The task of my thesis was to study the structure, working and communication methods of various modular home automation systems and to plan and build a modular lighting control system similar to them, based on the acquired informations. My system has to have a controller, and many controlled appliances, which we can control separately. The following directives were considered during the planning phase:
- The controlled units must be relatively small
- The created network must be capable of controlling units added later to the network, without major rewiring
During the planning and materializing I had to learn about the Arduino open source electronic prototyping platform, and the usage of AVR microcontrollers. I had to make programs for both platforms, thus I had to acquire basic programming knowledge for both the Arduino’s, and Atmel’s development environment.
Also I had to study various forms of communication methods which i could use to connect the units, and learn about their downsides and advantages compared to each other, mainly about SPI and I2C buses. For implementation I chose the SPI bus, but I had to customize it, and design a simple communication protocol for it, to make it able to work with software addresses.
To reach the goal of my thesis, I also had to design the whole circuit. I used EAGLE layout editor, where I had the opportunity to design a two sided PCB on my own, which was sent into production. During the assembly procedure I used manual pick&place, and vapour phase soldering appliances.