Thursday, April 7, 2011

Arduino Home Management System

I'm planning to work on a new project in my free time using Arduino microcontrollers, some sensor packs, and Ethernet communications. Using MQ6 & MQ7 sensors and possible an IR sensor, I'll build an active fire alarm system that will communicate with a central management computer using Ethernet TCP/IP communication. Once I get all the components, I'll try to keep a weekly blog about coding tutorials, stuff I've learned or pictures of various assembly stuff to help others build various parts of this.

The point of this project is to be an active fire detection system. Current smoke alarms detect smoke long after a fire has been developed, which in a lot of cases only warns you to leave the building you're in until the fire department can show up to put out the fire. Fire alarms have little advantage over that, in that they are still passive, but just more sensitive, and more widespread. An active fire detection system would constantly monitor the air for various things that would indicate the beginnings of a fire. Once multiple sensors detect this raised level from some range that is assumed to be the threshold, a siren ought to go off to alert you. This is very critical because it wont just alert you that there's a possible fire igniting somewhere in your home, but it will also indicate where the fire is being detected, so that you can put out the fire immediately, long before fire department crews can come to your rescue. 

Thus, this project intends not only to create an active fire alarm system, which would be open source for all others to give a shot at, but its also a "dry run" of a single module, of an intended much larger system for a Home Management network in my home. Simply, the management network is composed of multiple systems, all monitoring various sensor zones in my home. One example is this active fire detection system. Another can be AC\HVAC controls; another can be smart lighting in my home. Theres a whole ton of projects that could be done, and integrated together to create the smart-home energy efficiency system (SHEES, pronounced cheese ;) ).

So thats the gist of things for this project. Below are a parts list needed for the fire detection module, as well as some pictures of what some of the stuff looks like.

Components Required:

Arduino Uno
Adafruit Ethernet (XPort/WIZnet) shield for Arduino kit (Installation Tutorial)
WIZnet WIZ811MJ Network Module with Mag Jack 
CO (Carbon Monoxide) Gas Sensor MQ-7
LPG (Liquefied Petroleum) Gas Sensor - MQ-6
Gas Sensor Breakout Board

Heres what an Arduino looks like:

And here is what the Wiznet WS811MJ looks like:

Here is what the CO sensor looks like:

Finally, here is what the LPG gas sensor looks like:

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