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Thank you for the great forum, Safe Driving over the weekend. Sincerely Jason
Peter Topp

My DIY Home Automation

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I started by purchasing Chromecast devices all  3 tv's in my home. This was followed by adding  4 google home devices to the house. 1 in the living room, 2  in the bedrooms and 1 in the kitchen. This allowed me to listen any music I liked in the rooms and various other functions.   Just before December 2019 I purchased 2wifi RGB smart bulbs for Xmas effects in my living room. I liked the effects and was also chuffed that all of this was voice controlled as the devices were Google Home compatible. I also have a Paradox wireless security alarm, a DVR with 8x outside and 4x inside security cameras all which can be controlled or seen from an app's on my phone. 3 x inside camera's can remotely be adjusted horizontally and vertically with voice control to and from the camera's.

My next step was look into other home automation devices. I also did  not want to use a lot of different apps on my phone to control the devices.I chose to go with Sonoff and Eachen devices wich use the same phone app and are compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Home.These devices are relatively inexpensive and easy to install.

I installed 4 x single gang and 2 x double gang WI-Fi touch wall light  switches from Eachen as these light switches do not need a neutral, however a capacitor which is supplied needs to be connected at the light. I also installed single Sonoff Wi-Fi switches to my garage door, gate motor, electric fence, irrigation, lounge light, side light and xbox one.

I still need to connect 2 x 4 gang light switches my lounge and dinning room lights however I cannot find 4 gang switches that do not use a neutral so I will have to wait for them to become available.

These switches are all compatible with Google Home so they all can be voice activated and from the Google Home and  eWeLink app. These devices can also be controlled from anywhere in the world where there is a Wi-Fi connection available.

I no longer have get up or get out of bed to switch the lights on or off.

There are however some drawbacks.  If there is no Wi-Fi (load shedding) for the switches you will have to switch them on manually if they are connected in series.This can be overcome buy purchasing remote control devices that work from a hub, that  still work even when Wi-fi is not available.

I am sure it also affects the Wi-Fi as the devices are permanently connected to Wi-Fi. I also see a difference when downloading Xbox which is also connected to Wi-Fi (downloading is erratic). I will change this to a lan cable.

If you are purchasing smart Wi-Fi lights be sure to check if they are bright enough and the colour (warm or cool white) . Some can do both. 

Switches need to be in Wi-Fi range and I had to install some externally (electric fence and garage door) as the housings blocked the Wi-Fi signal. 

At least I now  have something that listens to me and does what I want when I want.

It is just unfortunate I can't automate my wife to do what I want when I want without any backchat.  HAHA

 

Edited by Peter Topp
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19 hours ago, Peter Topp said:

I started by purchasing Chromecast devices all  3 tv's in my home. This was followed by adding  4 google home devices to the house. 1 in the living room, 2  in the bedrooms and 1 in the kitchen. This allowed me to listen any music I liked in the rooms and various other functions.   Just before December 2019 I purchased 2wifi RGB smart bulbs for Xmas effects in my living room. I liked the effects and was also chuffed that all of this was voice controlled as the devices were Google Home compatible. I also have a Paradox wireless security alarm, a DVR with 8x outside and 4x inside security cameras all which can be controlled or seen from an app's on my phone. 3 x inside camera's can remotely be adjusted horizontally and vertically with voice control to and from the camera's.

My next step was look into other home automation devices. I also did  not want to use a lot of different apps on my phone to control the devices.I chose to go with Sonoff and Eachen devices wich use the same phone app and are compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Home.These devices are relatively inexpensive and easy to install.

I installed 4 x single gang and 2 x double gang WI-Fi touch wall light  switches from Eachen as these light switches do not need a neutral, however a capacitor which is supplied needs to be connected at the light. I also installed single Sonoff Wi-Fi switches to my garage door, gate motor, electric fence, irrigation, lounge light, side light and xbox one.

I still need to connect 2 x 4 gang light switches my lounge and dinning room lights however I cannot find 4 gang switches that do not use a neutral so I will have to wait for them to become available.

