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Old 12-26-2018, 12:31 PM   #1
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Remote Temperature Monitoring

For those of you who have pets or just like keeping tabs on your Skoolie, has anyone installed anything to facilitate remote temperature monitoring? My wife and I are planning on bringing our dogs with us in the Skoolie when it's finished, but we're obviously concerned about temperature when we have reason to leave the dogs alone. What I'd like to do is have the ability to remotely check the ambient temperature either by app or another means I haven't considered.

Since we're not planning on getting an LTE WiFi module, I was looking into cellular options (it would be pretty expensive to leave running the whole time we're gone, anyway). I was thinking that someone could probably whip something up with a Raspberry Pi, but I've got very little coding experience and wouldn't have the faintest idea how to do something like that. I may still look into this option or see if someone online has already been down this road. There are also (potentially expensive) off the shelf options, too. This unit is $199.00 and requires a subscription of $99.00 per year. I'm open to suggestions!
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Old 01-01-2019, 11:41 AM   #2
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EDIT: to be clear, I haven't used the att home wireless service myself, but I have extensive experience with computer networking, a bit of coding, and also Verizon wireless (I service 500 retail locations) used as landline internet backup and it works quite well.


Hey weboughtabus, i'm planning a skoolie conversion and have asked myself the same questions. I'll be bringing my wife, a small dog and 2 cats so I want to be able to keep tabs on things while i'm away for a few hours, or possibly overnight.

I know in your original post you mentioned no wifi/hotspot but I thought i'd throw out an option that you may have not came across, and I just recently came across myself. AT&T offers a "home" wireless internet service now for $50 per month and comes with 170gb of data.

I confirmed with AT&T that it's not gps locked to a location, and specifically asked them if I could use it in a mobile RV and they said that would not be a problem and it would work perfectly. The only catch is that you have to use the provided hardware which isn't a huge downside. It's a little modem/router that looks like a regular home router.

https://www.att.com/internet/fixed-wireless.html

https://www.att.com/cellphones/att/a...sku=sku8550279

I'm sure it likely uses an a/c power brick, but I would bet you could feed 12v straight into it, and it probably has a minimal power draw. If you intend on getting online a lot while in your bus this would serve multiple purposes at a resonable cost of around $50 per month.

With that being said, at that point there are a number of devices that could do what you are wanting to do, which you may have already researched. I think nest makes one that is temp only, and I would say there are several others. The plus to that is that you could have a well known app that has push notifications for alerts: IE nest app, etc.

Your idea of using a raspberry pi would certainly work, however I would say that a Pi is a bit overkill for this, and it has a lot of moving parts (software wise) that could break/go wrong. I've used a Pi for a lot of different uses and while they can be pretty reliable, sometimes they have their flaws, they crash, etc.

I would suggest an Arduino for something like this, with a temp sensor and a Arduino GSM shield (shields are modules for arduino) You would still need to write all the code yourself, then on top of that you'd need a way to receive alerts. You would still need a sim from a gsm carrier (att, tmobile) and the associated data/text plan. You can get these plans for pretty cheap, they call them m2m (machine to machine) plans.

Conceivably you could use an email/text message based system for sending alerts. If you used either of those you could also email or text the device a specific "code" and get a reply back as to what the current temp is. Pretty low tech that way, but you wouldn't need any "servers" or anything in the cloud to run it.
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Old 01-01-2019, 12:15 PM   #3
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https://www.amazon.com/SensorPush-Wi...33369637&psc=1

Something like this :
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Old 01-01-2019, 03:07 PM   #4
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Save yourself the time, get yourself a Raspberry Pie hard drive, get the SD card package on amazon for 70$. Download a group developed program called Home assistant, and you can literally run your entire home from that drive. And then have it connected with samsung app (also developed by the same group), and you can do everything from turning on the lights, starting the coffee maker, or even locking the doors and windows, all from your phone/computer. Youtube it, look into the coding, because most of it is written already, you just add your own codes/ sensors, and youre good to go.
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Old 01-01-2019, 03:44 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Tcoz95 View Post
Save yourself the time, get yourself a Raspberry Pie hard drive, get the SD card package on amazon for 70$. Download a group developed program called Home assistant, and you can literally run your entire home from that drive. And then have it connected with samsung app (also developed by the same group), and you can do everything from turning on the lights, starting the coffee maker, or even locking the doors and windows, all from your phone/computer. Youtube it, look into the coding, because most of it is written already, you just add your own codes/ sensors, and youre good to go.

