Getting started with your own low cost DIY Home automation
This is my introduction post for my home automation series.
It's really important you know why you want to build your own smart home instead of buying one from gazillion providers. Let me interest you with a quote before we get started.
The "S" in IOT stands for security.
Confused? It's true. Skip to the next section if you really prefer to cut to the chase and are aware about the quote above, else continue. The quote above was my trigger point to start building my own home automation system. Contrary to what big tech make you believe about their "cloud" offerings, its not always secure. With the growing list of data breaches leaking personal info almost every day, its a good practice to trust private data only with us rather than the "cloud". The existing solutions available made by hardware first companies suck with security on the wire most of the time. They try to make everything seamless and easy by sacrificing security. Eg: Ring data leak, there are other jaw dropping examples a google search away.
We will build our base system in such a way that, so that it can "scale". You could start with a single smart switch and make almost anything smart.
All the devices which we want to make smart would be based on ESP-8266. It is an amazing chip which provides us with the goodness of Arduino with networking capabilities over WiFi.
Don't re-invent the wheel
There are 2 frameworks we can use to build our smart home rather easily, instead of writing raw code and building everything. These frameworks are open-source and well vetted.
- Home Assistant - (Great UI, batteries included). This approach requires a central server, can be hosted on a raspberry pi. All the smart devices have to connect to this instance.
- Tasmota - (Basic UI, No dependencies). This approach doesn't require any central server. Each device works on it's own each device has its own dashboard accessible over you Local Area Network (LAN). Optionally you can connect them to an MQTT instance to control them from a single place.
We will be covering both the approaches, starting with Home Assistant. We will look into Tasmota towards the end of this series.
Before you hop on to the next post in this series take a minute and decide what devices you want to automate. We will be covering automation of Switches, an RGB strip light(like Philips Hue) and a Weather-Indoor Air Quality Station. These automatons will help you understand the basic know hows, which will help you to wire up any device you think that needs to get smarter.
In the next post we will be covering how to setup home assistant and build a smart switch.