Anyone Automating Their Home or Use 'Smart' Devices?

I’m curious if many people use any kinds of ‘smart’ devices or automation in their home, and to what extent?

Do you build your own automation systems? Do you use existing systems?

Nest, Google Home, Alexa, Philips and others lights, sensors, smartthings, etc.?

I have a few ‘smart’ devices and it seems that Google integrates with a number of them, it actually works quite well. I was given a Google home mini not long ago (though you can use google assistant from your phone as well, or chromebook) and have been playing around with that with my chromecast.

With Maplin closing down I also picked up some ‘smart’ lights as well that i was going to fit when they come. No longer will I have to use the smart home technology that Mr Bean used. I’m also trying out some of Nests stuff.

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This is becoming increasingly interesting to me. I want something to close the blinds in the bedroom, maybe open them in the morning as part of an alarm. I’d love to set up my teapot (electric, gas is too rich for me) to boil water to go along with that alarm, maybe even wire up a whole-house audio system… That would be nice.

The only problem is that I’m in the middle of a car build and most of my spare time is being spent on that. Also, home automation is expensive for what little convenience you get.

Another thing I want is to be able to control the thermostat from a Pi that’s mounted on the wall or something.

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I have plans to automate, would be from scratch as in “buy components, start soldering”.
As of now, I have some DIY Lighting, that is it.


How do you like the lighting?

The most frustrating part of my day is when I’m watching TV with the lights on 50% or so and want to sleep. I then need to get up and turn off the switch. :frowning:

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The “smartest” device we have in my house is the microwave, and that’s really just because it displays the time when not in use.


I have a panel with switches sitting on my desk.
The plan was to use a simple IR-Remote and transistors for remote control. I think I got the components but never did it.

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Nice. Ideally, I’d be able to flip the switch from my bed or from the door (about 20 feet away) for maximum first world comfort.

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Could go into greater detail over here:


I vowed not to get one of these voice assistant room speakers but…

My wife has multiple disabilities and I saw how much she was using Google assistant on her phone. So we picked up a Google Home Mini and a couple of light bulbs. FFS my light bulbs have an IP address!!! Not sure what else we might add but for now being able to ask for weather, news, play the radio and turn the light on and off are good enough. The fact we can now make free phone calls is very good.


One of the things I want to do is control my radiators via IR (they have an IR receiver), however I’ve no idea what the IR codes are for the radiators and i’m not buying a $100 control just to figure it out. :confused:

I also want to control my speaker as well via IR, that I can do.

I always thought this would end up happening, we have enough addresses. Why not?

Less on the assistant side (unless you get thermostat control) and more on the ‘smart’ side, i’m fairly convinced with the Nest protect having set it up and seen how its helped people. It alerts you to issues no matter where you are, can link up with other devices like lights to alert someone, and is loud! (also lights up in the dark (just enough to see) if you get up and there’s no lights on.

I also noticed you can pay and order(?) things as well on the google assistant, and its in Chromebooks as well.

I find the assistant actually really good with Chromecast hooked up to the TV as well, ask it to put someone on Netflix on, TV turns on, Netflix opens and it plays your show.

Mr Beans option isn’t the most useful. It is quite good that you can set the brightness etc. and just tell them to turn off when you want to go to sleep.

I have a Google Home and Google Home Mini. Have all my major lights as Hue lights. Each room has a Hue switch which makes them easier to use.

I have my Plex server set to auto dim lights when I watch movies/TV shows, and auto brighten them when its over.

Can control all my lights From my PC, Phone, GHs and individual switches.

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We need to complete the transition to IPV6 before you can say that for sure.

I like NAT as much as the next guy, but frankly, I don’t want to need to make a /22 network for IoT devices so I can properly address christmas lights.

Yeah, I’m tempted to buy into some smart lights, but I don’t like the nagging in the back of my head that my lights are spying on me.

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This is interesting, do you need to do anything special to set this up?


Just a plugin


So much want!

Do all these lights have their own proprietary communication solution that interacts with an API outside my home network or can I run a service on my server (or a pi or whatever) to control them? Ideally, this sort of thing doesn’t go outside my home network…

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I’m weary of putting in much of anything that has to talk to devices out on the Internet. I’ve only put in a couple of smart light switches in (TP-Link HS200) to control outdoor lights. They are Alexa-compatible, but I don’t need them for that. I just want the lights to go on at sunset and off just after bedtime. Previously, It was a kind of hacked-together system with a timer and a CdS-type photosensor. The photosensor kept dying after 4-5 months so after a couple of years of that, I got the smart switches. They do have to talk to servers on the Internet: NTP and another that tells them the correct sunrise/sunset times where I am. Even though that’s all they do, they have their own SSID and VLAN on the network.

If at some point in the future, there was some box that sat on your internal network with some machine learning smarts and didn’t need to talk to the Internet, I might consider actually putting in a variety of sensors so it could learn my habits and eventually anticipate my desires.

For Hue (ZigBee) lights, the only thing that needs an IP address is the Hub. The individual bulbs use their own Wireles mesh network, not needing individual IPs.

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How fast do they “boot up”?

I might be in the habit of turning the switch off occasionally.