Announcement - the symphonist - All-In-One OpenHab Hardware gateway

Hi there

Many of us are running OpenHab on a proprietary Hardware platform using a RaspberryPi and a ZigBee Stick for example.

As part of my bachelor thesis, I have developed an all-in-one hardware platform that integrates a ZigBee-stick, a RaspberryPi ComputeModule plus WLAN, Bluetooth, Ethernet, USB and even HDMI into one single device.

The device is “hackable” which means that the schematics are available and there are also UART and SPI Interfaces available.

There is also an SD-Card slot on top of the board for easy access. The enclosure can be fully 3D-Printed and consists of 2 parts. If wished, one can also print an LED-LightGuide for a better look and feel.

Features:

  • Integrated 85-230V AC Power supply (no need for external USB-Power)
  • Also USB-Powerable (if no 230V is available)

I would like to ask you whether there is an interest in such a hardware.
If there is, I would like to start a KickStarter/Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign and fund this project to an even higher level.
There is already a prototype working here. Therefore it’s only about some bug fixing and some documentation work.

If one of the readers would really like to be an early bird, then he can write a pn to me through my website or through this board and i could help him get a hardware already before some funding…

Would be happy to hear your feedback and your thoughts.

The whole project took me about 450 hours of work.

Project page: https://databyte.ch/?portfolio=symphonist-ed1905-001-a

Thanks for your time.
Regards
swissbyte

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The schematics for the Raspberry Pi are open source. Their CPU is closed source, as is your CPU.

https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentation/hardware/raspberrypi/schematics/README.md

Hi Bruce

Thanks for your reply. Sure, my CPU is also closed source, due to the fact, that a RaspberryPi is used.
With “hackable” i mean, that i as developer give the end user all the neccessary documentation to do own modifications. Think of a regular WiFi-Router. There you dont get any schematics at all. Maybe such a router would also be a good plattform for further modifications, but you dont get the neccessary ressources.

Which is considered very “hackable” by design.

And it would be illegal to use in the US, if you mean Wi-Fi. You would likely not be able to get Wi-Fi certification either.
In the US, at least, the radio parameters, usually software controlled now, are required to be closed and not user modifiable to be able to be used legally in the country.

Sure, my project also doesn’t claim to be end-user ready. This is also the reason why i have written a big fat disclaimer on the page. It’s up to the user to make sure that he will fulfill the neccessary regulations if he would use the symphonist. It’s a development tool, not a product for end customer.

Probably it could be also illegal to use a RaspberryPi with a ZigBee CC2531 Stick…

Do not underestimate the time and effort setting up the logistics will be. Every Kickstarter et al. I’ve ever contributed to had either failed to deliver or delivered really late because it takes way longer to get the parts in bulk.

The last one I backed was set back a month because if the time required to simply unpack the parts.

Building the prototype is often the fastest and easiest part.

A project almost exactly like this was announced one or two years ago on this forum. There was some interest expressed at the time but I’ve no idea i
How many people actually purchased one.

It is not illegal to use a CC2531 stick with any computer. However, what you do need to be very careful about is using the trademark ZigBee in a commercial product. The ZBA are hot on legally protecting this and there are a number of things you need to do to get them onside.

It is however a shame that you chose to use this chipset as it’s no longer supported by TI (ie they do not plan to update the software and it does have bugs).

You are right. Thanks for your comment. I have also worked many years as HW-Developer. Every single project was delayed due to production delays… It’s always the same :slight_smile:

I meant illegal because you have never done EMC-Measurements with exactly this particular setup you are using. You don’t know whether there are some harmonics coming out of the power supply of your stick or whether you are injecting noise into the USB-Port…

But thanks for pointing me that the usage of “ZigBee” could be a problem. But how could i overcome this? Should I only write IEEE 802.15.4 compatible? Then nearly no one will know what is meant…

Thanks also for this hint. This is one of the most feedback I get. Since I have to do a new version anyway, I could update the HW to the CC2652. Nowadays koenks Zigbee2MQTT also supports this processor. A year ago when I started the project, the support was not that good.

