Tuesday 19 November 2013

Data Centre Technology at home

This year we've moved the business to Derbyshire. Our new home is a sprawling 210 year old building located on the edge of the flood plain of the River Derwent. The previous owner was a bit disingenuous about the flooding risk. He said there'd been no insurance claims against flooding. After our arrival we discovered that every 10  years or so the river will come and visit our garden. The flood water in the garden can be knee deep. There is usually some warning from the Environment Agency when flooding is about to occur. 

We're not terribly upset about this as the way the house is constructed means it is not normal for any damage to occur. However we are starting to plan some demountable flood defences which can be stored until needed and then quickly put in place. This is not absolutely straight forward as we have to modify the building's drainage system to prevent back flooding from the main sewer.

Our building is Grade II listed, in a World Heritage Site and also is sited in a Local Authority Conservation Area.  Any change to the building, its outhouses, trees, garden and garden walls needs the approval of the Local Authority and potentially English Heritage. If we breach the regulations we face criminal sanctions plus the cost of returning the building, walls etc to their original state, We'll need to seek approval for the flood defences.

The most difficult problem is the garage which is located 60 metres away at the foot of our garden closest to the river. We could wake in the morning to find our expensive car wading in knee deep water. Not a good thing. We can't raise the garage floor because of the planning regulations. We have considered a rebuilt garage with an in-built pontoon to float the car (and roof) above the flood water but the costs are prohibitive. We've decided to use Data Centre technology to provide a reasonably priced solution to this dilemma.

We'll install a water leak detector cable around the garage wall about one centimetre (half inch) above the concrete floor.
water leak monitor

We'll use a Jacarta interSeptor Pro control unit to monitor the water leak detector and raise an alert if the garage floor is covered with water.

We're also using a temperature monitor cable, from the interSeptor into the adjoining hen house and trigger a heating pad if the temperature drops too low. 
temperature monitor
Finally we'll add a security contact to the garage door to detect any unwanted intruders, this will be monitored by the Jacarta unit.
 security monitor
The connection back to the house will be via directional Wifi antennae utilising 5 GHz (802.11n) band. The combination of intervening trees, thick stone walls, distance, and interference defeat normal domestic Wifi. We don't want the construction and planning hassle of running CAT 5 cables or fibre between the buildings.

It sounds like overkill to use the technology to protect a garage, but it will put us experience of installing and operating the devices. It will also put us in the position to endorse the product as something we use to protect our own assets. We'll note progress on this blog. We've also looked at alternative devices to monitor the status of our holiday home.

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