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Author Topic: Tuicemen's Off grid setup!  (Read 62375 times)

dhouston

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Re: Tuicemen's Off grid setup!
« Reply #30 on: July 07, 2013, 04:04:44 PM »

Do all of your WiFi bulbs have their own IP address? I've seen two schemes - one is individual IPs - the other is a master bulb with WiFi that controls a small mesh network via Bluetooth.

The Bluetooth approach seems a bit complex but I'm not sure how easy it is to handle multiple subnets of IPs should your devices exceed 255.

With the proliferation of WiFi devices and WiFi boosters, range is probably less of an issue than it may have been a few years back. All of my WiFi devices have more than adequate range but I live in an apartment and the maximum distance from my router is ~30' to an old iMac. It's a building with masonry and plaster walls with some wire lath so it's not especially friendly to RF.
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Tuicemen

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Re: Tuicemen's Off grid setup!
« Reply #31 on: July 07, 2013, 05:55:24 PM »

Do all of your WiFi bulbs have their own IP address? I've seen two schemes - one is individual IPs - the other is a master bulb with WiFi that controls a small mesh network via Bluetooth.

The Bluetooth approach seems a bit complex but I'm not sure how easy it is to handle multiple subnets of IPs should your devices exceed 255.

With the proliferation of WiFi devices and WiFi boosters, range is probably less of an issue than it may have been a few years back. All of my WiFi devices have more than adequate range but I live in an apartment and the maximum distance from my router is ~30' to an old iMac. It's a building with masonry and plaster walls with some wire lath so it's not especially friendly to RF.
The Bulbs really aren't Wi-Fi in that a Wi-Fi controller is needed, this relays the commands to the specific bulb via RF, this way only one IP address is utilized.
Each bulb is configured to the Wi-Fi controller either individually or in groups of up to 4.
I have to admit I'm still playing with this and only have 3 bulbs currently in use here.
I can control these via a android app or Pc Companion(PCC).

Since a PC running full time is a power hog I currently only use my laptop with PCC.
However I've a stripped down version (in Beta testing) that runs on a Thin Clint with XP embedded.
This only uses 12 watts ( I believe) and I plan to bring it up here once all the bugs are worked out of the PCC SG version.
I may also add code to TAC so my android mini TV pc can control these directly as it uses even less power.
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dhouston

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Re: Tuicemen's Off grid setup!
« Reply #32 on: July 07, 2013, 06:15:28 PM »

The Bulbs really aren't Wi-Fi in that a Wi-Fi controller is needed, this relays the commands to the specific bulb via RF, this way only one IP address is utilized.
Ah, yes - I had seen those as well but forgotten that connection scheme. Is there an FCC ID on the controller?
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Tuicemen

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Re: Tuicemen's Off grid setup!
« Reply #33 on: July 07, 2013, 07:11:22 PM »

The Bulbs really aren't Wi-Fi in that a Wi-Fi controller is needed, this relays the commands to the specific bulb via RF, this way only one IP address is utilized.
Ah, yes - I had seen those as well but forgotten that connection scheme. Is there an FCC ID on the controller?
No FCC ID  printed on it :(
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Tuicemen

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Re: Tuicemen's Off grid setup!
« Reply #34 on: December 21, 2013, 06:51:33 PM »

We  finally got a fireplace insert put in (week prior to thanksgiving) to help warm things up when we first get there during the winter months.
This thing has a simple thermostat blower speed control but I'm not sure how to add X10 to it yet.
Or even if it will be beneficial, I've yet to put a meter on it to see what the blower actually uses :-[

this thing does wake me a night some times so maybe a timer so it doesn't come on while I'm sleeping.
Funny how small noises seem so loud in the country with out all the traffic. rofl
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mike

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Re: Tuicemen's Off grid setup!
« Reply #35 on: December 21, 2013, 07:44:14 PM »

nice!
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Tuicemen

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Re: Tuicemen's Off grid setup!
« Reply #36 on: October 03, 2014, 04:48:13 PM »

I added a small tool shed to the property.
Although I can pan my cameras to view and monitor this they aren't always fixed on it.
I was able to attach a door window sensor to the door.
However it is out of range (125 + feet) from my DS7000 security console. I needed a way to connect it to my security setup.
I received a couple of smart RF repeaters and  placed one 25 feet from the console.
The signal now reaches the DS7000. :)%
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Tuicemen

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Re: Tuicemen's Off grid setup!
« Reply #37 on: March 22, 2015, 02:53:35 PM »

I've been experimenting with low power PCs as I wished to be able to control things remotely without a hug drain on my batteries.
I brought my Android mini PC stick home to experiment with as I read Linux could be placed on them.
I will still most likely add a X10 Wi-Fi control module here when ever it hits a production stage.
I was able to install Linux on the mini PC and looking over different server apps installed Home Genie.
Testing this at home it seemed to work, however this will not display on my off grid TV so setting it up here is impossible B:(

