DIY Home Automation Sensors: The Gateway

This post is part of a tutorial on building Low-Cost Home Automation Sensors. If you have landed on this page directly I suggest you check first Low-Cost DIY Home Automation Sensors. In this part of the tutorial, you will build the gateway. The gateway will handle the communications for all the nodes in your network.

 

Bill Of Materials

 

Units Description
1 NRF24L01+ 2.4GHz Wireless RF
1 Jumper Cables
1 Raspberry Pi Kit

 

Wiring Things Up!

For the gateway, the only wiring necessary it to connect the Raspberry Pi to the radio, the NRF24L01. This step is very simple but you have to pay a lot of attention. THE GPIO pins in the Raspberry Pi are not labeled which means that you are going to be counting pins until you go blind or get your radio to work 🙂

Let’s hope for the latter…

Wiring the Radio

 

ID PIN (Raspy) NRF24L01 ID PIN (Raspy) NRF24L01
1 3.3V POWER VCC 2 5V POWER
3 GPIO 2 4 5V POWER
5 GPIO 3 6 GND GND
7 GPIO 4 8 UART0 TX
9 GND 10 UART0 RX
11 GPIO 17 12 GPIO 18
13 GPIO 27 14 GND
15 GPIO 22 16 GPIO 23
17 3.3V POWER 18 GPIO 24
19 GPIO 10 MOSI 20 GND
21 GPIO 9 MISO 22 GPIO 25 CE
23 GPIO 11 SCK 24 GPIO 8 CSN
25 GND 26 GPIO 7
27 Reserved 28 Reserved
29 GPIO 5 30 GND
31 GPIO 6 32 GPIO 12
33 GPIO 13 34 GND
35 GPIO 19 36 GPIO 16
37 GPIO 26 38 GPIO 20
39 GND 40 GPIO 21

 

 

Installing MySensors

 

1. SSH into your Raspberry Pi

2. Clone MySensors repository.

In the command, you can see that I am using the development branch. The reason is that I find it to be a lot more stable for the Raspberry Pi than the current version of MySensors. Besides, it is already an RC so it is probably close to a final release.

 

3. Navigate to the directory created

 

4. Run ./Configure:

Make sure you change the password in the command above by the one you used when you installed the MQTT Broker!!

 

 

3. Execute make

4. Any Errors?

If everything looks green you can go ahead and test the connectivity. If this is not the case no worries, I got you covered, go to the troubleshooting section at the end of the post.

5. Let’s test to see if everything went fine.

 

 

If everything went ok, your gateway log will look like the image above.

 

6. Install the gateway as a service

The last step is to install the gateway as a service. In this way it will be automatically started after you reboot your Raspberry Pi.

 

7. Reboot the Raspberry Pi to test the changes

If you want to verify that the gateway is up and running, you can check the logs here:

 

 

All set?

It is time to build the first sensor then. Go to the last step of the tutorial, Low-Cost DIY Home Automation Sensors: Your First Sensor.

 

Troubleshooting

No supported SPI driver detected

If the step 3  finishes with an error related to SPI.h it means that you need to enable SPI in your raspberry pi.

1. Enter into the raspy-config tool.

If you get an error saying that it doesn’t find raspy-config you will have to install it.

 

 

2. Enable the SPI interface in raspy-config

 

3. Reboot the Raspberry Pi and run make again.

 

2. MySensors Gateway fails to connect

If you see a log like this one when testing the gateway, 98% of the cases it means that the wiring is incorrect. Review every connection between the Raspberry Pi and the Radio and make sure they are aligned with the table above. Very rarely, it can happen to you that the NRF24L01 is broken. I had to replace mine when I was doing the tutorial…NRF24L01 

 

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