Building a low-cost home automation and security system

This DIY wireless system will connect and protect your home for less than $230.

With the emergence of connected devices in and around our homes, Maker Sounak Ranjan Das has set out to create an automation system that isn’t only affordable but secure as well. As one of the latest entries in this year’s Hackaday Prize, the basic framework of the wireless solution consists of just enough equipment for a two-room apartment. Both rooms are outfitted with a PIR motion sensor and a two-channel relay to automatically control the appliances.


In an effort to boost security, the Maker has installed an RFID entry system along with a magnetic door switch. Meanwhile, his windows are also equipped with an obstacle sensor to prevent unauthorized break-ins.

“The obstacle sensor sensitivity will be calibrated such that it does not detect a false positive while opening or closing the windows. All the devices will be acting as wireless nodes and will be interacting only with the main controller,” Das explains.

The controller, which is based on an Arduino Pro Mini (ATmega328), is tasked with collecting all of the data from each node throughout the rooms and carrying out tasks as required by the automation system. This unit will serve as a Wi-Fi gateway and transmit all of the necessary sensor data to Thingspeak. This allows for the data to be viewed remotely via a mobile device. Beyond that, the Arduino controller will also feature a GSM module, in the event there is no Internet service or Wi-Fi connection.


Seeing as though the sensor and actuator nodes are wireless, Das emphasizes the necessity of them being ultra low-power. In other words, they should be capable of running on the same battery for at least a year. He adds, “Since Thingspeak can only parse data once every 15 seconds, we will be putting our nodes into sleep for 16 seconds using the Low Power Library from Rocket Scream.”

While the project itself may be in its rudimentary stages at the movement, the Maker hopes to beef up the system with surveillance cameras, an on-board OLED display and even a keypad for password-based access control in the near future.

Intrigued? Head over to the project’s official page.

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