How To Use Shelly Modules in Hubitat Elevation or Smart Things

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.

Continue reading “How To Use Shelly Modules in Hubitat Elevation or Smart Things”

Learn To Program Arduino: The IDE

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.

Continue reading “Learn To Program Arduino: The IDE”

Learn To Program Arduino

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.

Continue reading “Learn To Program Arduino”

Project Mercury Part II – Publishing MQTT Messages

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!

Continue reading “Project Mercury Part II – Publishing MQTT Messages”

Project Mercury Part I – Subscribing to an MQTT Topic

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….

Continue reading “Project Mercury Part I – Subscribing to an MQTT Topic”

About MQTT…

I need to make a brief detour on our project to integrate X10 sensors into a larger home automation system. Normally, I try to avoid any side trips that may end up taking me down a rabbit hole, but I need to cover the communication method that I plan to use to connect the disparate components of the system together – MQTT.

Continue reading “About MQTT…”

What’s With This Weather?

One of the members of The Smarter Home Club is my good friend, Jeremy McCollum. Jeremy and I worked together for a number of years for a software company that made programs for the technical analysis of stocks and mutual funds. Considering our work environment, I was surprised to learn that Jeremy’s degree is in Meteorology – and I thought it was very, VERY cool! I invited Jeremy to share with us his background and to help us understand how weather data matters to the Smarter Home!

Continue reading “What’s With This Weather?”