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Remote residential temperature monitoring over the net...

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by webbie, Oct 20, 2008.

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  1. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Anyone have any experience with a system that can:
    1. Have multiple wireless sensors for temp.
    2. Hook up over the net through an existing wired or wireless router
    3. Not require a computer in the location being monitored (must have built in web server).

    It seems like there would be a good market for these - but most I have seen are simply alarms and use a phone line to warn about freezing.

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  2. GVA

    GVA Minister of Fire

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    Yep it's called a PLC with an ethernet card. I was actually thinking about doing this to my stove as a joke once one for room temp one for exhaust temp one for firebox temp.
    I can still see what my machines back in Mass are doing (or not doing) when my former boss calls and says there is a problem....
    Temp is just another thing you can monitor.
    My former IT guy was hooking up temp sensors to the server room to call him if there was a rise in temp in the server room. the AC unit blew last year, and the room got up around 130* over a weekend and a couple mainframes were lost.
  3. wenger7446

    wenger7446 Member

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    I work with home automation/home technology system.

    We have looked into may different systems. Aprilaire makes a communicating thermostat - model 8870. With a few other components you can log into the system, look at the current temp, monitor the history, monitor/set run times, set heat/AC thresholds.

    http://www.aprilaire.com/index.php?znfAction=ProductDetails&category=23&sub=comm&item=8870


    Not cheap...but good quality.

    If you have any questions don't hesitate to ask.

    Ryan
  4. Czech

    Czech Minister of Fire

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    X-10 makes a bunch of wireless stuff if you can stand the marketing ploy. I've used their stuff for applications like you are talking about, but not sure if you can do things web based without a confuser.
  5. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    How would watching the temperature fluctuations of your house from, lets say work, be useful? I understand being curious about it...

    But if you have a pellet stove run off a thermostat you shouldn't have too many fluctuations unless the power goes out. Do you have a UPS attached to the monitoring equipment too?

    If you have a wood stove you would expect the temp to be higher just after you load it and to gradually burn down as the fuel is exhausted. I guess it's a temp fluctuation you just live with.

    Other than a freezing (emergency) alarm, what market would there be? What can the average person, who is not able to leave work to throw a few more logs on the fire, do with this information? Again, I understand the curiosity factor, maybe I'm not looking at this idea from the right angle...

    Matt
  6. InTheRockies

    InTheRockies New Member

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    Sensaphones, used with various sensors, can send alerts on a number of parameters (power failures, low/high temps, presence of smoke, etc.). They aren't cheap, but people use them, especially for vacation homes.
  7. Redox

    Redox Minister of Fire

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    Seems to me APC makes a plug in card for their UPSs that can do this. No experience, however...

    Chris
  8. kabbott

    kabbott Member

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  9. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    I would probably talk to Nofossil over in the boiler room, it's the sort of thing he's got running with his setup... I would agree either a PLC, or possibly one of the little one-board mini-computers - maybe a netbook?

    If looking to wire a bunch of sensors I would look into the "DOW" or Dallas One Wire system, but they still require wiring and an adapter. There are many outfits that do wireless sensing, but it gets fairly expensive to have a complete wireless transmitter for each sensor, so wiring gets cheaper fast as the number of sensors goes up...

    The big problem is getting the sensors to talk to the router, once you've gotten there the rest is just a matter of software.

    Gooserider
  10. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks for the hints - I'll dig around.

    One without a computer would be great - sort of like my wireless camera here........which I can access from anywhere over the net - but with a temp sensor and perhaps other stuff built in.
    http://golden.mylinksysview.com/img/snapshot.cgi?size=3
    (that is a wireless linksys looking out a front window)

    I suppose I could use a web-enabled weather station for this - but it would seem that such devices should hit the mass market sooner or later.

    As far as the use, we have a cottage in coastal RI - and I am a bit paranoid about freezing pipes, etc......also when we leave this house for a couple weeks on a trip in the winter...it would be nice to be able to check in from afar.

    I have no land line in RI, so all those units which dial-in and warn you will not do any good.
  11. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Another random thought might be to use a prepaid cell phone for the "call home" part instead of a land line... I don't like cell phones, but find they are a necessary evil at times... I got a "Tracphone" basic phone, that cost me about $40, and the airtime cards are about $100 for a 400 minute card that is good for a year. They also have a "double minutes" card that costs about $40 which I got, so I get 800 minutes a year (which roll over) for about $8.00 / month. I am VERY fussy about who I give the number to, and keep it turned off 99% of the time - mostly I use it for outgoing calls only, except when I'm travelling or otherwise doing something that requires me to be reachable by those very few people that *I* think need to reach me...

    If you can rig your house monitoring setup to use the cell, then it can call you in case of panic, or you can call it as needed, and I really doubt you'd need anything close to the 400 minutes... (They have cards with fewer minutes, but they don't keep the phone account active as long - the one year card is the best deal for the person that doesn't talk much...)

    Gooserider
  12. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Some Solutions:
    http://ingridhome.com/home/
    http://www.homeheartbeat.com/HomeHeartBeat/index.htm

    More should be coming on the market soon since the standard for these has only recently been completed.

    AT&T;has one service too - some of them can be viewed through a cell phone and use the cell network as a backup in case your electric goes out - the system would call you and tell you.

    I came up with a quickie - for now - that lets me monitor indoor and outdoor temp through the net - an inexpensive IP net cam combined with a digital indoor-outdoor thermometer.

    I can access this through the internet from anywhere......my camera is pan/tilt, so I can monitor a lot of the house, do motion detection, etc. - but using a fixed wireless cam this could be put together for less than $100.

    It's a start. I'm going to look hard at that Ingrid system....

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