Building a Home Automation Switch Controller “thing” – Project recap

I’m a geek, you’re a geek, we’re all geeks. And Geeks build geeky things. Projects. Sometimes, these projects actually get to fruition; are completed. Or are they? At least, they reach a state where no more work is being done on them.

The Lounge Controller reached such state. It is functionnal and useful.

This blog entry wants to be a recap of the whole project, which did spread on multiple smaller entries.

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Tasmota internet clock

I’m a geek, you’re a geek, we’re all geeks. And geeks like having internet-enabled wifi clock that syncs time on its own.

Today we are looking at using Tasmota to make a simple wifi clock, using simple and unexpansive components. The core is an ESP8266 development board D1 Mini on which we’ll install Tasmota, and the display is a TM1637-compliant module that has 4 digits separated in the middle by a column.

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Retrofit battery operated RGB+W lights with ESP8266 and Tasmota to transform it into an IoT smart device

A while ago, we acquired a set of remote-controlled battery-operated RGB led lights thinking it wasn’t half bad. Turns out, they are battery hogs.

The kit comprised 6 independent RGB+W led light units that could be controlled with one of 2 included IR remote. Each of the units used 3 AA batteries as a power source. Which didn’t last two months; even less if they saw any usage. That is 18 AA batteries every few weeks. Even rechargeable batteries are a toll with that much consumption. At that rate, battery operation is not a valid option.

I’m a geek, you’re a geek, we’re all geek… and what do geeks do with poorly designed hardware? They make it better.

One could just transform the power source from battery to USB or another sort of wall-transformer (4.5 to 5V) but we figured we could fulfil other needs at the same time. Using those LEDs in the gaming lounge added a nice touch, but this room lacked a bit of control over it’s automation. While we built a controller for the cinema hardware, still too much control relied on using the Home Assistant app, which shouldn’t always be the answer.

These devices are IR compatible, so the idea is to put this to our advantage and push towards a remote-control hub to connect to Home Assistant using a repurposed remote control.

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Building a Home Automation Switch Controller “thing” – Using Tasmota rules to enable in-device automation

When we built a Lounge Controller Smart Device using an ESP8266 and Tasmota Firmware, we relied on Home Assistant to handle actions on the lounge controller. This makes for a longer chain of event between a button press and anything to happen. It also means we are required to have another active device (the Home Assistant server) in order to do anything.

What if the Wifi is down?
The Lounge Controller is rendered useless? That is unnacceptable… while home integration uses centralized server as a crossroads for all smart devices, one single smart device shouldn’t rely on a supplementary machine in order to perform it’s base actions.

Therefore, a smart device needs to be smart ennough to know on its own what actions to do, and when.

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