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Author Topic: Ethernet enabled switch/module  (Read 28025 times)

liderbug

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Ethernet enabled switch/module
« on: October 02, 2011, 09:17:59 PM »


I've been all over the net and can't find a anything.   Powerline ethernet - exists (various mfg.).   Very small Linux computers - exists (IE gumstix).   But from what I can tell nobody has ever tried to meld the 2 together.  So instead of unit F3 it would be 192.168.15.3.   And by using Linux (gumstix) you could use an onboard program, crontab, etc.  And it should solve the X10 signal problems. (like I have all the time).  The ethernet wouldn't need 200mbs.   Have I missed a product?

Thanks
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Dan Lawrence

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Re: Ethernet enabled switch/module
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2011, 10:24:21 PM »

Nope!!!  Very few folks here use Linux.
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Noam

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Re: Ethernet enabled switch/module
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2011, 09:43:29 AM »

Nope!!!  Very few folks here use Linux.
I don't think the use of Linux vs. Non-Linux is a factor here.
The way I read it, the OP is asking if, as an alternative to X10's PLC and RF protocols, there exists a (non-X10 based) Home Automation system out there that uses standard IP over Ethernet (wired or wireless) for control of the modules.
It is a great idea, given the problems that have crept into the PLC-based protocols in more recent years from noise electrical devices. More and more homes these days have IP networks in them, so this type of system would be a natural extension of that.

I would have to imagine it would get expensive, though. Each module would require a certain amount of computing power to be able to co-exist happily on an IP network, with other Home Automation devices (as well as non-automation devices like computers, smartphones, cameras, DVRs, Blu-Ray players, etc). Lost signals might be an issue if the bandwidth is being used by a streaming movie, for example, over the home's wireless network.

It is certainly an interesting idea, but I can see lots of hurdles to get past first. Most homes don't have Ethernet wiring close enough to every outlet or wall switch, which would mean wireless would be the primary signal means. Many homes have too many "dead spots" for this type of system to work reliably.
Once you have to run new wires to each device you want to control, there are existing hard-wired automation systems out there that are already established.

Just my two cents.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2011, 12:18:00 PM by Noam »
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dhouston

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Re: Ethernet enabled switch/module
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2011, 01:50:46 PM »

I've been all over the net and can't find a anything.   Powerline ethernet - exists (various mfg.). ... Have I missed a product?
As I recently posted elsewhere on the forum, HomePlug Command & Control (which uses a subset of the ethernet over powerline methodology) was approved a few years ago and a company (Yitran) was selected to provide the chips. But nothing much seems to have happened since then.
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Noam

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Re: Ethernet enabled switch/module
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2011, 02:26:42 PM »

I have to apologize. I mis-read the original post, and I see where the OP was suggesting using Ethernet-over-Powerline to talk to the modules using IP, without the need to run additional wires. That's a very clever idea.
However, isn't Ethernet-over-Powerline vulnerable to the same (or different) noise and phase-coupling issues that we run into with X10?

Even if the signal distribution issues can be worked out, I still don't see how giving each device a miniature Ethernet host is going to be able to be an affordable system. The gumstix board is listed at about $100 (in large quantities).

There are a number of SDK-built programs out there (X10 commander is the one that comes to mind immediately) that give you a web server running on the PC with the CM15A or CM19A attached. There is a simple URL string that is used to pass commands through to the powerline, and you can write whatever interface you want to address those links.

I built myself a very simple interface with a dozen or so pairs of "on / off" buttons. It loads nicely on my Droid, and gives me "palmpad-like" control from anywhere I can access my web server. I am not passing it through my firewall right now, but I suppose I could.

What I haven't yet seen is someone take one of these one-board computers (like the gumstix, or even a sheevaplug), or maybe an Arduino, and interface it with the CM15A. It is true that X10 didn't share the protocols for storing programming in the CM15A, but the SDK allows anyone to write software to use it in real time.
Why not create a small plug-in controller for it, with a built-in webserver, and allow web-based control from anywhere?
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dhouston

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Re: Ethernet enabled switch/module
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2011, 03:33:33 PM »

However, isn't Ethernet-over-Powerline vulnerable to the same (or different) noise and phase-coupling issues that we run into with X10?
They can use several frequency bands (much higher frequencies than most noise sources that bedevil X10) and select ones that are noise free, perhaps reducing throughput if only a few bands are available. For command and control, throughput need not be very high.

Even if the signal distribution issues can be worked out, I still don't see how giving each device a miniature Ethernet host is going to be able to be an affordable system. The gumstix board is listed at about $100 (in large quantities).
HomePlug Command & Control does not give each node an IP but gives each an address similar to how X10 and Insteon do it. Only the master controller needs an IP to communicate with the outside.

