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.

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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Google Acquires Nest for $3.2B, Now Knows More About You Than the NSA

Yesterday, home automation company Nest–makers of the infamous $250 learning thermostat and a suspiciously intelligent smoke detector–announced that they had been acquired by Google for $3.2 billion in cash. In a statement about the acquisition, Nest said that while they had been doing great on their own, Google’s “business resources, global scale, and platform reach” were basically just too tempting to turn down. The statement is also peppered with reassurances that this wholly unexpected announcement...
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Hack Your Sprinkler System With a Raspberry Pi

As I’ve mentioned before, I love the Raspberry Pi as a platform for home automation projects. For those who don’t know about Raspberry Pi, it’s a neat little Linux computer, complete with an HDMI output, which runs on a single board and costs around $40. Since it has low-level analog and digital outputs, you can hook it up to all kinds of things. I’m starting to think the Raspberry Pi could be the ideal platform...
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Alarm.com Wants to Save Your Grandma

To kick off 2014, security and automation company Alarm.com announced a new package, which they’re dubbing “Wellness”, that will allow Alarm.com users to remotely monitor their aging parents from the convenience of their Android device or web browser. While details about the tech are scarce, a press release yesterday says that Wellness will include a “new bed presence monitor, panic buttons and sensors that monitor activity.” It will also integrate with Alarm.com’s existing home automation...
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5 Great Home Automation Gifts You Can Get By Christmas

Trying to find the best last minute gifts for the DIY home automation enthusiast in your family? Here are five great ones which you order on Amazon.com and still get by Christmas. 1. Nest Thermostat Sure, PC Magazine recently complained about how the Nest can put you at risk of freezing to death (well, not really) if you live in Montana and they send an ill-timed software update. But c’mon…Nest is undeniably the favorite child...
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