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Old 12-09-2017, 05:36 PM   #1
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 48
Smart Home on Wheels Project

On our blog, we are doing a series of articles called Smart Home on Wheels. Basically, we are taking an old RV that we have (1988 Allgero) and teching the hell out of it.

So far, we've added a cell signal booster, but we just started it. We also will be getting a rear view camera and display, and a inverter/charger, though I'm not sure which one yet. At some point, if we ever leave this campground, we'll be adding a bunch of other stuff to it as well.

I'm trying to add as much technology as I can to make everything "smart". I would like to overhaul the electrical system, but I'm worried that I'd have to rip the walls apart to add more electrical cable, but I could probably leave the old stuff where it is. Or many attach the new cable to the old and pull it through. I also plan on adding cat5 for ethernet ports all over the place.

We are on our way to Florida right, and when we get there, we'll have my brother's help putting more stuff together. I want to boost the battery storage a lot first, and add solar on top of that. I would love Lithium batteries, but I can't afford that so we'll settle with AGM so at least we can store those inside the RV and not worry about off gassing. Then, with the AGM batteries connected to the inverter/charger, I think I'm going to run a wire off the batteries to power a different fuse box that my brother got out of an old Jetta. I have no idea how many fuses it can hold, haven't see it yet, but it should easily be enough.

From there, we have DC power, and this is where things get technical, but you guys love to tinker anyway. I found the Raspberry Pi and software to do a whole lot of things. When I'm done, I'll have at least five computers set up, but they each draw about 2.5 amps, so that should be okay. I want to have one computer for media streaming, one for file sharing and backup, another for running the smart appliances, a VPN/router, and finally one monster that will be four Pis connected together to run as one computer for processing all the data that comes from the others. I'm also going to add one with a temperature sensor and place one outside, one at the ceiling, and one near the floor.

Then, and this is where it gets difficult for me, I'm going to have the 4-unit core get data from all the others and update a webpage every 5 minutes or so. If I can do that, and I should be able to, I'll have a page on one of my websites that will be behind a password and then I can just login to that page anywhere I am and see all the data from the RV. I hope to add cameras too, so I'm trying to figure out a way to send frequent photos or maybe a live video stream to the web page too. I'm not sure I can do that yet, but I'll try.

And as soon as we can afford it, I'm hoping to get 6 175 Watt solar panels to put on the roof and hopefully then we can start boondocking a bit.

So yeah, its a big project, but I'm hoping we can be done by summer. [mod edit]

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Old 12-09-2017, 06:31 PM   #2
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I would really like to hear how the cell signal booster works.

We race and tracks generally are out in the middle of nowhere. Cell signal is weak, and when the track is full, that makes matters worse.

I have a friend that purchased a booster, and they are not cheap, he says you need to be pretty much right on top of the inside antenna for it to show any benefit.

Let us know how it works out.

Merry Christmas
Glenn Lever

See projects on my 1997 America Dream here, Index to the projects is in the first post.

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Old 12-11-2017, 06:33 PM   #3
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Yes, to get the boosted cell signal, you need to be within about three or four feet. We use ours for our hotspot though, so its always right next to the booster. It made a huge difference though, before we were barely getting an AT&T signal, now we get three bars on our hotspot. Its not fast here, but its decent enough to stream music and movies.
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