Realization of Home Appliances Control System based on Power

Realization of Home Appliances Control System based on Power Line
Communication Technology
Chao-Huang Wei1
Hoang Than2
Yu-Ning Wang
Department of Electrical Engineering, Southern Taiwan University, Tainan, Taiwan
Home automation is an integral part of modern lives that
helps to monitoring and controls the home electrical
devices as well as other aspects of the digital home that is
expected to be the standard for the future home. Home
appliance control system enables the house owner to
control devices such as stove, refrigerator, air-conditioner,
and lightings remotely or monitoring the house status.
Monitoring and control may be done by a personal digital
device such as a laptop, PDA, telephone, or even a cell
phone. One of the technologies well used by domestics to
connect the home controller with the appliances is using
the Power-Line Communication (PLC) protocol for data
transmission. In this paper two types of home appliances
PLC controller will be implemented based on the
HomePlug Command and Control (HPCC) standard.
Keywords: PLC, Embedded System, Home Network.
Nowadays, the rapid development of information
technology has brought powerful changes to the structure
of automation system, and makes people to set a higher
request to security, comfort and efficiency of home
environment. Intelligent household devices have become a
research focus in home automation industry, for how to let
television set, refrigerator, lightings, alarm sensor, and
other home devices work efficient and easy to be used.
Under such demand home appliances should not only
operate by itself, but also with other devices together, i.e.
they should be connected within a network for easy
Many accessing methods for controlling home
appliances can be used, such as by hard wired line,
telephone line, Ethernet cable, radio frequency, infrared, or
powerline. Technically, they are divided in two types of
networking techniques; the first one is data exchange
between transmitter and receiver in a wireless way, i.e.
Bluetooth, 802.15.4/ZigBee or Z-wave, the other
networking alternative is based on fixed wire line i.e.
telephone line, Ethernet cable and others. Power-line is a
special media, which transport not only the AC power to
devices, but also the multimedia or control data to and
from the device; the benefits of using this media are the
availability and quantity of electrical outlets in a house and
no new wiring necessary for building the network [1 ~5].
Power-Line Communication (PLC) technology [6, 7]
utilized the household electrical power wiring as the
transmission medium. Using this technique for remote
automation control in house requires no installation of
additional control wiring. Originally, the application of
PLC was mainly to secure the normal operation of the
electric power supply system in case of malfunctions or
faults through the instant exchange of information between
power plant, substation and distribution center, thereby
making this approach a competitive alternative to smart
home networking, considering the benefit of its robustness,
ready connectivity as well as availability.
In terms of transmission rate and frequency
bandwidth, PLC technology holds no remarkable
predominance over other widespread networking
technologies. In fact, the prerequisite of massive adoption
of PLC technology is based on the fact that power lines
have extended to every residence with multiple outlets
installed in each room, which means that device control
information and power supply are integrated as a whole
through one outlet. There is no extra wiring indoors for
the economy and convenience to residents.
The rest of this paper is organized as follows. Section
II describes the theory and some protocols in the PLC
technologies. In section III, the design implementation is
presented. The experiment and results are presented in
section IV. Section V presents some conclusion and
discussion for the future work.
To control intelligent home appliances the digital
control signal will modulate an analog carrier signal,
which will be propagated through the whole AC power
grid at home on the same distribution system, therefore
each receiver has its own "device address" that designates
the owner of the control signal. These receivers may be
either plugged into regular power outlets, or permanently
wired in place.
Figure 1 shows the typical power-line communication
system, a PLC modem converts a data signal received
from conventional communication devices, such as
computers, PDAs, or Laptops in a form that is suitable for
transmission over power-lines. In the other transmission
direction, the modem receives a data signal from the power
grids and after conversion delivers it to the
communications devices.
microseconds, the average data rate is about 7,500
CEBus supports a flexible topology, thus a device
may be located wherever convenient, and the control
is distributed among the CEBus appliances and media
routers (fig 3).
