1. WARNING : Server upgrade imminent Hi all, looks as if I might get some downtime in the next week which could be reasonably purposed to reinstalling and upgrading the TCE server - this will obviously mean some downtime, which I will attempt to minimise, but bear with me.

Home Automation

Discussion in 'General Gossip, Troll Wars & Game Development' started by luggage, Mar 12, 2018.

  1. hexland

    hexland Industry God One Of Us

    You don't have to cut the buttons off - just use either a smart plug or a smart bulb.
    In my case, I hot-glued the button to ON to prevent the wife from absent-mindedly turning it off manually.
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  2. TheUmpteenth

    TheUmpteenth Dinosaur One Of Us

    What you need is smart feet. "Alexa, stomp floor lamp!"
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  3. gaggle

    gaggle Gaming God One Of Us

    Yeah, sure, glue or cut it off or somehow disable it. I don’t like the look of non-functional buttons but maybe Ill get tired of the surgery at some point.
  4. EyeballKid

    EyeballKid Bitter. Twisted. Cynical. One Of Us

    My first flat was in an old converted flour mill[1]. Great place, but had wooden floors and the neighbours upstairs appeared to be holding motorcycle races[2] at 3am most nights.

    [1] was awesome - we had a stage, three-phase power, a giant door that opened up over the car park 3 floors down, an electric crane on an I-Beam, a fire escape at the back where you could sit in the morning and watch the sun rise up over the park, and a spaced-out neighbour who would emerge from his flat in a cloud of marijuana smoke to deliver us pamphlets outlining a very creative assortment of quasi-religious apocalyptic conspiracy theories. There was also a serious-ass industrial sprinkler system which could pump out 100L/sec or some ludicrous rate like that - a side effect of which being a huge fire pool out back which made a fantastic swimming pool in summer.

    [2] Of course they weren't. That'd be stupid. We eventually found out that what they were _really_ doing was having skateboard races up and down the length of the flat, whilst playing motorcycle noises at full volume on the stereo.

    [3] Footnote without an anchor because I just remembered: Had some great parties there. The only place I've ever lived where the neighbours downstairs came up to complain about red wine dripping down through their ceiling.
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  5. TheUmpteenth

    TheUmpteenth Dinosaur One Of Us

    I made bramble wine this year, and bottled it too early. Had to repaint the living room after I opened the first bottle :-({|=
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  6. CaptainFuture

    CaptainFuture Man of Tomorrow One Of Us

    I think I've seen the video.
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  7. TheUmpteenth

    TheUmpteenth Dinosaur One Of Us

    I really wish someone had caught the actual moment on video of me opening that first bottle. My face took the brunt of it. Of 70cl, there was maybe 10cl left in the bottle afterwards. There are still 3 bottles left, but I let the pressure off them.
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  8. CaptainFuture

    CaptainFuture Man of Tomorrow One Of Us

    There was a video making the rounds on twitter of exactly that situation, but I can't find it right now...
  9. TheUmpteenth

    TheUmpteenth Dinosaur One Of Us

    Oh, there was a video of the aftermath on Reddit, and one of me deliberately letting one off on some grass, but we didn't get the money shot, unfortunately.
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  10. CaptainFuture

    CaptainFuture Man of Tomorrow One Of Us

    Maybe replace the smart bulb with a dumb bulb, and have a smart switch instead?
  11. molesworth

    molesworth the curse of st custards Staff Member More Equal Than Others

    <off-topic> I made raspberry wine a few years ago and the airlock on one of the demijohns got blocked by fruit pulp. I heard a bang at 3 am one morning and found about half a gallon of raspberry jam sprayed over the walls and ceiling of the spare room. The stains took about 4 coats of paint to cover!
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  12. gaggle

    gaggle Gaming God One Of Us

    The problem is floor lamps have their own switches that can’t be made smart, so their physical buttons have to be hidden, disabled, or removed. Thus I’ve ended up playing surgery with ours. For ceiling lamps the switches are made so they can be turned into clickers instead of toggleables, so for those I can keep the interfaces intact*.

    (* hm there’s definitely a software architecture lesson in here somewhere)
  13. molesworth

    molesworth the curse of st custards Staff Member More Equal Than Others

    Back on topic, I'll drop in a bit of info about my own approach to home automation. Basically, it's a self-build approach which won't rely on any cloud-based or manufacturer-hosted services - I've seen too many reports of devices becoming temporary or permanent bricks when servers go down or are switched off.