THIS. GREAT FIRST POST! Also, in lieu of Samsung SmartThings you should really look into zigbee2mqtt. It's completely open source and I don't use any proprietary hubs. In any case I am so happy to see this response here. It requires a little coding but I use Home Assistant for: light automation and auto flux (changing light spectrum from blue to red as the sun goes down), opening my garage door, controlling my cameras, monitoring temp/humidity/ambient light, locking and unlocking my doors, maintaining my alarm system (windows/doors/motion sensors), monitoring my solar system, monitoring my total power consumption, as a driveway sensor to tell me when someone is trespassing and lastly, to alert me when my wash is done. Yes, it is very versatile. It's also all open source. My favorite non-necessary automation is a simple script that dims the lights when I play a movie at night. When I pause or stop the movie, the lights come back on. It's very cool. I use Zigbee and Zwave protocols and followed a DIY guide to create a zigbee to mqtt USB device (open source project is called zigbee2mqtt) so I don't have to rely on any proprietary and creepy companies (think SmartThings, Google Home, Amazon Alexa, Wink, etc). The entire system is private and can only be viewed by me. If I were to install it on my bus I'd try to find all kinds of engine related zwave sensors. I don't know if that's a thing yet but would make monitoring the systems so much easier.

This is the multisensor you'll want to install to meet your needs: https://www.amazon.com/Aeotec-Multis.../dp/B0151Z8ZQY
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Old 01-02-2019, 08:40 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by kcarsey View Post
I know in your original post you mentioned no wifi/hotspot but I thought i'd throw out an option that you may have not came across, and I just recently came across myself. AT&T offers a "home" wireless internet service now for $50 per month and comes with 170gb of data.

I confirmed with AT&T that it's not gps locked to a location, and specifically asked them if I could use it in a mobile RV and they said that would not be a problem and it would work perfectly. The only catch is that you have to use the provided hardware which isn't a huge downside. It's a little modem/router that looks like a regular home router.

https://www.att.com/internet/fixed-wireless.html

https://www.att.com/cellphones/att/a...sku=sku8550279
Thank you very much! This would actually meet our needs very nicely, which opens us up to using WiFi sensing devices. I don't think I had realized that any of the major companies were using wireless delivery of home internet, though I think I had heard about Verizon using 5G for home internet in the near future.

EDIT: I'm going to need to get creative if I want to use that as an option. Apparently it's only offered in "select rural areas", which apparently doesn't include suburban New Jersey.
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Old 01-02-2019, 09:18 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by weboughtabus View Post
Thank you very much! This would actually meet our needs very nicely, which opens us up to using WiFi sensing devices. I don't think I had realized that any of the major companies were using wireless delivery of home internet, though I think I had heard about Verizon using 5G for home internet in the near future.

EDIT: I'm going to need to get creative if I want to use that as an option. Apparently it's only offered in "select rural areas", which apparently doesn't include suburban New Jersey.
Verizon was offering Home 4G LTE connectivity, but I believe they do not offer it to new customers any more. I think they are pushing towards their 5G/Gigabit fixed wireless for home users which I believe is only available in a couple cities.

I didn't go far enough into the ATT home wireless to realize they only "offer" it in certain markets. I'm sure you could figure something out with that though.

As far as the above posts regarding Raspberry Pi, it really is a great platform, I would just say to be sure you get a quality SD card such as Sandisk or another known manufacturer and also keep a spare around.

We use multiple Pi's here in the office as status boards connected to tv's and when we used cheap SD card they would die about once a month and require the sd card image to be flashed again. They would sometimes even die without ever being powered off. They would "hang" then kernel panic when rebooted. I switched to Sandisk cards and have not had an issue since then. If you need 100% reliability your best bet is an Embedded system like Arduino, or buying a pre-made device.
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