The Basics of Home Automation

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Home automation is a newly emerging concept where the control of the entire house including the control of appliances, security systems and HVAC i.e. heating, ventilation and air conditioning has a centralized control. It is like a residential extension of building automation.

With changing times and fast pacing world, this centralized control is a tie saver. Also, the maintenance of an automated home becomes easy. It provides enhanced comfort and convenience. It is especially useful for the elderly or the disabled as the total control is provided without the requirement of mobility. The quality life of these people is boosted as the need of human assistance is eradicated. Here are the basics of home automation.

Overview

The most versatile feature of home automation is the cost effectiveness and durability in its installation. The system is highly affordable and simple to use and is thus becoming very popular. The basic principle behind the home automation system is that all the devices, appliances that use electrical energy are integrated. This may include the following:

  • Home entertainment system
  • Yard watering
  • Houseplant
  • Pet feeding
  • Security system of the entire house
  • Day-to-day chores like washing, cleaning and dusting
  • Use of home robots for all the activities
  • Ambiance enhancement with a variety of digital scenes that can be used for gatherings and parties.

These all activities are done through the devices that run on electricity. In home automation systems, these devices are integrated and connected to a personal computer, preferably a laptop to add to the mobility of the device. This computer controls the integrated grid with the help of internet. The need of labour is eradicated and all the tasks become easy to handle. This inter-device communication makes lives easier. Also, with the technology of smart phones, the control from a distant place is also possible which adds up to the advantages of the home automation.

Types of Home Automation

  • Powerline systems – Here, the existing power lining systems of the house are used to transfer digital information to a common control interface. It has less cost in installation as pre-installed wiring is used.
  • Wired systems – In this type of home automation, new wires are installed for centralized control.
  • Wireless systems – Here, the total control is based on wireless technology and is more smart to use.

Sensing Requirements

Depending on the sensing requirements of the user, the designer needs to decide upon the required sensor to perform its task. Some of the key sensors to be included are

  • Thermistor – To control air conditioners, geysers and heating systems.
  • Humidity sensors – To sense the moisture level inside your house.
  • Gas Sensors – Sensors that help to detect gas leaks.
  • Light Sensors – Used to detect the luminous intensity in the house.

Architecture of Home Automation System

The topology of a home automation system is mainly of two 2 units

  1. Central Control Unit (CCU)

The central control unit is the brain of a home automation system. The common features of the CCU are

  • It uses various sensors and controls the lights and fans accordingly by measuring the current environmental conditions.
  • It receives instruction from a remote user and controls an appliance.
  • It controls appliances based on time, such as automatically switching off television, refrigerator and lights at a specific time.
  • It even looks after power fluctuations and gives surge protection.
  1. Room Control unit (RCU)

The room control unit mainly control the appliances in a particular room. The common features of the RCU are

  • It monitors a particular room condition and communicates it to the CCU.
  • Receive instructions from CCU and control the appliances in a particular room.
  • Control appliances based on inputs from a hand-held remote or user buttons.

Benefits of Home Automation

  • The various motion sensors and detectors help in saving the energy. Whenever the presence of a person in a room is detected, the lights are turned on and off whenever the absence is noted. Thus, lighting control is achieved.
  • l  If a smoke detector is also integrated with the system, in the case of emergencies, it will not only take the necessary action against the mishap but will also switch of the other appliances like home theatre for instance to make it easy to manage the home.
  • l  You can be sure about the security as when the undesired person enters the house, the intelligent system will make the people in the home aware and the entry can be restricted.
  • The home robots are an excellent way to eliminate the need of human help as they will perform simple day-to-day chores at ease which will be essential for people with disabilities, sickness and also will provide a helping hand to the elderly.
  • The use of thermostats will help in controlling the temperature where the device will adjust the temperature according to the atmospheric need. This will also save the energy as the heater or the air conditioner will be stopped when not necessary.

Home automation is the ‘it’ thing in these exponentially growing times. The automated homes are also known as ‘future homes’ and days to come, they will gain more and more popularity. An emerging trend in homes indeed!