This thing holds 6 Ethernet RJ-45 connectors, an ESP8266 and allows for 3 voltage bus's. The idea is that with lots of GPIO requirements in a DIY smarthome you need a scalable adjustable system to manage all of those Ethernet cables and the hundreds of breakout cables.
Probably not enough, but some explanation.
In my simplistic view, all Smarthome's will have a combination of 1 or multiple:
- Input Devices - Sensors,Switches...etc - Output devices - Relays,Drivers,Voltage...etc - Connectivity option - Wiring, Wireless, Power...etc - An Event Bus - Openhab, IFTTT, Raw Code...etc - A communication method - RS232, MQTT, HTTP API....etc
We recently built a new house with a DIY smarthome capability. With so many different wiring models available (central switching, distributed switching, custom cabling, commercial solutions) we thought it important to define goals before committing to a strategy. We knew that we wanted:-
- Use of inexpensive highly available input and output devices - Ability to add functionality over time - Ability to update technology over time - Ability to remove the solution if the house is sold and convert back to traditional wall switches - Reduce the chance of fire from transformers in the walls.(110v|230v->5v = fire risk) - Maximise reliability and not having to fix prototype electronics all of the time - Ability for some experimentation without breaking the bank - Minimise blast radius if the smoke comes out of something - Absolutely NOT rely on Google,or Amazon or any external internet connectivity to function - Not get locked into a single vendor solutions but ability to integrate if needed
We managed to get all of these wishes and more.
Our solution was to run a CAT-6 cable to every light switch, centre of every room, every door jam, every window, the distribution board, gate automation, irrigation controls, solar plant room, Security cameras and 4 cables at every TV location. All of these cables returned to a central location, well away from the power distribution board. In all about 3.5km of cat6 cable.
5v Sensors and relays are terminated to the cable with standard RJ45 plugs and hidden behind switches and wallplates (no transformers needed) and all power supply and GPIO is located centrally in standard (metal/fireproof) wall cabinets. Odroid single board computers run Openhab, Mycroft Zoneminder, Influx, Telegraf, and Grafana to capture and display historical data from all of the sensors. Mosquitto hosts the MQTT via wireless and 35 x ESP8266/NodeMCU/LUA with custom firmware provides all of the GPIO. Commodity Opto-isolated relays do the switching at the wall switch or outlet and importantly can be removed later to revert back to traditional switching if the house is sold to a non SmartHome buyer.
All that cable needed to be connected back to to the ESP8266's GPIO. This concentrator is how I consolidated the cat6 terminations (6 at a time) to a single ESP8266. The house uses 35 x ESP's. The concentrator is designed to mount on din rail. Cables are punched down to a 12way patch, vertically mounted, 6 per wall cabinet and then patched through to the concentrator with micro patch cables.
You will need additional:(heaps of these available from lots of vendors all over the net)
6 x RJ-45 180degree connectors - https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32918645271.html 6 x RJ-45 breakout board - https://www.aliexpress.com/item/33031656602.html Single Row Male 2.54 Pin Headers - https://www.aliexpress.com/item/665534073.html 1 x NodeMCU Motor Board L293D - https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32957752310.html 1 x NodeMCU ESP8266 Dev board - https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32656775273.html
Even for 35 of these, a new or retro smarthome solution shouldn't be too expensive. (other than getting the cable into the walls).
I'll be putting all the other bits used for this solution here as I get time.
If you like please like if you build I'd be really keen to see what you have done. Happy to answer any questions via comments.