My preferred system would be a small PC board (populated) with one easy-to-program small embedded processor for sensing and another with the RF/Zigbee implementation in firmware and the RF circuitry on-board. USB connection to a programming laptop and wireless to home. I couldn’t find one.
I did try a number of different systems.
- Atmel Raven System
- The board is absolutely great with onboard RF, a secondary processor, and unusually good layout. Crashing software, unimplemented features, uncompilable firmware, not enough RAM, and unusable documentation make it not recommended. My writeup…
- Funnel IO card
- This card takes an XBee module as plugin and adds an Atmel 168 for processing/control. This seems like nirvana but I just couldn’t get past the massive firmware and software. If they’d use simple firmware and provide an easy programming environment (Eclipse and C++?) this would be a winner. Recommended only with firmware change. My writeup…
- Xbee RF Modules
- These have no secondary processor but a pretty good primary processor. Impossible to program, essentially, except for simple timed sensing or level-change sensing. Includes Zigbee stack and 4 A/D open channels along with 3 open digital channels. My writeup…
IO Controller Cards
I investigated stand-along controller cards to see about having them control the XBee/Zigbee card but couldn’t find a simple solution. The cards I looked at were:
- Really nice i/o card, schematic, and easy to program. Typical PIC i/o exposed on board and in firmware. It just doesn’t have any RF… See http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=762
- Seems to be nicer than the the bitwhacker but way tougher to program and the doc was skimpy. Also no RF. I’d rather use the bitwhacker. See http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=8480
- Why do my calls go straight to voice mail?
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- Comments on Microsoft Surface RT
- Comments on Windows 8
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- The iTach WiFi2IR Review and Use
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- AutoHome Software – Insteon Setup
- Setting up the home automation software
- CES and Zigbee Home Automation
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