DIY WiFi Sprinkler Controller Software

DIY WiFi Sprinkler Controller using ESP8266 (Part 2)

Welcome to part 2 of my series on my DIY WiFi Sprinkler Controller using ESP8266. Last week I wrote an article on the hardware involved in the project, definitely check it out if you haven’t already. It goes in depth to all the components used. Today’s article will be looking closer at the software of the system. Including the firmware running on the device and the Home Assistant integration.

[Read more…]DIY WiFi Sprinkler Controller using ESP8266 (Part 2)

DIY WiFi Sprinkler Controller

DIY WiFi Sprinkler Controller using ESP8266 (Part 1)

Thinking about getting a smart sprinkler controller for your house? Want completely local control using no cloud services? Today’s article walks through the hardware I used to create my own DIY WiFi sprinkler controller using an ESP8266. I’ll be going over the software portion in part 2 of the series. The goals of the project are:

  • Control my sprinkler system in an automated fashion, but still turn on individual zones manually when needed
  • No reliance on the cloud, should work over local network
  • Be extendable to any number of zones relatively easy
  • Keep the controller simple, keep the scheduling logic on the home automation platform
  • Inexpensive to build, but must be reliable

[Read more…]DIY WiFi Sprinkler Controller using ESP8266 (Part 1)

Holiday Gift Guide 2018

Holiday Gift Guide for 2018

Don’t know what to get your loved one for the holidays? Just starting to get into DIY electronics and Home Automation and wondering what to ask for? Today, I’m highlighting some of my favorite tools and products that would be great for any DIYer or Home Automation enthusiast.

Everything I’m recommending I’ve used and owned myself. I’ve purposely chosen tools and products in a range of price ranges to make it easy to choose something in your budget. 

[Read more…]Holiday Gift Guide for 2018

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

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…]

DIY Bed Occupancy Sensor

DIY Bed Presence Detection in Home Assistant

Ever want to create an automation around someone sitting on a chair or laying in bed? Using an ESP8266, load cells, an MQTT broker and Home Assistant you can create a DIY weight sensor attached to your bed to form a smart bed! This that will allow you to detect these events and trigger automations.

While you could use this to accurately measure the weight of something, I’m focused on detecting presence on a piece of furniture. You can use this data to create automations based on where people are currently located in your home.

Some hardware you’ll need:

[Read more…]DIY Bed Presence Detection in Home Assistant

DIY Smart Garage Door Opener

My wife and I use the garage every day to go in and out our house. Wouldn’t you like to automatically make sure your garage door is closed at night? Or know the status of it when you’re away from the house? Today I’m going to use some inexpensive electronics to turn your standard garage door into a “smart” garage door. This design still keeps all the original functionality of your garage door intact, you won’t have to use an app or website to open the garage door, it just brings the garage door into the digital world.

For this project, we’re going to hook up an ESP8266 to our garage door opener to control over Home Assistant using MQTT. Some hardware you’ll need for this project:

From a software perspective, you’re going to need Home Assistant running with an MQTT broker and an ESP8266 running MicroPython. Check out these blog posts for setting those up:

[Read more…]DIY Smart Garage Door Opener

Creating a DIY Home Assistant Switch using MicroPython

I want to add some DIY switches to my Home Assistant automation setup. These switches can control anything, such as lights, fans, blinds, etc… The switches are programmed using MicroPython using the ESP8266 NodeMCU board. Home Assistant will control them using the MQTT protocol. Check out some of my previous blog entries for getting an MQTT broker running with Home Assistant and MicroPython the ESP8266.

Why did I go with MicroPython over Arduino or ESPEasy? I wanted to use Python so that as my needs changed I had a flexible programming language I could use to quickly program a solution. Plus, I just like using Python and hadn’t played with MicroPython yet.

One thing I love about the ESP8266 is that MicroPython is really well supported and they’re pretty cheap. You can get a pack of 2 from Amazon.

[Read more…]Creating a DIY Home Assistant Switch using MicroPython