After a couple of years of the uninterrupted operation, I decided to retire the existing home automation and replace it with the new one. Since the technology available to the amateurs today is much more affordable, both when it comes to the simplicity of the use and integration but also the price. It is easy for the enthusiasts to combine the state of the art stuff like WiFi and LoRaWAN communication, open source home automation software, ESP8266, Arduino, …
In this post, I describe the various upgrades I have performed on the system during the course of one year.
Homy backend consisted of 433 Mhz transmitter and 868Mhz transceiver (central node packed in a rat) that communicated with local PC (control software) and stored data in the database.
The concept was ditched and replaced with Thingy platform. Using this approach, no local gateway hardware nor software was needed.
Thingy is just another IoT platform that provides defining, provisioning and shadowing devices. It is still an early alpha stage, but in the future, it should provide much more functionality.
In the initial design, light control has been done by emulating 433MHz remote controller. This was a robust solution, used for years, but slowly remote sockets start dying. In addition to this, the remote sockets would loose “coupling” information after every power loss – I usually turn fuses off when going away from home for longer than 5 days, so I had nice exercise couple of times re-coupling ~20 sockets every time.
The upgrade consisted of replacing all remote relays with Sonoff components. In addition to this, the Sonoff firmware has been customized so it provided native connection to the backend platform.
The source code of the customized firmware can be found on the repository https://bitbucket.org/io-thingy/axon-sonoff.
Humidity & Temperature
The initial design included Arduino Pro Mini powered with LiPo battery with DH22 sensor and RF12B transceiver.
In order to enable communication between LoRaWAN devices and Thingy based backend, an intermediate system was used – The Things Network. The Things Network is open, global, crowdsourced LoRaWAN infrastructure that can be freely used and contributed to. I contributed with a couple of gateways that are installed in Switzerland and Serbia and using it for communication over LoRaWAN in the Homy system.
The source code for the nodes can be found on repository https://github.com/dusanstojkovic/homy-node-lora.
Weighing scale, Balcony irrigation, and Roomba
The old good Roomba, our faithful companion for years, recently stopped generating any electric signal. It is stowed away in our basement now.
The remaining artifacts include Roomba SCI library, that I was extracted and put on github (https://github.com/dusanstojkovic/RoombaSCI) and platformio (https://platformio.org/lib/show/1599/Roomba%20SCI).
While upgrading various parts of the system, I also investigated possibilities to upgrade UI part as well. What I have found was an excellent project Home Assistant. That is an open-source home automation platform. I have easily integrated it to the backend using MQTT endpoint. It fully replaced both desktop and mobile UI.
Also, I stumble upon the great project Homebridge. Using it, it is possible to “expose” Home Assistant and all the devices as Home Kit enabled devices.
Using Homebridge as a HomeKit accessory, with Siri enabled, you could just go and control your home with your voice:
For the time being, I will more focus more on some other things, like LoRaWAN, Thingy platform and using those to solve one small problem at the time.
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