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Quest for a smart home

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Dr.Lakshay

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Ghaziabad
I have always been intrigued by the latest technology and gadgets. And now it’s time for me to step into the world of smart home. Have always been amazed by the fact that you can control all your electronics by voice commands or your smartphone or even when not at home.
So I recently acquired the amazon echo. Nifty piece of technology, must say. So the first thing I did was set it up and listen to some songs. The sound quality is quite impressive and not to mention the fact that it can hear you even while playing loud songs or in ambient noise. But sometimes Alexa fails to understand what you say due to the differences in accent and you have to repeat again clearly.
Now the next thing was setting up a smart room.
I already have remote controlled touch buttons for my room. So I could set it up with alexa with an intermediate ir blaster in between. Did a little research and I was able to employ my old Samsung note 3 neo (which has an inbuilt ir blaster) to work as the intermediate. The app used for this is anymote. It was quite easy to setup (well I’m a bit tech savvy so I find these things kinda interesting). And voila, I have a smart room.
But this approach has a lot of caveats-
1. the commands are quite cumbersome. I have to say “alexa tell anymote to execute ceiling lights” whereas I would have liked to just say “alexa turn on ceiling lights” but I can’t do so.
2. Creating scenes isn’t possible as alexa has a limitation of skills and anymote is not included in one of the “smart home” skills so it can’t be added to scenes/routines.
3. The phone runs out of battery if you don’t keep monitoring it/charging it.
These are the major problems.
There is a work around to those cumbersome voice commands using tasker (an android app) but it is a lot of work to set it up. Will be trying it out soon.
The other approach is to get a dedicated ir blaster like broadlink rm3 or one from xiaomi. These are the two cheap options costing about 1-1.5k. If anyone is using the same or any other alternatives, would like to get your opinion.
I have also linked my xiaomi air purifier 2 as it already is wifi enabled and alexa has a skill for xiaomi smart home. So the air purifier can be controlled via voice commands and can be included in routines.
I will also be soon trying out Google home via rpi3 whenever I get the time to set it up.
Meanwhile I am also searching for a hub to add wireless door window sensors, temperature and humidity sensors, motion sensors etc. I like the offering from xiaomi. It’s not super expensive and looks promising. If anyone is using the same or any other alternatives, would like to get your opinion.
Will be soon setting up nest wireless cameras that I have got.
Also I am looking for wireless switches to integrate more parts of my home into the smart home ecosystem. Currently looking out for options and I am inclined towards the WiFi switches on Aliexpress. Again If anyone is using the same or any other alternatives, would like to get your opinion.
Thats all for now. Will update the thread as things progress, which will definitely be very slow due to unavailability of time.

Note to mods: didn't know where to post this thread. Please shift the thread if required.
 

Dr.Lakshay

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Messages
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Ghaziabad
A little update on what all I have added.

Bought the xiaomi gateway and have added it.

IMG-20180422-WA0016.jpg IMG-20180422-WA0015.jpg IMG-20180422-WA0014.jpg

Will soon run home assistant on rpi3 to utilize it fully.

Also bought the broadlink rm3.

IMG-20180422-WA0012.jpg IMG-20180422-WA0011.jpg

It is great for using all your ir devices right from your phone. Be it tv, set top box, speakers, ac, lights etc. Also it makes it possible to Atleast turn on and off the devices from Alexa by voice commands.

IMG-20180422-WA0013.jpg

Do watch my video.



Have also added a nest indoor cam. Haven't installed the outdoor cam yet as I already have Cp plus cams.

A couple of alexa compatible wifi led lights are on the way and will receive them soon. Do watch this space for more updates.
 

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kmathan88

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Feb 10, 2013
Messages
228
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Location
Bangalore
A little update on what all I have added.

Bought the xiaomi gateway and have added it.

View attachment 27118 View attachment 27120 View attachment 27122

Will soon run home assistant on rpi3 to utilize it fully.

Also bought the broadlink rm3.

View attachment 27121 View attachment 27123

It is great for using all your ir devices right from your phone. Be it tv, set top box, speakers, ac, lights etc. Also it makes it possible to Atleast turn on and off the devices from Alexa by voice commands.

View attachment 27119

Do watch my video.



Have also added a nest indoor cam. Haven't installed the outdoor cam yet as I already have Cp plus cams.

A couple of alexa compatible wifi led lights are on the way and will receive them soon. Do watch this space for more updates.
What you are using to control fan ?
 

heliumflight

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Few builders are selling "smart" enabled homes as their USP
 

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Dr.Lakshay

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Ghaziabad
What you are using to control fan ?
The switches I use are touch switches from Crabtree (havells) which are ir remote controlled. Hence I can easily operate them from my phone via the broadlink rm3. But I can control speed only by phone and not by voice commands by alexa. Alexa seems to only support on and off for now.
 

Nikhil

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Great thread Dr Lakshay!

