Of all of the doors in a normal US McMansion, the garage doors are the biggest, and are almost always motorized. This means they are an easy target for automation, since most of the hardware is already there, we just need to bridge it to the virtual space. The cheapest way to do this is to use a door contact switch and dry contact relay which are compatible with Home Assistant, and some YAML magic to bridge them together.
Today I spent the day flashing Tasmota on a variety of Sonoff devices, for use in future projects. I took pictures of the process, so you can follow along with all of the fun bits of playing with repurposed electronic hardware. I have projects in mind for some of these, but some are still ’extra’ (nothing is really ever ’extra’, it will always be used eventually). I have two Sonoff S31 (US smart plug with power monitoring), two Sonoff S26 (US version of the low cost S20 smart plug), and two Sonoff 4CHPRO R3 (4 channel relay, the Pro version with isolated relays).
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.
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.
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.
I am currently living in my parents house, which is fed water by a private well, and we have no way of knowing exactly how much water we use. Since I’m planning on building my own house, I wanted to know how much water I (and everyone else in the house) realistically used. In addition, I wanted to know how much hot water we use and how frequently we use hot water, so I could model hot water heating systems.
I am currently living in my parents house, which is fed water by a private well. Due to the mineral content in most well water, we use a water softener. For those of you with city water, a water softener is a type of ion exchange filter which uses salt (sodium chloride) to replace calcium, magnesium, and other metals in the water with sodium. None of these minerals are hazardous, but they do stain everything, so reducing them is desirable.