Erik Terwan
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri May 10, 2019 4:13 pm

"ETHA Light Switch", an intelligent time switch

Sat May 11, 2019 11:55 am

Hi to all!

This post is to introduce the ETHA Light Switch, an intelligent, programmable, remotely manageable time switch for lamps and other electrical devices. ETHA Light Switch time switches can be completely controlled by the ETHA Manager Android app.

ETHA Light Switch is not a product as such. It is a project consisting of hardware and software. The software is available for everyone free of charge. The hardware consists of a Raspberry Pi Zero W, a casing and a handful of electronic parts. These you’ll have to buy and assemble yourself.

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The main features of ETHA Light Switch are:
  • Programmable with clock times and solar times (sunset, multiple versions of twilight, etc.). This means that you’ll never have to reprogram your time switch in the spring and autumn when the days are getting longer or shorter. Switching to and from daylight saving time is automatic.
  • As many clock rules as you want, managed from the ETHA Manager app. Clock rules can not only specify a period that the attached lamp is on, but also a period that the lamp switches on and off in a specified or random pattern. This can help to scare off burglars.
  • Switchable (on/off) with a button or with this Android app. With the Android app multiple lamps can be switched on or off at the same time (by grouping them together).
  • Full in-house solution (not depending on Google Home or Amazon Alexa). You have full control of your own data!
  • Accessible from the internet (if you want to).
  • There are many more features, explained on the project’s website: www.etha.erik.terwan.nl.
The following screenshots of the ETHA Manager Android app should give you a deeper understanding of what the project is all about:

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Remember, all software is available for free (including an adapted Raspbian Stretch Lite disk image for the Raspberry Pi Zero W), but you'll have to build the hardware yourself. This is the hardware diagram of ETHA Light Switch in a testing setup:

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All you need to know how to build the ETHA Light Switch is explained here: www.etha.erik.terwan.nl.

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Andyroo
Posts: 2415
Joined: Sat Jun 16, 2018 12:49 am
Location: Lincs U.K.

Re: "ETHA Light Switch", an intelligent time switch

Sat May 11, 2019 1:36 pm

Not wanting to discourage you but I would add a warning the playing with mains can be (and unfortunately isn’t fatal and if you do not know what you are doing you can kill yourself, burn your house down (and the insurance company will not pay for a new one) and blow up the kit.

If you have no training in electronics and mains do not attempt this without guidance from a qualified electrician.
Need Pi spray - these things are breeding in my house...

drgeoff
Posts: 9200
Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2012 6:39 pm

Re: "ETHA Light Switch", an intelligent time switch

Sat May 11, 2019 5:54 pm

A "qualified electrician" to most people is a "white van man" who has the pieces of paper certifying that he is competent to rewire your house. 99% of them do not know enough about materials science, clearance distances etc to adequately advise on the safety aspects of a project such as this.

Andyroo
Posts: 2415
Joined: Sat Jun 16, 2018 12:49 am
Location: Lincs U.K.

Re: "ETHA Light Switch", an intelligent time switch

Sat May 11, 2019 7:09 pm

drgeoff wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 5:54 pm
A "qualified electrician" to most people is a "white van man" who has the pieces of paper certifying that he is competent to rewire your house. 99% of them do not know enough about materials science, clearance distances etc to adequately advise on the safety aspects of a project such as this.
I think I'm lucky as my 'white van man' designs PCBs and 'fiddles with' computers (his words) for a hobby :lol: but good point. I understand the new rules let you loose after very little training now and do not force apprenticeships :o :shock: :o
Need Pi spray - these things are breeding in my house...

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davidcoton
Posts: 3651
Joined: Mon Sep 01, 2014 2:37 pm
Location: Cambridge, UK

Re: "ETHA Light Switch", an intelligent time switch

Sat May 11, 2019 10:28 pm

I qualified as an electrician a few years ago, it took two weeks of training and two exams, one on Building regs and one on Wiring regs.
(Okay that is unusually quick, but most candidates are not degree-qualified electrical engineers :o )

The qualifications do have to be kept up to date, and work is inspected annually. But there is nothing in that training that covers the design of mains-powered equipment. And building mains-powered equipment is not covered in a standard electrician's public and professional indemnity insurance.

I think, based on my previous industrial design experience, I could build mains equipment to a satisfactory standard, but I would not dream of doing that unsupervised for a commercial market (or on a consultancy basis, even for a one-off).

So yes, I agree that building mains equipment is beyond the skillset of most hobbyists. And beyond most "white van man" electricians. If you want to attempt such a project, without having suitable professional experience, you need to find a suitably experienced electrical engineer as a supervisor/mentor.
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