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A tale of two ZFS Servers, or how I ended up using two HP Microservers for Storage, Virtualization, Containers, Home Automation, you name it ...

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Introduction I bought the house I am currently living in back in 2004, and during the initial renovation I took pains to run multiple lines of cat6 cable to all rooms from a single 'utility rack'.
This has guaranteed me a high level of flexibility when deciding what kind of servers/services to run during all these years.
One of the few rules I have been trying to stick to is that anything that I would use on a continuos base (i.e: powered on 24x7x365) would necessarily have to have a low power draw.
My personal limit for always on peripherals in the house has increased with the years, due to the increase of automation and media devices, but I have been always able to keep it under the 200WH mark.
During these 15 years I have gone through multiple iterations of the hardware and services running in the house, always keeping in mind the balance between having my data stored in a reasonably safe way, my internet access available most of the time, and my ability to connect/work fr…

OpenHab and Node-RED Controlled Christmas Lights

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Introduction 
I used to use some old X10 hardware to remotely control my external Christmas lights, but this year the RF remote was dead and I decided the automation side of the Christmas fun needed an upgrade

After a quick survey of available options (I have some KMP Electronics hardware Lying around, namely some  Prodino Ethernet and some Prodino WROOM Esp8266 ) that require separate low power voltage wiring to function I decided I needed something simpler, that could withstand being stuff in a wall recess without needing a stable electrical panel setup.

This is a blog post  describing how I connected Three Sonoff Basic devices to my existing home automation system to be able to turn them on or off in a manual (Openhab UI) or automated (Node-Red UI) fashion.
Enter the Itead Studio Sonoff Basic The SONOFF BASIC WIFI WIRELESS SWITCH + IP66 WATERPROOF CASE is a basic module that includes a Wi-FI remotely controlled relay that can switch on and off relatively low power loads.

The cool …

Tesla Powerwall II - Is it worth it for my use case?

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Introduction
We have installed a photovoltaic system about one year ago, and have been logging solar production and house energy consumption since.
As of this month we have enough logging data to start looking into the economic value of adding a storage system, specifically the new Tesla Powerwall in order to improve the auto consumed amount of energy.

TL;DR: It's not worth it, yet :)

Background - Photovoltaic System Our photovoltaic system is composed by 24 Viessmann Vitovolt 300 Panels@250Wp, for a theoretical peak power of 6kWp.
The system is installed on our rooftop, and is Oriented in a W-SW configuration (Azimut@237 Degrees) with a 28 Degrees inclination, located in Northern Italy.



As it can be seen by the lower production numbers of two panels, we have a chimney that casts an important shadow on two panels (1.1.9 and 1.1.10), and we have some shadow cast by some huge trees on a neighbour's property that basically block solar radiation from 6PM onwards from spring to aut…