So, you are interested in the inner workings of this system? Good... it consists of two important pieces: an Android device running android 4.0.3 (or later) with the RHome application installed and an Arduino board (Duemilanove or older with Atmega 328 - this won't work with Uno because it lacks an FTDI chip) with a special RHome shield. You can find all the details below:

 

HARDWARE

Arduino board

You will need an Arduino board with an Atmega 328 chip or similar (not tested). Recommended board is the Duemilanove but this should work with older boards too. The board needs an FTDI chip so newer versions (Uno) won't work. You can of course solve this problem by buying an external FTDI breakout board.

 

Arduino shield

The main electronics for the system are located on a simple Arduino shield. It's a one sided PCB that can easily be made at home and fits onto a standard Arduino board. Four additional pins are brought out and can be used to customized the system. The PCB is provided in a diptrace format (diptrace is a freeware PCB editing software) and can be downloaded from this projects github. Also included is a parts list/mounting diagram.


Android device

For this you will need an Android device running Android 4.0.3 or later. You will also need support for USB host mode - most Android devices (especially cheaper ones) support USB host mode but you can always check. I recommend a cheap Android tablet that you can get for about 90$ almost everywhere. The UI is currently written for 800x480 screens only so you will have a lot of unused space on higher-resolution devices. You will need a USB host cable (you can make one yourself or get it on ebay) - if your device doesn't have a full USB socket. I recommend that you use a device which has two USB ports or a dedicated charging plug because you can't use the USB for charging while the device is in the USB host mode. I am using an Ainol Novo Paladin (with a dedicated external lipo charger) myself.

 

RF lighting controllers

I am using RF lighting modules from Intertechno (intertechno.at) - available in many different shapes. I am using a dimmer module and a standard switch module but you can use any of their modules. You can also use modules from other manufacturers (Nexa as an example). For list of supported devices check out the developer of the Arduino library that I am using for lighting control.

 

Other hardware

You will also need a way to control the window blinds. I am using two continuous rotation micro servos (available at dx.com, hobbyking.com or most other stores selling RC models) mounted on a standard non-motorized window blinds. You will probably need to modify those servos for continuous rotation by yourself but it would be even better if you can find a full-turn micro servo. If you can't find one than you will also need a multi-turn potentiometer (either one that has limited turns (two or more) or one that resets after a full turn). You will need one servo and one potentiometer for each blind. Look at the pictures below to see how the servos and the potentiometers are mounted.

 

SOFTWARE

The software side is much simpler. All that you need is an Android device running Android OS 4.0.3. Download the Android SDK, Arduino drivers/IDE (I am using version 18), required libraries and of course this projects source code. You should already know how to compile all these sources.

The following Arduino libraries are needed to compile the Arduino source code:

- 433MHz library for Arduino

- IR Library for Arduino

 

Everything needed to compile the Android project is included in the github download. Just import the Eclipse project and compile.

 

hwsw_slideshow

  • Connection schematic for the RHome System
  • RHome system mounted on the wall - in the custom designed 3D printed box.
  • Intertechno remote used to control system functions.
  • Modified window blind. Left: potentiometer, right: servo
  • Modified window blind test mounted on the window.
  • Mounting the shield/arduino into the box.