You're probably here because you want to build a smart home but are concerned about how they can mess with our aesthetics. Maybe you've already got a smart home and are looking for ways to keep it tidy. In either case, the concern is real because many devices have a look that doesn't quite fit with your existing decorations. While the extent to which you will keep everything hidden depends greatly on your ecosystem, most of these tips will work with all platforms.
Let's say you were fed up that your kettle didn't notify you when it was done or that you can't have it start boiling on a schedule so it can be ready in the morning. You might have seen our post on building a DIY smart kettle using only a smart plug, or maybe this thought occurred to you naturally. In either case, it's crucial that you use the right kettle for this purpose, or you could run into some serious problems. Here we will look over some kettles that will work perfectly for this purpose, along with gaining a deeper understanding of why we need specific models in the first place.
LED strips have become a popular option for decorating a room as they can be used to create a vastly different ambience with the press of a button. While strips are awesome, they aren't always the most practical thing as they can be difficult to mount in the right way for your application. To make things easier, some companies sell light panels which are easy to mount directly on the wall. They can change color and offer tons of effects to keep things interesting. The most common product in this space is perhaps the "Nanoleaf light panel" which does the job perfectly, albeit a bit expensively. To save some money and get additional personalization I built my own light panels in a project I call ColorWall.
Home Assistant is an amazing application that provides a way to connect all of your smart devices into a single controller regardless of what protocols they support. Many users encounter a problem after using it for a while because the automations you can create aren't always as powerful as they would like. There has always been the option to use Python by writing your own integration or script, but they are difficult to use just for an automation. Here we will be providing a beginner's introduction to Appdaemon by looking a few examples and explaining how they work. You'll be writing up awesome scripts in no time!
When we are building smart devices ourselves, either to reduce cost or to customize the installation, there are a lot of choices to be made in terms of which components should be used. The most important component to projects in the smart home industry is arguably the microcontroller, which is responsible for keeping everything moving along smoothly. Many will immediately think of board such as the Arduino, while others might be thinking of the ESP8266 or ESP32. Which board should you use to build your DIY project?