Home Automation Using PC+Arduino+ESP8266+RF69+possibly NFR24L01

  • Hello friends,

    I'm new to the mySensors community. I have been doing research for some weeks about Home automation using IoT devices, and I have a few questions. I have not formally started execution of the project yet (have bought some hardware to prep up though), but I'd like to clear some things out first.

    1st of all: the RF69 series of radios (any version), can somebody tell me if these devices can be used as stand alone controllers? My plan is to use an Arduino to program the RF69 but I have not seen any instance of the RF69 radios used without being attached to an Arduino. Is it possible to program it and put it in listener mode to send AT commands from the Arduino? I understand there are a few GPIOs available on the radio, thus if I can use these radios to send simple ON/OFF radio signals from sensors to the Arduino and possibly commands from the Arduino to it (to close a relay for example) that'd be great.
    2nd: ESP8266 or RF69 radios, which one is best? I understand the ESP is Wifi and it can be used as stand alone due to the uProcessor included, plus is quite cheap. However, it has to be used with a modem, while the RF69 seem to be easier to interface to a listening Arduino, less power consumption and higher range. Any thoughts/opinions/recommendations?
    3rd: I want to send and receive commands to/from another computer (external to the target house, could even be a smart phone) running a high level language (C#) executable from a mini PC that would centralize all commands and monitoring status from the slave Arduino(s) and have a user interface to show current sensor status. The Arduinos would gather the signals from the ESP8266's or RF69HCW's and in turn relay the info to this PC via Wifi. The only reason to use the PC as gateway is due to the ability to use high level language with extensive libraries for interface, which could be limited if using only the ESPs or the Arduino to send signals externally. Is this the best method/ practice to carry on a standard domotic network? Again, if anyone has thoughts/recommendations, please feel welcome to reply to this thread.

    Thanks for your patience!

  • Mod

    RF69 are just radios, esp8266 is actually programmable. Mysensors libraries have pre-built examples for arduino and esp8266 gateways, then you would need a home automation controller to manage all sensors and actuators. Most controllers can run either on PC or raspberry. Mysensors was thought to be an easy to use framework for nodes communications but if you want to go with custom stuff it is going to be difficult to give you support.

  • @gohan Hello Gohan. Thanks for your input. Now I understand that the RF69's cannot be stand alone. I will incline to use the ESP8266, as the NFR's are not standalone either.
    When you comment:
    " Mysensors was thought to be an easy to use framework for nodes communications but if you want to go with custom stuff it is going to be difficult to give you support."
    Can you please elaborate a bit on this? I am fairly new to the Mysensors so I'm not sure about this framework and its options and standard usage as comms nodes.
    Also, if you know of any other additional alternatives to ESP8266's, please let me know as well.


  • Hero Member

    @zamorae To get an idea of what MySensors is about I would suggest to start at the Welcome page of MySensors.org and take some time to read the basics.

  • Mod

    I'd have to say to go to main site and start reading the guides and documentation, it's all written there and that's were I began too.
    If you want to share what is your project you are planning, maybe we can give you a help

  • @gohan Guys, thanks for directing me to the main page. I came to mySensors through Google and directly into the forum as I searched for answers regarding the RF69 radios. I have browsed the site and it seems to be aligned to what I'm trying to accomplish. I want to basically install a domotic network in my home totally wireless, and would like to have the ability to push SMS notifications from my node network using popular messaging services such as Whatsapp, but that would be in a second phase. For now I will start acquiring the components to setup the node and gateway topology using ESP8266 and Arduino Atmega and Uno connected to a microPC with a controller program such as the ones listed. 2 things I'd like to elaborate on:

    1. Is it possible to consider commercialization for these type of open source platforms? I see that most of the forums / sites that talk about Arduinos and wifi radios normally talk about DYI stuff and small projects for hobbists, in my case I'd like to develop a full network and ultimately consider the opportunity to sell domotic services. Is this too far fetched or does it make sense?
    2. That being said, given that the software is presented with headers recognizing the original designers and people involved, is it feasible to consider re-branding of software interfaces to fit to a specific automation company? or is this not commonplace practice in open source environments?

    Thanks for your valuable input


  • Mod

    @zamorae great to see that MySensors seems to be a good fit. Welcome to the community 🙂

    MySensors is available with two licenses: GPLv2 and commercial.

    GPLv2 basically means you can use it for free as long as any code you develop is also made available for free. This means everyone benefits from improvements made by everyone.

    If you want to keep a commercial solution "secret" you can buy the commercial license. Some details are available at https://www.mysensors.org/about/mysensors#copyright

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