control-options.

The main AAIMI Home control-center. Picture: Anthony Hartup
The main AAIMI Home control-center.

About AAIMI Home Automation

AAIMI Home Automation 0.2 is the latest version of a package of free and open-source tools that monitor and control your home or business, without relying on hacker-prone third-party web-services that could expose sensitive home-security and privacy data.

The system runs on a Raspberry Pi and an Arduino micro-controller, utilizing a variety of sensors and relays to control lights, heating and air-quality. It is designed to connect to your TV, giving you live status reports and control options from the comfort of your Lounge.

How it works

The core of the system is the final alpha version of AAIMI Room Control, build 0.4. This is an AAIMI Python module that runs on the Raspberry Pi 24/7 in a continuous loop, checking all rooms for movement, light and temperature, and reacting accordingly. Air-quality sensors like gas and smoke-detectors also work within the loop.

The program saves all movement, light and temperature data to a save-file that is available to the other programs in the suite. It also maintains a database holding current statistics that other programs can use for live monitoring and interaction.

The other major module in the suite is AAIMI Home, which provides a GUI-based control-center on your TV or computer.

AAIMI Home is built on the open-source QuickFloor Base module from ControlCadGUI. You create a floor plan of your property using another QuickFloor single-use module, QuickFloor Creator. You can then import that into AAIMI Home and add the lights for your rooms.

Once you have saved your final plan you can open it in AAIMI Home and see live light, temperature and movement stats within each room. There are widgets showing graphs for the previous 24 hours. Many other widgets are on the way to compare these graphs to other time periods and seasons.

What's new?

Manual mode

Perhaps the biggest new arrival is full manual-control mode from within the GUI

The system still operates in auto-mode by default, but you can now temporarily override automatic light and power-switching for individual rooms

This is great, for example, if you have your default light-switching levels low in a room, but decide you would like to read a newspaper in that room. You simple click the light symbol in the GUI and the light will switch on, and set that room to manual-mode.

The main AAIMI Home control-center. Picture: Anthony Hartup
The AAIMI GUI with the purple symbol denoting manual mode.

The light will remain on until you switch it off by clicking the light symbol again.

We'll provide more details in later articles this week

Smoke and gas detectors

An AAIMI prototype smoke and gas sensor. Picture: Anthony Hartup
An AAIMI prototype smoke and gas sensor.

The system now supports smoke and gas detection using cheap MQ-2 sensors.

These sensors have proven reliable, accurate and super-sensitive during initial testing.

The one limitation at present is they don't differentiate between the various threats they detect. This will change, but in the mean-time they are an excellent indicator of overall air quality and safety.

What's missing

The full occupancy awareness system, which tells the program who is home at any given time, is not included yet. This system uses a phone app and a server-monitoring program, both of which are still under construction.

Another missing feature is security video footage. I have this working to an extent but it is not ready. The next release will at least have the ability to automatically capture and store pictures of intruders, among other things.

Article series format

The AAIMI Home Automation series will run for the next week and include five articles explaining everything you need to get your system up and running.

Some of these will be updated articles form the previous series.

In the next article we'll revisit the hardware used in the system. I'll provide links to the various hardware articles from the previous AAIMI Room Control series and a complete connection diagram for the system.

The next day we'll download the setup folder and configure and start the AAIMI Room Control module

After that we'll provide instructions for creating your floor plan and setting up, then running, the AAIMI Home GUI.





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