Home Automation – The Beginning


I’ve been interested in technology ever since I can remember. It’s amazing what computers can really do for us. Back in the early 2000’s, I remember a project called Pluto Home that first really exposed me to the idea that home automation could be possible. At the time, Pluto Home was it’s own Linux installation. It was clunky, required specific hardware to run, and it was vendor specific. That was almost 15 years ago.

Today, there are multiple options – OpenHAB, HomeAssistant and HomeGenie, just to name a few. I’ve played with more home automation hubs than I can count, and have really settled into using Home Assistant.

If you’re not familiar with Home Assistant, it’s an open source project running on Python that allows you to set up your own home automation solutions with a vendor agnostic approach. It’s got a great community behind it. They are also adding new integrations on an almost bi-weekly basis. It’s amazing!

I’ve been using Home Assistant for about 18 months now, and while I consider my setup still pretty rudimentary, I figured I should start documenting my journey.

My current automation project contains the following (As of 9/23/2017):

  • A wifi-thermostat (came with the house, and was a big driver why I chose Home Assistant)
  • A home-built garage door relay/sensor switch to operate remotely.
  • 7 Smart Bulbs (IKEA Tradfri)
  • 2 Notification systems (Slack, and Kodi Notify)
  • Multiple Presence detection systems (Steam, Router/Wi-Fi, MQTT)
  • Current Weather Conditions
  • ZoneMinder Security Cameras (View and Notification of Motion)
  • A RainMachine Mini 8 Sprinkler Controller
  • Amazon Echos for Voice Commands
  • Display of my UPS information
  • SpeedTest.net results every 30 minutes for trending
  • An SNMP Bandwidth Monitor
  • A tablet interface using Floorplan

As time allows, I’ll be updating each of the components listed above with an in-depth look at how everything is being integrated into Home Assistant. I’ll also add new components to the list as I integrate them.

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