Monday, June 2, 2014

Apple's Big Home Automation Announcement

A couple of days ago I ran across an article that said Apple was going to announce a movement into home automation. Every time Apple coughs, the news services go orgasmic and start showing everything they can, the tech copycat articles start popping up using text they stole from some other site, and the news aggregators (huffington and the like) duplicate the articles all over the place.  I knew this was going to be fun.  Here's a link to the article I ran into <link>

So, today was the day that Apple was going to make their earth-shattering announcement.  The home automation part of it didn't really get out there until several hours latter, the copycats were too busy talking about the Beats purchase and maybe some new changes to iOS.  But, I found one here <link>, I'll bet the audience of Appleophiles were going all big eyed at what was possible.  Why, you can shut your garage door, set your thermostats, turn the lights on ... I actually laughed out loud.

For goodness sake, folks like me have been doing this for years now.  We control our pool, measure the weather (inside and out), and even measure the level of our septic tanks; we mix and match devices, services, and web pages to our hearts content.  We don't pay monthly subscriptions and are not at the mercy of a single supplier.

We are free to handle our house the way we want to.

I think it's a good thing that they are doing this because it won't be long before one of us hacks into the various devices and makes them work for us.  This means more devices we can play with, more things we can automate, more of Apple's research we can leverage to our own ends.  I don't think they think like I do though; they'll want a monthly fee for web services and get even richer.  I'll be chuckling as I take apart their devices to see how they work.

Another good thing, Apple's announcement will open people's eyes to what is possible.  Much more so than my little blog and the hundreds of others out there that do the same kind of thing.  There's a whole lot of us that are doing it ourselves, and this may enlist more of us.  Sure, we're outnumbered by the folk that just buy a solution, but where's the fun and satisfaction in that?

Meanwhile, I got a notice today that I'm going to get a smart meter on the house.  Finally, the powers-that-be are moving technology out into my neck of the cactus plants.  Now, I may have to build up a device to read the pulses from the meter and get power readings that are as accurate as theirs, but much more current than what they provide.  I suspect I won't be able to crack into their monitoring signal, but I don't really need that.  However, you know I'm going to try.


  1. Ha, I had the same reaction. Seems most the announcement chatter was really just remote control, not so much on true automation. But like you said this could be what it takes to finally bring HA into the forefront of public attention. Time will tell. Great site and blog BTW, I have to try to get my power monitoring finally setup after reading about your success over the years. Installed a couple CTs years ago and then lost interest. I'm guessing your CTs has burden resistors build in from what I've read.

    1. *have burden - sorry about that...

    2. Actually Stephen, I forget if they have them or not. I put a divider in based on some calcs and reading, but it's been so long that I can't remember the exact specifics. However, almost all of the currently produced CTs have some kind of burden resistor in them to keep from building up a high voltage on open circuits. Once upon a time, there was a problem with CTs approaching the source voltage in an open circuit which would discharge through the guy installing them.

      Somewhere on this site I have the actual schematic of the voltage dividers I used if you want to look around. Try the tab up top on how I monitor power, I think it's there.

    3. Thanks for the reply Dave! Looked at my CT's today and I have between 2 and 18 VAC or so. Will dig through to find how you split it out. Lots of good info here, thanks for sharing your knowledge.