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    Home Automation

    I've been getting into home automation lately and I think it's worth pointing out some of the great, nearly-free resources that are out there. For nothing more than the cost of a Raspberry Pi (around $150), you can get a TON of software free that will automate stuff. These are links to things I've personally used. Hooked up with Alexa, Google Home, or Siri you can make it easy to make things happen with voice instead of tapping. I'm guessing that lots of people here are already using some of these technologies. I wanted to start a thread in case there were any discussions or techniques that people wanted to share. (e.g., "how do I control this thing with voice?" or "is there a way to control this kind of device with an app?") There might be some success stories or some SCI-specific tasks that are most interesting.

    There's the easy stuff:There's the moderately challenging stuffThen there's the hard stuff
    • Automating water things like lawn/gardening
    • Internet-controlled stepper motor to control blinds
    • Programming "scenes" and "automation" where a series of actions all happen based on a trigger (turn on lights, activate a device, change a setting on something based on detecting motion, or something like that)
    There are a couple good free software programs that you can install on a Raspberry Pi.
    • I use Home Assistant
    • Some folks use Node Red to program automation in a user-friendly way
    • If you want to get really down and dirty and you're comfortable with programming, ESPHome is an option
    Given some of this automation, you can use a mobile app to turn on lights, adjust ceiling fans, change brightness, change temperature, etc.

    My opinion has always been that I don't want to depend on something outside my own house. So I don't use a lot of Amazon, Google, or Apple. I use a box literally in my house, and if my Internet connection is offlline, I can still control the vast majority of my stuff. (Voice recognition has to use the cloud/Internet, but controlling things like lights and temperature don't).

    What are people doing with home automation? What's challenging?

    #2
    Automated blinds would be amazing! Dusk to dawn sensors or IOT timers. But retrofitting to mini blinds requires making it all yourself. Any suggestions?

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      #3
      dang you do all that by auto shees i have nothing like that i am impressed i never knew thanks

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        #4
        There are basically 4 strategies for automating blinds and drapes:The real gotcha on some of these things is whether they're tied to some BS cloud service that might just go away some day. I haven't used any of those devices up there, so I don't know whether they use cloud services.

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          #5
          I recently stumbled upon these. I have 2 on order. https://www.sunsahomes.com

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            #6
            One can do so much with simple cell phone and digital assistants and apps.

            When we leave our house our system knows using simple GPS, it will set our security system, turn on our tv and play background music for our pets, turn our AC up a few degrees, even lets us know if we forgot to close our garage. Plus so much more by request

            When we are returning to our home and with in 3 miles our phones trigger our home to cool down the house, turns on the lights and can even turn on our tv to favorite tv show.

            Simple things like make coffee, catch up on our favorite Netflix series were we left off, even call emergency contacts if we have fallen and cant make a call.


            We have "routines" set from rainy days, cool and hot days etc

            Even keep our lawn green and knows when to not water due to rain

            So many options the issue is to keep it simple so it can be shared with others!

            Last edited by RollinPositive; 7 Aug 2021, 10:02 PM.

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            • OldGrumpyDad
              OldGrumpyDad commented
              Editing a comment
              The only comment I have is that I suspect most (if not all) of that stuff won't work if your internet is down. Your AC can't tell you're gone if it can't reach the Internet. The "getting close to home" thing won't work if the internet at the house is unavailable. Most of those "routines" also probably stop working without internet. The other angle on most of those digital assistants is that they only do this while the company in charge feels like giving it away for free. If Amazon starts charging for Alexa, or Apple decides to retire some of Siri's features, you can find yourself scrambling for a solution. Google is so notorious for shutting down services that people love, there's a whole gallery devoted to it. https://killedbygoogle.com/

            #7

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              #8
              My only home automation thus far is a dozen or so Hue lightbulbs. I mostly got them for fun because they can change colors, but it is very convenient to be able to turn them on and off from anywhere. Also setting the lights to turn on a few minutes before my alarm is a very pleasant way to wake up in the morning.

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                #9
                when my mom got 90 she would leave the lights on all night in case she has to get up. i put simple motion sensors in all her light switches, lamps.
                at my house i haven't watered the lawn/garden in years. auto timer with rain sensor.
                no internet on any of this stuff

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                  #10
                  I use a Veraplus and zwave for lights, fans, door locks lamps and outlets. It has been rock solid for years as was the Veralite I had before the plus. It also works great with Alexa/Echo so most things can be voice controlled,
                  "Never argue with an idiot; they'll drag you down to their level and other people may not be able to tell the difference."

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                    #11
                    Clap-Light, anyone
                    they were funny then, and they're still funny.
                    69yo male T12 complete since 1995
                    NW NJ

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