Effective 6/1/2011, Eaton is discontinuing their Home Heartbeat line of home automation products. Suppliers are beginning to dump their stock, and these once-expensive devices can be had for pennies on the (original retail) dollar. As these devices are ZigBee-based (details), I was curious to see just how hackable they are. May 28, 2011 – I purchased one of each of the sensors from a provider on EBay for $5 each, along with the “Security Kit” starter kit (base station + LCD key + door sensor). As I already have a Digi ConnectPort X2 based upon information in Robert Faludi’s excellent Building Wireless Sensor Networks as well as several XBee devices, it should (theoretically) be possible to hack these. Could be fun – stay tuned for more details!
June 1, 2011 – Just got the shipping notification from the supplier, should be here in a few days. In the meantime, I set up my Digi ConnectPort X2 and messed around with it with a couple of XBees – it’s a neat device. Oh, and Sparkfun just started to carry it, which is a good thing because Digi’s store is a freaking disaster with broken links aplenty. Why the ConnectPort, you ask? It provides a couple of primary benefits. First, it is an always-on connection and does not require a dedicated XBee in coordinator mode. Second, it provides the capability to remotely manage and update firmware on all of your XBees, making configuration and maintenance that much easier (this is probably the biggest advantage). Finally, it integrates with Digi’s free iDigi Device Cloud service, allowing remote access to XBee sensor data from anywhere in the world. Pretty sweet.
Also downloaded the specification document for the ZigBee Home Automation profile from the ZigBee alliance page. It’s a well thought out spec, and appears to be quite similar to the proprietary Z-Wave implementation (which, unfortunately, is a closed spec). I truly wish that Zensys would open the spec or at least provide access to the SDK for non-commercial entities for a reasonable price; $1,500 USD is just way too expensive. In any case, the Eaton devices should be fairly easy to integrate into my HA solution.