The Plan

So here’s the plan… in my home control article I pretty much tell you what we’ve done with our ESP-12 boards – we’re expecting one with no mistakes arriving this week – artwork is in the blog – I’ll confirm once we’ve tested it that there are no sillies. The code is on the web and linked to from the home control article though we do need to do some more explanation and that will happen soon.  These boards are at their best talking to MQTT and Node-Red and the next step is to start a series of articles on how to get this up and running. We’re planning to release a script that should make setup on Debian quite simple and then to continue the series tackling the various aspects of control and monitoring. I’m in the process of preparing for a summer in Spain which is why not a lot new here (though some GREAT comments coming through) but this weekend coming we should be starting to put something together.



15 thoughts on “The Plan

  1. Hi Pete,

    I also have a Plan to build modules out of the ESP-12 combined with Arduino/RPi link to the Cloud All together, below is my to do Wish List:

    1. Sensor Module (Includes LDR, DHT22, IR Transmiter, DS18B20, BMP180, MPU6050, PIR, etc, ) – Universal Sensor Module & IR transmitter for my Airconditioning unit.
    2. Switch Module (Includes, Relay and Dimmer) – Used to control Power Outlets/Lights of my house.
    3. Actuator Module (Includes Motor Controller Module) – Used to control my Solar Panel Actuators (Sun tracker)

    I have been strugling on finding the easyway to combine all these together. I’m working in China by the way, so all this stuff are very cheap.

    1. Wow – that sounds ambitious – now if someone could replicate the IR input library we have on the Arduino for the ESP.. that would be nice.

      1. I was hopping someone can do the IR Transmitter, if not I could still used those Arduino Pro Mini’s I have and combine with the ESP-12 to enable wifi connectivity. On the Other hand, I was also planning of separating the Sensor modules to be used for Internal/External or which ever can be sensors can be combined. The more the better.

  2. Pete, I’m still gobsmacked at the effort you are going to to document your trials and tribulations, so a big thank you again for continuing with the blog.

    I do have one request on your plan which is to also document with links if possible the full development environment you are using as there seem to be many ways to fail to get this right.



    1. Well, it’s not as difficult as it looks (but then hindsight is a wonderful thing).

      I started with the dev kit above – and updated it to the latest SDK simply by over-writing the SDK directory. I then started with the MQTT project that is in there, updating that to the latest version – and built my code on top of that – ok, I ripped out a few things and added a lot of things and wasted many hours going in the wrong direction before getting to where we are today but in a nutshell, that’s it. I do plan a series of articles on the Pi side, we’re experimenting with an online service now so we can help people set up a base for MQTT and NODE-RED to work with our little board (or any board using the same software). That will cut a lot of the learning curve out for beginners especially those who like me run a mile when someone utters the word “Linux”.

      1. Hi again Pete, hope your journey to Spain went well. In anticipation of the arrival of my boards, I noted your comments above and am now set up with Eclipse and the latest SDK (having overwritten the contents of the SDK with the latest update). However, the MQTT project does not compile – how did you update it and with which library?

  3. It’s good stuff Peter, I shall be developing an array of sensors for my boat in parallel. Just waiting for my ESP-12Es to arrive.

      1. Peter, I’ll have 2 temperature sensors for optimal control of the deep freeze, controlling compressor speed with PWM but with smart features to lower the temperature when engines are running or shore power is connected. Similarly compressor speed control to run it at its most efficient when on ships battery power.
        Other sensors for engine temperatures, fuel flows in due course. Another sub-project is to monitor bilge pump cycling as this is currently difficult to detect.

        1. I never thought of using the PWM for that – good idea. Excellent – sounds great. I hope you’ll let us know more when you get under way… different to the usual lighting/heating scenario.

        2. Well the good news is that the new pwm from Espressif is much higher res than you’d get from say an Arduino but note currently their software won’t allow 100% duty – it’s about 95% max and there is a slight double pulse effect part way up – doesn’t matter at all for lighting.

          1. Yes, I read that – good news indeed! I’m thinking of driving the circuit through an opticoupler – the details ( The max speed I.e. 100% isn’t too important since this is the least efficient point of operation for the compressor and the bit that I’m trying to avoid.

            Of course, this will be a bit of a challenge. I’d been intending to use a PI and Python but the prospect of independent, remote, wireless controllers using the ESP8266 proved overwhelming – not to mention the cost ?

          2. Of course we delude ourselves ever so slightly on costs – the ESP is cheap as chips – but then really you need a little linear regulator and cap to give it smooth power and some kind of mains supply and connectors and…. all of which more than doubles the price 🙂 Thank heavens for cheap Chinese PCBs – let’s hope the PCB manufacturers over there aren’t suffering too much with what I understand is a pretty devastating stock market plunge.

        3. Interesting John, I was contemplating a similar scenario just the other day when we were away in our campervan. We use a dual voltage cooler/fridge. When we are on hookup it runs from the mains and the temperature is controlled by a potentiometer on the front (with no indication of temperature). When it is on 12v from the van the spec says that it cools to 20C below ambient (so it freezes in cool weather!). Simple but meets our needs.

          My thought was to add a simple board, voltage regulator, esp8266 and a temp sensor and have this as an access point with web server, telling me what temperature the box is at. A refinement would be when on hook up to take over the function of the potentiometer to keep things at a suitable set point.


          1. Sounds good Simon, you may not need to go as far as using PWM since your compressor may not be controllable. However, you should realise significant battery life improvements by simple temperature regulation. Let us know how it goes!

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