Adding Video Surveillance with UniFi Video

Adding Home Video Surveillance with UniFi Video

Want to add video surveillance to your home? After looking through several different camera hardware and software setups I decided to invest in the Ubiquiti Networks solution starting with their “Dome” camera and hosting the UniFi Video software on my own home server. Today’s article covers the install process for both the hardware and software. … [Read more…]

Convert your Pull-Chain to Z-Wave

Convert Your Pull-Chain Ceiling Fan to Z-Wave

Have a fan in your home you want to turn on automatically? Right now controlled by a light switch or pull chain? In today’s article, I’m going to be converting my ceiling fan from being controlled by a wall switch and pull chain to being controlled by Z-Wave switches.

My main goals for the project were to:

  • Be able to control my ceiling fan speed and light from my Home Automation system
  • Automatically turn on the fan when the temperature reaches a certain level
  • Control the fan locally with the switch when needed

My home office never cools down or warms up enough. I wanted to get the ceiling fan into my Home Automation system so I could automatically turn it on during hot days or mornings before I come to work in the office.

[Read more…]Convert Your Pull-Chain Ceiling Fan to Z-Wave

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

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