PolyController Main Board
I haven’t posted about this for a while, but the project is definitely progressing. The hardware is completeâ€”PCBs have been manufactured, I’ve soldered them up, and they have been fitted into enclosures. The firmware is also progressing well, though much slower than I had hoped due to being quite busy at the moment! The PCBs have had quite a few minor changes since I last posted pictures, especially on the main controller PCB. Some of the connectors were relocated and quite a few mistakes were fixed before production. Even so, as with almost any first revision PCB, there have been a few mistakes…
The first mistake is on the 32.768KHz clock line from the RTC to the AVR microcontroller. The clock output is open drain on the RTC, so this requires a pullup resistor to get a meaningful signal. The AVR I/O port has an internal pullup that can be enabled if required so I thought I could use that, but it turns out that doesn’t work if you use the port as a clock input rather than a general purpose I/O. This is easily fixed with greenwire and a 1K resistor.
So I’ve been working on a bit of a pet project lately â€“ which I’ve been calling the PolyController. Slightly fed up with our central heating controller and thermostat being so stupid, I thought I could do better myself and build my own. Our current controller is nothing but a time switch, and the thermostat a manual dial one that has unfortunately been mounted right next to the main central heating feed pipes and hence is mostly useless.
The idea started with a simple microcontroller operating 4 relays and getting fed temperature information over the network from my already existing 1-Wire temperature sensors. My thoughts were to run a simple program to feed the controller the temperature information and it could determine whether the central heating and/or hot water needed to operate. A simple schedule could determine if/when heat was needed and what temperature to aim for – that way you could keep the heating on at a lower level during the night for example, or offer frost protection when you’re on holiday.