Thinking about setting up a smart home based on Raspberry Pi? Find out everything you need for such a task and how Unipi add-on boards and Raspberry Pi PLCs can help you achieve it.
What is Raspberry Pi?
Raspberry Pi is a small single-board computer whose integrated inputs and outputs makes it applicable to a wide range of projects. These range from basic tasks (eg. text writing) to more advanced ones such as using the Pi as a multimedia centre or a NAS server. The computer can be also utilized in the sphere of IoT (Internet of Things) or home automation projects.
Picture: Raspberry Pi 4
How to make a smart home with Raspberry Pi
Apart from the Raspberry Pi computer itself, the only things you will need for the start-up is a compatible power source and a microSD memory card used as external memory storage. For programming and working with the computer, a keyboard, mouse, and monitor will also be needed.
Smart home control system components
All the previously mentioned components represent the most basic equipment for using the Raspberry Pi computer. To fulfil the role of a smart home controller, however, the computer requires several additional components whose selection depends entirely on the intended use of the computer and the components you want to control or monitor.
Picture: Component scheme for home automation
Examples of extensions and components for home automation:
relay module – switching of water heaters, ventilators, water pumps, light bulbs, gate drives,
digital input/output module – detecting states of switches, motion sensors or fluid level sensors in tanks, control of lights or door locks,
analog inputs/outputs module – measuring voltage from analog sensors, control of external devices such as three-way valves or electromotors,
1-Wire module – collecting data from 1-Wire sensors of temperature, humidity, or other parameters,
serial communication module – communication with energy meters or other metering devices, a connection of extension modules or other external devices,
software – programming and control of the smart home system.
Picture: Raspberry Pi accessories for home automation
For the smart home system to run, you need to connect all the previously mentioned components both hardware-wise (wiring) and software-wise (control application programming). If you want to set up the system on your own, you need to consider several disadvantages this approach possesses:
unreliable cheap components and almost no customer support provided by the manufacturer,
complexity and time requirements for both wiring and maintenance,
any issues or failures can be usually fixed only by the system’s creator. If he is not available for some reason, the only remaining option is to disassemble the installation and create a new one from scratch.
This is where Unipi controllers come into play, as they represent a solution for all the previously mentioned problems:
Unipi PLCs are using the Raspberry Pi as the computing module while featuring all modules needed for running home automation (inputs, outputs, communication interface). This allows you to avoid any module wiring,
all components are in a single compact package that can be installed on a DIN rail in distribution boxes,
we provide full hardware and software support and help with the setup.
Unipi add-on boards and PLCs for home automation
On Unipi controllers, all inputs, outputs, and communication interfaces are offered within a single device, acting as an extension/add-on board for Raspberry Pi or as a programmable logic controller (PLC). This gives you the option to automate lighting or temperature control, to monitor energy consumption. The options are nearly unlimited.
Picture: Two product lines based on Raspberry Pi – Unipi 1.1 and Unipi Neuron
Picture: Detail of the Unipi 1.1 – an extension board for Raspberry Pi
Examples of Unipi controller applications
Regulation of temperature and heating,
Shutters, blinds, and sunscreens,
Measuring and optimization of energy consumption
“Unipi represents a complete platform for the smart home in a single package”
Due to software openness of Unipi controllers, the choice of software is up to you
Unipi controllers are based on the Linux open-source operating system, to which we also develop an application programming interface (API) providing direct access to inputs, outputs, and communication interfaces of the controllers. This allows you to choose from a variety of available software solutions, ranging from Mervis (an officially supported automation platform) to third-party solutions or your software.
Picture: Overview of supported software solutions
Examples of compatible software platforms:
- Mervis (provided for free for all Unipi Neuron products and each Unipi 1.1 complete set)
- Home Assistant
- Your software
Choose a perfect controller for your project
We offer multiple models differing in the number and type of inputs and outputs. This allows you to choose a controller that suits your project’s needs without paying extra for inputs/outputs you will not use. Controllers can be always complemented by one or more extension modules.
Extension/add-on board for the Raspberry Pi computer suitable for prototyping, development, education, and smaller Raspberry Pi projects. Available in both large (Unipi 1.1) and small (Unipi 1.1 Lite) variants.
A line of programmable logic controllers available in 3 sizes. Features a durable aluminium chassis with a DIN rail mount. Suitable both for users interested in open-source platforms or home automation (e.g. in combination with the Mervis software provided for free as part of the product).
Unipi Extension (extension modules)
Easy way to extend your project by additional inputs and outputs
– connection via the RS485 interface (Modbus RTU)
– digital inputs
– relay outputs
– analog inputs / outputs
Our partsUnipi 1.1 - complete set
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Unipi 1.1 Lite - complete set
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Unipi Neuron S103 (Raspberry Pi 4)
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