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)

Chair Presence Detection

Chair Presence Detection using Ultrasonic Distance Sensor

One of the first things I usually do in the morning is sit down at my desk in my office and work on this blog or catch up on the news. To add some automation to my setup I wanted to detect if I was at my desk so I could properly light the room. Using an Ultrasonic Distance Sensor with a NodeMCU, I used distance to determine if someone was sitting at the desk or not.

I’m just using this today to trigger lighting in the room. You could use this to start up your PC using Wake on LAN or anything else to automate your routine. Think of this setup as a basic form of room based presence detection. I am the main person who uses the office in my household and I’m always at my desk when I’m working. This idea could be extended to cover multiple desks within a room.

[Read more…]Chair Presence Detection using Ultrasonic Distance Sensor

Zoned Cleaning with the Roborock S5

Zoned Cleaning with the Xiaomi Roborock S5 Robotic Vacuum

We recently took the plunge into the robot vacuum world and ended up getting the Xiaomi Roborock S5. Today’s article goes through the basic setup of getting the robot vacuum working with Home Assistant including:

  • Controlling the vacuum from the Home Assistant frontend
  • Start cleaning a room from the Home Assistant frontend
  • Start cleaning a room using the Google Assistant

[Read more…]Zoned Cleaning with the Xiaomi Roborock S5 Robotic Vacuum

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

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…]