August 15, 2013

Reverse engineering wireless thermostat systems

After becoming very disappointed with the performance of a wireless hot water and boiler controller, Steven Hale decided to do one better and design his own version. The key was to decode the wireless data between the controller and the boiler main receiver, and as he didn't have a storage oscilloscope, Steven instead captured the signal via a PC sound card input and analysed it with a PC.

This enabled him to determine how to send commands to the boiler and now it can be controlled via a PC. With a little more work it will be possible to have wireless temperature sensors around the house feed data back to an intelligent controller such an Arduino, which can then control the boiler at a more optimum rate. 

That's a fantastic piece of detective work, and shows what you can with a little perseverance. For the complete story and code to review, check out Steven's website. And for more, we're on twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well.

If you're interested in receiving and decoding RF data over 315 or 433 MHz, check out our Receiver shields:

They're pre-assembled except for the headers, include two user LEDs for debugging or general blinking, and leave you plenty of space for prototyping circuitry. These shields can also be used in the the “Weather Station Receiver” project in the book “Practical Arduino” - it shows how to intercept the signals from a La Crosse weather station and decode them using an Arduino. For more information and to order, click here

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