All building work stopped on the 24th March, due to the Covid-19 lockdown, but there’s still some things we can be getting on with, especially around plans for the electrical 2nd fix.
Wall Mounted iPad
I don’t think wall mounted touch screens are the way most of us would really choose to control our homes most of the time. However, I did want to make sure we have one controller, sited centrally in the house, which we’ll be able to use to access the entire smart home system. This is easily achievable using the Loxone App running on an iPad.
Just as we were going to order the tablet, Apple announced a new model. This was an opportunity to grab one of the outgoing 6th gen iPads from the Apple refurb store and save a few quid.
We also picked up one of the last 9.7″ Loxone Wallmounts (they have since released an updated model for the latest 10.2″ iPads). I chose the Anthracite version over the Silver one as I much prefer the way its dark frame blends with the black bezels of the iPad.
PoE to iPad
Next it was time to investigate how to connect the tablet to provide data as well as charging while on the wall.
Thankfully keeping an iPad plugged into the mains all day no longer kills its battery. Since iOS 11.3 Apple have added a feature to protect cells that are constantly being charged…
iOS includes a charge management feature to maintain battery health when iPad or iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, or iPhone XR is connected to power for prolonged periods of time, such as when used in a kiosk or a point of sales system, or stored in a charge cart.Apple
With all our UniFi PoE kit, Power over Ethernet seemed ideal for the task, a single cable to provide power and data to the iPad. This is not the cheapest option, but potentially worth it for simplicity plus a super stable data connection and no chance of any WiFi funny business.
Options here are limited, but this niche product fitted the bill perfectly so we ordered one of these GAF-Lightning-PD from PoE Texas.
It’s around $90 and supports 802.3af PoE to power the iPad whilst delivering 10/100 Ethernet over the same single cable.
You can now use one Ethernet cable to extend power and data to your iPad up to 328 ft away at fast data speeds! This PoE adapter is designed to deliver both 5 volts 12 watts of continuous power plus wired 10/100 data to iPad.PoE Texas
It is relatively small (6″ x 1″ x 1.5″) and we will be able to site it in a narrow void behind the block wall that the iPad mounts to (check out this page on how to set it up).
It works well in testing providing power and data while simplifying the cabling. The right angled Lightning cable fits into the Loxone frame with a little room to spare. All in all the Texas PoE device is a great solution.
iPad PoE Alternatives
I also considered the Gigabit + PoE Adapter for iPad (L6-NETPOE) from Redpark. The USB2 flavour of Ethernet it employs maxes out at around 225 mbps. It’s more expensive than the PoE Texas device once you add the required cabled too, but some may prefer the extra speed it offers.
And here are two less expensive options which may be worth considering too. These solutions still send power and data to your iPad over a Lightning cable, however they do not use PoE, but require an external power supply instead.
iPad Wall Mounts
If you are not a Loxone household but still fancy the idea of a top quality touch screen mount then check out these Smart Things sDocks.
If you are looking for a more budget option for your DIY smart home touch screen then there are other inexpensive wall mount solutions too.
In a future follow-up post we’ll look at the tablet installation once we’re in the house. That’s still a while away though so in the meantime check out our Instagram to follow the project and read the rest of the Automated Home 2.0 blog posts.
Last update on 2020-05-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API