    The main technologies I'm using are Node-RED and MQTT, which integrate really well for device management and control. For devices I'm using a mix of ESP8266 and Raspberry Pi based modules, either my own designs or commercially produced, and adding a few other commercial parts that can be easily integrated.

    So far I have a set of room sensors that measure temperature and light levels, plus some prototype motion/occupancy sensors, and control my lights using re-flashed Sonoff switches. I'm also installing motors to control my vertical blinds for more light / sun control and "mockupancy" if I'm away from home.

    Next step is heating control, either a home-brew of wireless TRVs and a boiler controller, or something like the Drayton Wiser system, which might be more expensive but is probably easier to set up and more reliable.

    After that, well, I have loads of ideas for more devices, looking at broad areas like heating, lighting, safety, security, entertainment etc. etc. It's quite easy to develop all of this with the huge range of hardware and software available nowadays, compared to when I was playing about with X10-based stuff a few years back. And doing it yourself means you've got full control and understanding of everything compared to commercial systems - at least until it becomes self-aware and takes over the house / world \\:D/
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  14. DustbinMan

    DustbinMan Gaming God One Of Us

    • Thank Thank x 1
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  15. EyeballKid

    EyeballKid Bitter. Twisted. Cynical. One Of Us

    For Halloween this year, I made some glowing red eyes for a Jack-o-Lantern. Hacked up from a couple of LEDs and a micro:bit (overkill!).
    The eyes would fade up slowly... hold for a few seconds, while the interior was lit by a demonic red glow from the depths of hell (i.e. the onboard micro:bit LEDs)... then fading back to darkness. Pause a few seconds, repeat.

    Does that count as home automation?

    Worked a treat and ran for about 5 days on a couple of AAAs, which was a lot longer than I was expecting.
    Got a fistful of ESP8266's on order, so next year's one will have a telnet connection for remote control :)
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  16. EyeballKid

    EyeballKid Bitter. Twisted. Cynical. One Of Us

    Very wise. I'm astounded how bonkers and pointlessly fragile most cloud-based internet-of-shit-things are.

    Matthew Garrett's posts on this kind of stuff are worth reading (he's a Linux kernel developer):

    "Making my doorbell work."


    "I bought some awful light bulbs so you don't have to."


    "I stayed in a hotel with Android lightswitches and it was just as bad as you'd imagine"

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  17. molesworth

    molesworth the curse of st custards Staff Member More Equal Than Others

    Another reason not to go with off-the-shelf solutions.
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  18. gaggle

    gaggle Gaming God One Of Us

    Wow yeah that’s everything I hate, layers of shit on top of itself. FWIW Hue doesn’t connect to the Internet, it’s zigbee based which is backed by big businesses, and I hope Hue’s size means security is okay and it’s popularity means it’ll keep working without too much nonsense.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2020
  19. TheDMan

    TheDMan Industry Vetran One Of Us

    That seems like extremely valuable and sensible advice, I've just started dreaming of how I might add some smarts to my home and I was thinking I'd use google assistant to make it voice controllable but I hadn't thought it through this far yet. Now I've seen this post I don't know if I like the idea of using a cloud service to turn speech into local commands any more, but are there alternatives? I've literally only started reading odds and sods about this yesterday, is voice control entirely within the premises feasible with maker/hacker parts?
  20. EyeballKid

    EyeballKid Bitter. Twisted. Cynical. One Of Us

    I'm sure it is. A quick DuckDuckGo (heh!) pops up 10-ten links like: https://www.ubuntupit.com/best-open-source-speech-recognition-tools-for-linux/

    For most home automation, I suspect mostly just recognising keywords is enough, and I remember being able to do that on the Commodore 64 (Covox Voice Master, plugged into the parallel port I think, and provided an ADC).

    mjg59 actually gives Hue a pretty clean bill of health, so go wild!
    "Which smart bulbs should you buy (from a security perspective)"

    Personally, I'm a bit of a home automation skeptic. I'm happy to stand up and walk across the room to switch lights on and off, and I really try hard not to laugh when my neighbour pops round to use the internet to open his garage door, because he left his phone in the house. I'm all for wiring up _stupid_ things though. I've a suspicion there'll be some homebrew wi-fi enabled christmas lights on the tree this year. Maybe with a piezo, to play merry festive renditions of the theme from The A Team from time to time...
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