Home Automation is a very interesting area and was a fairly expensive proposition until now.
Amazon has changed the landscape with Alexa and Echo - amazing device if you ask me.

Will be following this thread to see what are the options for my place in the future.

Regards.



.
 

Dr.Lakshay

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Had received the led strip lights some time back. Have been using them and I am quite satisfied with them. IMG-20180508-WA0001.jpg
Here's a video of them in action :
Just the color reproduction isn't the best and in the whole strip of 5 metre a couple of leds are behaving odd and don't change color.

Also bought an echo dot. For those who have a dilemma to whether buy echo or echo dot I will whole heartedly recommend echo. Echo dot is not worth it and I repent having bought it. It's listening power is less and you have to sometimes literally shout at it. Echo listens to you effortlessly. Then comes the speaker. God damn how can the folks at amazon even expect us to hear what's coming out of echo dot. Its pure shit speaker. So in short if you are going to connect the echo dot to a better Bluetooth or aux speaker and will use echo dot in a small room (probably 10x10 feet) then it is meant for you.
One use i like with having two echos is that you can use the drop in function and it acts as an intercom within your house. And then comes the whole house music! IMG-20180508-WA0003.jpg
 
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kmathan88

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Will soon run home assistant on rpi3 to utilize it fully.
Where you able to finish your automation ? I am trying my hands on Home Assistant, still long way to go.
I wanted to know your feedback on Crabtree switch / IR remote ? Is it worth upgrading ? Any alternate switches ?
I don't feel safe about sonoff, so if it Havells or GM it would be better I feel.

Please share some pictures / videos of the same.
 

Dr.Lakshay

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Where you able to finish your automation ? I am trying my hands on Home Assistant, still long way to go.
I wanted to know your feedback on Crabtree switch / IR remote ? Is it worth upgrading ? Any alternate switches ?
I don't feel safe about sonoff, so if it Havells or GM it would be better I feel.

Please share some pictures / videos of the same.
Hi, I did try home assistant once on the rpi. It was a bit too difficult for me and I got irritated to the point that I stopped investing time in it. Haven't ever tried again. Rather I should say never got the time to try again.
I would try open hab too once and see if that is easier to set up.
I would definitely recommend Crabtree if you want to go for branded. I have been using it for two years. Though do try it on demo. The touch for each switch is a bit small in my opinion, so if your finger does not land up on the exact position, either you will end up turning on two lights or nothing at all. Recently my brother has installed le grand remote controlled switches in his home. But I didn't like those. They aren't touch and aren't as pretty as the crab tree ones. Also the fan regulator on the le grand ones doesn't show the fan speed like Crabtree does.
Is it worth upgrading or not is totally a personal opinion. For me the look and functionality it adds, it's definitely worth it. I barely use the switch. I mostly use alexa or the remote.

Good @Dr.Lakshay. Small steps towards smarter home. But do you know how to accommodate unknown listeners to your music at home.
Sorry I'm not sure if I understand your question correctly. Do you mean to ask how do other house members use it to play music? or are you asking what about others who don't want to listen to the music I am playing?
 
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sanjivnayak

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kmathan88

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Hi, I did try home assistant once on the rpi. It was a bit too difficult for me and I got irritated to the point that I stopped investing time in it. Haven't ever tried again. Rather I should say never got the time to try again.
Even I am in the same state with RPi3. I tried HA with Synology docker and it seems to be faster to work. Hopefully this time I will try to reach a point which is usable.

I would definitely recommend Crabtree
I will try to get a demo on the ease of use. Will add it to my wish list.
 

Dr.Lakshay

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Recently got the Google home mini too. I think Google home is better than echo dot atleast. It has got better sound quality looks way better and most importantly it definitely is smarter.
Which one do you think is smarter?
 

Dr.Lakshay

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Just a little update, a few days back I installed openhab2 on rpi3. It was quite simple as compared to home assistant. Also adding things to openhab is easy. I am tinkering around with the things I can do with it and will update soon.
 

petes

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Dec 2, 2010
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Guys, I think this thread perfectly suits my requirement. Few questions on home automation.

I am using Sonoff for sometime to control tube light, but now I am interested for automating TV Channels. I currently have Google Home and Chromecast. My question is, how do I automate TV & TV channels? Found few answers after googling, but would like to know your opinion on different combinations.

1) I will buy Smart Plug to connect TV (For switching TV On/Off through voice)
(https://www.amazon.in/Count_On-Sock...8472&sr=8-3&keywords=voice+control+smart+plug)

2) I will buy Broadlink mini RM 3 (To change channels through voice after configuring DTH and Onkyo receiver)
(https://www.amazon.in/Broadlink-Uni...F8&qid=1549199229&sr=8-1&keywords=rm+pro+mini)

My budget to start is around 5K. Can I try out this combination? Will it work seamlessly? or any other thought?
 
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