How long does it take to create a smart home? Let s build it step by step

Is creating the foundations of a smart home complicated and time-consuming? I decided to check it on the basis of the Extra Life system, created by the Polish company Zamel.

For tests, I received a large cardboard box with all the elements necessary to create both the basic version of the smart home and its much more advanced variant. The first category includes mainly those elements that do not require any specialized assembly - we connect them to the power supply or insert / unlock the battery, configure and now - everything works. The latter, in turn, includes those devices whose installation will at least require disconnecting the power supply at home for some time and / or messing with contacts.

Today, let's focus on what can be installed and connected to a smart home without excessive knowledge and skills, and what can be done with the help of these elements.

Of course, you have to start with the controller

And you can see one thing right out of the box - the Extra Life controller (EFC-01) is really small. In the photo above, I juxtaposed it with a not very large pot, which definitely exceeds it. If someone needed more precise data - the EFC-01 cube is only 7 cm high and the same width. Little thing.

What else is worth knowing about him?

  • communication is carried out by radio in the ISM 868 MHz band
  • transmission is encrypted (128 bit)
  • range in the open area is to be up to approx. 300 m
  • one controller can be present in one system
  • apps for iOS and Android are available (that's why some screenshots come from iPhone, some from OnePlus)

So we download the application (in my case - iOS), connect the controller to the power supply (microUSB connector, charger included) and to the router, and then we go to login. The application automatically starts searching for the controller to which we log in using the default access data, and then - if the login and connection were successful (I managed to do it the first time), it will allow us to change the login details and the main screen will appear.

The first steps are behind us, but it's worth taking a look at what the control program offers us. We are skipping the Devices tab for now - we haven't added anything yet. Similarly with most of the other tabs - we will take care of them when we have more equipment.

Let's focus on the settings tab instead. It is from its level that we can check the updates of all equipment in the home, add new users, verify network settings, set the date and time, reset the controller, and create and restore a backup.

I limited myself to checking if there are any updates available for my controller (not yet) and creating an additional user with administrator privileges and one profile for my wife - without administrator privileges.

The whole process of creating a new user is very simple. We choose a name as well as a password, and then we decide whether it should have administrator rights or not. How are the different permission levels different?

Root can include:

  • manage all functions that enable system configuration
  • remove all devices (including those with which there is no communication)
  • change passwords (yours, administrators and users)
  • change the permission levels of other users
  • delete users
  • assign devices and scenes to users
  • this account cannot be deleted

The administrator, in turn, can:

  • manage all functions that enable system configuration
  • change passwords (yours and users')
  • change the permission levels of other users
  • delete users (except root)
  • assign devices and scenes to users

However, an ordinary user can:

  • control a house configured by the administrator or root
  • edit categories on the Home screen
  • change own passwords

A total of 9 users can be created (except root).

An interesting solution is also changing the composition of the application depending on the time of day - so that it does not offend our eyes at night, and during the day it is not too dark. Of course, the appropriate option can be found in the settings, in the Mode selection tab:

There are four options to choose from - automatic (time), in accordance with the phone settings, as well as manual switching to night and day mode. You can see the night mode above and in the rest of the screenshots, while the night mode looks like this:

Like a small thing, but still it can make life more pleasant.

And since we are already behind us and the basics of the application are mastered - you can move on to adding more devices.

The Multisensor goes first

It is easy to find in the photo above, because it has icons symbolizing several parameters it measures - hence the name. What exactly does it measure?

  • temperature
  • illuminance
  • humidity
  • atmospheric pressure

It sounds interesting, especially considering that it's a lozenge not much larger than a box of matches.

According to the instructions, we open the device, remove the foil blocking the battery, turn it on and proceed to pairing from the application and the Sensors tab. A few seconds from the activation of the pairing mode on the device side and it is already present in our system in four editions.

In order to have order right away, in the Home tab, I create a Category / Room Office and select its icon, and then add all four sensors there - after all, the device itself lies on my desk in front of me.

Nothing prevents you from now adding an office to the main screen of the application and thus having a preview of the measurements a few clicks closer:

Ok, we have one sensor behind us. What now?

Now let's add a motion sensor to that.

It's the one on the right.

The adding procedure is actually 100 percent here. identical, so there is no point in repeating its description. Several seconds later, we have another sensor in the house ready for operation.

I put it in the bedroom and create a suitable room for it so that everything is tidy from the beginning - later, with more devices, it can be difficult to sort it all (although the application is transparent, so maybe it won't be a problem).

There were four sensors, there are five. And this is just the beginning.

We repeat the same steps with the flood sensor ...

Which lands under the kitchen cupboard, near the water pipes. You never know, or rather, I don't often go there of my own free will.

Ok, no flooding - that's good news. The set also includes a magnetic charging pad for this sensor - an interesting solution if we do not want to rely on battery power.

… And also with a door opening / closing sensor.

It's the oblong (and the little oblong to match) ..

Possibly opening / closing windows or anything else - even letter boxes or valuables. Anywhere you stick it.

I consider attaching it to the refrigerator door for a moment, but it ends up at a door in the hallway. I check immediately if and how it works. It works effectively, and the reaction to changes in the application is immediate. Well.

A smart house without heating control would not be ...

So let's also install a thermostatic head. The assembly is not particularly complicated - we just unscrew the old one, wind the new one and that's it. It only took me 2 minutes.

As a standard, we organize our smart home and add the head to the last room, i.e. the living room. Now we only have to set the schedule. Of course, the most convenient way to do it is from the application:

Of course, nothing prevents you from overwriting the previously established schedule manually. It can be done from the head itself (the screen is backlit, so there will be no problems), and it can also be done from the application. An interesting facilitation has been introduced here - from the level of the head's drop-down menu, we have access to four fully configurable settings, thanks to which we can set our favorite temperature with one click. Or another. Or two more. A much better solution than trying to hit the value with the slider.

And what can you do with all of this?

So far, we have created the foundations of a smart home - we have sensed several most important rooms. As a bonus, we also connected the head and set its schedule. And if it weren't for the fact that I had to describe it all, it would probably take me several minutes, maybe a maximum of half an hour. Of course, it can be assumed that with more sensors this time would be needed proportionally more, but it would still be a job for one afternoon - as long as you know what you want to achieve.

And what do I want to achieve and what does a smart home look like, which not only knows what is going on in it, but can also - according to our findings - react appropriately to it? I will tell you about it next time - when installing other elements of the Zamel smart home.

* The material was created in cooperation with the Zamel company.



How long does it take to create a smart home? Let's build it step by step

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