Fig. 1 Communication over power-line grid
The standards and technologies used in the PLC
control schemes include X10 [8], CEBus [9], LonWorks
[10, 11], Insteon [12, 13], HomePlug [14, 15], and some
others. They are described as follows:
Fig. 3 Example of CEBus topology [9]
X10 was developed in 1975 by Pico Electronics [8], is
an international and open industry standard for
communication among electronic devices used for
home automation. In the X-10 protocol, transmissions
are synchronized with the zero-crossings on the AC
power-line. A binary ‘1’ is represented by a 1mS long
burst of 120 KHz, near the zero-crossing point of the
AC. A binary ‘0’ is represented by the lack of the 120
KHz burst (fig. 2). The X10 protocol is quite slow,
data rates are around 20 bits/s, so it takes roughly 3/4
second to transmit a device address and a command. It
lacks also the support for encryption, and can only
address 256 devices.
LonWorks is a networking platform specifically
created to address the needs of automation control in
industrial, home, transportation, and buildings systems
such as lighting and HVAC. The platform is built on
a protocol LonTalk created by Echelon in 1999, and is
defined by ANSI Standard ANSI/CEA 709.1 [10, 11].
The LonWorks is an open, but proprietary technology
and is not subject to use power line as media.
Communication between devices may be either
peer-to-peer (distributed control) or master-slave
(centralized control) (fig. 4).
Fig. 2 Data format of X10 signal.
CEBus (Consumer Electronics Bus) also known as
EIA-600, was released in September 1992 by the
Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA) [9], is a set of
electrical standards and communication protocols for
electronic devices to transmit commands and data. It
is suitable for devices in households and offices to use,
and might be useful for utility interface and light
industrial applications.
The CEBus standard uses spread spectrum modulation
on the power line. A binary ‘1’ is represented by a
100 microseconds long burst, and a binary ‘0’ is
represented by the absence of burst that lasts 200
Fig. 4 Example of LonWorks network
INSTEON is a dual-mesh RF & power line home
automation networking technology designed by
SmartLabs technology in 2005 [12, 13].
technology was designed specifically to address the
inherent limitations in the X10 standard but also to
incorporate backward compatibility with X10. Under
the network topology, all Insteon devices are peers,
meaning each device can transmit, receive, and repeat
any message without requiring a master controller or
routing software (fig. 5). The data rate is up to 13,165
bits/s on wire and 38,400 bits/s on air.
1. IT700 is a fully integrated PLC microcontroller for
command and control applications on a single chip,
which incorporates an extremely reliable PHY, line
driver, 8051 mcu core with 256 KB flash ROM for
protocol stack and firmwares, 16KB RAM, and 24
GPIOs (fig. 7).
External Circuitry
Fig. 5 Network topology of INSTEON [13]
Fig. 7 IT700 block diagram [16]
HomePlug Command and Control (HPCC) standard is
developed by the HomePlug Powerline Alliance for
home/building automation, remote monitoring and
control, the white paper version 1.0 was released in
2008 [14, 15], which contains a PHY and MAC layer in
2. IT700 follows the HomePlug Command and Control
standard and uses PLC ready transceiver technology,
which is high immunity to signal fading, phase/
frequency distortion, various noise characteristics, and
impedance modulation.
this version, but will be expanded to network and host
Fig. 6 shows the PHY (Physical) block diagram of
HPCC standard, which is the first layer in the sevenlayer OSI model. It defines the electrical, mechanical,
procedural, and functional specifications for activating,
maintaining and deactivating the physical link
between communicating network systems.
3. Yitran offers complete reference design and Plug In
Module (PIM) with integrated Analogue Frond End
(AFE), line coupler and power supply interfaces for
quick application prototyping and development (fig. 8).
Fig. 8 IT700’s Plug In Module [16]
Fig. 6 PHY block diagram of HPCC [15]
The HPCC uses a patented Differential Code Shift
Keying spread spectrum (DCSK) modulation on the
narrow-band power line. The data transfer rates is
7.5Kbps on the PHY Level. It will work also with
4. The IT700 incorporates reliable Physical Layer (PHY),
high-performance Data Link Layer (DLL) and Network
(Y-Net) protocol [17]. The Network Layer (NL) is
implemented using an advanced and compact adaptive
routing and automatic addressing mechanism, enabling
optimal and simple powerline communication (tab. 1).
Tab. 1 Y-Net protocol stack firmware and OSI Layers
high-speed broad-band networking, such as HomePlug
1.0, and HomePlug AV.
