ZigBee Simple Sensor Network Part 2 - Never Mind

by February 18, 2012 04:06 AM

In my last post I left off with saying that I planned to continue in the book with the second piece of the Simple Sensor Network project - switching the remote sensors to end devices and using batteries instead of the 9v plugs. I also thought I'd create my own PCB instead of using the breadboards. Didn't happen...

I really dig the idea of having one of these temperature sensors in literally every room in the house. Maybe one out front and one out back as well. I can picture having rich graphs showing me the temperature rise and fall from all around my house. Ideally all of the internal sensors would rise and fall in sync as the central air kicks on and off. If one of the rooms fell lower in the winter or rose higher in the summer in between heating/cooling cycles, that would tell me that particular room isn't insulated as well as the rest. Or it would tell me someone left a window cracked, or a varmint decided to make their own entry. All good information to have and at the very least I'd have those cool graphs to show off to oldsters who visit :)

The problem with the XBee-based sensor though, is the cost. The radio itself is roughly $20 and then there are the rest of the components. So we're talking close to 30 bucks per sensor. Not cool if I want to buy more than a dozen (every room - not just bedrooms, outside, attic, etc.). If I plan to implement this idea of a zigbee network of temperature sensors, I need to find a much cheaper solution for end devices.

So I'm done with the book Building Wireless Sensor Networks. Even though I don't think I'll continue using xbee radios everywhere, I am so glad I got the book. It has introduced me to all sorts of fun and coolness that I've never played with before. And I can see using those radios in spots (like the controller or more extravagant devices that use more of the module's functionality), so I'm sure it will be a great reference in the future. It's an excellent addition to my library.

What's Next

I am left with the three xbee radios I've already purchased. I was thinking about what I might do with them as I was leaving to take the kids to school the other morning. As I pulled out of the garage and lamented once again that I still haven't gotten a second remote for the door (the wife has our one remote in her car of course), the idea of creating my own formed. I've read of others doing it with arduinos and netduinos so there's plenty out there on the subject. My next post will show how I accomplished it with a couple of my left over xbee radios. Good times!

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