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.

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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Hack Your Home’s Alarm System With Raspberry Pi + Netduino

A couple weeks ago I wrote about a guy who had hacked his home sprinkler system with a Raspberry Pi, so he could schedule waterings via Google Calendar and have the system faithfully execute them. And of course, I’ve written about hacking your home furnace so you can control it via X10. In keeping with the theme of “taking some large, expensive, professionally-installed aspect of your home and connecting unproven electronics to it”, today I’m...
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Sparkfun’s Nest Protect Teardrown

With home automation startup Nest recently accepting a $3.2 billion buyout from Google, the company has been all over the news. That’s why I was especially excited to stumble on a great teardown of the Nest Protect from hobbyist electronics website Sparkfun. I love Sparkfun, and I’ve used their products for all kinds of things. They write extremely clear tutorials, and illustrate with pretty pictures, so I expected nothing less from their teardown. For those...
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Raspberry Pi’s 5mp Camera Module

Back in the day, if one wanted to do a computer vision or diy home surveillance project which involved taking pictures from a custom software program (or from the command line), there were relatively few options. One the low end, you could use a consumer webcam. On the high end, you could use a DSLR camera coupled to a Linux program like gphoto2. The low end was maddening, as consumer webcams routinely lie about their...
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