Kodi Control Home Automation Now Available – Questions And Suggestions

Just a quick post to show the Kodi Control kit, as detailed on the home page. Please feel free to add any suggestions for improvements to Kodi Control or ask any questions you may have by clicking the reply link above or in the comments box at the bottom of the page if you are viewing this single blog post.

Kodi Control Kits now availableClick each question to see what we have been asked so far:


1. What is the operating voltage of the boiler switch and the frequency of the RF transmitter?

The boiler switch operates at 240V but any voltage below should be fine. The RF transmitter operates at 433.92 Mhz, please ensure this is a legal operating frequency in your country. In Europe, Africa, most of the Middle East, the former Soviet Union and Mongolia the 433.92 Mhz frequency is license free.


2. Do we have to build the kit when we receive it?

No the kits are built and tested by us prior to despatch. The Kodi Control interface unit contains readily available parts that can be switched by the end user to allow for future enhancements etc. For example once the user has decoded the RF signals for their devices, in addition to the preset configuration for the boiler switch, Status sockets and bespoke relay they could remove the RF receiver (not transmitter) and replace with say an infrared or thermostatic module.


3. Will I need to be able to use a soldering iron to remove the RF receiver or to add new modules?

No the kits are designed for ‘push fit’ modules. Simply pull out the old module and push in the new module.


4. Is the system truly cross platform?

As per the recent video we uploaded it shows the system working on Windows 8.1, Ubuntu 14.04LTS, Raspberry Pi, Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 and a Net2Play C2000 Smart TV Box android devices. We don’t currently have access to any Apple devices but we will check compatibility for these devices in due course.


5. Which host do we recommend for Kodi Control?

We understand that our buyers have various systems and they all serve a purpose but our recommended host is the Raspberry Pi. We recommend the Raspberry Pi as it has up to 4 USB ports, has root access without invalidating the warranty, an excellent support network, very reasonably priced and The Raspberry Pi Foundation is a charitable organisation helping youngsters to learn Computer Programming. 


6. Will it work without a host system?

Yes, but obviously it is not as effective as it requires human intervention to switch the home appliance on and off. We have battery operated systems that require no host device and in time we should be able to improve the functionality so that human intervention just involves pressing a button for the ON signal with the system then taking over and sending the OFF system at a predetermined time.


7. Do Android devices require root access?

Currently yes and the process is quite involved but we hope to make this simpler and it might be possible at a future date to operate without root access.


8. Will the system work without a camera for visual confirmation that the RF signal has been processed?

Yes the system is designed to work with or without a camera but these days USB cameras are available for just £5 so it makes sense to have the visual confirmation for most users. As users become more confident in using the system the need for a camera does diminish though.


9. How do I enable the USB host API if it isn't already enabled on my Android device?

Add the Terminal Emulator for Android to your device from Google Play. You then need to ensure your filesystem is changed from read only to read and write access by typing the following commands into the terminal emulator.

su

mount -o rw,remount /system

Then create android.hardware.usb.host.xml with:

cd /system/etc/permissions

touch android.hardware.usb.host.xml

sudo vi android.hardware.usb.host.xml

Type or paste the following into the file and then ctrl X and Y to save it.

<permissions>
<feature name=”android.hardware.usb.host”/>
</permissions>

In the same directory you should already have handheld_core_hardware.xml or tablet_core_hardware.xml which needs to include the following additional line in the <permissions> section.

<feature name=”android.hardware.usb.host” />

Finally reset the filesystem back to read only with the command below and reboot your device.

mount -o ro,remount /system


10. How much does it cost to send the units to us?

The prices for postage and packing are very reasonable, see below:

Europe £5.

Rest of the World £7


11. What range can we expect with the Kodi Control device?

It varies for each property and depends where it is located, other RF devices in the vicinity and the type and construction of the property. From our testing, for properties with concrete floors between ground and first floor and steel reinforcing bars in the walls the range is at least 20 meters (considerably further in the open air if your RF devices operate outdoors). With wooden floors and without steel reinforcing bars the range is a little further. Our experience is that the unit is fine for apartments and medium sized houses. We do have range extenders available if you have a bigger property that is not covered by the normal operating range of Kodi Control.


12. Do I need any special cables for my Android device?

Yes you will need an OTG (on the go) cable and an FTDI cable. We do not provide OTG cables as they are different for each Android device and you may already have one from the Android device supplier. The FTDI cables we recommend, and supply for a nominal sum, have the Prolific PL2303HX chip and have been tested by us on our Android systems.


13. How can the range be improved?

We supply the Kodi Control units with the transmitter’s aerial curled as shown in the photo at the top of the page. In our opinion they look better with the aerial curled and make it easier to ship the units to you but if you remove the curls the range will be extended. You may want to fit your own aerial too. Another way to improve the range is to increase the voltage supply to the transmitter. With the USB connection the transmitters operate at 5V but they are rated up to 12V so a significant increase in range is possible. Please ask for details if you wish to feed the transmitters with 12V and ensure you use a common ground.


14. Do the range extenders need to be connected to a host device?

No the range extenders, for users with large properties, are autonomous units and operate without a host device. They simply need a power supply and can operate on batteries if that suits your application better. The extenders receive the signal from the main host connected Kodi Control unit and relay it on to the RF device being controlled.


15. What other features do the range extenders have that the main Kodi Control units don't have?

We have recently added basic thermostatic control to the autonomous range extenders. At present this means your RF devices can be automatically turned on and off at your chosen temperature settings. Further development in this area is ongoing.


16. Do the main Kodi Control units offer thermostatic control like the range extenders?

Not at the moment as the space inside the case of the Kodi Control units is quite limited but we may consider adding this feature with a future redesign of the unit. Do remember that our ‘push fit’ component layout gives our users the maximum flexibility when it comes to future enhancements of Kodi Control. The expectation is that we would simply mail out the additional ‘push fit’ modules and provide an online firmware update for the units.


17. Are the Kodi Control units and range extenders available without the boiler controller?

The system we offer was designed, coded and tested as a complete package and we feel it offers excellent value for money for our customers but yes we do sell the constituents parts to individuals that perhaps already have the RF operated boiler controllers or wish to use the parts within their own design.


18. Does the RF controlled switch fit a standard wall socket enclosure?

Yes the switch fits a standard 90mm x 90mm x 40mm wall enclosure as shown in the photo below. If you are modifying an existing installation you shouldn’t need a new enclosure but we can provide one free of charge if you need one. The postage and packing will be a little extra though as the enclosure takes the overall weight into the next pricing scale with Cyprus Post.


Kodi Control Switch Enclosure

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Posted in Home Automation, Kodi Control, RF Boiler Timer, Save Money and tagged as , , ,

2 Comments

  • Will the kit talk/control X10 devices via the Marmitek TM13U wireless controller

    • Hi Terry,

      We don’t have any Marmitek or X10 devices here so we can’t be 100% certain but from our understanding of them taking an RF signal and converting it to the X10 protocol we don’t see why it wouldn’t work. What devices are you controlling with X10?

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