Some of your most innovative uses for iris devices:
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29 posts in this topic

So, I have seen a few creative uses for devices, including:
Placing a contact sensor in the mailbox
A motion detector's temp sensor to trigger a ceiling fan.
 

I imagine pre-loading a toaster in the kitchen before bed and triggering it with a motion detector in the bathroom (but if nature calls, you might end up with an unexpected midnight snack)... besides, I prefer toaster strudels which should not be thawed.
I always see the coffee maker as an example, but every coffee maker we have ever owned had a timer built in already.
Most digital devices now can't simply turn on when plugged in... for instance our coffee pot and TV's would have to be manually powered on after the power was interrupted.

 

What are some other innovative ideas you have had with basic sensors and smart plugs which didn't involve dismantling a device?

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It's not terribly innovative, but several people here (me included) put a sensor (motion or contact) in their fridge or freezer to send them alerts when it gets too warm.  

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I guess you could also setup a care alert to let you know if it was left open.
I can remember at least once that your fridge door didnt close all the way and we lost everything in it.

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I have a large stock of discontinued Fuji black and white instant film so I placed a contact sensor inside the refrigerator that store it in.  The fridge is plugged into a smart plug as well.  There are several rules associated with this;

 

  1. E-mail when the door is opened.
  2. Text (care) if the door is opened for more than 5 minutes.
  3. Text if the fridge temperature goes below 34 degrees.
  4. Text if the fridge temperature goes above 41 degrees.
  5. Turn off smart plug if the temperature goes below 35 degrees.
  6. Turn on smart plug if the temperature goes above 40 degrees.
  7. Raise safety alarm (care) if the door is opened for 15 minutes.

 

 

I also will have (this setup was used at my other house) a GE Z-wave light switch (relay type)  wired into the NC (normally closed) contacts of a 120v relay, in turn wired to the mains connecting to the gas furnace.  In this configuration when the GE switch is off the furnace gets power, when the switch is turned on it powers the relay effectively cutting power to the furnace.  I have rule that in the event of a safety alarm triggered by Fire/CO to turn the switch on, disabling the furnace.  I also have smart plugs on my gas dryer that turn it off when a safety alarm is raised. Home safety is big with me considering I'm the owner of a duplex.

emtp82 and Otto Mation like this

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Interesting... It seems during a seminar I attended once, it was mentioned that Kodak always recommended 32 degrees as the ideal temperature for long term storage of film.... But I didn't get much into photography until the "digital age", so I don't really have experience with it. It seems ideal to keep it in a freezer rather than a fridge, unless you just don't have time to remove it for several hours before you want to shoot with it.

Either way, that's a pretty cool example of thinking "out of the box" with iris...

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Storing instant film is tricky. Instant film has pods with chemicals that are very delicate and can depending on the type of film potentially rupture if frozen. Fuji FP-3000B black and white film chemicals have a low water content and Fuji states that film can be frozen however their color film FP-300C, the chemicals have a high water content and thus the pods can rupture if frozen, or worse freezing can alter the chemicals leading to color shifting and other bad effects.

I try to store the film as close to freezing as possible which is why the need for so many rules. This setup has worked great for over a year.

Smitho likes this

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It really bugs me that they want an additional $4.99/month for a rule that will notify you if you leave something open.   The rules they have you paying $9.99 for are so rudimentary you would think something that would be such an obvious feature of a door/window sensor or garage door opener would be included.

OHTRTA likes this

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Before the tilt sensor came out, I made one out of a contact sensor and small door hinge to give me indication of garage door status.  Works like a charm and is still is use  :) 
And cheaper than the tilt sensor (even more so now with the contact sensor drop in price).

 

https://www.dropbox.com/s/uecg7l2bbmpuypc/photo%20dec%2019%2C%208%2059%2037%20am.jpg?dl=0

sparc, Enzo, Otto Mation and 7 others like this

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Before the tilt sensor came out, I made one out of a contact sensor and small door hinge to give me indication of garage door status.  Works like a charm and is still is use  :) 

And cheaper than the tilt sensor (even more so now with the contact sensor drop in price).

