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

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

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

Start Docker Compose using systemd on Debian

How do you start up your multi-container application? Lots of the time these multi-container setups have dependencies between them and you need to start them in a specific order? How can you get this done automatically on bootup? Today I’m going over how to use Docker Compose and systemd to automatically launch all your containers in the correct order on bootup leveraging systemd on a Debian host.

So if you’ve got an MQTT broker (or another service) that must start up before your Home Assistant service and you’re already using Docker Compose this is an article for you! This method works great on a Raspberry Pi but should also work on anything using systemd as the initilization system.

[Read more…]Start Docker Compose using systemd on Debian

Home Assistant Notification Showdown

Notifications are an important part of a Home Automation platform. Users typically want to get alerted when things happen and there are various degrees of importance for notifications. Right now in Home Assistant 0.76.2 there are 60 different notification platforms! In this post I’m going to review several different notification platforms supported in Home Assistant. You probably don’t want an email when your garage door doesn’t close but an email might make sense for a weekly electricity usage report, I’ll go over some use cases for each type of notification.

We’re an Android household so this review is coming from that perspective, if you’re using iOS there is a Home Assistant iOS App that supports notifications that I’ve heard good things about. You may also find some of the other notification platforms discussed in this post to be useful to supplement.

[Read more…]Home Assistant Notification Showdown

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