Design

Introducing the Barefoot Automation range

After testing a range of sensors with the Arduino micro processors I am launching a wide range of automation products that can be used to help you get your small projects going.

These products will be designed in a modular way such that units can be expanded or combined to enable reading, recording and controlling of all types of sensors. With the first batch of products I have honed in on the home maker which will provide tools to measure water level and quality, electrical and thermal energy, environmental sensors, as well as robotics. Below is a graphic overview of the types represented with different colours.

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There will be three levels of sophistication, namely basic, intermediate and advanced.

The basic module will always have the sensor inputs, a wireless (radio) transmission module for communication as well as an LED displaying the input whether it is purely on/off or blinking with a rate proportional to the input value.

The intermediate module will have, in addition to basic module features, a display of numerical values and/or text. The user can use the buttons to scroll through these values. On some units a clock module is added to give time-based values more meaning for example kWh derived from amperage, voltage and time.

The advanced module will have, in addition to intermediate features, larger display as well as the possibility to drive various outputs for controlling devices that may or may not affect the sensors. Another added feature would be to set trigger points on values so that alarms or switching action is can easily be done. Recording of values is made possible by using the SD card reader.

Here is a list of possible real life applications that can benefit from one or more of the modules suggested:

* Home water storage tank levels * Sewage overflow warning system * Swimming pool pump protection * Thermal water heating systems * Home water storage tanks health * Aquaculture farming automation * Aquaponic, hydroponic or aquaculture system tank levels, system pH, EC (Electro Conductivity) and DO (Dissolved Oxygen) monitoring * Consumer fail e.g. freezer switched off * Forget-me-on consumers like stoves and heaters * Balancing loads through 24h to manage PV or smaller standby systems * Running cost for the day * Identifying leaking consumers * Battery charging monitor * Temperature display e.g. swimming pool / weather station * Room temperature control * Max / Min / Average temperatures for the day/ night * Alarm for freezing conditions * Thermal heating coils controller * Tamper / theft detector * Home alarm system helper * Passive movement detection and switcher * Lightning detector and safeguard * Home driveway lights * Light intensity detector and switcher

Please share what your favourite application might be, or add some ideas of what your requirements are in addition to those listed already.

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