Finding a way through the jungle of smart home

How much smartness does our home need and what I would like in no case.

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Sure, smart home, IOT, speech recognition, AI all this sounds fancy and for all tech nerds like me it is hard to ignore. In my childhood I watched magnetized every episode of star trek and of course I dreamed of having a background intelligence that gives me answers of all my question. Today, speech recognition and speech synthesis becomes better but only in combination with a permanent connection to a cloud service of a data sucking company completly out of our control. No, please without me :-). But I have heared about a french company, with their product snips, take look at, I will give speech recognition a chance later.

What is my motivation to realize a smart home solution?

Ten years ago we bought a new kitchen and to have more place we tear down the wall between kitchen and dining room, so by now kitchen, dining room and living room are merged to one open room. Because some wires were installed in this wall we took the decision to use a wireless system switching the light in all three room parts. Our choice fell to FS20, it was cheap and widespread. But in the last years, while mobile companies established the standard LTE some of the switches made a little trouble, this is a well known problem. It is to change.

What do I want to integrate in my smart home?

  • plug switches for aquarium and plant light
  • colored LED switch for aquarium sun/moon imitation
  • two built-in switches for ceiling light in the living room
  • one switch for dining room
  • three switches for the kitchen

By a view to well-known electronic shops I realized that I do not want to be dependent to a provider. Therefore the raspberry pi is choice #1 as base control unit, therewith it is possible connect to most smart home systems.

To be independent from wifi I started using zigbee for my starting project, the aquarium. 

Zigbee is a radio standard build for devices transmitting low data volumes, it is made for IoT. In a Zigbee network the integrated devices are meshed and I have the impression that Zigbee belongs to the future. One indicator is that one of the biggest furniture shops (starts with I and ends with kea) supports this standard, but of course it can be something else.

To make rpi speak to zigbee you have the choice between hat or usb. I took a chinese CC2531 based usb stick prepared with newest firmware.

There are a lot of free smart home system that you can use on a rpi: openHAB, iobroker, home assistant and more. For me, the decision fell to iobroker.

A look to the list of supported devices of the zigbee adapter I found devices I need.

I ordered two Osram smart+ lightify plugs, a Paulmann switch and a Paulmann RGB LED switch. The first integration of the Osram plug was easy and the time-controlled plant light runs succesfully for first two weeks. Programming with the integrated graphical tool blockly makes it very easy to use. If you have ever used scratch, it feels right there quickly. After that I have integrated the next plug to control the Aquarium sun light successfully what else :-).

Further details you will find in logs. My plan for the next is to...

  • integrate Paulmann switch
  • use RGB LED switch of Paulmann
  • integrate two other projects in my smart home network over MQTT: the glass board and the weather station

  • More Devices

    Xo Ne Un04/11/2019 at 17:18 0 comments

    The support of iobroker is really awesome. Support of Paulmann switch controller 500.43 is integrated and will be available with next version of zigbee adapter 0.10.3.

    Meanwhile I've tested a Xiaomi Aqara double switch successfully and a RGB LED controller of Paulmann 500.49 that works also fine only the teaching was a little bit tricky.

    Since the last weeks two Osram smart+ plugs run without problems.

  • Integrate Paulmann switch

    Xo Ne Un03/24/2019 at 17:23 0 comments

    In the list of supported devices of zigbee adapter I found a switch of Paulmann. After the friendly postman delivered the order I determined that I have ordered the wrong part. The supported switch has the article number 500.44 (dimmable switch) and I have ordered 500.43 (non-dimmable).

    But I tried to pair the switch with the zigbee adapter, but not successfully, device was unknown. I tried to solve this problem by contacting the community....

View all 2 project logs

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