Under cabinet lighting with the Shelly RGBW2 is a fantastic smart home project for nearly anyone. The RGBW2 is low voltage, requiring a 12v or 24v power source, can support up to four channels (Red, Green, Blue, and White or four White channels), and offers the same ability to enjoy local and cloud control of the device as other Shelly relays. What’s more, if you don’t want a permanent installation, you don’t even need to use a single screw to mount the project.
This weekend’s project is a 4 outlet switched Smart power strip using a Shelly 4 Pro module! The Shelly 4 Pro is designed for din rail mounting, which you’re not going to find often in the US. However, the ability to independently control four circuits with one module combined with the LCD display is a gauntlet thrown at the feet of any DIY smart home enthusiast. Using this module in a portable power strip opens up all kinds of possibilities for the workshop, holiday lights, or off-site use (with consideration for Wi-Fi on location).
Kerry Clendinning of the Smarter Home Club has taken some time to help us learn to control IR and RF devices with our home automation systems!
In my last post (HERE), I showed how to grab data from RFLink but also determined that because of issues I had with arrays (and with some exceptions that shouldn’t have happened), I wouldn’t include RFLink in the final version of Project Mercury.
In my last entry (HERE), I put together a quick little VB app to read 432 MHz RF data captured through an RFLink Gateway. I called it Viduus, after the minor deity from Roman mythology that divided the body from the soul. This time, I’m hoping to make sense of the name as I split the strings returned by RFLink.
RFlink is an amazing tool. It allows you to import data from RF devices into your home automation ecosystem. I purchased two different units from a seller on eBay (now retired), both targeting the 433 MHz range. RF Link also supports 315, 868, and 915 MHz, as well as 2.4 GHz with the required receivers. Further, RFLink is supported by a number of platforms, such as Domoticz, Jeedom, Pimatic, Domotiga, OpenHAB, and HoMIDoM.
My last post on the Arlo Pro 2 camera system covered solar panels (panel entry HERE – original camera setup is HERE). After the install, I found that the batteries required recharging every 5 or 6 days. With one camera out of reach, that meant climbing a ladder while I try to pop the camera off its magnetic mount. The solution was to add solar panels. The Wasserstein brand cost 25% less than the Arlo brand, but, unfortunately, the performance was more like 50% less…
In last week’s Part I of Project Mercury, I covered reading MQTT messages in VB.Net using the MQTTnet Nuget package. There aren’t any VB examples for an MQTT client floating around, so I put together a quick and dirty illustration. I completed the next section on the following day, but was promptly sidetracked with a trip into the wonderful world of SQL – one of the future parts of the program will be saving data to a database, which significantly enhances the value of the data! In any case, here’s an example of how to publish MQTT messages from your VB.Net app!
MQTT is a wonderful tool for the smart home enthusiast. Many different products and applications support it, allowing you to tie a lot of different technologies together in one cohesive home automation system. It is even more useful when you’ve got devices that do not support MQTT directly but do allow programmatic access through an SDK or API, which allows you to put together a custom app that combines MQTT with that other product. An interesting challenge I’ve come across, though, is that while most of the examples for SDKs that I use are written in VB.Net and there are NO examples of using MQTT in VB.Net….
In my last post (HERE), I covered the super-easy install of the Arlo Pro 2 camera system. I walked you step-by-step through the ridiculously easy setup and then raved about the picture clarity and ease-of-use. The only trade-off I can see, in fact, is that you have limited battery life in exchange for a wire-free install. Yesterday, I had my first battery discharge after 5 days. I could live with that, charging batteries every 4 or 5 days, but I’d rather not.