Recently I have been messing around and successfully make my house less "idiotic". So I'm going to share how to make a smart home system with a low price tag, high compatibility that would run seamlessly and stable.
Step 1: What You Should Have
The project will include the following components:
- 1x Raspberry Pi 3 B+ or B: the control center, it will run a system software called Home Assistant (HASS)
COST: $35 for Model B+
Replaceable with a computer running 24/7 on Windows, Linux, etc.
- 1x 32GB microSD memory card: contains the operating system and control software for the Raspberry
Replaceable with a little free space on your hard drive if you using a computer
- Smart appliances: let's start the game with a Xiaomi Yeelight Multi Color light bulb, this is the best item to get started and test your system to see if it works well.
Replaceable with the other Xiaomi Phillips LED Light, which is cheaper, but only featuring white and a warmer color.
- An Ethernet cable to hook the device to the networking. (Only use Wi-Fi if you have no other choices)
The operating principle is very simple: HASS will be in your home network, communicate with the smart light (and of course other smart home devices) via Wi-Fi. The control panel will be accessible over a browser so you can control your devices remotely, set a nickname, etc. It also has apps for Android, and iOS too.
Step 2: Setup Home Assistant (HASS.IO) on Raspberry Pi
This Instructable is for Raspberry installation, for installing on a computer (or other devices), please wait for further article.
Download the following software:
- Suitable Home Assistant version
- A tool to flash the software onto your SD card and install Home Assistant: balenaEtcher is a good choice
After finishing the download of HASS image file, plug the memory card into the computer, use balenaEtcher (or else) to flash the image file:
- Drag and drop the image file into the flashing software
- Select the card as the destination device
- Press "Flash!"
Wait until the flashing procedure is completed and balenaEtcher report as okay.
Plug the memory card into the RPi, connect it to the wired network and plug in the power cord to start.
For use with Wi-Fi, you must prepare an additional USB drive, name it CONFIG. Create a folder called network, then create a file called my-network. Read this examplefor creating the file content (Wireless WPA/PSK).
Edit the line ssid=MY_SSID to match your network name, and psk=MY_WLAN_SECRET_KEY with the Wi-Fi password. Read the above example once more to make sure you have a unique uuid so the IP address is fixed.
If everything is correct, and nothing interfered the RPi will automatically do the rest of the setup. To check the installation progress, connect to the RPi using the address http://hassio.local:8123. It should show that the machine is being installed (Preparing Hass.io)
The site should show up after about 2 minutes. If you cannot access the site then there may be something interfering with the network setup of the RPi or your modem doesn't support mDNS. In that case, use the Pi's IP address.
Leave it installing and follow the next step.
Step 3: Setup Your Xiaomi Yeelight Bulb
Depending on each of your device, there will be a different setup procedure according to the manufacturer's instructions, as well as to allow your device to be controlled from the local network (HASS).
In this article, I will be focusing on setting up Xiaomi Yeelights lamps, for other smart home products, try searching through my Instructable profile or Googling around. And never forget to visit HASS's website to check if you need to do some additional set up for your household appliance.
Follow these steps to set up a Xiaomi Yeelight lamp:
- Attach the bulb to the lamp grips
- Turn the light switch on and off 5 times until the light starts to blink in colors.
- On your phone, install Yeelight app (Android, iOS)
- Once installed, open the app, follow the instructions in the app to set up your lights (make sure you using Singapore server). Then, try to control the lights from the apps.
- We will now have to turn on LAN Control mode for all of the lights.
Step 4: Controlling Yeelight Lamp From Home Assistant
By the time you installing Yeelight bulb, HASS probably have finished downloading and running. You will be asked to set up an account to log in to the site, do it.
After getting into Home Assistant's main interface, you should see your lights show up. If it does not, reboot HASS.
Yeelight's bulbs are the easiest and simplest to mess around without any special configuration. When you see a list of lights bulbs, try to turn it on and off. If it's working then you have successfully set up your first smart home setup.
To make the lamps more friendly and manageable, go to the left sidebar > Configuration > Customization.
For the time being, that's it! Congrats!
Step 5: Why HASS?
You might have this question: Why do I have to use the Home Assistant while Yeelight already provides an app, or bluntly, any smart item has its own app? Then, there are the reasons:
- The Yeelight App only controls Yeelight's product, similar to the Mi Home app that only works with Xiaomi ecosystem. But with HASS you get all of them gathered in one place. This is the greatest benefit.
- Controlling Home Assistant is done locally in your network, making it faster and more efficiently than the app that has to go through the Internet.
- Home Assistant allows you to interact with your smart devices via Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, which sometimes isn't supported by the manufacturer.
- HASS can create automation scripts, across all devices and brands so that a Xiaomi Door Sensor can trigger the Philips light bulb.
- It also got a ton of add-ons and integrate with many other online services.
Step 6: What's Next
In the next articles I will guide you:
- Add more devices that are not automatically detected by Home Assistant
- Use Home Assistant with Google Home and order home devices with Google Assistant
- And many more articles will arise in the process of setting up your house
- Find a way to set up to detect when you get home to turn on the device yourself
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