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Author Topic: Tuicemen's Off grid setup!  (Read 62373 times)

Tuicemen

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Tuicemen's Off grid setup!
« on: February 04, 2011, 10:17:34 AM »

Many regulars here know I've been working on a Log home as a retirement home which is totally off grid.
This has produced some challenges but once I had a pure sinewave inverter installed it made X10 possible.

Current setup:
Stand alone controllers:
  • CM15A(1)w/ ActiveHome Pro v3.318

Plugins: most not in use
  • SmartMacros
  • iWitness(not in use)
  • MyHouse Online(not in use0
  • On Alert

Computers:
  • Dell Note Book Pentium r 1.73 GHz 1 GB of ram(used solely to setup the CM15A)
  • Toshiba laptop AMD E2-1800 APU 1.70 GHz 4 GB of ram(used in the city as well but mainly just for AHP setups)
  • HP Thin Client 1.66 GHZ atom 3 GB ram 40gig hard drive running Windows 10 with AHP, PCC and Ultralight
  • Android mini TV PC  MK802

Addons: Currently these are only used while I'm Programing as the CM15A runs disconnected from the PC
  • AlertDialerUltralight or TAC replaces this
  • PC Companion (all plug-ins)
  • BlueWatch
  • TAC
  • UltraLight

TRANSMITTERS-WIRELESS:
  • -RM Broadlink Pro
  • - 3 Unit + Dim (SS13A)
  • - keychain button type battery (KR19A)

CAMERAS:
 - cam anywhere
 - non X10 flood type with built in SD card to monitor the vegetable garden and scare of would be pests during growing season
 - FosCam indoor IP Camera  - Bushnell Trail Camera (monitors mineral lick put out for the deer)
 - EasyN outdoor IP camera)
 - Airsight XX60A outdoor PTZ




Modules:
- Appliances(AM486)
 - 3 Pin Appliance module (AM466)
 - 1 WS469 switch
 - Wall Receptacle module (PA011)
 - Universal module (UM506)
 - SR751 RF signal repeater (increases RF range to over 200 feet)


MOTION SENSORS:
- 2 EagleEye (MS14A)
 



UNIVERSAL REMOTE CONTROLS:
 - Icon Remote
 -Platinum remote (UR73A)

 

SECURITY:
  -DS7000 Protector Plus Security System
 - Door/Window Sensors
 - Motion sensors MS10A( not in use as I don't want critters triggering the alarm)
 - SH624 & Security Keychain Remotes
 

 

MICELLANEOUS:
 - VCR Commander
 - EasyBulb Wi-Fi LED lights
 - XTBM Signal analyzer
 - Amazon Dot






Additional Notes:
  • The Broadlink RM pro provides RF and IR control of almost every thing  though the thin client is still in operation
  • I'll add to the list as I acquire more
  • TAC was running on the android Mini but brought it home to experiment with adding Linux and a x10 web server app
« Last Edit: August 29, 2017, 06:39:20 PM by Tuicemen »
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Tuicemen

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Re: Tuicemen's Off grid setup!
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2011, 11:01:24 AM »

The House is a log home I've been working on for over 10 years and did most of the work myself!
I utilized a horse to drag the logs out of the bush and used ropes and pulleys to get the logs in place.
Since this is totally off Grid I'm using solar panels for most of my power although I do have a small 400 watt wind generator.
I've just installed a Back up generator which was specially designed for off grid applications ( I really need this in the winter) to help with long periods of no sun.

The main X10 part of this setup is the DS7000 Which I posted about here in Topic: Security for Remote Places  (Read 52155 times)
Since I had a phone line run in underground notification of an alarm was a simple add.

Internet I figured would be a slow dial up connection or maybe a wireless connection as the neighbour has that.
As it turns out I'm close enough that I can get a DSL connection which ends up being just as fast as the wireless but more reliable.
I got a modem wireless router combo as the fewer things plugged in the better (solar issue).
Getting out my killoWatt meter I soon found the modem was using more power than I wished it to.
In fact there are a few things that are like this.
Enter X10!
X10 doesn't save me on power costs as I have none during the sunny months (generator fuel costs have yet to be determined)
During the day time hours I usually produce more power then I can use. But I night I'm drawing off my batteries.
X10 modules allow me to automatically turn off devices that I wouldn't be using during none waking hours.
The wireless router modem being one.
The radiant flooring circulating pumps is another place.
The CM15A turns these on and off periodically threw the night the thermostat kicks in the others when and if needed.
I also have the Cm15A turn these on for the weekends and off threw the week for times I'm not there
I haven't got the outside wood furnace setup with X10 (yet).
Since it has Backup fuel capability (propane) I'll be able to trigger this to come on before I get there for a week end or vacation.
Sure X10 modules use a small amount of power but the issue Is to keep the power consumption down as low as possible with out going back to candles.

