Home Automation Project – The Beginning

I’ve always been fascinated with using the computer to control real world devices. So I embarked upon this little project to teach myself more about this topic. I started out some time ago and wrote a application in VB6 to automate my irrigation system. Simple enough task, I went and purchased some inline solenoids to add to my existing irrigation system. These will open, letting the water flow through when 24v is applied. Here are a few pics of the application and the irrigation system.

I wanted to be able to control the system remotely so I developed a web interface, Its written in PHP and utilises AJAX to keep the dynamic content up to date, without having to force full page to refresh.

The original version was written in VB6, which is now quite dated. So I’ve moved to developing my next version in .Net. At the moment I’ve duplicated the exiting functionality of the old version and working on adding more features. Some of which include a standalone client which can run on another pc/pda and communicate with the server via TCP/IP. The client will be a very simple interface showing the current status of the system, and allow things to be turned on or off. I’ve also added options for events to trigger on sunrise/sunset and optional offset, eg sunset + 2 hrs. I also plan to incorporate my CCTV images into the application so they can be viewed by the client application, as well as any TV in the house.

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