Using Two MQTT Brokers with Broker Bridging

Using Two MQTT Brokers with Broker Bridging

Running your own private MQTT broker on your local network? This is great for all your local Home Automation devices but would about things that are outside your network? Apps like OwnTracks can communicate your GPS to an MQTT broker but you’ll need to open up your network to the outside.

Today’s article details a hybrid-cloud solution using an external MQTT broker in conjunction with a private MQTT broker running on your local network. Home Assistant (or any Home Automation platform) can subscribe to topics on your local MQTT broker while still receiving messages from the external one.

[Read more…]Using Two MQTT Brokers with Broker Bridging

Appliance Energy Monitoring Using ZWave

Appliance Energy Monitoring using Z-Wave

Ever get an expensive power bill and want to know what appliance was the culprit? Maybe you want to learn how much an appliance is costing you? In today’s article, I show how you can use the Zooz Z-Wave Plus Power Switch with Home Assistant, InfluxDB and Grafana to track and plot an appliance’s energy usage and cost. The result is an easy to digest Grafana dashboard you can use to track what time of day your appliances are consuming the most energy and how much it’s costing you!

I’m using Z-Wave in this article, but feel free to substitute for whatever protocol your Home Automation setup is using. As long as you can get energy measurements for an appliance into Home Assistant you should be good to go!

[Read more…]Appliance Energy Monitoring using Z-Wave

Zooz Zwave Plus Power Switch Review

Zooz Z-Wave Plus Power Switch Review and Setup

Ever wanted to be alerted when an appliance has been on for too long? What about switch a device on and off from your phone or through an automation? This is the perfect application for a smart switch! Today I’m going to be looking at the Zooz Z-Wave Plus Power Switch (ZEN15) and integrating it with Home Assistant with notifications.

There are a ton of smart home switches on Amazon. I have invested in a Z-Wave Plus mesh network in my house, so I went searching for a great Z-Wave Plus switch that measures energy usage. Z-Wave communication is all local so you don’t need to rely on any cloud service being up or any companies taking your data. It also works at a lower frequency band (908 MHz) than WiFi. So it won’t cause congestion on your 2.4 GHz wireless spectrum at your home that your WiFi and Bluetooth devices already use. If you’re interested in Z-Wave Plus check out my article on Adding a Z-Wave Plus Dimmer Switch to Home Assistant.

[Read more…]Zooz Z-Wave Plus Power Switch Review and Setup

WiFi RGB LED Strip Music Visualization

WiFi RGB LED Strip Music Visualization

Continuing off of my post from last week creating a WiFi Connected RGB LED Strip, I’m adding a new effect: music visualization. The goals of the project are:

  • LED strip syncs to the music playing
  • The audio comes in from a headphone jack
  • LED strip should still be able to support a solid color and other visualizations
  • Controllable over WiFi and using Home Assistant
  • The LEDs add a subtle visualization to the music, don’t want my living room becoming a rave
  • Everything should be hidden well for a high spouse approval factor

[Read more…]WiFi RGB LED Strip Music Visualization

Create Your Own WiFi Connected RGB LED Strips

WiFi Connected RGB LED Strip

LED light strips can make a great accent to your desk, TV, kitchen or elsewhere in your home. Wouldn’t it be great to build one that can be controlled over WiFi? How about making cool animations that go with a holiday, sports team or time of day. Today, I’m giving my implementation of a WiFi Connected RGB LED Strip that you can use to add some lights and fun to your home.

[Read more…]WiFi Connected RGB LED Strip

Monitor Your System with Glances and Home Assistant

Monitor Your Systems with Glances and Home Assistant

Do you have any home servers running on your network? Maybe some Raspberry Pis? Wouldn’t it be great to know how they are all performing at any given time? Receive an alert when disk space is running low? Today’s article is going to focus on Glances, a cross-platform monitoring tool for your systems. Our objective is … [Read more…]

Create Telegram Bot for Home Assistant

Create Telegram Bot for Home Assistant

Ever wanted to interact with your Home Assistant configuration when you’re not on the network? Want to run Home Assistant services and automations? The solution may be to create a telegram bot for Home Assistant.

A bot allows you to interact with your Home Assistant instance over a messaging platform. You can send custom commands to your bot to run automations, services and query different sensors in your setup. Today’s article goes through the installation and configuration steps to get a Telegram bot working in Home Assistant.

[Read more…]Create Telegram Bot for Home Assistant

4 Essential Tips for Improving Your DIY Home Automation Projects

4 Essential Tips for Improving Your DIY Home Automation Project

Home Automation projects are rarely “complete”. They evolve over time. A few weeks ago I posted an article about creating a DIY garage door opener using MicroPython. Since then, I received lots of awesome feedback from the community and improved the design. I’ve summarized the feedback into 4 essential tips for improving your DIY Home Automation project.

  • Use PlatformIO for Build Environment
  • Add temperature and humidity sensors
  • Update your firmware over WiFi using over the air updates
  • Add a heartbeat

Check out the original article on how to create DIY Smart Garage Door Opener if you haven’t already, to get a starting point for this project. These could also be applied to my DIY Bed Presence Detection solution or any other DIY home automation project you’re working on.

[Read more…]4 Essential Tips for Improving Your DIY Home Automation Project

Debouncing Buttons in MicroPython

Ever introduce a pushbutton into your electronics project but have trouble getting a stable reading? Have you read about “debouncing” a button and want to learn how to easily accomplish this in software? This article goes over the background of switch and button debouncing and walks through my MicroPython code to accomplish this. Background So … [Read more…]