 Most of the house is set up with led lighting with a few CFLS where lots of light is required so I don't use any lighting modules (Yet).

My X10 camera is embedded in the log work close to a window the window frame covers the camera but a small hole in the trim allows the camera a view of the main floor.
Since all trim was left natural wood and just varathaned  I burnt around the edges of the hole for the camera which made it look like a knot which fell out.
You real have to look to notice there is a camera there. By then I'd have a good full face shot ! rofl
The EagleEye is mounted under the log steps  on the landing so anyone coming up to the main floor is detected and any movement on the main floor is also picked up.
Motion turns on the Cam anywhere and VCR Commander which starts a record sequence.
 >!


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mike

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Re: Tuicemen's Off grid setup!
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2011, 07:54:42 PM »

Can we comment?  If so, COOL!  javascript:void(0);

We live in a log home 1/2 mile off rd in the middle of 40acres of woods and heat fully with outside wood boiler.  Got electric tho.  keep the descriptions coming!
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lodtrack

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Re: Tuicemen's Off grid setup!
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2011, 07:37:16 AM »

Sounds like a labour of love. I have the opposite problem, I have grid power by no landline. After reading your post and tripping through some linked threads, I was pursuing how to get an Internet stick connected laptop (in cell coverage) to have  my cottage security system contact me. What I came across via a linked thread was the ability to use a docked Bluetooth cellphone with a handset to dial out of the cottage. I purchased one from Vtech and will be trying it out this week. I was not able to verify from the online manual whether the security console dials into the unit if it will sense the lack of landline connection and transmit via Bluetooth cell. If it works,for the cost of leaving a prepaid cellphone at the cottage that will dial out infrequently, it could be a good solution to my lack of landline.
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Tuicemen

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Re: Tuicemen's Off grid setup!
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2011, 08:07:14 AM »

lodtrack  we had originaly thought about using cells for our comunication but the service wasn't steady enough!
If you went out to the fire pit and stood on one leg you'd get a connection. but never long enought to make a call.
I even tried climbing the tower that my wind turbine is on Half way up you could make a call the next day it wouldn't work! B:(
Coverage for wireless internet is good when you can get connected.
 It seems to be getting better and they're talking about puting in another tower so maybe down the road! ::) :'
 >!
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Tuicemen

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Re: Tuicemen's Off grid setup!
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2011, 01:58:49 PM »

Since putting in the back up generator I've been looking at other options to automate.
The backup generator automatically comes on once my battery bank reaches a low point I program in.
The issue with large backup generators is they need a weekly cycle time to keep every thing working smoothly.
The back up generator I have (generac Eco gen) is designed for solar off grid setups and doesn't have a weekly run cycle which can be set.
In fact nowhere in the manual does it state what the minimum weekly run time should be.
My dealer couldn't even tell me (or wouldn't). Contacting the company I requested the min weekly runtime requirement. After a second request I still didn't get the info I was looking for.
However they did state that the non Eco gens required 15 min a week.
Close enough,  I pulled out a universal module and set it up in AHP to run for 15 mins every Sunday evening.
It is just silly running the generator for 1 -2 hours weekly if the batteries are already full.
I figure down the road I can use the smartmacro plugin to set up some flags so the generator will only run on Sunday if a flag is clear thus indicating the generator hasn't run yet that week.

I'm still not sure how I'm going to automate my outside boiler but now that I won't have to worry about low batteries I'l play with some ideas. ;)
I welcome any x10 ideas for this as I know there are a few of you using these outdoor boilers.

 >!

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mike

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Re: Tuicemen's Off grid setup!
« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2011, 08:36:40 PM »

.....
I'm still not sure how I'm going to automate my outside boiler but now that I won't have to worry about low batteries I'l play with some ideas. ;)
I welcome any x10 ideas for this as I know there are a few of you using these outdoor boilers.
 