These switches are all compatible with Google Home so they all can be voice activated and from the Google Home and  eWeLink app. These devices can also be controlled from anywhere in the world where there is a Wi-Fi connection available.

I no longer have get up or get out of bed to switch the lights on or off.

There are however some drawbacks.  If there is no Wi-Fi (load shedding) for the switches you will have to switch them on manually if they are connected in series.This can be overcome buy purchasing remote control devices that work from a hub, that  still work even when Wi-fi is not available.

I am sure it also affects the Wi-Fi as the devices are permanently connected to Wi-Fi. I also see a difference when downloading Xbox which is also connected to Wi-Fi (downloading is erratic). I will change this to a lan cable.

If you are purchasing smart Wi-Fi lights be sure to check if they are bright enough and the colour (warm or cool white) . Some can do both. 

Switches need to be in Wi-Fi range and I had to install some externally (electric fence and garage door) as the housings blocked the Wi-Fi signal. 

Thanks for this. I am encouraged. I've been thinking of home automation recently. I can see the usefulness of turning lights and other devices on or off remotely. I need to do some googling to truly understand what works together, but you have given some good initial information and, as I said, some encouragement.

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I too have started down this road.

Bought a few Sonoff smart switches at the beginning of the year. I want to install them on the fridges and freezers, so they can turn off between 10pm and 6am in order to save power. I may also flash them, and get the ICC power management module so they can also power off devices when batteries get too low etc.

Haven't quite gotten to Google home devices throughout the house, or light switches and bulbs, but it will come.

 

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I would strongly suggest that you guys check out Home Assistant, it's a great home automation OS and platform. Not to take away from anything that been done here, but just moving a switch to your phone or voice assistant isn't really automation. One need to work towards letting the house make decisions based on the environment. But it does all start with adding some remote control to a switch. 

 

 

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Hi Calypso

The Home Assistant is in another league and is certainly not DIY and would beyond the reach of most home owners budget and needs to be installed by professionals.  Other than the sound and video and a fancy Media room and control panel the switches  I used all have the ability to be set at any time to be turned on and  or off and the system has the ability to add alarms, cameras , blind openers, temp and humidity monitors etc. So I would safely say it is DIY Home Automation. It is really automation.

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1 hour ago, Peter Topp said:

Hi Calypso

The Home Assistant is in another league and is certainly not DIY and would beyond the reach of most home owners budget and needs to be installed by professionals. Other than the sound and video and a fancy Media room and control panel the switches I used all have the ability to be set at any time to be turned on and or off and the system has the ability to add alarms, cameras , blind openers, temp and humidity monitors etc. So I would safely say it is DIY Home Automation. It is really automation.

Home Assistant is free and for hardware many run in on a Raspberry Pi. No need for any professionals. Most of it can also be programmed through the GUI now. 

I think you might be confusing this with Control 4, Crestron etc. 

Edited by calypso

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After doing more research I see there is another home assistant that is not commercially sold and it is for the DIY. The switches can all be integrated into this system. I can be run from a local server or a Raspberry Pi. I will be looking further into this. The Home Assistant in my previous post was a system that is commercially sold and professionally installed.

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Another option that is worth a look is Openhabian - it is also well supported. 
I whent full automation about three years ago and sofar Openhab has treated me well. 

This is what my layout looks like :

 


1.jpg.0d7b5cc2a90efbdbc2cea075b5920564.jpg6.jpg.df77787ff17f46aad1b9ae0a896ee883.jpg5.jpg.82111dd98175d583b91e5db69cddec8a.jpg4.jpg.1878936e447806e206ecfeb9ff4d82c2.jpg3.thumb.jpg.cb7d58bcc8573663efc23052b21e1895.jpg2.jpg.934dd5b52510b0099bbcabc63067d835.jpg9.jpg.d51bba2ba139ea93d8edfa54ec2dc546.jpg8.jpg.9ad29d3971cbba43a7ee4c3433056297.jpg7.jpg.b0228b4e4013452c576e2990bfbc09de.jpg

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@Gabriell I am running on Rpi with Openhabian Image. Much easier plug and play solution as I just need to make a copy of the SD image. Also power consumption ( witch was a large deciding factor) is quite low in comparison. 

