My Project

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Welcome. I just found this forum.

My plan is to develop some components for home energy management. First on the list is a Z-Wave temperature sensor using a DS18B20. I will want to make quite a few of these, one for each room. I also have a plan to add Z-Wave capability to the EQ-3 radiator valve, since this seems to be far far cheaper than any other such device that I can find (you can buy these for £8.85 from Reichelt). My thinking here is that about the most stupid place to put a temperature sensor to control the temperature of a room is surely at skirting board level just next to a radiator. Therefore my proposed solution is to fit a battery powered Z-wave sensor in the most suitable place in the room (presumably at about 5 feet high, on an inside wall, not near any source of heat or drafts), and use a central computer in the house to run some software to open and close the radiator valves as required, and eventually to control the boiler too.

My first question is: what is the cheapest way of developing a Z-wave sensor, hopefully that doesn't require me to buy the Sigma development kit nor the expensive API licence, nor the expensive Keil compiler. Ideally I would like to base it on the Sigma ZM5101 chip rather than a board like the Z-Uno. It seems to me that the sensor could be designed with very few components beyond the ZM5101, the DS18B20, and a 3V lithium cell. This could be very small, and have a decent battery life, if one didn't measure the temperature too often.

After that comes all sorts of additional sensors (outside temperature, wind speed and direction, insolation, boiler temperature, hot water cylinder temperature (maybe at several levels) plus the ability to write rules about what temperature each room should be given the sensor readings for minimum energy usage.

So that is what I'm thinking. Any hints on my project, or valuable lessons learned from similar projects would be most welcome.

Thanks - Rowan

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