Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Wednesday Night Hack #14 (Part 1) - Home Automation Fail!

I recently purchased a Raspberry Pi and companion Razberry daughter board for the purposes of building up my home automation network (HAN).  The daughter board hosts a Sigma Designs ZM5202 Z-Wave transceiver module with custom (read: proprietary) firmware.  A well featured low-level software stack (middleware) is also provided.  This software provides different ways for users to access the devices on their HAN.  In addition to a web service, there is a C API and JSON API available.  The web service allows users to setup and debug their network without writing a single line of code.  Sample programs (and Android, IOS app) are also provided.

All in all, I am impressed.  I was not expecting this level of software support.  My one caveat is that the board's firmware appears to be closed source.  This would mean that any software written using the provided API would be bound to the vendor's product.  For the average hobbyist who is looking to get something done, quickly, I guess there is no harm.  I would think twice about using this platform to develop a commercial product.  Luckily, there appears to be a open source alternative.

Given that I do not have any commercial intentions, I'll continue on... or not..

I couldn't include the device on the network.  I tried for a good hour.  I'll be returning deadbolt I purchased and try again another time.  Next time, I will make sure to pair the device before installing the deadbolt on my front door, oops!

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