Paul Taylor from the Smarter Home Club has completed his series on RaspBee, covering Node-Red integration!
We’re continuing with our “Arduino for Absolute Beginners” series, which has so far covered the installation and testing of a Nano board (HERE), as well as the major components of the Arduino IDE and an introduction to using the Serial Monitor for debugging (HERE). This entry covers important syntax, introduces functions and re-usability of code, and we start working with breadboards. ALSO! I asked my buddy Cola from eMakeFun if we could have a coupon for a component pack which included a breadboard and he delivered! We’ll un-box the eMakeFun Electronic Components Start Kit.
I spent a good part of the afternoon teaming up with Scott Grayban on a fun project that combines products from two of my favorite smart home companies – Shelly Cloud and Hubitat Elevation! (and also Smart Things, if you like them).
Scott and I connected last year when I was looking for help in getting a Zigbee dimming switch working with Smart Things. While the switch didn’t pan out (ZLL – go figure), the connection was far more valuable. I’ve found he has a really interesting perspective on a number of technologies and he “gets it” as well as anybody else when it comes to smart home. Feel free to check out some of his public projects on his repository HERE.
One of the ongoing projects I’ve played with is using .NET apps to capture data from my MQTT broker, from X10 sensors, and from a wide variety of 433 MHz devices whose signals I capture using RFLink. I’d like to offload those processes to a dedicated workstation, as well as combining them into a single app to reduce the resources required to run.
In the first entry in this series (HERE), we covered the installation of the IDE and a driver for the Nano board, as well as testing the board to make sure it works. In this entry, we’re navigating he Arduino IDE – specifically, on the code editor, the Console window, the serial monitor, and an introduction to the language reference. Please note, this series is still in the “introductory” phase, to help get beginners up to speed, though there may be a bit or a byte that you’re not familiar with yet.
The Smarter Home Club is dedicated to learning, teaching, and sharing, so our next blog series is dedicated to micro-controllers. You don’t need to know how to build circuits with micro-controllers or to program them in order to enjoy the benefits of home automation. There are easy to install products that cover the majority of things you will want to do – but not everything. Learning how to use various dev kits and micro-controller prototyping boards will give you a means to build tools for the projects that commercial products don’t address, as well as helping you understand what goes on behind the scenes with the automation products that you buy and install.
A key point here is that you read with your eyes but you learn with your hands.
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!
Smart home isn’t just about switches and plugs. If you find a way to make technology simplify your life, improve your health, save time/energy/money, or help you have a little fun, then that is smart home tech. A great example of this is, of all things, my cat’s litter box.
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.