... the SDK allows anyone to write software to use it in real time.
SDKs usually are created for an operating system (e.g. Windows) so you need to be running on that OS to use it. Those who wrote CM15A software for Linux had to reverse engineer the protocol. I'm hoping that will be enough info for me to add a USB Host channel for the CM15A to my modest HA project running on a much less powerful microcontroller similar to the Cypress chip in the CM15A.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2011, 03:39:19 PM by dhouston »
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liderbug

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Re: Ethernet enabled switch/module
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2011, 11:47:47 AM »

Thanks for the replies.  I picked Gumstix only because it was the first SBC I found that looked like it would fit in a outlet box.  There are a gaggle of other SBC companies - with numbers like 4x5 - guess one could fold the board in half ...  As for the price, for what I'm thinking a very scaled down SBC.

As to the PLC problems - I'm thinking that because there are now ethernet over PL modules (looking very much like app-modules) that run 200Mbs+, that what I'm looking for wouldn't need that speed - quality yes, speed no.

Linux because I think most SBC load it.  It's free.  And trust me, if you're geeky'nuf to do X10, Lee-nuks (the swedish way) is a no brainer.

I put my odds at 1:999 - but ... there goes another rubber tree plant ...  (not to worry, it's an age thing...)

Thanks again.



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Tesla

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Re: Ethernet enabled switch/module
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2011, 09:12:16 PM »

However, isn't Ethernet-over-Powerline vulnerable to the same (or different) noise and phase-coupling issues that we run into with X10?


I've never tried it, but a friend of mine has. He said a single unit only works on the "120v leg" it's connected to ... basically, only half the house. There is probably a work-around ... just a heads-up.

Myself, I prefer CAT5e/6/6e wires .
« Last Edit: October 05, 2011, 10:45:50 PM by Tesla »
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dhouston

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Re: Ethernet enabled switch/module
« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2011, 10:40:52 PM »

I picked Gumstix only because it was the first SBC I found that looked like it would fit in a outlet box.
There are plug computers that are about the size of an Insteon module and plug in to a wall outlet. But, I don't know whether any do ethernet over the powerline - I really haven't tried to keep up with them. Here's an example - there are several others.
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dhouston

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Re: Ethernet enabled switch/module
« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2011, 10:48:10 PM »

I've never tried it, but a friend of mine has. He said it a single unit only works on the "120v leg" it's connected to ... basically, only half the house. There is probably a work-around ... just a heads-up.
There were several tests going on in various cities of broadband over powerline. There was one in Cincinnati (I'm just across the Ohio River) but I haven't heard much about it lately. Here's one of the best sites that describes BPL.
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liderbug

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Re: Ethernet enabled switch/module
« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2011, 11:51:56 PM »

I've read lots of posts/articles on EPL - mainly England and a few here (Cincinnati).  But I only want to go 60 ft +/-, not even the house next door.  I'd love to run cat5 - through 2 brick walls, 27 2x10s, [ not to mention "What do you think you're doing?  You're NOT going to drill a hole in MY wall are you?" no dear. ]

The Ionics thing look like something worth checking out.

Thanks

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Noam

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Re: Ethernet enabled switch/module
« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2011, 09:33:29 AM »

The Ionics devices look really neat.
I don't know how much bigger they would need to be to add in Ethernet-over-power circuitry, and a remotely-controlled outlet, though.

I'd like to see someone take a Plug computer (like the Ionics device), and build an embedded web host for the CM15A on it.

It has a USB port, so it could directly control the CM15A.
Of course, since X10 hasn't shared with us the protocols for storing programming in the CM15A's memory, everything would have to be run from the Plug computer.

Might be a fun project for someone with good programming skills and $100 to burn (plus shipping).
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liderbug

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Re: Ethernet enabled switch/module
« Reply #12 on: August 02, 2014, 07:28:46 AM »

http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/the-ipv6-addressable-light-bulb-goes-on-sale

Although a bit pricey...   and just a lightbulb and not an appliance module....
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dhouston

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Re: Ethernet enabled switch/module
« Reply #13 on: August 02, 2014, 08:18:08 AM »

There are other IP addressable bulbs as well as addressable hubs that then communicate with multiple bulbs. At least a half dozen have appeared in the past year and most have been mentioned here. Here's an interesting one I just came across.
And, I don't recall any with appliance modules.
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dhouston

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Re: Ethernet enabled switch/module
« Reply #14 on: August 02, 2014, 10:00:05 AM »

There are other IP addressable bulbs as well as addressable hubs that then communicate with multiple bulbs. At least a half dozen have appeared in the past year and most have been mentioned here. Here's an interesting one I just came across.
And, I don't recall any with appliance modules other than Belkin's WeMo.

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