Getting started with home automation

While most of you reading this probably know me as that guy who is taking forever to get that Booksonic Bridge out (it’s getting closer, I promise) I do actually have another hobby that I haven’t really written or published anything on GitHub about, and that is Home Automation. In this post I’m going to talk a little about how I got started with home automation but I won’t cover any actual instructions. Then I will start writing up other posts about the hardware and automatons I currently have and how to set them up. As I add new things to my home, they will be added here as well.

For the longest time I identified myself as a software guy and hardware was not for me because it was to hard (pun intended). While I still really wouldn’t call myself a hardware guy I no longer limit myself to just software either. This started with a friend (and colleague) sending me a link to this arduino kit that was on sale at a store not to far from where we work. This of course led to us deciding to swing by after work and get ourselves a kit each. I don’t think I ever actually finished any of the projects in the kit but it is still one the best purchases I did last year because when I started reading the book that came with the kit and looking at the projects in it I quickly realized something, working with Arduinos really doesn’t have to be hard at all.

Now before I move on to the next part of the story I think I should probably mention that while a lot of the hardware I use in my home automation is built using the Arduino IDE none of them actually use the Arduino hardware, instead I use another development board called NodeMCU  which is based on the ESP8266 microprocessor. I know this may sound advanced to newcommers but trust me, it really isn’t that hard.

Ok, enough about that, lets move on. After I found out that I could actually make hardware stuff I spent some time thinking about the projects I wanted to do and the possibility of maybe even having these projects talk to each other. This is where one afternoon I stumbled on to the holy grail, an open-source project called Home Assistant.

Put simply Home Assistant, or HASS for short is the glue that binds together everything in your smart home, be it your homebuilt wifi enabled tv remote, the IKEA Trådfri lightbulbs in your ceiling or your Kodi powered speakers in the bedroom.  All of these are of course real examples of things I have in my apartment and that you will eventually find detailed instructions about how to setup and use in the Home Automation category of this blog.

Now there is a lot to be said about what you can use Home Assistant for but that’s not what this post is about, instead I think I will leave it here and just end it with a recommendation that you check out the Share your projects! category on the Home Assistant forum for some inspiration about what your first project might be.

The top photo in this post was taken by Vowstar and is released under the CC-BY-SA Licence. It has been cropped a bit and the original is available on this WikiMedia page.


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