Welcome to Do-it-Yourself Home Automation!

In late 2006, I decided to create a home automation system with the stated goal of making it smart enough that it would eventually come to life and attempt to kill me. While the system hasn't quite reached HAL strength, it does do some cool stuff, and home automation technology has come a long way since I got started.

This page exists so that I can share my experiences and offer some useful information to those that are interested in creating an HA system of their own. Check out the menu on the left for specific projects/tutorials, and the blog below/to the right for quicker updates and general home automation news.



Tutorial: Using Python + Bidgely to Get Realtime Electric Usage Into Your Home Automation System

In a recent post, I wrote about using Bidgely to track your realtime electrical usage, using a little gadget that reads minute-by-minute data from your utility’s smart meter. I even made a video showing how to install the Bidgely Rainforest Eagle device and use Bidgely’s (very pretty) web dashboard. Using the native Bidgely hardware and dashboard is all well and good, but this website is do it yourself home automation. Most of us are creating our...
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Video: Monitoring Electrical Usage with Bidgely

In a previous post, I shared info about monitoring your realtime electrical usage via a smart meter and hardware from the home automation startup Bidgely. Below is a video from my testing of Bidgely. This includes info on the Rainforest Eagle, as well as a demo of Bidgely’s web interface. I’ve been using Bidgely for more than six months now, and despite some issues with data connectivity to my smart meter, it’s been a great...
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Wink Home Automation: Not There Yet

Happy New Year! 2014 was a big year for home automation products. It seems like pretty much everything is suddenly “smart”. You’ve got smart watches. Smart thermostats. Even the pinnacle of silliness: a smart egg tray, which pings your smartphone when you are nearly out of eggs (manufactured by GE, nonetheless). What was the real winner in 2014, though? Apps! Several companies have come out with smartphone apps–often with accompanying physical hubs–which are designed to...
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Beta Testing the Arduino Tre

Some time in 2015, Arduino will be launching a new board known as the Tre. Thanks to Michael Shiloh at Arduino, I got my hands on an early development version of the board, and got to participate in Arduino’s official Tre Beta testing. The Tre has some promising applications for home automation, which I’ll get into below. As I’ve explained in previous posts, prototyping boards like Arduinos and Raspberry Pis are fantastic for home automation....
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G7 Power: The Best Light Bulbs

Recently, I decided to finally bite the bullet and swap out the old incandescent lightbulbs in my home. Before you stop reading in disgust or leave nasty comments about the fact that I still have incandescents in 2014, let me take a step back and say that I swapped out the vast majority of my bulbs for CFLs a long while ago. I like the soft-white ones from Phillips; they draw about 22 watts for...
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Tracking Realtime Electrical Usage With Bidgely

I live in California, which is served by Pacific Gas and Electric. It’s one of the enlightened utilities which has installed smart electric meters in many of its customers’ homes, including mine. The meters monitor electrical usage continuously, and report back to PGE. Using the data, they can change how much they generate to keep up with demand, see when people are using the most energy, and (of course) bill you more easily! What’s enlightened...
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Home Security With the Raspberry Pi

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about how home security intersects with home automation. In both home security systems and home automation systems, you’ve got a lot of the same things: sensors, servers, monitoring, alerts, etc. So why not merge the two together (and in a DIY way, of course)? Over at PrivateEyePi, they’re doing just that. The project uses the Raspberry Pi as a simple platform for creating your own DIY home security system....
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HA Question: Will Infrared Illuminators Interfere With My Security System’s Motion Detector?

Here’s an interesting question that comes up from time to time in home automation and home security circles: if I use a security camera with an infrared illuminator, and also use an infrared motion detector (like a PIR sensor) in the same space, will the two interfere? First off, let’s begin with some background on what this question means. Humans (sadly) can’t see in the dark. Cameras, though, can. If you’ve ever watched Cops, Zero Dark Thirty, or...
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My Industrial Sensor System Comes to Life

Recently, I did a blog post about installing an industrial sensor system in your home. At the end of the post, I said that I was getting an evaluation kit from the industrial sensing company Monnit. The kit arrived, and my system is up and running. I did a full writeup about it here. Ever wanted to see realtime temperature data for every room in your house, from anywhere with an Internet connection? Want to...
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An Industrial Sensor System…In Your Home?

**UPDATE** After seeing this post, Monnit have been kind enough to offer a discount on their systems for readers of Diy HA. If you buy anything from them, just enter coupon code “diyha” at checkout and you’ll get 3% off.** On this site, I tend to focus on home automation projects that make use of DIY technologies like the Raspberry Pi, Arduino, X10, etc. That makes sense, of course; the title of the site is...
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