Home Automation has quickly become a buzz-word, but to me, it’s about the hobby of building and maintaining systems which actively improve my life through computer control. This goes beyond simple app remote control. For me, I’m particularly fond of motion-activated lighting, time of day based automation, and really anything else I can do to reduce mundane tasks and improve my quality of life.
I bought a ton of new Z-wave switches and dimmers, and I’m still trying to find the best user interface for automated lighting given the equipment I have, as well as what would be ideal in a new built house. Today, I tried a few automations for my kitchen lighting, which being the center of activity in the house, are the most noticed by everyone, and must work properly at all times.
As I expand the reach of Home Assistant, I continuously try to build automations that make life generally easier for the users of the home. To me, automation isn’t about being able to control anything from my phone - in fact, the less I have to get my phone out, the better. I will still enjoy tracking history entries and status of nodes with both the web UI and app, but I shouldn’t have to, the house should just work.
When I started my bathroom automation journey, I used the Inovelli 4-in-1 Motion Sensor (LZW60) which had sensors for motion, temperature, humidity, and ambient light level in my Smart Bathroom Project. I was happy with the automation, but wanted to try out some cheaper sensors to see if they were adequate for the other bathrooms in my house. I decided to try the Aqara (Xiaomi) Temperature and Humidity Sensor and the Sonoff SNZB-02 Temperature and Humidity Sensor as cheap alternatives for temperature and humidity.
It’s always a good day to receive new hardware, and today is no different. Over the past few days, I’ve received a bunch of hardware in the mail and I’d like to share my plans with you. Ever since I setup my first automations with my blinds and started automating my lighting and bathroom, I’ve been addicted to automating more and more of the house. So, after spending a lot of money on high end Z-wave motion sensors, dimmers, and switches, I went searching for some more cost-effective products to try out.
I’m fairly protocol agnostic in my home automation system, and that’s one of the benefits of building something with open source software like Home Assistant - there’s no vendor lock in and you can pretty much connect anything you can pull data from into it. While I’ve set up a Zigbee network for my blinds and ordered a ton of cheap sensors from Aliexpress to test, and set up a reliable Z-Wave network with more expensive sensors and lighting dimmers, I’m always looking to expand the wealth of data I can capture.
A number of years ago, my dad subscribed to Comcast / Xfinity’s security system to get a discount on internet, then un-subscribed when the promotional period ended. Their system relied on a Technicolor touchscreen which acted as a Zigbee hub, connected to a number of Zigbee door switches and a Zigbee wall moounted keypad. They wanted their touchscreen back, but didn’t care about all of the dirt cheap sensors or the keypad, so they’ve been sitting in place in the house for many years now.
I’d already had a start in Home Automation with my IKEA Blinds Project and Z-Wave with my Bedroom Lighting, so I was ready for something more advanced. Little did I know that automating a bathroom light and fan switch would require so much logic to avoid being stuck in the dark in the shower at night, and all the other corner cases that come up when you try to implement real automation logic instead of ‘smart home’ party tricks.
Previosly, I built a home security camera system using ZoneMinder. Somewhat dissatisfied with the status quo of ZoneMinder, I set out to try a brand new security NVR - Frigate - and see if an NVR written specifically to integrate into Home Assistant could be used for more than just recording and viewing camera footage.
The Old System I am using the same Dahua cameras I installed in the ZoneMinder System.
After playing with my Zigbee-controlled IKEA FYRTUR Blinds, I wanted to experiemnt with automated lighting. Despite already having a functional Zigbee network, I wanted to choose high quality, reliable lighting components. After spending a ton of time researching on the internet, I decided to start a new Z-Wave network, using Inovelli dimmer switches. This project is my first attempt to get the network functioning.
The Choice of a Network After my (somewhat poor) experience with Zigbee, I wasn’t eager to use Zigbee hardware again for something critical like lighting.
My bedroom faces to the West. As with most McMansions in the United States, the architect had absolutely no consideration for the angles of the sun in each room throughout the day. In fact, the architect wasn’t even involved in building this house, the plans were purchased as a set. As a result, I get blasted in the mid afternoon summer sun, greatly raising the temperature in my room and causing far too much screen glare for my taste.