Author Topic: The Venturii Data Acquisition and Control (VDAC) System  (Read 2982 times)

Cube

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The Venturii Data Acquisition and Control (VDAC) System
« on: October 12, 2015, 05:39:06 PM »
When I started Venturii, I did so not because there weren't other integration systems out there, but because I wanted to see if I could build one myself. I'm pretty proud of what I've accomplished so far, and the one area that probably has the most excitement for me now is this one. Early versions of Venturii were software based solutions that interfaced with hardware made by other companies. In some cases I wrote code based on published APIs, but in some cases I had to debug and distill their communications protocols on my own. This was exciting, challenging, mentally stimulating work and brought with it a greater appreciation for these products, their features, and even in some cases, some un-exploited features. I began to understand elements of the native software, particularly limitations of it, that were actually imposed by the hardware. However, as my interest in the field extends far beyond software, I started to look into the possibility of developing my own hardware for Venturii.

Some of this was out of necessity, for I wanted to connect to sensors that I knew of no other off the shelf hardware platform that integrated with them, some of it was cost driven, and some of it was simply curiosity. Can I do this? To date I've developed two different types of relay control systems, one for traditional "ice-cube" style relays and one for latching relays. Why? Because I had them and had no other way to make use of them. As it is, they now run a whole whack of lights in my garage - just because they can. The NIM-1, discussed elsewhere, will be the next PCB to be tested, but I've also been working on some proto-board-and-wire based prototypes of other VDAC-based devices. It is so much fun for me to create these things that talk to different hardware, adding the ability to collect interesting data into the mix, and also to create circuit boards with specific tasks in mind that hopefully others may find useful as well. Really, I'm building Venturii for me, but if others can use it and learn from it and improve their lives, houses, buildings, surroundings, etc. with it, then I am more than happy with that.

In short, VDAC is the hardware branch of Venturii, native hardware developed specifically for Venturii and designed to talk to a wide variety of sensors, devices, and systems, as well as to control them. It is all open source, the hardware designs are available to download as is the firmware for them. If you can improve on my designs, (and believe me - there is lots of room for improvement!) I welcome all the help anyone is willing to offer, and I hope that many people will find these ideas and creations useful. Of course, to help fund my R&D and coffee, I'm also selling complete units for those who prefer a more turnkey approach. I work in a day job where every major player keeps their cards close to their chests and there is very little to no innovation encouraged where the products we sell are concerned. These large companies have grown their empires by producing proprietary systems that work within their own ecosystems very nicely but generally do not play well with others. And then those companies hold you over the barrel with recurring licensing costs! You buy their products, then you have to pay for licenses to use those products, and have to pay annual license costs to maintain support for those products. I don't want to be like that. I like collaboration and structured community contributions to make the products better. Every time I've installed some part of Venturii in someone else's house, they've come up with uses for it that I would have never thought of, and this has lead to new features, improvements and design changes that have made Venturii even better. I'm really hoping that can be extended to the hardware as well, so let's talk about it here.
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