eRVin - Enhancing RV Integrated Networks
Ever heard of a “Smart Home” or “Home Automation”? Well the eRVin project is intended to bring home automation like capabilities to later model recreational vehicles (RV’s). Most of the lighting and other systems on an RV operate on 12 volts DC, not the 120 volt AC found in every home. Because of this, unlike products designed to work in a grid connected home, there are very few inexpensive “automation” products that can be implemented as a cohesive system on an RV, at least not without a lot of expertise in programming and networking.
The RV Industry Association (RVIA), circa 2006 began developing it’s own automation technology system called RV-C. It is based on Controller Area Network (CAN) technology found in all modern cars and trucks. It also is very similar to a marine data sharing technology known as NMEA2000, in fact I believe RV-C is based on NMEA2000.
While RV-C is a public open standard with a detailed published specifications, and while many vendors to date have produced products that support it, the specifics of those implementations appear to be proprietary, so there is little to no specific documentation for DIY’ers.
The eRVin system participates in the RV-C network and can hear and talk to most of the associated equipment. The primary project goal is to help enhance the integration of lower cost non-proprietary technology with RV-C as well as to provide a baseline means to openly share information while keeping the complexity to a minimum.
A prerequisite to use eRVin is some form of exiting RV-C network on board the RV. Most often this network will take the form of a Firefly control system which is a foundation product. Such systems are common on older (after 2006) high end RV’s and lately can be found on many of the RV’s being produced today. If a coach has “multiplex lighting” it is likely it has a basic RV-C network. While older RV-C systems might only be connected to lighting equipment, newer models will have most if not all other sub-systems tied in such as HVAC, charger/inverter, tank levels, transfer switch, fans, locks, awnings, slides, etc. In some cases the sub-system vendor needs to produce their product with an RV-C interface, some examples are Magnum, Garnet SeeLevel and the Surge Guard Transfer Switch. In other cases, such as locks, shades and slides, the sub-systems are controlled by the Firefly panel or an adjunct controller. The beauty of it is, all systems on board share a common language and are connected in a unified network. Additionally, one can create their own sub-systems that interface with eRVin, for example GPS tracking, presence detection, remote temperature monitoring, etc., etc.
The hardware for eRVin is an inexpensive microcontroller with a special interface that connects with the Firefly/RV-C system via a simple four wire cable and allows local and remote control of the various on board equipment via an “app” or webpage. It also adds additional support for devices like the Amazon Echo (Alexa), so lights, shades and other devices can be controlled by voice commands.
Currently the eRVin project has working hardware/software available to gateway into RV-C networks and control lights, shades and other subsystems. It also currently supports Alexa, remote access, email/text notifications and more. The hardware for the eRVin controller is relatively inexpensive ($90 – $160) and the software is open source (free). Further the eRVin gateway can potentially act as an automation controller and also gateway into other similar “Home Automation” technologies, such as Home Assistant.
The eRVin project is based on CoachProxy a system initially designed specifically for Tiffin motorhomes. CoachProxy has ceased operations but many thanks to the original inventor and the developer for making their considerable efforts open source and free to the world.
The eRVin Project would like to see this technology applied to all brands and models of RV’s that have the appropriate factory infrastructure. I have adapted the core CoachProxy technology to work on my own RV which is a 2017 Entegra Aspire motorhome, plus I have added additional capabilities that were not present at the time of purchase on my Entegra. The posts on this site describe what I have learned so far and hopefully will expand as I continue to learn.
This site contains articles on how to build your own gateway hardware at minimal cost. A software “image” for the eRVin OS is available here for download so very little to no programming knowledge is required. Development of “configuration files” for various RV year/brand/model/floorplan are ongoing and can be easily downloaded to the eRVin OS. To acquire or build the eRVin hardware start here.
All the developers of D5 Creation have come from the disadvantaged part or group of the society. All have established themselves after a long and hard struggle in their life ----- D5 Creation Team