Wifi light switches

WireFree

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LoRa would work nicely for small amounts of data where only a few bytes need to be transmitted. You will get a much longer range than WiFi, BLE and Zigbee.

The MultiTech LoRa mDots are supplied with a default firmware that supports AT commands. The mDots can be configured for peer-to-peer communication in a few minutes. Take a look at http://www.multitech.net/developer/software/mdot-software/peer-to-peer/

The mDots have I/O ports - https://os.mbed.com/platforms/MTS-mDot-F411/
You can connect one mDot to the Gate controller and build a small battery powered hand held switch with another. You can write your own mBed firmware to both mDots - one for the handheld switch and the to toggle the gate controller to open and close.
 

Slootvreter

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The intention is long range control over all devices. You don't need to send much data for a light switch.

The biggest problem with current tech is range - either WiFi or RF. And then if you use WiFi you can't use a battery.
SigFox also works through a third party, so you don't really 'own' your own closed network. (Hell I'm typing in a hurry, so I hope this makes sense).

Also, one of the characteristics of LoRa is that the transmitters can actually run off long-life batteries. (very low power consumption)
 

phaktza

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SigFox also works through a third party, so you don't really 'own' your own closed network. (Hell I'm typing in a hurry, so I hope this makes sense).

Also, one of the characteristics of LoRa is that the transmitters can actually run off long-life batteries. (very low power consumption)
Yes, I understand that regarding SigFox - but then the Sonoff stuff uses AWS, so are we ever really alone?

Battery life and distance are the two biggest issues with IoT and home automation - so this may be a move in the right direction.
 

gregmcc

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Yes, I understand that regarding SigFox - but then the Sonoff stuff uses AWS, so are we ever really alone?

Battery life and distance are the two biggest issues with IoT and home automation - so this may be a move in the right direction.
With Sonoff you can install Tasmota firmware which will allow you to keep it local.
 

richjdavies

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We've done lots of work testing these different networks (Lora, Sigfox, GSM, Wifi) and for us it's always come down to 2 issues:

1. Monthly costs
2. Battery

If you want to install and forget (e.g. 5-10 years off one 3600mAh battery), then you have to use Sigfox or Lora.
If you're happy paying R20-50/month/device* then Sigfox, GSM is your bag (GSM if battery doesn't matter, Sigfox if it does) (or piggy back on someone's LoraWan - e.g. FastNet have one)
If you want to not pay per month then you need to set up your own network - so Wifi or LoraWan.
For us we figured that for our data-packets etc. that LoraWan is the best for us, but that we'd probably need to setup our own network for it to be financially viable. Maybe https://www.thethingsnetwork.org/ would solve that problem for us... maybe?

Someone else asked if anyone has thought of using Lora/Sigfox for IoT apps... umm... yes, tonnes of people have:
Sigfox: https://partners.sigfox.com/products/kit
Lora: https://www.the-iot-marketplace.com/
others: https://www.cooking-hacks.com/shop/wireless/lorawan, https://market.thingpark.com/

Not to mention aliexpress/Alibaba/Banggood etc... There's no need to build your own in this space, there's plenty of people who've done the hardware for you already!

*: price depends on frequency of send, which as far as I see makes sigfox impractical for switches and stuff, sigfox is only cheap for daily monitoring - so meters. No good having a gate / light-switch which only gets it's message to switch on once per day! (but maybe okay for a geyser timer?? but who wants to pay even R20/month for a geyser timer?)
 

phaktza

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We've done lots of work testing these different networks (Lora, Sigfox, GSM, Wifi) and for us it's always come down to 2 issues:

1. Monthly costs
2. Battery

If you want to install and forget (e.g. 5-10 years off one 3600mAh battery), then you have to use Sigfox or Lora.
If you're happy paying R20-50/month/device* then Sigfox, GSM is your bag (GSM if battery doesn't matter, Sigfox if it does) (or piggy back on someone's LoraWan - e.g. FastNet have one)
If you want to not pay per month then you need to set up your own network - so Wifi or LoraWan.
For us we figured that for our data-packets etc. that LoraWan is the best for us, but that we'd probably need to setup our own network for it to be financially viable. Maybe https://www.thethingsnetwork.org/ would solve that problem for us... maybe?

Someone else asked if anyone has thought of using Lora/Sigfox for IoT apps... umm... yes, tonnes of people have:
Sigfox: https://partners.sigfox.com/products/kit
Lora: https://www.the-iot-marketplace.com/
others: https://www.cooking-hacks.com/shop/wireless/lorawan, https://market.thingpark.com/

Not to mention aliexpress/Alibaba/Banggood etc... There's no need to build your own in this space, there's plenty of people who've done the hardware for you already!

