Here at i3Detroit, we like learning things. Also we don’t like doing extra work.
This usually balloons into a lot of extra work and (hopefully) less work later.
i3Detroit Automation System Architecture
We started looking into automation for a few reasons: simplifying the space shutdown procedure, and cost/complication of expanding.
Most of our existing lighting circuits are where they were when we started renting the building but some of them have been cumbersome to work with (“no, you can’t plug that in there that outlet turns off when the lights do”).
When we expand to encompass even more space it gets increasingly difficult to run more and more light switches to control groups of outlets.
With networked relays on every light we can specify groupings in software rather than spending 4-5 hours bending conduit, planning a route in our increasingly crowded ceiling and walls, and pulling fairly expensive wire long distances.
Doing this in our current space gives proof that we do not need to spend a lot of time re-wiring any building we inhabit, just plug in the lights to whatever outlets are already up there and we can control them in whatever pattern is most convenient.
Frequently people would complain because they come in and find the doors to have been unlocked all night, or the tank of argon has all leaked away, or maybe someone decided to try to heat our colander of a shop to 75F all night long in the middle of winter when no one was there.
The benefits of automating things is not just saving time on tasks that get done, but making sure all the tasks actually do get done.