Home automation is adding smart features to automate simple tasks in your home. Consider this: You enter your home in the evening to a scenario like below:
1. Porch Light is on.
2. Your bedroom has the right set temperature with shades drawn
3. Water heater is ready with the water heated to the right temperature
4. Blue tooth speaker is playing a relaxing music
5. As you walk in, the lights turn themselves on
It is just for the starters. To quote from the Home Automation Step-by-Step Blog from TargetWoman which inspired this Instructables -
"The concept of Home Automation is nothing new. It has been around for a long time. I have used X10 products well over a decade ago. You start with compatible devices which you control with a hand-held remote control. At that time, you used RF frequencies with limited range to control your plugged in devices."
Step 1: Preamble to Home Automation
We have come a long way. Your mobile has Artificial Intelligence aided Personal Assistants now - Alexa, Siri, Cortana and Google Assistant. These Personal Assistants can help you to control suitably equipped devices through your voice. Just say "Alexa Turn on Lights" and in the middle of the night your bed room light is turned on to help you go to the Restroom.
I use a booster pump located in the terrace to add pressure to the water supply. The booster pump is connected through a Sonoff Pow device which is controlled by Alexa. If it is not for this automation, I would never have considered the pump in the first place.
As an added bonus, this 10 $ Sonoff Pow device also tracks the Electricity consumption over a period of time. I like to keep a watch on the power consumption of all my gadgets. About a year ago, when the power consumption of one of my Air conditioner rose all of a sudden, a check revealed that the ODU had started shedding fins due to corrosion.
One of the Sonoff Pow devices monitors the power consumption of the UPS. These days, any increase in quiescent power consumption as noted by the App is a sign that the battery is getting old.
In another instance, the electricity record for a month revealed that people had been taking time off during some hours. This led us to scroll through the Security camera footage. All right ! You get the idea - how Voice controlled Home Automation makes your life easier.
Step 2: Device for Home Automation
This instructable uses Sonoff Pow device to control your appliances. It also has the option to report the energy consumption in kWh over a period of time and can generate monthly energy usage reports. Sonoff Pow, therefore, allows users to calculate the electricity bill, figure out which appliances consume the most power so they can easily cut down on their electricity bill.
If you don't need the electricity record part, you can opt for the cheaper Sonoff Basic Wifi Switch which costs just about $5.
Caution: You will be working with high voltages from the mains. Take all possible precautions when you work with live wire. It can be lethal. If you have difficulty identifying a live terminal from a neutral, may be this project is not for you.
We will hook up this Wifi Switch to your existing light switch. This switch can control electrical devices up to a maximum of 3500 W (resistive load). To put it another way, it can supply a maximum of 16 A. This device actually uses a relay whose contact ratings are 16A. This is sufficient for almost all lights and most home appliances. Check your appliance's power requirements before you proceed.
Step 3: What You Need
1. Sonoff Pow Wifi Switch
2. Short wires in 4 colors as needed : minimum wire size is 2.1 square mm
3. Wifi Router with Internet connection
4. Mobile Phone with Alexa app
5. Alexa Echo/Dot or any Alexa capable Voice control Device
Step 4: Instructions
1. Strip about 10 mm of insulation from the 4 wires. Suggested colors for the wire : Red for Live, Blue for Neutral, Green for the earth and Brown for the load
2. Remove the lid using a cross screwdriver on the Device
3. Insert the wire after pressing the slot with a screw driver. Don't apply excess force.
4. Once all the 4 wires are inserted, you can close the lid. ( You can dispense with the Earth wire. It is not connected to anything internally)
5. Prepare setting up the device:
First you need to download the eWeLink from your Android/Apple store. Then set up an account with them using your mobile number. Then add a device using 'compatible Pairing Mode (AP)'. In this mode, the device puts up a AP with ITEAD***** . You will need a password to connect and that password is 12345678. Then it will ask for your network wifi SSID and username and password. Once you supply all these, keep the device close to the mobile. The app will add the device and you can name the device as you want. This naming convention should be done right so that your Alexa can control that easily. There is a detailed instruction for connecting your mobile App here
Now you can use that eWeLink app to control your appliances and monitor their power consumption. You can schedule the on/off timing through the App.
Step 5: Voice Control Through Alexa
Now it is time to link with Alexa so that you can use your voice to control the devices. From your mobile Alexa app, select the top left line and touch the Add Device. Select Switch from the available option. Then select eWelink from the list of brands shown. Then ask the app to discover the device. It will detect on its own. Voila ! Now you can control the device by saying ' Alexa Lights On' if you have named your device as 'Lights'.
This Instructable shows how a simple Wifi Switch can be combined with Amazon's Alexa App to control your Home devices through your Voice.