I thought it was time to share how my project using Blynk is progressing. Before I do, I’ll share a little about me so you know my background and get an idea of who I am and what I’m about.
I live in Australia and have worked as industrial electrician for many years both in Australia and for a few years in the UK. I currently work in the Dairy industry and have a lot to do with industrial automation. I have also done an associate degree in electrical engineering but I don’t consider myself an engineer by any means, more just an overqualified electrician.
I live on a property that agists horses and therefore has stables, sheds, water tanks, pumps and a house. I have always wanted to do some automation at home on the property to monitor and control everything like we do at work but the industrial equipment that we use is so expensive so made it not a viable idea. About a year ago I stumbled across Arduino by purchasing a drone that was controlled using a uP based on the Arduino platform. Since then I have been playing around with little projects trying to learn how to code in ‘C+’. Is that what the Arduino processing language is based on? Anyway, I have previously only ever coded PLC’s in ladder logic style. Maybe we did a little project or two in ‘machine code’ at uni but basically I’m pretty new to the coding stuff.
Ill start getting to the ‘Blynk’ part of it now…. We had a young work experience kid come to work with us for a few days, I got talking to him about the geeky projects I was working on, at that stage I had wired my uncles house in a way that all the lights could be controlled by Arduino and on smart devices. It used another application that is quite good, but not even close to what Blynk can do. I had also already wired my brothers caravan so he could monitor and control it with his smart devices. I had only got to the stage of getting them to work on local networks. That is when the young work experience kid opened my eyes to the world of Blynk! Boy am I glad he did, everything is so much easier and it looks great and works incredibly well.
My project is consists of a local server (Raspberry Pi) and 4 Blynk projects on 1 account. The local server is on my home LAN and I use a No-ip DDNS account to make sure my system is accessible from the internet when I am away from home. I have completed and installed 2 of the four projects so far, the first one controls all lights in my wife’s hair salon that is also on our property, it also monitors temperature and humidity. The second project monitors power consumption using current transformers and it has light, pressure, temperature and humidity sensors. The other two parts to the project will be lighting control of the main house and then control and monitoring of things in the horse stables, like water tank levels, turning the electric fence on and off, controlling the pump, lights etc.
Here are some photos of the projects;
I can take some photos of the hardware setup too if anyone wants to see it.
I have yet to figure out how to get proper security certificates working on the local server, I would also love to have a play with the ‘bridge’ function.
The features I am most looking forward to for Blynk is the hardware state handling, getting rid of the pin Identification on the project dashboards and hopefully some way of knowing when the position of my Iphone (like if I am home or not).
Major credit do the developers of Blynk. Thank you so much for the fantastic product. I wish I was aware of it to help out during the kickstarter stage but thanks to all the kickstarters that were and helped get Blynk started.
I would like to use this product commercially so I’m very interested to know how that will work so it benefits the developers, the community and makes it viable for use commercially.
Hi there, i’m an electrician as well and have been playing around with Blynk with my arduino’s as well.
I would love to see pics of the hardware you have setup.
Sure, I’ll take some photos. It might be a few days, I’m on shift for a few days. I’m also trying to find out information regarding the legality of using arduinos as a controller for home automation. I don’t see any problem with it as long as all the local wiring regulations are followed. Mainly segregation of the low voltage and extra low voltage parts. My other concern is making sure the relays that switch the 240v circuits are legal.
Cool Project Nick! Thanks for sharing! +1 for hardware photos
Already tested and will be in next update
Here is a photo I took a while back of the hair salon controllers. I have used 2 Arduino uno’s that communicate to each other via serial. One arduino runs Blynk and sensors. The other handles inputs from standard light switches and outputs to the interface relays. I did it with 2 arduinos so the essential functions of switching lights on/off with normal hardware switches can be maintained even if the Blynk system fails. (Not that it will, but for me it was just a safer way to do it)
In the code the switches can be turned on/off from either normal hardware wall switches or the Blynk app. Status of the lights is reported back to the dashboard whichever way the lights are switched.
I have used cat 5 cable to the standard wall hardware switches and so far have had zero interference or noise issues. The main problem I encountered so far was the Ethernet shields w5100 chip getting hot. I have used a heat sink for now to try and keep it cooler.
Very nice project is there anyway for you to share your code?
thsanks in advance
Eric Rome - Italy
That pic reminds of PLC panel , great project Nick.
This project is getting BIGGER. Sorry I don’t have time to write more about it just yet, but I will soon.
Could you please tag the items.
I see uno’s, relays,wifi router, relay connectors I guess and what else…?
I am also very eager to see your code. I have a functioning sketch that queries a clock or a temp/humidity sensor against preset values to determine the state of my relays. Also being new to Blynk, I am wanting to gain the fantastic networkability that Blynk offers, but am unaware of how to merge Blynk into my sketch and I believe your sketch would at very least give me a finished work to reverse engineer and hopefully apply.
It’s a work in progress… Slow progress, mainly because I do not get the time to spend on it that it needs.
In the latest version we are going to try and use 2 Arduino megas to get enough I/O for 50 inputs and 50 outputs. In my last picture you can see a 60way enclosure with, 2x megas with Ethernet shields, a power supply, wifi router, terminals, some cheap eBay relays then some better quality General purpose relays.
Aside from the fact that I have not written any code for this new version of the project, im not keen to share my first version code for a number of reasons. Firstly, It’s ugly! I need to make it much neater, efficient, better comments, more reliable before I would make it public. There are much better examples of coding available on this forum if you want to learn from than mine. I’m still learning myself.
Second reason is, it has what I believe to be a new idea which has not exploited within the home automation field before. Well, if it has I can’t find it in anyone else’s systems yet. So I’d rather keep that to myself for now.
That being said, I would love to give back to this community in any way I can as I have learned so much from here already. So if you have any specific questions relating to what I am doing I’d be happy to try and help.
Hi to all. I have been missing in action for a while due to other projects but its been so exciting to see all the awesome new features that BLYNk has, My favorites are the tabs widget for more dashboard space, the selector widgets and the amazing amount of virtual pins now available. Congratulations to the developers.
Here is an update of my project which has been on the backburner for a while but now climbing back up the priority list.
are they switching AC?
how do you deal with EMF or EMR?
Yes mate I plan to switch AC lighting and power circuits with the build. It is a scaled up version of my first project. I have 3 working installations similar to this but not of the same scale, some have been installed and working for 2+ years (without Blynk). I have not yet had any trouble with interference/or spikes. There is quite a distance between the processors and the switching relays.
What is your experience? Have you had trouble switching AC with a similar design?
nah, not ‘similar’ design really, but issues with the switching of AC inductive loads of my A/C damper motors (24VAC) and 500cfm inline fan (240VAC)…
so not lighting (which as you probly know is “resistive” load), so you should be OK
but yeah, i have the relays and mains within 50mm of the processor chips (W5100 & Mega) - they got disturbed @ switch-off’s…
so i used some 30V MOV’s for the 24VAC relays and had to goto Omron SSR’s for the 240VAC switching + 275V MOVs - also had to isolate the relay boards PSU from the processor’s PSU using the JD-VCC inputs
I want to pick your brain.
All jest aside. I bow to this.