The 120v used on our Central Boiler out of Greenbush, MN, is for two things:  1) water circulation pump, & 2) small control board that fires solenoid to open air inlet in door to burn when water temp goes <165F, then off at 180F....  I separated these functions so I can leave circ pump on (placed in crawl space under log home) on 24/7, but can sw off the control board and hence the solenoid (24vdc prob 1 amp) that would be on if fire was left off when not there for extended period.  But I would not want to shut off the circ pump in the cold of winter for fear of frozen waterline (500 gallon water jacket around firebox)....  I also bought a indoor/outdoor $ 4.99 temp display at Big Lots for in the house:  outdoor sensor stuck inside insulation around the incoming water pipe, other for room temp - so I can see if fire is going out w/o walking outside.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2011, 08:39:24 PM by mike »
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Tuicemen

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Re: Tuicemen's Off grid setup!
« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2011, 05:28:55 PM »

Thanks Mike.
I also have my central boiler pump separate.
I don't need to worry about the water freezing as there is antifreeze in the water ( Glycol ).
I also have the dual fuel option but wouldn't wish to run Propane for to long.
 >!
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Re: Tuicemen's Off grid setup!
« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2011, 07:03:22 PM »

FYI.......  since u brought up using x10 to "control" the outside boiler, I thought, hmmmmm......  maybe in this rally warm weather it may make sense to just shut it off to save fuel (with plenty of fuel in the box);  I turned off both pump and air inlet actuator......  after 20 hours the little vent on top of the outside boiler was spouting steam real pretty like!  I dont know for how long as I saw it in morning after getting up.....  I turned back on both pump/air inlet and water temp was 210F on gauge - hence the boiling and steam out vent.

taught me to not turn off air actuator with pump off or the 500gal water shroud will overheat with the small fire still going from air leakage....

I learned after 7 years of use (its YOUR fault Tuiceman!) to not do this but judge the amount of wood I load in based on upcoming weather instead as I always have....  perhaps if I add TWO appliance modules tho and separate out both functions I can get better........
« Last Edit: October 06, 2011, 07:06:19 PM by mike »
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Tuicemen

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Re: Tuicemen's Off grid setup!
« Reply #9 on: October 07, 2011, 04:34:40 PM »

You can't Shut off the furnace with a full box of fuel if water jacket temp is high and not circulate the water.
However I found You can shut the furnace off and keep the curculating pump running
This will slowly reduce the temp in the water jacket as very little air is getting to the fire box.
Since time of year reflects how long it takes to bring down the temperature some things have to be watched carefully.
I've had my furnace smolder away for a week without boiling over and without the circulating pump running.
However the temperature wasn't very high when I initaly turned it all off.
I think this can be automated I just haven't played with it much yet.
>!
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Tuicemen

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Re: Tuicemen's Off grid setup!
« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2012, 09:42:43 AM »

As the weather starts to get nicer I'm agian spending more time here.
With the addition of a new smartphone I added TAC to this setup.
However with my Notebook rarely on using it is limited to while I have it running.

My weekly auto start generator setup needs some tweeking (never had it running during the winter months good thing) noise from the generator causes the shut off signal to be missed.
Not sure if moving the universal modual to another outlet will help but I'm hoping.
I've never had much of a probelm with noise either here or at the city.

I'm still playing with my Foscam it isn't as easy to hide as my X10 but the picture is much clearer and I have more control.
I plan to have it turn on with an alarm trip.
I've set it to send the IP Address on startup as I have DSL.
I may also trigger it to come on once weekly Just to do a check of the place.
>!

« Last Edit: April 22, 2012, 04:49:10 PM by Tuicemen »
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Re: Tuicemen's Off grid setup!
« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2012, 07:45:08 PM »

I'm still playing with my Floss IP cam it isn't as easy to hide as my X10 but the picture is much clearer and I have more control.
I plan to have it turn on with an alarm trip.

hmmmm...  how would u turn on with alarm trip  perhaps I have not studied cm15 options enough but i never saw a way to run a routine based on ds7000 or sc1200 trip....  i would be mighty interested in how u did this....

thanks
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Tuicemen

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Re: Tuicemen's Off grid setup!
« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2012, 08:06:43 PM »

Triggering on ds7000 and sc1200 alarm trips is easy with thirdparty software like x10SW. This is something I can run from my laptop for short periods like while I run to town.
Not the best idea for a remote location with limited winter power. However I plan to play with some other ideas using some modded modules. ;)
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Re: Tuicemen's Off grid setup!
« Reply #13 on: April 03, 2012, 08:55:32 PM »

tnx.  I'll ck out that software.  I know we can mod stuff to get it but just sounded like maybe there was something I missed in cm15  codes....  I have always brought out sonalert sig from ds7000 and now speaker from sc1200 to send thru my in house phone line cable on spare pair for sound in house of the barn/office/garage alarm unit.
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Tuicemen

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Re: Tuicemen's Off grid setup!
« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2012, 07:49:19 AM »

You haven't missed anything that I'm aware of.
Being off grid requires some additional modifications some times.
I sometimes omit those details ::) :'
 >!
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