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Single Board Computers and Hobson



One of the Hobson automation system's goals is to keep a small footprint and thus it's an excellent candidate for running on single board computers (SBCs). Below are two SBCs that Hobson is currently being tested on:


The device on the left you might recognize as a Raspberry Pi. The device on the right is a CuBox-i. Both of these are running the Hobson Hub on Arch Linux.

Why does this matter?

These devices are small and unobtrusive.

When you're talking about running in an average home, that's an important consideration.

These devices consume very little power.

Both the CuBox-i and the Pi consume about 3 watts of power (according to their manufacturers). To put that in perspective, the average PC will consume somewhere between 80 to 250 watts. Typical incandescent light bulbs consume 60 to 100 watts of power.

If Hobson is going to become a vehicle for helping reduce energy consumption, it needs to be of minimal impact itself.

In my area, I pay $0.11 per kWh. That makes the cost of running one of these devices 24/7 about $3 per year.

These devices are low cost compared to traditional PCs.

The raw Raspberry Pi board's current price on Amazon is $39 (with a case it should be just under $50) . The CuBox-i starts at $80. You'll also need a power supply and SD card to get them fully working. Even if you didn't have those already lying around, it shouldn't be unreasonable to put a Hub together for less than $100. And I fully expect things to get less expensive over time.

In keeping with Hobson's ease-of-use goal, we'll be making Hobson Hub SD card images available for both the CuBox and Pi platforms. This will make installing Hobson as easy as downloading a file, writing it to an SD card and plugging it into your SBC of choice.

Of course, the SBC landscape is constantly changing and we'll be keeping an eye on the latest developments in this area.


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