My Automated Home: Domoticz Powered Open Source Smart Home

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Our latest “My Automated Home” story comes from Ian Gardner and his Domoticz powered smart home.

My home automation journey started around 12 years ago with a single PC running Fedora Linux, motion and a single USB webcam watching over my driveway.

It was all thanks to a friend and work colleague (Steve L) who inspired me to give it all a try.

Over time I played with X10, used an original RFXCom receiver with xpl-perl and experimented with various HomeEasy devices. Over the years my setup has changed and evolved and currently looks like this…

  1. HP N36L Microserver running VMWare ESXi (The heart of the system)
    • Several multi-purpose virtual machines running Ubuntu 14.04LTS
    • VM running Domoticz and OpenZwave
    • USB RFXCom (433MHz)
    • USB connection from Cyberpower UPS
    • USB Sound Card with USB powered speakers for notifications
    • USB Aeotec Z-wave controller
  2. Philips Hue Controller
    • 5x Philips Hue Lux bulbs
    • Philips Hue Bloom lamp
  3. oregon weatherOwl Intuition Controller
    • Owl Intuition-C – used to control my heating – I don’t bother controlling hot water
    • Owl CM180 power clamp and display
  4. Billion Bipac 7800DXL router, various switches, powerline AV adapters
  5. Trendnet IP310TV cameras for security (PoE)
  6. Synology Diskstation DS115j (for CCTV archive footage)
  7. Another Cyberpower UPS for the cameras
  8. Z-wave Devices
    • Fibaro FMSS001 PIR
    • Aeotec Multisensor (not currently in use)
    • Fibaro FGSS101 Smoke Alarm
    • TKB SM103 Door Sensor (detect when front door is opened)
    • Vision ZD2102 Door Sensor wired as a doorbell
    • Fibaro Binary Sensor (later use planned)
    • TKB TZ88E energy measuring power sockets
  9. RFX controlled/detected devices
    • Oregon Scientific Themo/Humidity sensors
    • Oregon Scientific Rain Gauge
    • Oregon Scientific Anemometer
    • Byron PIRs
    • Home Easy remote controlled sockets
    • Home Easy light fittings
    • Home Easy PIR
    • X10 RF PIR
    • LightwaveRF Remote Controls
    • LightwaveRF Mood Switches
  10. Energenie LAN Power Strip
  11. Wunderground to enhance local weather information
  12. Sonos Play 1 – a fairly new addition and great device!
  13. Obi 110 VOIP Adaptorthis allows me to grab call history from my landline from a webpage and more…
  14. BlinkStick
  15. Logitech Harmony Hub/Remote
  16. Raspberry Pi and Camera

Aeon Z-Wave USB Z-Stick

Parts of the system have shown some real benefits and proven the “business case”:
Being off-the-sewage-grid (septic tank) I have a rather expensive pumping station and although the heavy cast iron pumps can last years, one recently burnt out.
I saw a sustained 1.2kW increase in household power usage as reported by the Owl CM180 which I traced to be one of the pumps but there was little I could do to prevent its eventual demise – it’s thermal cut out didn’t save it and then bang.
TT Pump Panel
So after spending £800 on a new pump I decided to invest £35 in a Z-wave power metering socket (TKB TZ88E) which instantly shows any change in power usage i.e. when the pump is running –  if the pump stays active for longer than 1 minute an email alert (I intend to change to a push notification) is sent and I can remotely switch it off and investigate the issue (e.g. a stuck float switch) reducing the risk of another £800 burn out! I could also script it to power down but I will do that another day…
TKB Z-Wave Socket
Some people on the Domoticz forum warned that high power devices like pumps can overload such sockets but after many months of pretty much daily on/offs I have had no issues at all.  I chose the plug-in 13amp option as I wanted to be able to easily remove it later.  I also use TZ88E’s elsewhere on a lamp and the TV/AV kit.
As well as remote power control, temperature sensing, etc. I use my setup for the following:
  • The Trendnet IP cameras take great quality 3MP snapshots when motion is detected on the driveway (Byron PIR) or when the doorbell is pressed.  While these IP cameras have built-in motion detection and continuous recording to the NAS it is actually useful to get the notifications provided from the PIRs.  This is all triggered by a Domoticz lua script which in turn calls a shell script to grab the snapshots.
  • The doorbell push plays an mp3 and sends a push message to my iPhone.
  • Philips Hue is now providing my security lighting while I also use a LightwaveRF mood controller to switch them on and off via Domoticz.
  • The Domoticz VM plays a dog-bark.mp3 on the USB sound card when motion is detected on the driveway – useful to know when planned or unplanned visitors arrive!
  • Related to the above I have a shell script that checks if house power usage is high shortly before going to bed i.e. indicating a high power device has been left on  – here I play an mp3 file as a warning but again could easily change to a push message.
  • The UPS’s do a great job of handling minor power outages and one reports when power is lost and restored into a log file while the other protects the Synology.
I have implemented a simple static HTML status page to save the need to login to Domoticz when all I wish to do is check recent driveway pictures or check a sensor.

Owl Intuition

So What’s Next?

  • I may replace the ESXi host with a newer low power server running Ubuntu natively to simplify things
  • Modify the script to power down the pumps instead of just telling me about them!
  • Look into node.js and nodered (thanks to my friend and colleague Brian B. for the advice here)
  • Lightwaverf Wall SwitchImplement Fibaro Binary sensor with beam / break sensors on drive as PIR can falsely detect motion
  • Get the Aeon Labs PIR working – on battery power it isn’t reliable so I need to connect to a PSU
  • Implement scripts on my router to find when our phones are home and connected to WiFi – presence detection!
  • Integrate Owl Intuition-C – at present I can control only via the Owl application or website
  • I have also started to play with Bluetooth Low Energy beacon devices to detect presence e.g. put one in the car
  • Use Sonos Play 1 for notifications
  • Implement BlinkStick for notifications
  • Perhaps make use of Raspberry Pi and Camera

On a final note I’d like to say thanks to the Domoticz forum users and various other Internet resources for making this all possible.  :  Read More ‘My Automated Home’ Posts

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2 Responses to “My Automated Home: Domoticz Powered Open Source Smart Home”

  1. I too have a pump for a multi-stage cess pit, and have also suffered pump burnout. These were always down to the float switch getting stuck. I added a hardwired mains timer, which switches the pump on for 5 minutes every morning. This has worked perfectly for years now, and I would highly suggest you do the same

  2. I’ve created an app that interrogates the OWL Intuition-E monitor and based on various energy level triggers uses the IFTTT maker channel to automate various other tasks. Take a look at