Open Source Hardware Development

development
hardware
custom
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(O. Maurer) #1

Hello OpenHAB Community,

After a very pleasant phone call with Kai Kreuzer, the founder of OpenHAB, we were encouraged to make this post to see if you, the community would be interested in developing a new series of highly affordable smart home devices, specially for users that want to be able to customize their devices extensively.

We are a Swiss company that is specialized in the development and manufacture of lighting devices since 1967, since 2014 we have been designing and manufacturing Smarthome devices for the OEM Market.

Our current product palette already includes a large number of Smart LED Lights and accessories like wall plugs and modules, however we would like to expand this palette with customization options and further control modules.

We would like to involve the community in this process right from the beginning, so we would like to ask if any of you would be interested to participate in the development process.

We are looking forward to your feedback.
Have a great evening!


(Hakan Tandogan) #2

Overall this sounds interesting, but could you add a link to the web site of your company so we can see what it is that you have been designing?

Aside from that, I LOOOOOOOOOVE lighthing and automating lighting and nice lighting, so count me in :smile:


(Frerk Meyer) #3

My favorite Smart Home hardware today is the moteino, an arduino with an RFM69HW (or other) radio modules on a neat little PCB. I am able to build it from scratch but it is too much work. I prefer 868 Mhz over 2,4 Ghz because of the better range (or 433Mhz).
EPS8266 and ESP32 based devices are nice with the exception of said 2,4 Ghz limitations.
For example the SONOFF devices are a real hit in the DIY Smart Home Community. They work out of the box but the ESP8266 may be reprogrammed and they are cheap.
Price is also a big point. For example a Door/WIndow-Sensor with addional Temp/Humidity-Sensor as an add-on:

  • 50$ too much
  • 30$ expensive
  • 20$ good
  • 10$ very good
  • 5$ instant megaseller
    Protocol: Native protocol support with openHAB would be great but MQTT would be good enough (und supported by other SmartHome Open Source solutions).

(Angelos) #4

Sure!

We love custom stuff :slight_smile:

I couldn’t find much info on your website (http://se.palomar.ch/). Maybe you can share here your plans.


( ) #5

Hello @Palomar, I’d also be interested in your further plans and the intended key aspects of your products.

@greenoid already mentioned a few good points. Here’s my view on these:
Price is always an issue but as everyone knows, a higher price can often be justified by a good or wide feature set. I’d not draw a sharp line here.
I personally am a big fan of standard wifi devices. Wifi is present everywhere* and users do not have to commit to an additional gateway/bridge/whatever restricting the range and openness of an application. Wifi coverage can be easily checked and expanded by the end user and configuration and interaction with wifi-enabled IoT devices is a real treat. I myself am a big fan of the Sonoff devices and of the ESP8266 µC which offer this advantage. In contrast my (otherwise great) Homematic components are locked away from my insight and control.

The other thing I’d expect from a device oriented at the typical openHAB user are open interfaces. Your devices should provide a range of open widely accepted interaction protocols like MQTT, CoAP or HTTP (RESTful). Please do not restrict your devices to a proprietary protocol and app but provide well documented interfaces. (Yes of course, multiple might be overengineered)

In your introduction you are mainly focused at “customzation options”. Could you elaborate on what this means to you?

Waiting to hear from you again! Thomas


(O. Maurer) #6

First of all, thank you for the good feedback, these are some really great points that you made and we will definitely take them into consideration during the development.
About your request for a website link; as we have been focused on the OEM market until now we only had customer portals for SAP and other direct database communication, with the exception being our emergency lights, as these were sold to electricians as well.
However, we are currently setting up a new website for the end user market, we expect this to come online during June, so stay tuned for that.


History:

To let you know a little more about the company; we are a family business located in Zurich, Switzerland, founded in 1967 as a metal processing facility.
Then in 1972 the electronics department was added, which invented, developed and manufactured several products such as the first latent heat storage systems, or the first emergency exit lights that set the worldwide standard as we know it today.
Another invention that started off in our house was the plant lamp, for supporting the growth of plants indoors, this patent was later sold to Philips.
Since then several other product categories have been added, among them are LED lighting, alarm systems, centralized backup power systems and solar panels.
Most of the products we designed already had some sort of communication system built in, mostly proprietary protocols though and for monitoring only, in other words; not coupled with any smart logic that managed them centrally to allow for interaction and optimization.
In the past 5 years we have been developing and manufacturing smart control modules for our LED lighting series.


Mission:

As I myself am not happy with the way most other manufacturers handle communication and therefore make it difficult for the customer to make the best use of their products (especially in combination with other manufacturers products), I have searched for solutions to this problem and stumbled upon OpenHAB in the process.

This is where you come in, we are searching for ideas and also dedicated people that would want to help us make the necessary changes to our existing hardware and software to make a product that can be used in a wide variety of systems and usage cases.

