Home Automation Setup (DIY)

An Amazon Fire tablet in a 3d printed case, mounted on my wall.

Ongoing notes about my home automation project. I'm keeping it as DIY as possible, not out of necessity but out of curiosity and pickiness.

Hardware

Lights

  • Phillip Hue: some bulbs, many Hue Go and LED strips. Overall very solid system, though I wish they were better about reducing wallworts for the plug-in lights
  • LIFX: Beam and Tile. I'm finding them less reliable than my Hue setup, but the asthetic is nice

Outlets

WIP. I set up some Peanut zigbee plugs with HA to use with my A/C, but my PTAC units in this apartment are different than my old one: one is 12.5A, which requires a 20A breaker, and the other is 240V. Very long story but basically I would need to set up a relay for both of these, which isn't worth the investment if I don't stay here for another year.

Tablets

3 Amazon Fire HD 8 tablets, mounted in 3d printed enclosures. Bought on sale for <$50 each.

Software

MVP

The initial MVP of this setup was to build a React app (plain create-react-app was fine here) and style some Windows Phone-looking tiles on them. Each tile was bound to a IFTTT action. This meant that I only had to write software to trigger an AJAX request, and the rest was just webhook configuration on IFTTT's end, to dispatch to LIFX and Phillips Hue. This setup has bad latency/robustness, but it took about an hour to set up and still serves me to this day. And that's good, because getting the first MVP out is important, and it's allowed me to have easy automation control on the tablets since the beginning of the year while I tackle other projects before revisiting this.

The tablets themselves run Fully Kiosk, which allows me to show my React app constantly, keep the screen on and hide the system UI. It's got a ton more features if you pay for it, too. The tablet UI website is served off an RPi under my desk that I can git-push to and auto rebuild. As hacked together as this MVP is, it's served me well over the past 6 months, including when I needed to push new changes.

Home Assistant

As I scale up, I've started rolling out Home Assistant. This was a lot easier than I expected. I use the Docker image, though their RPi image is probably the best bet moving forward (I just didn't want to nuke my existing MVP setup). Most of HA has been configuration-less, and integrating with their API has been easy. Long term I'll be moving my IFTTT API calls over to being HA API calls, which will improve robustness and latency.

To be continued as I work on the project more.