*: price depends on frequency of send, which as far as I see makes sigfox impractical for switches and stuff, sigfox is only cheap for daily monitoring - so meters. No good having a gate / light-switch which only gets it's message to switch on once per day! (but maybe okay for a geyser timer?? but who wants to pay even R20/month for a geyser timer?)
Thanks for such a thorough answer. Spoke to a few guys at the conference yesterday - and it seems like most are with Sigfox, but some are looking at LoRa.
 

richjdavies

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622
...it seems like most are with Sigfox, but some are looking at LoRa.
Depends on the area - Lora was the talk of the town a year or two ago*, now that Sqwuidnet (or however they spell their name) has Sigfox going in SA, I'm sure they are pushing that a bit harder. It just doesn't work for us though. Was talking to Kamstrup the other day and they have a SigFox meter - as usual with a 10+ year battery in it... but bad news, it only sends once per day!

For me the combination of a monthly cost plus the devices not submitting very often means I don't really see a space for these devices... My opinion is that there is space for:
- Free + Rarely submit (or submit often)
- Paid + Submit often
In short, if I'm paying per month then it better be valuable data (cuz I'm paying each month!), but not valuable enough to send more than once per day??? When is that happening?

Just my 2c.
(obviously water meters etc. would be nice to do for monthly billing... but if we're moving to 'smart' people want to know about leaks etc... which needs more frequent submitting).

*With the launch of the things network and them making quick and good coverage across Europe, but that lost momentum with their slow down of their kickstarter hub :( ... think that is finished now though, so maybe there will be a resurgence (fingers crossed)
 
Last edited:

phaktza

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Jun 29, 2008
Messages
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Good day all

I'd like to gauge interest in the products below:

Opensprinkler Powered printed circuit board
Active Crossover
Linear regulated power supply

The OpenSprinkler board has a connection for RF to talk to all things RF (garage receivers etc). Using a bit more grunt for a CPU like the Raspberry Pi does make the unit open for more tasks than just the OpenSprinkler software for example MQTT server etc.

We would like to package it as a development kit - perhaps without the Pi, but including the power supply.

Thoughts?

Thanks
 

phaktza

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Jun 29, 2008
Messages
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We've done lots of work testing these different networks (Lora, Sigfox, GSM, Wifi) and for us it's always come down to 2 issues:

1. Monthly costs
2. Battery

If you want to install and forget (e.g. 5-10 years off one 3600mAh battery), then you have to use Sigfox or Lora.
If you're happy paying R20-50/month/device* then Sigfox, GSM is your bag (GSM if battery doesn't matter, Sigfox if it does) (or piggy back on someone's LoraWan - e.g. FastNet have one)
If you want to not pay per month then you need to set up your own network - so Wifi or LoraWan.
For us we figured that for our data-packets etc. that LoraWan is the best for us, but that we'd probably need to setup our own network for it to be financially viable. Maybe https://www.thethingsnetwork.org/ would solve that problem for us... maybe?

Someone else asked if anyone has thought of using Lora/Sigfox for IoT apps... umm... yes, tonnes of people have:
Sigfox: https://partners.sigfox.com/products/kit
Lora: https://www.the-iot-marketplace.com/
others: https://www.cooking-hacks.com/shop/wireless/lorawan, https://market.thingpark.com/

Not to mention aliexpress/Alibaba/Banggood etc... There's no need to build your own in this space, there's plenty of people who've done the hardware for you already!

*: price depends on frequency of send, which as far as I see makes sigfox impractical for switches and stuff, sigfox is only cheap for daily monitoring - so meters. No good having a gate / light-switch which only gets it's message to switch on once per day! (but maybe okay for a geyser timer?? but who wants to pay even R20/month for a geyser timer?)
Thanks richjdavies - we're really hoping to diversify our offering and we've received some inquiries regarding LPWAN options. Sigfox seems excessively expensive as provider, and a monthly headache as a consumer. Lora might definitely offer up some competition!
 

richjdavies

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Joined
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Messages
622
The OpenSprinkler board has a connection for RF to talk to all things RF (garage receivers etc)...
Thoughts?
My thoughts... ICASA, ICASA, ICASA.

Fine (ish) if you're doing it yourself, but as soon as you're selling be prepared to face criminal charges for selling an RF-device that is not type approved.

It's a bitch, but it is the law. You wouldn't sell a car that wasn't safety tested (unless its a Datsun GO :D) so unfortunately it's the same when you're using the 'highway' that is the public RF spectrum
 

phaktza

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Messages
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My thoughts... ICASA, ICASA, ICASA.

Fine (ish) if you're doing it yourself, but as soon as you're selling be prepared to face criminal charges for selling an RF-device that is not type approved.

It's a bitch, but it is the law. You wouldn't sell a car that wasn't safety tested (unless its a Datsun GO :D) so unfortunately it's the same when you're using the 'highway' that is the public RF spectrum
Thanks, it's already receiving approval.

Do you have any thoughts on the actual product?
 

richjdavies

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Messages
622
Do you have any thoughts on the actual product?
Quick look at your site - I'm not quite sure the niche it fills?

See earlier in this thread where someone said "why wouldn't you just get your own raspberry pi and do it yourself" - those 'hobbiests' may be interested in your board, or maybe they would do the board themselves anyway (or hack some other cheap chinese thing?). The fact that it needs assembly etc. means the main-stream market etc. is out. Needs pretty boxes, instructions, installers etc. to scale.