 

https://www.dropbox.com/s/uecg7l2bbmpuypc/photo%20dec%2019%2C%208%2059%2037%20am.jpg?dl=0

 

This is genius.  Excellent.  Thanks for the idea. 

CTMaineah likes this

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Along the same lines as JoelH, I placed a 5x7" index card (vertically) over part of a vent in the basement, taped at the top with duct tape, and the small part of a contact sensor glued at the bottom. Just below that, I placed the main part of the sensor, so now when the furnace or AC is on, the card blows out and breaks the contact as long as the air is blowing. Since I subscribe to the Care package (only because it allows additional versatility), I can then look on the Care page and see a graph of the operation time of the HVAC. I can also confirm the current status of the furnace by looking at the overview page (On=open, Closed=Off). This is particularly useful if you have a situation where the temperature is a couple of degrees below the setpoint (in the case of AC) or vice versa (for heat), and you are wondering whether or not the HVAC has conked out. Oh, and by the way, you get a close approximation of the outlet temperature of the HVAC. So even if the blower is working but the compressor isn't, you can tell what is what. A great remote diagnostic tool!

sparc, joelh, IrisUsers and 1 other like this

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Brilliant hxn!  I wish the Iris would report that kind of usage.  The Radio Thermostat supports the notifications so there's no reason why the hub cannot and should not do it.  Still, it's a cheap way to get your discharge air temperature too.

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I also will have (this setup was used at my other house) a GE Z-wave light switch (relay type)  wired into the NC (normally closed) contacts of a 120v relay, in turn wired to the mains connecting to the gas furnace.  In this configuration when the GE switch is off the furnace gets power, when the switch is turned on it powers the relay effectively cutting power to the furnace.  I have rule that in the event of a safety alarm triggered by Fire/CO to turn the switch on, disabling the furnace.  I also have smart plugs on my gas dryer that turn it off when a safety alarm is raised. Home safety is big with me considering I'm the owner of a duplex.

 

 

Sorry, I'll play an HVAC guy here. Yanking the 120V power supply is not the best idea. I would recommend interrupting the low voltage (Rh or RED) wire instead to give furnace a chance to:

 

1) Cool off the heat exchanger by the blower motor

2) Remove the combustion products out of the heat exchanger by running the inducer fan (this is called "purge" in HVAC terms).

3) You'll preserve the error codes (if any) on the furnace IFC, so when you get to it (assuming it has a little peep hole) - you'll be able to see if it's blinking any errors.

sparc and Dan8785 like this

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Along the same lines as JoelH, I placed a 5x7" index card (vertically) over part of a vent in the basement, taped at the top with duct tape, and the small part of a contact sensor glued at the bottom. Just below that, I placed the main part of the sensor, so now when the furnace or AC is on, the card blows out and breaks the contact as long as the air is blowing. Since I subscribe to the Care package (only because it allows additional versatility), I can then look on the Care page and see a graph of the operation time of the HVAC. I can also confirm the current status of the furnace by looking at the overview page (On=open, Closed=Off). This is particularly useful if you have a situation where the temperature is a couple of degrees below the setpoint (in the case of AC) or vice versa (for heat), and you are wondering whether or not the HVAC has conked out. Oh, and by the way, you get a close approximation of the outlet temperature of the HVAC. So even if the blower is working but the compressor isn't, you can tell what is what. A great remote diagnostic tool!

 

See if you can place one into the return air path so you could monitor the temperature split? That would give you a chance to detect problems BEFORE you end up with a compressor "not running" :D

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Sorry, I'll play an HVAC guy here. Yanking the 120V power supply is not the best idea. I would recommend interrupting the low voltage (Rh or RED) wire instead to give furnace a chance to:

 

1) Cool off the heat exchanger by the blower motor

2) Remove the combustion products out of the heat exchanger by running the inducer fan (this is called "purge" in HVAC terms).

3) You'll preserve the error codes (if any) on the furnace IFC, so when you get to it (assuming it has a little peep hole) - you'll be able to see if it's blinking any errors.

 

While you have a valid point you're also overlooking the potential reason the furnace could have contributed to the CO leak in the first place; an obstruction of the flue or cracked heat exchanger.  As either of those scenarios could be a likely cause for a CO alarm, I do not want the furnace to purge any more harmful emissions into the living space.  The end result is nothing different than a power outage which happens here a few times each winter anyhow. 

