Status communications

#1
First post so please be gentle ! I am trying to reach a decision on how to solve a particular requirement so would much appreciate if you clever folks would give me some suggestions, hopefully polite ones !

I want to monitor the status of various items of equipment in various properties, in simple terms all I need to know is 'change of state' a switch opening or closing. I want to pass all the data from all the properties to a bespoke hosted website.

All the properties have an internet router, most have a Wi-Fi router so for those that don't it could be added easily if needed.

How feasible is it to ...

1) Build a simple 'web server on a chip' using something like Wiznet which when triggered sends a unique ID back over the web (the ID gets looked up in a database so the actual transmission only needs to be a number or short code).

2) Do the same job with a modified WiFi USB dongle - get it to report its identifier back to a Website when triggered.

Needless to say, cost is paramount and I am trying to do this with as few components as possible. If I could run a PC at each location it would be easy. But the budget is a few tens of bucks for each property rather than hundreds.

Is there a way to achieve this using Wiznet / Picaxe or should I be setting my sights on a Zigbee / Zwave module instead with the consequent cost of a specialist gateway? If I could achieve the objective using a standard WiFi router it would be excellent.

Anyone working on anything like this or already done it ?

Thanks in advance for all ideas

scribley
 

hippy

Technical Support
Staff member
#2
Welcome to the PICAXE Forum.

The first thing to do might be to consider what you would be doing if you had a PC at every location; what data you would be sending, whether it would be pushed to the server or the server would be pulling data from the PC. What the exact data and its format will be and what protocol will be used to transfer the data between PC and server.

It's important to note that things don't usually send data back to 'web sites' nor update web pages, they send data to servers from which the pages are generated when viewed in a browser.

Once you determine 'how to' with a PC it's then a question of finding what can do the job as the PC would. However, there is the issue of what non-PC product can do, so you may be limited in the choice of mechanisms and protocols available.

There are lots of layers and complexity with ethernet and Wi-Fi and it may be best to start with a concept which uses just wired connections, 'properties' and 'server' on the same local area network, build up from there.

If I had to do this I'd be looking at using a PC, but the cheapest I could find, something along the lines of an 'OEM router' board which can run Linux, has all the hardware for LAN and USB for Wi-Fi dongles on-board, connect the PICAXE via a serial link.

The PICAXE.Net server may be suitable but you'd need a more detailed specification of what you actually need to do. Perhaps X-Port, a Telnet to serial module, or something like that may fit the role but I don't have much experience in this area.
 
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