That doesn’t matter. If you buy an RPi, and buy a certified CC2531 stick, then it is fine. You only need to do EMC testing if you sell it as an integrated module.

You can only use the name ZigBee if you have a certified ZigBee compliant device and are a member of the ZBA.

Ok i see…

I use 3 Pis and a Zero , with OSS and R/TX devices, my entire setup cost £30 off eBay and for the most part , works flawlessly… Im just waiting for an OH binding update and I’ll be 100% operational.

So what I’m saying is that I don’t see your USP , and given volumes i don’t see how you can compete with market shares, nor do i see how you will get UK/EU product certification (radio, safety, compluance) - that you will most definitely require , and how will you secure IP to provent China cloning your item for 1/3 of your price.
What’s your Business Plan now?

I concur with Chris and Bruce.

Not bad for a DiY but i would recommend you use your Batchelors for something useful. Sorry😳

Dear Tilly

Thanks for your feedback. No sorry required. Feedback is always good as long as it is constructive. UK/EU product certification is only needed as long as it is a end-user product. When it is declared as a development board, intended for the use by technical guys, it does not need a CE-Certification. But EMC-Testing is not that complicated thesedays. i have done a lot of them for product certification. If it would come to “mass-production” in terms of a crowdfunding campaign, then this will not be a problem.

That is utterly and completely wrong. I work in Export control for Military and Commercial software and hardware Systems. I can assure you that your assertion is at best misguided.
If you intend to export to the UK you will need CE accreditation irrespective of what you call “development” - a term which I’ve never come across in my role conducting export and import activities with hardware devices. It is a term that marketing and sales directors are however keen to use because they operate within a superficial bubble in which they believe that the word “development” somehow removes the requirement for the application of various and tedious EU/UK regulations., thereby significantly reducing time-to-market [they think!]
In this regard, I perhaps see why you use it.
Notwithstanding “Brexit” , the UK Gov have issued communication that until a “concrete deal” has been ratified between the UK and EU in terms of their future trade arrangements following “Brexit” then the intention is for “business as usual” in which extant EU rules will remain in place until replaced with UK regulations which for the most we believe, will be a re-branded EU directive.

If you believe that you can export/sell/use that device, in the UK, without CE marking [and by that I refer to the process that RESULTS in compliance rather than just a CE stamp] , and then that product catches fire or causes some radio interference , or whatever - and that you will not stand trial in the UK, then you are gravely mistaken.

Hey pal , I don’t want to throw sand over your burning desire to market this thing, but I sense you have either not conducted due diligence and compliance research, or, are being [very] poorly advised.

I don’t want to start a flameout on this so I shall end my contribution here, and wish you the very best of luck and maybe next time we chat you will be a multi-millionaire :slight_smile:

Hi tilly

thank you for your contribution. I highly appreciate that. You are right, if i will sell the product as a product which is intended for a use by a end-customer then i must do the neccessary EMC-Tests (Safety, emission (conducted, air) and so on)… But why can also Atmel/Microchip do such exceptions for their products?

lets take a look her:
https://www.microchip.com/webdoc/sam4s16xplained/sam4s16xplained.BackPage.chapter_vib_oyg_xf.html

They write:
“Atmel supplied this board/kit “AS IS,” without any warranties, with all faults, at the buyer’s and further users’ sole risk.”

Therefore the question is, where is the line?
If i would sell the PCB only, then it could be trated as a “component” and no end-product. Therefore the End-Customer must take care of implementing the appropriate elements for fulfilling all directives.

its the same as if you would implement a Bluetooth module or a RaspberryPi module into your device. You, as integrator, must make sure that the device will fulfill all rules.

But yes, if i would sell the whole device, with enclosure etc. Then i agree that i must and will do all EMC-Tests for that.

Well, I could not resist a reply seeing that you copied a commercial T&C.

