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Home Automation Part 7 – Systems and Circuits

The last few days of work on the house have been moving more into the practical and less into the measuring stages of things.  And both of these tasks have been involving the word “circuits”.

The first task that I’ve been working away at is trying to get my servo rig up and running. I did manage to get a TI MSP-430 chip to control one of my Futuba S3003 servos (which was pretty cool), but I have yet to get that onto my 1 wire network of devices, which basically means I don’t have a good way to control it. I’ll need to do some circuit work to figure out what 1-wire chip I plan on adding that the MSP-430 can get it’s needed state from. I also need to figure out exactly how I plan no attaching this servo to the damper, and mount it to the wall. And lastly, how I plan on powering it, as parasitic power is not going to be an option for this.

Perhaps it might be time to consider some other options for actually controlling the servo’s other than a bunch of MSP-430 chips with 1 wire supplements… Ardunio anyone? It might still be possible to do 1-wire with the MSP-430 alone… but that is proving difficult.

The other circuit that I’ve been messing with is not electrical, and has proven to be much more difficult to manage. That is the circuit of air flowing throw my house.

My first attempt at getting more cool air upstairs has met rather unexpected results… I added a booster fan (150 to 250 CFM) flowing into the room at the “end of the line” (“Girls Room”).  Instead of cooling the room more (which is what I wanted)… Either nothing happened OR it synced temperatures with another room nearby (Link’s Room). I’m leaning towards the syncing given what I think may have happened in terms of air pressures, especially since it’s quite likely that these 2 rooms share both a supply duct and a return duct.

And while the A/C is capable of overcoming this for both rooms, it does seem to provide some sort of balancing between the two rooms.


The Solid vertical red line is when the fan was kicked on. The 2 lines I’m most interested in on this chart are the green line (The room that has a booster on it now, girls room), and the orange line (Link’s room). While these 2 rooms moved in sync somewhat before with divergence occuring in the morning and evening… it appears that they now *greatly* moved together… so much so that the lines almost trace each other… Despite what the sun might be doing.

I should add for the sake of this that the blower fan is also running constantly pretty much throughout this entire chart. I’ll be curious what the booster does once I shut the blower off. We shall see.

In any case, I’m learning a lot. Last night’s lessons involved primarily how to cut into duct work and how to install a duct fan… 2 things I had never done before last night. And while it’s not perfect, I feel it was a great first attempt at balancing out the system… Now if only I could put some more effort into the servo side of things, I might eventually get my graph to be perfect… we shall see.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Alex July 27, 2013, 6:55 pm

    Just read all these today — looking forward to news of your progress!

  • Kiran August 1, 2013, 10:37 am

    Looking forward to the next sets of data and how you go about optimizing the overall energy consumption.

    good going so far!