Home Automation Workshop

Hi folks,

Would anyone be up for a rerun of my Home Automation workshop from LCA2019 here? If it goes ahead, I’ll cross-promote with CLUG (trying to avoid certain people who are banned from MHV).

Workshop kit contents
Orange Pi Prime (4 core 64bit ARM, 2GB RAM)
24V AU Plug Pack
Custom hat for the OPi, with GPIO broken out, 1wire controller & temperature sensor, DC/DC power supply & pushbutton
433MHz RX/TX modules to add to the hat later for RF interaction
SWD Programmer for programming & debugging ARM microcontrollers
16 Channel 1wire->solid state relay/switch input boards
1m ethernet cable to link a 1wire device to the hat (additional devices can be daisy-chained)
Relay module (for demo purposes, I expect that real usage will use devices such as 5 channel DIN solid state relays)

Kit costs will be around $150 (there’s some margin in there to get boards professionally fabbed & cover spare hardware in case of failures)

Workshop Content:
(optional) assemble through hole components on hat & SSR boards
Configure HomeAssistant on your OPi
Control a relay via GPIO
Read a GPIO switch
Monitor temperature
Control a relay based on temperature via Node Red
Build & flash 1wire firmware for the 16 channel boards
Read remote switches via 1wire
Control remote relays via 1wire

Workshop content is here:

I would be keen to see the workshop. Would I need a kit to participate?

Yeah, you’ll need a kit, although at LCA many people were willing to take on partners (I only had 30 kits with me).

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I am interested in workshop, but WAY MORE interested in the sourcing/kitting/getting boards professionally fabbed. Do you need a hand with that process or can that be made into a separate process/workshop (series)?

Also does some of this/every workshop fees go to the space?

I hand fabbed all the kits for LCA, and it killed me. I figure passing assembly & qualification testing out to a fab company will save a lot of pain for me. I was thinking of using a service like https://www.pcbgogo.com/pcb-assembly.html

RE fees - Historically we bundled MHV membership into the cost of attending the workshop. I’m not sure what the standard operating procedure is these days, but I’m happy to play along.

thanks for the replies.

I am always a cheapskate - so is another option that attendees hand assemble in a series of prior workshops? Possibly make 2 of each in case some people not able/willing to make?

I would be happy to help or fully run & organise the sourcing/building workshops, with maybe a bit of guidance from you, if you think this would drop the cost a fair bit, &/or increase margin to the space.

It’s mostly SMD, and not a good beginner project for learning SMD soldering, as there are a few fine-pitch components, and tricky things like SMD RJ45 jacks that shield the pins from heat when reflowing.

I already am allowing for the through hole components (mostly headers) to be installed as part of the workshop.

We have no real policy around it at the moment. However if someone isn’t a contributing member and they attend a workshop it is nice if they put $5 into the tin to help support MHV.

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To go on a small tangent, a PCB design course does sound like a fun session to run.
Run circuit design and board layout one week, order the boards fabbed, and once they arrive schedule a second session for everyone to come back and populate their boards. (Strictly 1206 components, I’d say)

I can’t comment much on the home automation course, as it seems to have been before my time, but it sure sounds fun, and I’d love to attend.

While the kits price might be considered high for some (reasonable considering what’s included, and the cost of hand-fabbing boards), if you got multiple sessions out of the kit, that really brings the price of it down.
(I’m assuming there would be multiple sessions, as going over everything you’ve listed in just one could be a challenge, to say the least)

I’m not at a machine that lets me look at the board files in your github, but would be curious what they look like, to see if there are any ways hand assembly could be streamlined.
(If you’re having trouble with shields soaking up too much heat during reflow, sometimes just running a pencil tip soldering iron over the pins with a nice amount of flux gets the job done quick)

Anyway, this all sounds fantastic and I’d love to see it happen.

Great idea Alastair,

Looks like a fun project (for me, you are just a sucker for punishment) even though I do not have any home automation requirement now.

Can’t hurt to learn something new - count me in.

Folks, I sure could do with an intro to making boards, I’ve not done semiconductor electronics for 30-odd years. I happen to be struggling right now with Eagle and I’m sure to benefit.

so yes, I’m very keen. ( … even though it means a massive journey! MHV seems to move north at regular intervals!! )

What’s the best way to interact? - this email thread?


in Kambah

When I ran it at LCA, We had 1hour 20mins, the fastest person got ~60% of the way through.

The latest board designs have significant tweaks to address some of the pain points that we discovered at LCA.

Since I’m going to palm off the through hole assembly onto the users, I think it would be reasonable to call this a full day workshop.

I’ve put together a basic outline of a PCB design & SMD soldering workshop series here:

Hi Michael

The best way to interact with MHV is through this forum and then our Facebook group.

Is MHV on limited Internet bandwidth? If so, I may split the workshop in 2, with the assembly component at MHV (how many soldering stations are available?), and the second half at a library.

We don’t currently have internet due to reasons and trying to keep costs down. There are plenty of stations I cannot recalll the exact number off the top of my head but like 15 plus.