Powerbar NG hardware

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Skills electronics, software, network, notbeingonfire
Status Planning
Niche Electronics
Purpose Infrastructure

The space has relied heavily on two serially connected powerbars that provide a large number of switchable sockets used for hooking up devices/lamps to so that they are conveniently turned on/off via powerbar.ti infra. This infra is what the powerbutton(s) next to the door also talk to.

However, there's a few issues with the current implementation that would be good to address. Mainly:

  • There's quite a considerable delay between command-and-result
  • The powerbars are 'fickle' to keep connected to
  • The powerbars only have serial, neccesitating some 'box' to interface with them
  • There are , afaik, no spares.. A dead bar would be a problem at this point
  • There are only two bars, requiring long cabling for devices not conveniently located closeby

A solution has been found in the availability of a considerable amount of APC 7921 PDU's which are being phased out at a $dutch_ISP, making them relatively easily available. The units currently thrown out are in various states of defect, however. Mainly PSU or controller-issues. The good thing is that there seems to be an easy fix for the controller. The relay electronics interface well against an ESP8266/ESP32

So far, the following has been done:

ToDos at this point:

  • Research if Current Transformer can be used 'as is' in esphome
  • Prototype schottky-diode setup for combining Dual PSU 24VDC in the device
  • Design an approach for monitoring PSU-status on the ESP
  • Choose an approach for the LAN connectivity. Home-brew or pre-made module
  • Choose controller for driving 2-digit display.
  • Choose an approach for 24DC-> 3.3V conversion.
  • Create schematic/PCB
  • Decide upon software. ESPHome seems viable candidate that provides all required

Extra benefits expected from the new hardware:

  • Easier method of knowing state of any outlet, at any time
  • Integration with existing automation-frameworks are more straight-forward (HomeAssistant comes to mind)
    • Enables adding non-powerbar-based outlets/lamps to be included more easily (Hue, Tradfri, Xiaomi, Sonoff)
    • Allows telemetry/sensoring to be added via one infrastructure, one API)