I guess it would be best to start off by adapting our existing line of LED bulbs and strips to your needs and wishes together, these are currently based on WiFi as a communication technology, however we are currently not using a fully standardized protocol with a few proprietary command sets.


Feedback:

@greenoid I agree with the limitations you mentioned with 2,4GHz communication, however as @ThomDietrich also mentioned, WiFi is everywhere and quite universal for most customers and it gets rid of the necessity for another hub.
Of course hubs also have certain benefits as they offer a base that is inside the local network and can act as a communication interface for all devices connected to it.
But we already have such an interface thanks to OpenHAB and can therefore cut the need for another device in between.

We could consider having two series of devices, one for 2.4 GHz and one for 868MHz or 433MHz, yet this would pose another problem, the 433MHz band is already heavily cluttered and over-used, so the communication could be affected or become unreliable, the 868Mhz band is less cluttered but causes further problems with international certification.
For example; in the US the 868MHz band is restricted, so we would have to use 900MHz there instead, in Europe on the other hand, the 900MHz band is restricted to mobile carrier networks, therefore we would have to use 868MHz for Europe, this causes a lot of additional problems with compatibility and international sales.

Therefore we decided to go with the 2.4GHz chipsets as they are readily available, cheap and easy to get certified for international use.

You can have a look at the visual representation of open frequencies around the world on page 27 of this document:

@hakan @Dim @ThomDietrich Of course we want to keep the price very affordable, this is why we want to develop these products with the help of the community, this way we keep our development costs lower, which in turn will allow us to sell the products cheaper as we don’t have to add a lot of compensation to the price.
In addition to keeping the development price low we will manufacture these products in our Chinese manufacturing facility, so we should be able to achieve a very affordable price at a high quality level.


Products:

If you are interested in having a look at some of our products, our daughter company Lombex is currently doing a test run to sell our smart products on Amazon (US and UK only for now, the rest of Europe will follow soon) to end customers:

Smart Plug:

Smart Bulb:

Motion Sensor Bulb:


(O. Maurer) #7

Good morning OpenHAB Community!

We have been testing OpenHAB for a some time now in our labs now, however we would like to see some examples of real-life implementation and talk to some users/developers that have more experience with OpenHAB than we do.

Is there anyone here that lives in or around Switzerland and would allow us to have a look at their installation?

Please send us a personal message to sort out the details if you are interested.

Thank you in advance and we hope to see you soon!


(German Faiella) #8

I also was looking for the Lombex smart bulb and I would like to know whether you already have integrated them into OpenHab. Did you test them developing a Binding? Or did you use an existing binding?
I am visiting UK in 2 weeks and I planned to buy some Lombex bulbs (unfortunately they aren’t sold in Argentina yet :frowning: ) for trying to integrate them into OpenHab and develop some other appliances for smart home automation.

Thank you very much!


(Martin) #9

Hola German,
I’m from Buenos Aires, have you already developed your home automation? I´m moving soon to my new home and I´m planning to control everything wireless and from a panel.
abrazo


(O. Maurer) #10

Hello @german_faiella and @homerslash,

Unfortunately we haven’t been able to continue development on the OpenHAB binding because we still have not found any OpenHAB developer or user that will support us with the development or even just to give us a proper intro into the system.

Therefore we have concentrated our efforts on developing Skills for voice platforms like Amazon Alexa and Google Home, which are currently being finalized and released.
At the same time we are working on an IFTTT plugin that we are going to release soon as well.

We haven’t given up on OpenHAB yet, but we don’t have the necessary experience, nor a working test setup to commence with development, so we need more support from the community and a working setup that we can have a closer look at, to move forward.

PS: We are currently bringing all our products to Amazon.de, the Lombex Skill for Amazon Alexa is already available, so is the WiFi Plug and the 2m version of the WiFi RGB LED Strip (2nd generation and 2m/5m versions coming soon), the other products will follow soon.
We are trying our best to keep up with demand, but most of the time our products are sold out within hours of arrival at the Amazon warehouse in Germany, so you might have to check availability.


(Branden Smale) #11

Sir

I think your issue on this forum is its visibility. I have been a member here for over a year, and this is my first time finding this thread. Maybe you could ask @Kai to place this thread somewhere more visible. Just dont know if enough or the right people have seen this. Id definitely be interested in what you develop.


(marcel) #12

@Palomar this is the first time i read this message…

I think with some java skills building a binding is possible.
I imagine if you offer a bounty in the form of providing a few of your products, you’ll even find some volunteers to do it for you.

I also would suggest you start with adding a developers section to your website with the api specs how to control your devices. That will propel also bunch of other open source hinge automation projects.


(Rick Collins) #13

Nothing in over a year. I guess they decided openHAB wasn’t for them. I can appreciate their concerns. openHAB has a rather steep learning curve with unknown advantages. I can see where a small company would not want to jump in with both feet.