We had some similar stuff on the old Ethernet homebug (switch off irrigation when raining etc.), and it was well received by the few people who bought it... we could have pushed it harder, but it's just really hard to scale these things as a business. Product wise could be good, but business wise much harder. Most people wanting irrigation systems go to specialist guys and they don't really understand apps... maybe things have changed in the past 5 years though! We gave up chasing home users as they are lots of hard work for not very much money :D
 

phaktza

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Messages
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Quick look at your site - I'm not quite sure the niche it fills?

See earlier in this thread where someone said "why wouldn't you just get your own raspberry pi and do it yourself" - those 'hobbiests' may be interested in your board, or maybe they would do the board themselves anyway (or hack some other cheap chinese thing?). The fact that it needs assembly etc. means the main-stream market etc. is out. Needs pretty boxes, instructions, installers etc. to scale.

We had some similar stuff on the old Ethernet homebug (switch off irrigation when raining etc.), and it was well received by the few people who bought it... we could have pushed it harder, but it's just really hard to scale these things as a business. Product wise could be good, but business wise much harder. Most people wanting irrigation systems go to specialist guys and they don't really understand apps... maybe things have changed in the past 5 years though! We gave up chasing home users as they are lots of hard work for not very much money :D
Thanks for the reply!

Yes, we're intending it to not actually fill the irrigation sphere - but rather as a general purpose board to control, well, anything using a Pi. I'm trying to decide whether to sell it as a kit, or whether it will be taken up by hobbyists - who will source the solenoids, cables and Pi themselves. I'm glad to hear there is a market - and we'll perhaps add a few to our lineup, with some sort of basic packaging, etc.

We're actually in the process of developing a single purpose ESP8266 PCB for irrigation only. This won't require any setup, aside from a firmware load (which we will do before selling). This will form the back bone of the irrigation smarthome and well will sell through the web, but also to landscape gardeners, developers, etc. We do have to hope people will want to control through their smartphones - which are definitely more prevalent than 5 years ago.
 

richjdavies

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Messages
622
Wifi irrigation controller... great idea... with an app - even better!

Question is really how is this different to any of these:
https://www.wantitall.co.za/lawnandgarden/rain-bird-st8i-wifi-smart-irrigation-indoor-wifi-sprinkler-system-timer-controller-watersense-certif__b01lywlehy
https://www.hydrawise.com/
http://www.rachio.com/
https://www.skydrop.com/
or a few reviews here:
https://www.postscapes.com/smart-irrigation-controllers/

That is just the first 5 links with googling wifi irrigation:
WifiIrrigCapture.PNG
 

alqassam

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Aug 11, 2014
Messages
2,722
Wifi irrigation controller... great idea... with an app - even better!

Question is really how is this different to any of these:
https://www.wantitall.co.za/lawnandgarden/rain-bird-st8i-wifi-smart-irrigation-indoor-wifi-sprinkler-system-timer-controller-watersense-certif__b01lywlehy
https://www.hydrawise.com/
http://www.rachio.com/
https://www.skydrop.com/
or a few reviews here:
https://www.postscapes.com/smart-irrigation-controllers/

That is just the first 5 links with googling wifi irrigation:
View attachment 476666
It's going to be less than R1000 complete
 

phaktza

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Joined
Jun 29, 2008
Messages
7,451
Wifi irrigation controller... great idea... with an app - even better!

Question is really how is this different to any of these:
https://www.wantitall.co.za/lawnandgarden/rain-bird-st8i-wifi-smart-irrigation-indoor-wifi-sprinkler-system-timer-controller-watersense-certif__b01lywlehy
https://www.hydrawise.com/
http://www.rachio.com/
https://www.skydrop.com/
or a few reviews here:
https://www.postscapes.com/smart-irrigation-controllers/

That is just the first 5 links with googling wifi irrigation:
View attachment 476666
Local manufacture and support, at a price point 50%-33% cheaper than the above products.

I've spoken to landscapers and people are asking about smart irrigation - none having heard of the above (well I have to assume). You could always be brave enough to deal with the Rand and customs, but that's your choice.
 

richjdavies

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Joined
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Messages
622
Local manufacture and support, at a price point 50%-33% cheaper than the above products.

I've spoken to landscapers and people are asking about smart irrigation - none having heard of the above (well I have to assume). You could always be brave enough to deal with the Rand and customs, but that's your choice.
"Sounds good! You should do it..." sounds like that's what you're looking for :)

I'd hope you're making a good 2-3X your cost in order to cover things like warranty, customer & installer support, sales margins, VAT etc... if you are then perfect - go go go!

Why even ask for opinions, get it out there! Opinions (including my own!) are worthless. What matters is people buying them. If you have landscapers interested, ask them to buy 10 of them... or at least to sell 10 of them to others.
 

rterblanche

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Mar 20, 2006
Messages
71
Have an look at Opensprinkler as well. not the nicest interface but have been using it for 6 years already.

Get a full version or if you like to play you get a raspberry pi version
 

ebendl

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