What is the meaning of Home Automation?
The word Home Automation has two parts i.e. Home and Automation. Home where one lives and automation originates from the word automatic i.e. to make things automatic.
As an engineer we come across two types of automation:
- Home Automation
- Industrial Automation
First we will take a fast look on industrial automation and then we will move towards our original topic.
Industrial Automation is done by different ways like PLC’s, SCADA, DCS etc. We can’t automate industries through simple Micro-controllers. As Micro-controllers are very delicate and complex devices to use as compared to above devices. We use Micro-controllers on small electronic circuitry. In short we can conclude this talk with the sentence that PLC’s are like big brother to Micro-controllers which are much easier to use. As big children are easy to handle as compared to small one.
Now, come back to the topic as far as home automation , we have to control only home appliances. So, this can be done through Micro-controllers. We can automate home appliances by interfacing of Micro-controller with different devices like blue-tooth module, GSM module, Ethernet, WiFi, Radio Frequency (RF) module, remote control. Every device have its own merits and demerits.
Bluetooth have a range problem but relatively cheaper than some wireless methods and gives speed which can serves the purpose of automation really easily. Use of blutooth modules are easiest. You don’t have to do lot of debugging for this communication system. You can easily call this system as handy plug and play system. Hence you can safely use this modules where range is not a major concerns like living rooms or offices.
RF (Radio Frequency) Modules
They are the cheapest modules among all other wireless modules. There range is nearly equal to blue-tooth module. They are easy to use as well. The speed of the system is lowest among other methods. They can use in small rooms as well.
It is a wired communication system but on the other hand it gives fast speed than others. Major issue of this communication system is the wiring and expense related to the wires. But in harsh environments this method give better results than other wireless methods.
Wi-Fi is the most common communication method nowadays due to its optimized speed and range capabilities. But it is expensive relative to other method. If speed and range is required than it is best option available.
These modules gives infinite range but are expensive. As the medium of these modules is provided by mobile service provider companies that is why you have to pay service chargers whenever you are using this method. This method is complicated and expensive than others but gives most reliable advantage of range and availability. You can control your appliances from anywhere in the world.
To do projects on home automation through Atmel Micro-controllers first you should have a sufficient knowledge of serial communication.
To get the whole home automation project check out my article ‘Home Automation Using GSM‘.
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