You are getting confused, and using a rather weak argument if I may suggest; what’s more, you are in danger of completely misunderstanding THE LAW and THE REGULATIONS of trading - certainly in the UK/EU. If your product ignites and subsequently destroys a facility by fire, then you are going to have to explain your situation and circumstances to a UK Criminal Court, and the owness of proof is on YOU and not any other agent , organisation or person.

Referring to a commercial T&C is not got going to cut the ice I am afraid. I certainly would not recommend that you base your legal compliance strategy on few words from a website. A CE stamp merely provides the result of certification, but in itself IS NOT the certification per-se. That is where you are getting confused for sure, a product may not carry the CE mark as it is not the final integrated product, but the item nevertheless would need to provide proof of compliance to whatever regulatory requirements prevail, and that may not lead to CE marking but would in itself be evidence that can be read across by an integrator.

I have to say, my perception is that you do not comprehend neither the territorial commercial, quality, safety and legal processes nor the commerce of trade. This topic is far far far outside the scope of OH forums and I would suggest that you seek full legal advice in your own country and in the UK/EU BEFORE you attempt to market this product. You may be a highly intelligent and innovative university student, but you have much to learn about commerce :slight_smile: I am not a good student at all, I never was, but I’ve been in Commerce, Legal and Export for 30 years !

Good luck!

(p.s. using CAPITALS to highlight certain elements of the text , and not shouting :slight_smile: )

Hi @swissbyte
Defiantly you did a very nice work.
All the above said from everybody concerning legal maters are ABSOLUTELY TRUE and must be taken seriously into account.
My point is the actual design. Even if you overcome all the above (which I doubt) I think some matters arising on your design. That is:
1 - A similar design exists here : http://www.embeddedpi.com/integrator-board
2 - The use of ComputeModule (industrial grade module) increases the cost with no reason. Being in automation industry, I see that this module fits best in doing Industrial strength Automation and not Home Automation.
Zero Pi is better alternative for Home Automation (cheaper too).
3 - As you know a new wireless Home Automation Standard is on its way withe the known consortium.
So it is better to wait some time and then fire up your weapons.

Note: another potential design for your design could be a home telephone exchange using the asterisk software on RASPI. I like the idea of having two identical boxes one on top of the other . One for home automation and one for my home PBX.
I can help you on that when time comes. I do not know what EDA is used but if you really address to open source community KiCAD is your best choice (mine too)

Apart from the legal hurdles that still stand before you, I would be interested in the price comfort. Somehow I didn’t find anything about it. I use an Rsp 4 with Nortek Stick with Zickbee and Z-Wave. I would be very interested in a pure Openhab station. As Alpha u./o. Acting beta testers would be fun.

Thank you for your hint. Yes, they have a board which also supports a RaspberryPi. Interesting is, that they also write that its product is not a end-user product and therefore must not comply or cannot be EMC tested as itself. They have done several tests with a “usual” assembly. But not the bare board (http://www.embeddedpi.com/documentation/ce-fcc-compliance-docs/mypi-fcc-ce-compliance-documentation)

Anyway, i know that if i would sell it with enclosure etc. then i must do EMC-testing.

Thats a great idea. I have also did some PBX setups and know, that this can be time consuming. It would be great to have just a “PBX-Box”.

PCB files will not be open source. Actually CircuitMaker was used. It’s a light version of AltiumDesigner.

Thank you for your interest.
Actually the BOM-Cost is around 80-90 USD. Including the ComputeModule. Excl. work etc.

I dont know if this would be in your desired Price-Range

Thing better to go opensource for your board. That does not mean you can not make money. In the contrary.
this company OLIMEX everything is selling is open source
Look at this!
https://www.olimex.com/Products/OLinuXino/A20/A20-OLinuXino-LIME2/open-source-hardware.
I personally try not to buy not open source hardware

But it is your design.

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And not supported by openHAB because it is not powerful enough.