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TMI About Your House with MySensors

  • 29 March 2015
  • Author: Dan Santee
  • Number of views: 4570
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TMI About Your House with MySensors

I like to have a lot of information about my environment (mostly for purely geeky reasons), but I've found that most commercially available sensors are expensive, inaccurate, have limited software compatibility, or some combination thereof. I was using a couple of Z-Wave temperature/humidity sensors and a couple of light sensors, but at $50 a pop, there was no way I was going to be able to get all the information I wanted on the house.

In the Vera forums, I stumbled upon a super-cool project called MySensors where you can build your own sensor net for a fraction of the cost of a commercially available system - provided you have a little programming and soldering skill. After much trial and error, I've come up with a pretty reliable network of temperature, light and humidity sensors (currently numbering eight, but there may be more to come). They're built using Arduino boards and compatible sensors, available online or even in some local electronics shops.

The current version of my network uses the 5-volt Arduino mini, an LM393 light sensor, a DHT22 temperature/humidity sensor (though, for most people, the less expensive DHT11 will be just fine), and a 120V to 5V adapter. Most of the topics on MySensors are centered around battery-operated sensors, but I wanted less maintenance, so I opted to power mine from the wall. After some research, I found that it was less expensive to buy packs of phone chargers from Amazon than it was to try and build them myself, so that's what I'm using. Pictured is my complete sensor box, which measures about 50mm x 100mm x 33mm (2in x 4in x 1.3in). Using the MySensors project as a starting point, these sensors and their network has been very useful for gathering information about the house which I log to a custom logging utility that I wrote - but the project has lots of options for end points for your network. Check it out!

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