We moved recently into an apartment with a detached garage, and naturally, I wanted to incorporate that space into our home automation. To extend our network to the garage, I opted for powerline ethernet adapters, but soon discovered that the garage’s fluorescent light cuts the powerline connection.
To overcome this, I purchased an iHome iSP8 SmartPlug. It connects via wifi, which was a requirement since I don’t have a smart hub in the garage nor do I wish to add one there. It also includes a physical remote that I can mount near the now-disabled switch for the fluorescent lights.
Continue reading Connecting an iHome SmartPlug to Home Assistant
Yesterday, after moving my GitLab instance, I noticed that the public clone of my Home Assistant configurations was a bit stale, so I decided that it was time to refresh.
In so doing, I also discovered that I was a few releases behind (three, to be exact), and that those intervening releases included several breaking changes. Fortunately, updating my configurations to support Home Assistant 0.57.3 also resolved several longstanding bugs.
Continue reading Another Home Assistant Update
Home Assistant runs frequent speedtests, perhaps too-frequent. One of the components I’ve configured is Fast.com, provided by Netflix. Over the last month, we’ve consumed 385 GB just for Netflix:
Nearly 56% of our Netflix traffic comes from speedtests! 😳
Continue reading So many speedtests
While it’s no longer necessary because Home Assistant 0.35 introduced native support for Flic buttons, I’m still using the controller I released just before Home Assistant updated. In part, this is because I haven’t taken the time to switch the integrations over to Home Assistant automations. Also, having spent some time on the controller, I am not ready to abandon it.
Continue reading Flic controller for Home Assistant updated with breaking changes
Flic buttons are Bluetooth-powered smart buttons that can be used to control other devices via their smartphone apps (Apple, Android), or using any number of integrations they provide on GitHub: https://github.com/50ButtonsEach/.
Continue reading Flic buttons and Home Assistant
It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything new about my experiences with home automation, largely because I haven’t done anything new in a few months. I’ve been busy, and at the same time, things are working as expected, so I haven’t come up with new ideas to test or dreamt up something else to automate (much to my husband’s relief).
That said, I’ve been thinking about replacing our hacked Amazon Dash buttons with something purpose-built. While the hijacked buttons work well-enough, there’s a noticeable delay between button press and response, and their battery life is quite finite. Also, there’s only so much one can do with vinyl tape to make the Dash buttons less of an eyesore.
Enter Flic, one of the only “smart buttons” available right now, and the only one I’ve found that doesn’t require its own hub. Fortunately, they offer a Linux SDK, so I can associate the buttons with one of my Raspberry Pis, rather than a smartphone (alleviating a common complaint about the product). Since the SDK requires exclusive use of a device’s Bluetooth controller, I benefit from having two Pis, and this project is simplified because the Pi I intended to use with the Flic happens to be the one whose Bluetooth isn’t in use.
My first project is to configure the Flic button to toggle the lights on our Christmas Tree. The lights are connected to a SmartThings outlet, which turns up in our Home Assistant instance thanks to MQTT, but Home Assistant is only accessible to my husband and I, while any of our guests should be able to turn on the tree. 🎄
Being away from home makes me appreciate how accustom I’ve become to my home automations…
For quite some time, I avoided acquiring any Rasbperry Pis. I already have four VPS, and I genuinely wanted to avoid expanding the number of Linux instances I was responsible for. My hesitation was for good reason; less than a month after acquiring my first Pi 3, I found a reason to add a second to our home network.
To be clear, I’ve nothing against the Raspberry Pi; I simply knew that my addictive personality would compel me to find ever-more uses for the devices, compelling their multiplication.
Continue reading Give me a Raspberry Pi and I’ll want 12
In the month since I first posted about how I am using Home Assistant, I’ve made a number of improvements to my configuration. These changes were mostly focused around usability–removing clutter from the interface and simplifying the layout–without losing any functionality. Two changes in particular really simplified the default view, making our light groupings more manageable and less overwhelming.
Continue reading My latest Home Assistant configuration
I installed a GE switch that supports Zigbee, so the painful florescent light in our kitchen doesn’t glare at me any longer without recourse.
I’m absurdly happy about being able to control a built-in light from Home Assistant.
I’ve also learned that GE’s Zigbee line is far more reliable than Leviton’s Z-Wave products.