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Well, where do you think the flue gases will go if you got a cracked heat exchanger (or secondary exchanger for 90%) anyway? :) Flue obstruction would usually make furnace to fail by the pressure switch (no pressure drop after inducer starts).

 

I'd say pre-season maintenance is the key - make sure flame does not change a bit after the blower motor starts before each season. Adjust manifold pressure and whatever else your maintenance manual calls.

 

Sure you can cause "a power outage" for the furnace, but it's ain't the BEST way.

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I have some common appliances set to turn OFF in the event of a fire alarm like our coffee pot and pellet stove. While it may be too late if one of these caused the issue, it could possible slow or stop the fire.

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My Keurig has a built in on/off timer. With no battery backup and will lose all setting instantly upon a power interruption.

Course I never use the Keurig these day anyhow (waste of money, could have bought more sensors j/k).

jonathan likes this

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Tilt sensor on the dog door for a time log of entry/exits.

 

V1 Fob hidden in my enclosed 20' trailer. If someone ever gets it hooked  to take,  I get notified!

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Father in law would pour his Jagermeister in the dark and spill at least once a day. A door sensor on the freezer turns on the under cabinet lights for him now. Not only do I not have to clean 6oz of Jagermeister a day, but it saves money! Also tells me how many drinks he has had every day.

dusterp and sparc like this

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Iris saved my (frozen) bacon!

 

I installed a contact sensor in my upright freezer last year after one of my kids left the door open and we lost a lot of food.   I was away earlier this week for work and received a notification that the freezer temp was over the set limit.  I contacted my wife, who confirmed the freezer door was open.  As much as we may complain about Iris from time to time (or all the time, depending on your situation) it does do some things well.  

 

And before someone comments on creating a rule for when the door is left open, I can't find a place to mount the sensors in a way that works with the freezer door.  I leave the 'smart' part of the sensor in the freezer as temp sensor, and re-purposed the magnet as a second magnet on a window so I can leave it partially open.

IrisByLowes and sparc like this

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Its too bad we don't have a ZigBee or Z-Wave operated mechanical relay with a couple sets of contacts, then you could do all sorts of stuff. And being a mechanical relay you would be sure which way it would fail to and use the NO or NC contacts accordingly to ensure whatever it is you were controlling turned ON or OFF without the need for electrical power be it battery or AC. The energy stored in the spring will move the relay contacts to their shelf state when power to the coil is removed. With smart plugs and switches which require power to change state, you can not be sure which position they will fail to if the power goes out during an emergency.

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While you have a valid point you're also overlooking the potential reason the furnace could have contributed to the CO leak in the first place; an obstruction of the flue or cracked heat exchanger.  As either of those scenarios could be a likely cause for a CO alarm, I do not want the furnace to purge any more harmful emissions into the living space.  The end result is nothing different than a power outage which happens here a few times each winter anyhow. 

i have my thermostat set to turn to off when there is a smoke/CO alert, hopefully that will cut the furnace from operating pretty quickly. I'm not sure if it's instantaneous or not

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I mounted my Iris contact sensor in in the Freezer using heavy duty 3m double sided mounting tape. It seems to work much better for mounting sensors than what comes in the box.  My sensors kept falling off.  No longer a problem with this tape. 

The true test is within my Freezer,  so far so good. The contact sensor is staying mounted.  It alerts when the door is open and relays temperature when door is closed. No problems yet.  My only problem is configuring Iris Rules to alert below 20 degrees F.  That is as low as the canned rules will go.  My freezer is holding at -2 F.  I would like it to alert at like 10 F.  Is it possible to create more custom rules than what is found in the IPHONE App?   I'd like to set my own temperature values and have Iris notify me if the internal freezer temp rises above that value. Say 10 degrees F?

Any ideas?

 

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The canned rules are all we have to work with. You might post your request to set your own temp values on the Iris Community Forum. I imagine that there are many on this blog who would go there and "Kudo" the request.

How did you determine where to place your sensor magnet inside the freezer, by measuring the depth of the door? I use the contact sensors in my freezers, but have not attempted to actually place the magnets with them to alert me if the door is left open.

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