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@PaulF007

Quite an impressive setup! just reading through what you got controlled there is inspiring me to do something similar!

Control via Wifi?  

Was trying to find out if there are local suppliers for zigbee or some other wireless home automation (I am a bit protective of my wifi band width).

 

 

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20 hours ago, werries said:

@PaulF007

Quite an impressive setup! just reading through what you got controlled there is inspiring me to do something similar!

Control via Wifi?  

Was trying to find out if there are local suppliers for zigbee or some other wireless home automation (I am a bit protective of my wifi band width).

 

 

One way to go is SonOff - now a days you get quite a lot of options and they have even made an API for the firmware.

Personally I have a couple of SonOff running Tasmota at difficult to reach places.  But the bulk of my system is running on Arduino Programs that I wrote with MQTT as my backbone. I use Openhab only as the front interface and in theory I can control the system through any MQTT interface. This makes things much more "universal". 

Every thing is running on a R-pi.

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29 minutes ago, PaulF007 said:

Every thing is running on a R-pi.

I've considered doing the same, but with a Beaglebone instead (something with eMMC). I currently run hass on a Pi (quick and easy), but I've already had to redo the whole setup because the sdcard went bad... and I feel like it is just a matter of time before it does it again. One day when I have time to kill...

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2 hours ago, plonkster said:

I've considered doing the same, but with a Beaglebone instead (something with eMMC). I currently run hass on a Pi (quick and easy), but I've already had to redo the whole setup because the sdcard went bad... and I feel like it is just a matter of time before it does it again. One day when I have time to kill...

I've started moving my Pi based systems over to AtomicPi. Form factor is a little larger, cost is about the same but the key difference is it has eMMC and can boot from USB. I have a few first gen NVME drives lying around and they go into usb3.1 enclosures beautifully. No more dead SD cards. Nice big passive heatsink on top.

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15 hours ago, plonkster said:

I've considered doing the same, but with a Beaglebone instead (something with eMMC). I currently run hass on a Pi (quick and easy), but I've already had to redo the whole setup because the sdcard went bad... and I feel like it is just a matter of time before it does it again. One day when I have time to kill...

I would assume that Hassio also have a config file with all the necessary settings. 

So i have a small script running that will back up the config and node red files once a week to Dropbox as these are the ones that gets changed from time to time. Regarding the base OS I have a Full image backup on a hard drive with an extra SD next to the pi.Should it go belly up I can just swap the images. Update the config file to the latest and away we go. Three years later , touch wood , I have not had any problems --- yet --- :). Although I am waiting for the Pi 4 os to get to the stage that it will boot negatively from a  SSD. There are already a couple of workarounds to do this but Ill wait a little bit longer.

There is also a project that is quite interesting to have a look at , IOTstact by Graham. He's a local and has done a tremendous amount of work. Also the place I got the Droobox script. Go have a look , well worth the 30 sec :) 

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5 hours ago, PaulF007 said:

back up the config

We don't need no steenkin backups...

This container stuff is rather interesting, I've actually wondered if it would be possible to stick Venus into a container. You'd have to punch a few holes so Venus can see the /dev of the host (or at least patch through all /dev/ttyUSB* and /dev/ttyAMA* devices), and it would be headless... but it's an intriguing idea (and it would mean we no longer have to build Debian packages for some Venus bits).

I'm just not quite certain how easy it would be to take the rootfs of an OpenEmbedded build and change it into a docker image.

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I love my Home Assistant install (running on an old laptop with docker)  and have it linked to my Victron setup via colour GX - automations linked to solar are simple at the moment related to when I have excess solar - like linking battery and solar status to geysor status (turns on in day if battery is full).

