Hardware

The integration of AirQ Networks products in Souliss

Souliss (http://www.souliss.net) it’s an open-source, distributed and web oriented framework for Home Automation, designed to run over different hardware platforms. Souliss it’s not a trivial application that runs on the top of Arduino or similar developing platform. It’s a complete stack, able to run both over different hardware mediums and protocols. For example, Souliss can run on different communication hardware medium (ethernet, WiFi, etc) and it can interface different control protocols like Modbus. The goal of Souliss is to provide a complete framework that allows “advanced users” to develop custom and low-cost solutions for Home Automation.

The most stunning features of Souliss are:

  • Scalability: Souliss is designed to support from one to tens of distributed nodes.
  • Small footprint: the library fits in about one half of Arduino’s memory (RAM). The full Souliss project can use from 700 bytes up to 1300 bytes depending on configuration.
  • Flexibility: you can implement your home automation logics easily, and it’s straightforward adding new custom devices.
  • Multiple medias are supported as Wiznet W5100 for Ethernet connection and Atmel AT86RF230 for Wireless point to point connection, with automatic bridging and routing.
  • Remotely manage your devices/appliances with hardware (i.e. switches) and software commands

Moreover, Souliss provides an excellent app for Android devices that allows to interact with Souliss nodes.

 

Souliss Team did a great job integrating sNET protocol in their stack. This means that you can develop complete Home Automation projects using Souliss stack and AirQ Networks products. Moreover, you can easily mix up hardware coming from different vendors. For example, in this video you can see an AirQ 305 control board interacting with an Olimex MOD-IO board.

 

We’ll talk again about Souliss soon and we’ll show how it’s simple to setup a Souliss node using AirQ Networks products.

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Building a wireless thermostat using Arduino/1

Starting from this post, we’ll publish a series of tutorials that show how it’s simple to build custom and complex wireless solutions using Arduino and AirQ Networks products.

heating-systemThe first tutorial we publish is maybe the most simple but it’s the bare bone tutorial of all DIY and makers: a Wi-Fi thermostat. Unless you are one of those lucky people that live in that areas of the earth where there are 25°C during all the year, a thermostat is useful both during winter and summer. During winter a thermostat can control the heating system as well as conditioning system during the summer. But often devices are placed far from where we need to control them. And this is especially true for boilers that are usually placed inside specific rooms (see left picture).

So wireless is a crucial point to design a flexible and adaptive thermostat. But we want to go further. In the Internet of Things (IoT) era, we want to design a thermostat that is smart and that we can control from the web wherever we are.

Bill of material

This tutorial is divided in three parts. In the first part, we’ll design a really simple but functional thermostat able to control a remote boiler according a hardcoded temperature. To do this step we’ll need:

For the second part of this tutorial we’ll need:

For the third part we’ll need:

  • an Arduino Ethernet shield;

In addition to these components, a breadboard and some patches are required. However, you are totally free to arrange the project as you like.

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A closer look at AirQ 305 I/0 board

Yesterday we started shipping new AirQ 305 to our worldwide customers. And we are really happy that many of you liked it :-)

But we haven’t released complete specifications until now. So, let’s see all features of this new control board. AirQ 305 is a wireless controller board with 4 relays and 4 inputs. Each relay is tight to a three way terminal block (Normally Open, Normally Closed and COMmon). Relays are able to drive up to 10A of current. But if you plan to use them to drive AC loads, these are the exactly specifications of manufacturer:

 Spec

Value

Rated load (resistive / cosφ=1) 6A @250 VAC (NO/NC)     10A @120 VAC (NO/NC) 

10A @24 VDC (NO/NC)

Rated carry current 10A
Max. switching voltage 250 VAC     24 VDC
Max. switching current 15A

Different from other AirQ Networks control boards, inputs in AirQ 305 are voltage driven. This solution is more flexible compared to voltage free inputs, since they can be used both in case of dry and hot contacts. However, inputs can’t be used with every type of voltage and, keep in mind that they can’t be used with AC source. Input voltage ranges from 3VDC up to 24VDC. This upper limit can be extended using a voltage limit resistor. If you need to interface a dry contact (eg, a switch), you can sink +12VDC from power supply, as shown in the following picture. Inputs are opto-isolated: this is really useful if the input voltage is noisy.

IMG_20130316_114306

Compared to AirQ 310 and AirQ 300 control boards, this one doesn’t provide a battery changer and management IC. So the board can be powered only through a power adapter. The reason of this choice was to keep the selling price as low as possible. If fault tolerance is demanding, consider buying an AirQ 310 or 300 control board.

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New wireless control board from AirQ Networks

We are really excited to announce that we are almost ready to release a new control board on the market. Its name is AirQ 305 and it will have really interesting features and, more important, a really competitive price.

airq305-1

AirQ 305 has the following characteristics:

  • 4 Relays capable of control up 10A of current.
  • 4 Opto-isolated inputs that accept a broad range of inputs running from 3V to 24VDC.

 

Different from other AirQ Networks control boards, that are designed to address the industrial market, this control board was designed to keep its production costs as low as possible. So AirQ 305 is addressed especially to hobbyists and all those people that need to keep budget low.

AirQ 305 will be sold for a limited time offer at €49,90. Special offer is available only if the AirQ 305 is bought in bundle with an AirQ ShielD.

We’ll start to ship AirQ 305 control boards by the end of the next week (15 March 2013).

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Survival guide for AirQ ShielD buyers

You just received your new AirQ ShielD. And you want to start developing your application right now. But before you can start coding there are a couple of things you may know. We know: you don’t like to read tens of pages on our technical wiki. You’re only interested in write down code.  That’s the reason why we wrote this survival guide. One. Two. Three. Let’s go :-)

There are essentially two main things you have to know: pairing and ARS.

Pairing

Each AirQ Networks end device (eg. AirQ 310 control board or AirQ 101 wireless sensor) can be associated to only one transceiver. And an AirQ ShielD is a transceiver. This procedure is called pairing. To pair a device to an AirQ ShielD you need to follow this procedure:

  1. Turn off the device you need to pair to the shield (eg. AirQ 310 control board).
  2. Turn on Arduino with the shield correctly mounted (see next).
  3. Press the PAIR button on AirQ ShielD leaving it pressed for 2 seconds.
    1. You’ll notice that the STATUS led starts blinking repeatedly. The shield will remain in pairing mode for 30 seconds.
  4. Turn on the device you want to pair.
  5. After two or three seconds the STATUS led of the device will blink more quickly to signal that it has been paired. The STATUS led stops blinking.
  6. Pairing is completed. To stop pairing mode immediately, press PAIR button for 1 second.

We did a video that shows this procedure.

 

However, for all of you that are buying in this period an AirQ ShielD with another AirQ Networks device, we are providing them already paired. But it’s important to know that pairing could be needed if you buy other devices in the future.

Remember that if you bought only AirQ ShielDs you don’t need pairing.

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