From the above descriptions the HomePlug C&C
might be the most recent and more advanced for home
automation system. To implement this technology for
home automation a PLC modem (IT700) from Yitran was
selected [16], the main reasons are:
Y-Net protocol
stack firmware
Network (NL)
Physical (PHY)
Upper Layers
Lower Layers
Since the IT700 PIM supports up to network layer
only, all other above layers must be executed by other
processor, therefore in the PLC control network two types
of controller were implemented in this work, one is an
embedded main controller with powerful microprocessor
used for human operation (fig. 9), and the other is device
controller with simple and low cost microprocessor used
for control or monitoring home appliances (fig. 11).
Host Controller
LCD Display
with Touch
Data Link
Layer (MAC)
The device PLC controller may equipment with
electronic switch circuits or various sensors but without
Ethernet interface, since all data communications are pass
through the power-line.
The electronic switch circuit
(SSR) will be used for control home appliances, such as
lighting, heater, fan and etc. Varity sensors can be used to
detect status of home devices or to monitor environmental
data such as temperature and humidity. The
microprocessor used in the host controller can be any type
with some GPIO ports and UART interface to be
connected to IT700 PIM.
Host Controller
Line Filter & Coupling
AC Powerline
Fig. 9 Main PLC Controller
The main PLC controller is equipment with a touch
screen LCD display and is realized using a Mini2440
single-board computer from Friendly ARM (fig. 10) [18].
This board is based on the Samsung S3C2440
microprocessor, which features a 16/32-bit RISC
ARM920T core, includes the following components:
separate 16 KB instruction and 16 KB data cache, MMU to
handle virtual memory management, LCD controller and
touch screen interface, NAND flash boot loader, UART,
DMA, timers with PWM, RTC, 10-bit ADC, camera
interface, AC97 audio codec interface, SPI, IIC-BUS, IISBUS, USB host/device, and SD card interface.
This board utilizes all features of S3C2440
microprocessor and has an Ethernet interface for
LAN/Internet access. The board runs under Linux 2.6.29
or WinCE.NET 5.0 operating system, which makes the
implementation of application software easier and quickly.
In this work the WinCE OS were be selected, which is
supported by Microsoft’s Visual Studio 2008 on window
machine. An Internet web page was developed also for
remote user to access the PLC home network.
Data Link
Layer (MAC)
Line Filter & Coupling
AC Powerline
Fig. 11 Device PLC Controller
This section will describe experiment results of the
above realizations of home PLC controller. The test
system consists of a main PLC controller and several
device PLC controllers (fig. 12). User can touch the LCD
screen on the main controller and select the button to
switch the corresponded device on or off or adjust the
lighting brightness (fig. 13).
Main PLC
GPIO Ports
Fig. 12 General home PLC control system
LCD Interface
Fig. 10 Mini2440 single-board computer [18]
Figure 13a is a user’s interface on the main PLC
controller, after the room is selected, the lower part of the
screen will show all home electrical devices in this room,
and then the user can check or uncheck the device to be
controlled or the sensor to be monitored. After the “send”
button is touched, the main PLC controller will send the
required commands to those devices or sensors via the
home power-line, and receive response data.
Figure 15 shows an experiment to switch the
conventional electrical fan on or off by a PLC device
controller on the home network.
Device 3(
Fig. 13a Control menu on main PLC controller
Device 1(
Fig. 15 Electrical fan control
Device 2 (
Fig. 13b Lighting control
Through the main controller the room temperature and
humidity measured data can be retrieved also from remote
user via Internet browser. After remote user connects this
main PLC controller via Internet, a web page will
displayed on the user’s computer (fig. 14), and then the
user’s operation is similar to the operation on the main
PLC controller’s screen.
This work is to utilize the home electrical system for
networking, the implementation of a home appliances
control system based on the PLC technology has been
successfully deployed. Authorized manager can access the
main PLC controller to control the selected home electrical
appliance or monitoring sensor’s data locally or from the
The user’s interface is quite convenient, via internet
web browser from any platform to access this system. Data
security also provided to protect the system from
unauthorized access.
Although this system can process some simple tasks
at this moment only, but it can be extended further for
some additional functions, such as video camera and
burglar alarm for enhance home security or automatic
timer control for saving energy.
This work was supported in part by the National
Science Council (NSC) Taiwan under Grant NSC 992221-E-218-033.
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