HomeRemote V1.0 – Android and iPhone Apps Launched!

Over the last few months, I’ve gotten several requests to launch an iPhone version of the HomeRemote app which will connect to your existing Arduino server for controlling outlets and speakers. If you implemented this project already, you can just grab the new app(s) for a complete graphical redesign and more powerful settings.

Google Play
Apple iTunes


Key features of HomeRemote are:
– Control speaker zones through Arduino and Relay
– Control outlets using 315MHz RF Outlet modules

Controlling speakers and/or outlets requires an Arduino running the open source 33Snowflakes automation server.

Additional features include renaming Zones with a long press on any Zone name, and disabling unused Zones or unused modules from the Settings screen.

As before, the server and HomeRemote app code (built on Phonegap) will remain open source under the MIT License here on Bitbucket.

Please report any bugs to the Bitbucket page issue tracker.

Arduino Home Automation Docs Updated

I’ve made a major revision to the documentation for HomeRemote Home Automation over at Bitbucket, with changes for the Speaker Zone control and Outlet control sections.

There have been no functional changes to the web server code. I hope that the documentation changes (including diagrams) make it much easier for new users to get started with this project.

Take a look and let me know what you think!

Just as a teaser, check out the new App screenshot in the documentation. This is in anticipation of releasing completely new versions of the remote control App. They will be available soon on the iPhone and Android app stores simultaneously, and the announcement is currently pending Apple’s review/approval process.

Hackable Wireless Outlets in Home Depot

Saw these in the store yesterday near all the Christmas lights & extension cords…

The exact same outlets as I used in my Android controlled outlets project, which I was never really able to find a match on Amazon.

Android/Arduino Controlled Outlets Parts:

315 MHz Outlets (above)
Arduino with Ethernet/Wifi Shield
315 MHZ transmitter

Check out the blog post here for the detailed instructions and code.

Performance Tools Overview

Performance Monitoring Tools:

Uptime monitoring
Uptime Robot – http://uptimerobot.com/
Uptime Robot monitors your websites every 5 minutes and alerts you if your sites are down.

Business / Website monitoring
Google Analytics – http://www.google.com/analytics/
Provides search engine information (keyword usage, click-through rate, etc.), details about your visitors, their browser, and their flow through your website, tracks conversions, and lots more. This is a powerful all-around monitoring tool.

Application Log Monitoring
Splunk – http://www.splunk.com/view/free-vs-enterprise/SP-CAAAE8W
Splunk aggregates data feeds from across sources, such as application logs, and provides dashboards, real-time and historical search, etc. Free and Enterprise versions.

Server Monitoring
Very capable server monitoring tools are built into the operating system.
Windows: Perfmon
Linux: Sar


Performance Optimization Tools

YSlow – http://yslow.org
YSlow analyzes web pages and suggests ways to improve their performance based on a set of rules for high performance web pages. YSlow grades web page based on one of three predefined ruleset or a user-defined ruleset. It offers suggestions for improving the page’s performance, summarizes the page’s components, displays statistics about the page, etc.


Performance Testing Tools

JMeter – http://jmeter.apache.org
The Apache JMeter™ desktop application is open source software, a 100% pure Java application designed to load test functional behavior and measure performance.
Other commercially available tools can integrate with a wider range of applications or provide more advanced monitoring/reporting, but this is a great tool for accomplishing the goal of load testing an application.


PowerPoint Presentation


Kirby found a friend on his walk today!

via Facebook

Finally got out the beard trimmer after a few months…

via Facebook

Everyone changing their profile picture is getting a hilarious lesson on compression algorithms. Some of the artifacts I’ve seen on this equal sign are hilariously terrible. Facebook should anticipate this trend of profile picture “copy of a copy of a…” I doubt anyone would care if it just replaced whatever jacked up version you found and tried to use with a hq original.

via Facebook

I just donated to the Heart Walk. Do the Same!

Going to run in their 5k. Please donate to buy me blankets and hand-warmers after the run, j/k :) http://social.heart.org/iRk2GtR


Arduino/Android 4 Zone Speaker Selector

Here’s my write-up of an Arduino project that will enable speaker zone switching across your home WiFi network from your Android smartphone. A networked 4-zone speaker setup using Android as a remote control. Here are the instructions and code you need to do it too!

Watch the demo to see if it’ll do what you need (Youtube)

Speaker Selector – Overview

In theory, we have an impedance protector that is switched via relay rather than giant buttons. The relays are controlled by our smartphone, which is hitting the Arduino server. Simple!

This provides the 4 big resistors to add 4 speaker zones to your powered second zone (or first zone, even). The watts delivered to a speaker varies based on how many speakers you have turned on, because there are resistors that get turned on/off to keep your receiver/amplifier from frying (impedance protection). I’m starting to question whether I should have gone with 8 zones!
OSD 4-Zone Speaker Selector Image

Update 10/17/14: This 4 zone device has been working great under pretty consistent use for well over a year now.

Parts List:


Making the speaker selector work over the Internet

The Sainsmart relay module is great… it really simplifies the construction of this whole thing. It is marketed as being Arduino compatible, but really anything with low voltage driver output would work, and it really speeds up connecting the relays.

For four zones, it turns out you need 8 relays (4 left speakers & 4 right speakers). Soldering is no longer the suggested method to implement this, just clever wiring in order to put the relays in the middle of each speaker circuit. You’ll want to route the positive wire for each speaker through the relays, and no changes to the negative are needed.

Here is my original version (solder-method) all hooked up:
Picture of the relay wiring

And the whole system:
Picture of the wired up system
(The breadboard just has a 315MHz transmitter, see my last blog post to find out why. The entire breadboard is completely optional for this project.)

I added the code to my Arduino webserver, which will handle requests at /speakerStatus to see which are active, and /speaker?zone=&state=<0/1> to turn a zone on/off.

Speaking of the Arduino, I used the Ethernet model rather than buying an Ethernet shield separately. I couldn’t find anyone still selling that, so I linked to the Arduino Uno and the Ethernet shield.

Take a look at the Arduino server code on Bitbucket here!

Android App Speaker Selector

Along with all that, there is a great Android/IPhone app that will request those URLs for you with toggle buttons. Code for that is also in the above repo. In addition to the basic functionality – querying status and updating the zones, a long-press on a button will allow you to rename any zone, remove unused zones, etc. See more about that here.


Modernizing the audio receiver

To complete my houses audio setup, I bought a web-enabled receiver for my Pandora/Spotify playing. I timed it right and got a good deal on an end-of run of 2012 model for this receiver… this is the current version: Onkyo TX-NR535 5.2-Channel Network A/V Receiver

Of course it comes with an Android/iPhone app for remote control, to make this entire system complete! I’d say that Onkyo’s app for Android is pretty good, with a nice selection of internet radio options, Spotify being the one that sold it for me.

Bottom line… I can be in the basement and turn on my workout music without running upstairs to change any settings.

This Isn’t the Petition Response You’re Looking For | We the People: Your Voice in Our Government

That White House petition to build a Death Star got a response…