Override Switch?

Discussion of the online video show SuperHouseTV, where Freetronics co-founder Jonathan Oxer hacks on his house using various Open Source hardware and software. [SuperHouseTV site]
Post Reply
Joined:Tue Feb 12, 2013 1:56 am
Override Switch?

Post by mofosyne » Wed Nov 20, 2013 2:45 pm

A question to those who have already built some form of home automation. Have you guys ever thought about how to deal with electronic buttons breaking down? Do you still install physical switches which bypasses the relays?

Some thoughts I had, is that all lights should have two switches. One for user intent, and an override switch which switches between auto mode, or override mode.

User avatar
Freetronics Staff
Freetronics Staff
Joined:Sat Oct 15, 2011 11:31 am
Location:Melbourne, Australia

Re: Override Switch?

Post by jonoxer » Fri Nov 22, 2013 7:02 am

I haven't put in any manual bypasses, no. My rationale is that if I did that there are two ways to do it: either put physical light switches on the wall (which means lots of extra cabling and confusion for people because they're not meant to use those switches normally) or putting a bypass switch next to each relay inside the switchboard.

The first option is just a total waste of time and money, because it's effectively doubling the amount of cabling that needs to be done and you end up with switches around the house that shouldn't be used except in the vanishingly small possibility that a relay has failed.

The second option could be worthwhile, perhaps, but I'm not convinced. It'd mean mounting lots of switches inside the switchboard, and if the relay failed you'd go to the switchboard to use the manual switch. But then, if you have to go to the switchboard anyway, why not just replace the relay if that's what failed? Mine are all on DIN-rail mounted sockets, so it's literally a 30 second job to pop out a busted relay and plug in a replacement - if that ever happened. I've never had a relay fail in all the years I've been using them in my house.

You're absolutely right to question reliability, it's a critical issue and something that needs to be considered when designing a system.

Many people think about home automation reliability in a strange way though: one of the bizarre reactions I hear *all* *the* *time* from people when they hear that my house is fully automated, is "what do you do if there's a blackout and your home automation system stops running? How do you turn on the lights?". The answer is, umm, pretty much the same as in any other house that has a blackout! Ie: you don't.

Post Reply