Thursday, May 19, 2011

Modifications to my Power Display

As I mentioned in one of my posts, I've had a strange hardware failure in the WiShield used to gather data for the display.  Seems something there causes the Arduino to reboot.  I spent a couple of days looking for the problem and finally cut the script back to the point where the only thing running was the WiShield and it still failed.  I even went all the way to the example script and it failed there too.  That was actually the point where I started experimenting with XBees as a replacement network for the house.  Wifi is nice and does the job, but it is complex and takes a lot of code to keep running.  It has the advantage of being installed in laptops so you can watch it, being able to get to the internet, but what happens when the phone line dies?

Well, I finally got back to the display.  It stayed low on my priority list because the fail safes I built into the code were causing the display to come back to life in only a few seconds so it became an annoyance rather than a real problem.  I removed the WiShield and hooked up an XBee.  About 80 percent of the code disappeared!  I gather the power levels, time and temperatures from the various devices around the house and present them on the display.  The Pachube feed has been handled by my House Controller for a couple of weeks so that was removed as well.  Shortly, I'll update the Power Display page with the new script.  I'm going to keep the old script there as well for those folk that use Wifi, but this works really well.

Guess you can tell I'm pretty well sold on XBees as a network device for home automation.

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