I recently got a Sparkfun order on my door, so it's time to play. In the box was a RF Link Transmitter, and Receiver. They are sold as 434 MHz radio wireless links. Others talk about 433 MHz. To be precise, it's 433.92 MHz. That matters, because if you search for that number, you will find the so called home automation systems using that frequency, including X10, Everflourish, and many others. My plan then, is to build something similar to the TellStick from TellDus, which control these devices from my computer. Connect that up to an Android app, and I could control my lights and other appliances from any mobile phone.
First things first, though. Hooking up the bits was easy, following these two similar tutorials. Using the VirtualWire Arduino library v1.5 (1.6 released at the time of writing) by Mike McCauley (download version 1.5) transmitting data was a breeze. The library includes example code for transmitter and receiver, simply upload and go. Note that the transmitter data should be connected to pin 12 on the Arudino, and the receiver on pin 11 on the other. Data was received loud and clear, without errors. Mike's library is well written, and covers several important aspects of RF communication, including a dedicated protocol, CRC handling, robust encoding over the air, baud rate, and to top it off, an easy to use API.
Now, of course when using my Everflourish nothing happened. Which was a good sign; it did not interfere with the Virtual Wire transmission. That remote is using a different protocol to talk to the light switches. Luckily, it has already been reversed engineered and the source code is available from TellDus. It will probably take some time to get this working. Meanwhile, some pictures.