I have a HP thin client which I adapted to hold a 40 gig hard drive and installed Windows 8.1 then 10 to.
This uses about 7 watts so although still more then the Android mini it is a better fit.
It also allows for better streaming of web content.
Over the winter I set about creating a web server app (Ultralight) which will be place on this in the next few weeks.
Since I already have this setup and running at my city residents I have a good Idea of what I wish to do with it.
This should make set up a little easier however It is capable of adding or removing devices from the setup remotely.
Also since it is a windows based program I can interface with PcCompanion (PCC)and AHP.
Actually PCC is required for X10 control but doesn't need to be running.
Since PCC nor AHP is required to be running for this to work the PC shouldn't be working to hard.
I also picked up a X10 outdoor PTZ camera which I plan to put into operation replacing a Easyn ptz camera which has connection issues.
I moved my wireless router next to my TV where I plan to setup the thin client this way I can have a wired connection for faster more reliable streaming.
In this new location I have fewer IP cameras signal losses other then the one Easyn cam I mentioned.
Experimenting I know I can control the direction my PTZ cameras are pointing via AHP this will allow me to tie them in nicely with my X10 security system.
AHP can also trigger PCC to send me a email for any notification required now :)%




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Tuicemen

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Re: Tuicemen's Off grid setup!
« Reply #38 on: March 27, 2015, 11:43:43 AM »

I mounted my new PTZ X10 outdoor camera to the spot the trouble some EasyN camera was in.
Any the signal from it also is hit and miss from this location B:(
I had tried the x10 camera in several locations with amazing results  even locations farther from the router so I was sure this would have been the solution.
It must be the large steel entrance door that is causing the issue here. It is to bad as the location gives a very wide view of the lot and lake as well I can keep an eye on the entrance way.
Looks like I'm back to moving the router looking for a better location for all signals from the cameras.

This may mean my Thin client has to use a Wi-Fi connection as well :( I hope it doesn't mess up my X10 HA server response times or streaming movies and such.
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bkenobi

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Re: Tuicemen's Off grid setup!
« Reply #39 on: March 27, 2015, 01:12:23 PM »

If you have a DD-WRT router (Linksys for sure, but others probably too), you might try boosting the antenna power.  Or, if you have a router with external antenna, perhaps just replace it with a higher gain antenna.  If not, perhaps you could try adding a second router as a bridge (or an actual wifi bridge).

In my old house (tri-level), I started out with no wiring and had a setup consisting of 3 routers set to create on bridged network.  It was spotty due to the layout, but it worked most of the time.  The primary issue was speed.  The router with the modem connected was pretty quick, but other locations were pretty slow due to wifi bridge limitations.  I eventually ran a few wires around the house and retired the bridge setup.  MUCH better!  But, if you can't run wires, bridged routers DOES work fairly well when raw speed isn't an issue.
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dhouston

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Re: Tuicemen's Off grid setup!
« Reply #40 on: March 27, 2015, 01:41:06 PM »

But, if you can't run wires, bridged routers DOES work fairly well when raw speed isn't an issue.
And, with current 2.4/5GHz routers, bridging speed is not likely to be an issue.
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Tuicemen

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Re: Tuicemen's Off grid setup!
« Reply #41 on: March 27, 2015, 01:43:25 PM »

 My router is already set to the max power. B:(
Also it isn't possible to add an external antenna to this router though I may see about doing a mod to enable that.
As well being off grid adding another router isn't a option.
I also had thought about a repeater but that as well will add additional drain to the batteries  which in the winter months is very limited.
It maybe time to look at a newer router with an option to allow an antenna replacement.
Since the X10 camera has a removable antenna I may be able to add a wired antenna and place it in a better location.
A larger antenna doesn't help but relocating should.
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mike

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Re: Tuicemen's Off grid setup!
« Reply #42 on: March 27, 2015, 04:57:49 PM »

Like beer?  takes 2 beer cans and a sharp knife, then double your wifi range:

google windsurfer antenna for more details....  just slide it over your present little wifi stick antenna and point it the way you need to go  :)
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bkenobi

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Re: Tuicemen's Off grid setup!
« Reply #43 on: March 27, 2015, 05:30:09 PM »

The only down side to those is that they turn an omni antenna into a directional one.  If that's acceptable, you might get away with this approach.  I debated suggesting building a Pringles Yagi, but that completely eliminates the omni in favor of one very tight direction (great for hitting a single wireless though).

http://www.turnpoint.net/wireless/has.html
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Tuicemen

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Re: Tuicemen's Off grid setup!
« Reply #44 on: March 27, 2015, 06:23:44 PM »

I had looked into these homemade directional antennas when I first thought of adding Wi-Fi here.
However it had slipped my mind once I was up and running as I had good coverage from my router.
That is except this location.  B:(
 I'm not sure I have the space for the wind surfer design but a soup can one maybe.
Thanks Guys!
I now have something to occupy my mind while trying to sleep tonight.  rofl
 >!
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