Here is a list of my home automation projects I have performed.
The first one is the safest, but not necessarily the easiest, it involves soldering wires on a breadboard. Before performing this project the only soldering I had previously done was soldering speaker wires together, and remote power wires for car stereo amps so it’s not rocket science.
Wireless Remote Control Outlets – No wiring required!
Next, when working with anything below, make sure you disconnect the power at you electrical box for whatever outlet or switch you are working on before working with any of the wiring. Once I was just trying to see what color wires I used to connect to the relay in a wall outlet and just barely moved the relay and sparks flew and lights dimmed, so after that I always take the 20 minutes to figure out which circuit breaker I need to throw so I don’t have to worry about that thing ever happening again (and I re-tightened the screws in the relay holding the wires). If you are serious about wiring your whole house and your circuits aren’t marked I would recommend setting aside a day to get them all figured out so it doesn’t slow you down in the future. (Isn’t the future great? You used to have to do this with 2 people, but now all you need is another device with a camera and you can do the whole thing yourself, and it’s actually kind of fun)
Next a Garage Door Opener – Use my app and test to make sure the relay toggles on and off before connecting it to the door and you should be good. Door Motor could burn up if you are not technically inclined at all.
Next switches, If you want to be able to manually turn on lights, while re-training your brain, this is a must. Wiring up a relay like a 3-way switch allows you to use your phone or the physical switch to turn on lights. You physical switch needs to also be a 3-way type switch.
Next Smart Power Strip 2.0 – Connect all the wiring while you DON’T have it plugged into the wall and you might want to try it for the first time outside.
Wall Outlets are very similar to the power strip, but usually you have multiple outlets wired (in series?) so if you cut the power to one with a relay all the outlets that come after turn off also, so I had to make a “T” wire for mine so that power continued on to the next outlet and I pulled power from that wire to go to my outlet relay so I could kill the power there without killing it to the following outlets. So essentially the standard was created so house builders could be lazy and reduce cost, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I would say the standard is going to change in the future.
And if you plan on wiring you whole house, you will want to connect as many relay’s as possible to a single Raspberry Pi to reduce cost, and reduce how many power outlets you need to power the Raspberry Pi’s. By default you can only hook up 2 relay boards to a Raspberry Pi, but I found a way to cheat! To do that go here: Add more 5v pins to your Raspberry Pi.
Another safe project when used with top project:
Here is a project to show you there are many ways to skin a cat.
My basement bathroom is one of the two places in my house that it is almost (almost!) impossible to wire up for remote control without cutting holes in the wall.
It has finished walls on the back side of 3 walls and a shower that takes up most of the fourth:
BUT I FOUND A WAY IN!
Luckily the light was controllable with a 3-way switch which is in storage so it doesn’t have to be pretty (at first):
So my first project I removed the switch in storage and replaced it with just a relay:
And that was great, but this weekend I thought of a way I could also control the bathroom fan with the same relay like this:
And this is Awesome, fans really are probably the next best thing to control with your phone after the garage door, they aren’t really as important as lights so you are not so much in a hurry to turn them on when you need to use them. Also the bathroom fan you usually want to leave on for a while after you leave, but you don’t want to have to come back and turn them off, so with this setup you can leave it on and turn it off from your phone later, or if you are using my Android app you can create a timer to leave it on for 1-5 minutes and it will turn off by itself!!!!
I really have no issues with totally going remote control, but it is nice to have a “manual override” just in case the Raspberry Pi goes down at an inopportune time, you can still turn on your lights, so I will probably do this next to take care of that.
This will be in storage.
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