A friend got me into the whole home automation stuff when he told me he wants to control his heating from everywhere in the world. And he did. I used to have a similar system which allowed me to control the heating of the whole apartment from my living room. But this is going much further. He, and now me as well, is using FHEM. This interfaces multiple systems from a single UI. Quite neat.
The server itself is written in Perl. FHEM stand for „Freundliche Hausautomation und Energie Messung“ which means „Friendly Homeautomation and Engery Measurement“. There is also quite a large community supporting this project so I thought it is worth a try. By now I don’t have very many devices connected but there is definitely going to be more.
I myself have installed FHEM on an AVM FritzBox 7490 which is my router and turned on all the time anyways. Therefore it does not waste any extra energy.
Connecting the washing machine
My major problem is, that my washing machine is in the basement. This is 5 levels below. I hate going down to see that it is still running. This is the main point for introducing the FHEM server. As there is a huge distance from our apartment to the machine, I had to find a way to communicate. The easiest way was using power line. Using power line ethernet I could connect the washing machine to my home network. From there on it was easy to find out the state of the machine. I just had to find a way to measure the power consumption. Fortunately there is a „all in one“ adapter that can handle this. Just take a look at the AVM 546E adapter which can do both, measuring power (and current), switching the device as well as acting as a power line connector.
With this my machine was in my network. The next step was notifying us when the machine was ready. I know, this is an advanced topic in FHEM but I suggest reading the command reference first. After that you should know a lot about the capabilities of FHEM.
I know this does not really answer your questions. The next post will go in way more detail to show how this is accomplished. This is just rather an introduction.