Fire Alarm


  • The purpose of this project is to create a smart FireAlarm. Upon fire detection, the device will collect environmental data from the sensors and send it to a remote server, which in turn will notify all the users about the incident.
  • The FireAlarm also comes with an easy-to-use configuration app, which is required to connect the FireAlarm device to a local Wi-Fi network.
  • Such a project could prove itself to be extremely helpful. In extreme cases, a fire alarm could be a decisive factor for saving lives and goods.


  • Upon initialization, the microcontroller reads the configuration data from its internal flash:
    1. SSID and password of the Wi-Fi network;
    2. URL of a remote server where the measurements must be sent to;
    3. GUID that uniquely identifies the FireAlarm device (this ID is sent along with each measurement).
  • The RGB led provides feedback to the user:
    • green: the device was able to validate the configuration data and connect to the remote server;
    • red: there is valid configuration data stored inside the flash memory, but it could not be used to connect to the server (network issue);
    • blue: the device is in configuration mode (happens on the initial startup).
  • The microcontroller monitors the pins of the sensors;
  • If any sensor reads data that could indicate a fire, the ESP32 would query all the sensors and send the data to the remote server. Also, it turns on the buzzer alarm;
  • The remote server relays the fire signal to each user device that is registered for notifications (smartphone, laptop etc).

Initial Setup/Configuration Mode

If the flash memory is empty or the user holds down the SETUP button while FireAlarm is starting up, then the device will switch to the configuration mode:

  • Wi-Fi starts in AP+STA mode, meaning that it would act as a hotspot;
  • a special WebServer is started. It listens to requests made to (the IP of the FireAlarm on the local hotspot network);
  • the WebServer exposes a handful of REST API endpoints used to query and alter the configuration;
  • once a client connects to the Wi-Fi hotspot and pushes a configuration, the FireAlarm would store it in the internal flash and restart itself to the normal operation mode.

REST APIs implemented on the microcontroller:

  • GET /api/v1/access-points: returns a the list of Wi-Fi Access Points accessible to the FireAlarm device;
  • GET /api/v1/settings: returns the current configuration of the FireAlarm device;
  • POST /api/v1/settings: pushes a new configuration to the FireAlarm device;
  • POST /api/v1/switch-mode: forces the device to switch to the normal mode;
  • POST /api/v1/ping: echoes back the request. Useful to determine whether we are connected to a FireAlarm device.

Hardware Design


Electronic Schematics

Software Design

General Information

The project is comprised of three main software components:

  1. ESP32 Software: communicates with the sensors and sends the measurements to the remote server;
  2. Remote Server: processes and stores the measurements; notifies the registered devices; provides a web interface for visualizing the data;
  3. Android Companion App: consumes the configuration API and provides a human interface for setting up the FireAlarm device; can also be used to visualize the data sent to the remote server.

We will only focus on the microcontroller software.

ESP32 Software

The code is split into multiple “modules”:

  • SettingsManager: manages the configuration data
    • provides a mechanism for serializing and unserializing the data;
    • provides an interface for reading and writing the configuration from/to the flash storage.
  • NetManager: manages the Wi-Fi operation mode (station or client). Branches down further in two modules:
    • NetClient: the FireAlarm device acts as a client
      • provides a mechanism for connecting to a remote web server through HTTPs;
      • can only POST data (measurements).
    • NetConfigAP: the FireAlarm device acts as a station (“Hotspot”)
      • implements a WebServer;
      • the WebServer handles a series of REST API endpoints (explained above);
      • can temporarily switch the Wi-Fi module to station mode in order to scan for other APs.
  • (Flame|Gas)Sensor: abstraction layer for the sensors
    • can register an interrupt on a pin;
    • invokes a callback each time an interruption is raised (the value on the pin changed);
    • provides a mechanism for reading the sensor.
  • Led: abstraction layer for a 4-pin RGB led
    • provides a way to change the color, intensity, blinking rate etc
  • Buzzer: abstraction layer
  • FireAlarm: puts together the components above; responsible for the general logic of the program.
3rd-party Libraries

Moreover, the following 3rd-party libraries are used:

  • ArduinoJson: JSON serializer/deserializer. Used for communicating through REST APIs and storing the configuration as a text file.
  • EasyButton: abstraction layer for push buttons. Provides a debouncing mechanism and invokes a user-defined callback on button press.

During a network operation, the device might appear unresponsive due to the main loop() being busy processing the network request. In order to increase the responsiveness of the FireAlarm device, interrupts are being used: each time a sensor value changes, an interrupt is raised. The interrupt handler marks the event for further processing in the main loop and changes the state of the buzzer (on/off) so that the alarm appears to be responsive to the nearby people.


The server software is written in Flask. It is basically a web server that:

  • exposes an REST API endpoint for the ESP32 to post measurements to. Note that each POST request must contain the GUID of the FireAlarm, otherwise the server would not be able to tell different devices apart;
  • provides a web interface for reading the measurement. The user must know the FireAlarm GUID.

The alarm notification is served though PushBullet. For the notification mechanism to actually work, the user must associate a PushBullet token to their FireAlarm GUID. This operation can be done though the web interface.

Android Companion App

Written in Java. It is basically a client that consumes both the API provided by the ESP32 (when in configuration mode) and the API provided by the remote web server.

The app provides a step-by-step tutorial on how to configure the FireAlarm. After the configuration is done, the app stores locally the assigned GUID of the FIreAlarm device so that the users are not needed to remember the GUID themselves.


FireAlarm Prototype

fire-alarm-photo.jpg fire-alarm-photo-2.jpg

Web Interface

Android Companion App

fire-alarm-android-startup.jpg fire-alarm-android-config.jpg fire-alarm-android-interface.jpg



It was a challenging and productive experience because I had to approach the project from three different perspectives: a local system that collects data from sensors; a remote system that receives and processes measurements from multiple devices; and a hybrid system that must communicate to both the local system (through a local network/“Hotspot”) and to the remote system (through the Internet).



iothings/proiecte/2022sric/fire-alarm.txt · Last modified: 2023/06/01 18:04 by cosmin.vancea
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