But once grid tied (hopefully in 2 weeks time) I internd to use it to controll the charge cycles from the grid to minimise/eliminate municipal bill (in PE you can use the grid like a big battery as long as you consume in same time of use period as credit is generated). Battery will get me though the Peak periods in evening and morining. Intend to have a toggle for when there is loadshedding which will make sure the battery keeps about a certain percentage - have thought of pulling in the schedule but not sure I have the skills for that :)  

Here is a snap shot of live info on my dashboard at about 12:00noon (3kw is being wasted as it has no where to go)  - at moment Geyser and dehumidifier are on because of following conditions, Grid setpoint is 200W:

a) Battery > 95%

b) Family is in town (device tracking)

c) Daylight hours

image.png.532ef070c5328637f76495a11b954a5d.png

 

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Posted (edited)

I'm also a big fan of home assistant.

This is my dashboard for my Axpert MKS II. I have a raspberry pi connected to it with bidirectional MQTT to my home assistant server.

The server used to be just a pi 3 but it started getting a bit sluggish with all the data points. I've since migrated to an old 4th gen i3 with a cheap SSD

 

inverter.thumb.png.777bd7ae177f3fe45d03b36357c8f7b2.png

 

I've done some other stuff as well if you guys are interested to see. 

 

Also have 3d animations working but still working on a full detailed rendering of the house before I integrate it fully.

 

 

 

Edited by @Mark

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On 2020/03/12 at 3:34 PM, @Mark said:

I'm also a big fan of home assistant.

This is my dashboard for my Axpert MKS II. I have a raspberry pi connected to it with bidirectional MQTT to my home assistant server.

The server used to be just a pi 3 but it started getting a bit sluggish with all the data points. I've since migrated to an old 4th gen i3 with a cheap SSD

 

inverter.thumb.png.777bd7ae177f3fe45d03b36357c8f7b2.png

 

I've done some other stuff as well if you guys are interested to see. 

 

Also have 3d animations working but still working on a full detailed rendering of the house before I integrate it fully.

 

 

 

How did you do the 2 way MQTT communication with axpert inverter? Is it available on github somewhere?

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On 2020/03/12 at 3:34 PM, @Mark said:

I'm also a big fan of home assistant.

This is my dashboard for my Axpert MKS II. I have a raspberry pi connected to it with bidirectional MQTT to my home assistant server.

The server used to be just a pi 3 but it started getting a bit sluggish with all the data points. I've since migrated to an old 4th gen i3 with a cheap SSD

 

inverter.thumb.png.777bd7ae177f3fe45d03b36357c8f7b2.png

 

I've done some other stuff as well if you guys are interested to see. 

 

Also have 3d animations working but still working on a full detailed rendering of the house before I integrate it fully.

 

 

 

Impressive! Mine doesn't look anything like that. 

Please show us the other stuff too! 

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I've also been running Home Assistant and love it, I've got quite a lot of automations and things hooked up but have recently started putting quite an effort into automating more, some of my examples.

Warning me if garage door is open after I leave or if it is opened between 10pm and 6am

Monitoring for mains failure which I'll later use to turn off plugs for kettles, toasters etc... when I have installed an inverter so that I can ensure we're not smoking the thing

Monitoring if doors are not locked

Warning if water tank levels are critically low (or high)

Monitoring water flow / usage

Switching pool on and off

Switching lights on based on ambient conditions

Turning fans on based on temperature and so on...

I have mostly sonoff's, nodemcu's with ESPhome, TP-LINK and Tuya lightbulbs and will soon get some Shelly dimmers.

 

 

image.thumb.png.daa2ef97e188f0aeb94251d83a726047.pngimage.thumb.png.fab230b7666bcbc309a0852b8aa0f989.pngimage.thumb.png.1baa5ed8607e4ec8c9439d0ff9cca3ff.pngimage.thumb.png.1817962b2a90ea7f5fa7ac2a7359aae0.pngimage.thumb.png.e2c59f6f15d5cdba86446b27fe91bce0.png

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