DIY Home Automation with Home Assistant

When I moved to my new house three years ago, I searched solutions how to control my garage door with my iPhone, especially through Apple Home(Kit). But I couldn’t find any cheap commercial solutions and HomeKit accessories were quite new and expensive back then.

So, I started to investigate DIY solutions and I was recommended a software called Home Assistant. It is a free and open-source home automation solution that usually runs on Raspberry Pi. It also has very wide range of device support (1600+ add-ons). Yay! I can integrate my vacuum cleaner to it.. And everything is controlled via a web-based user interface, but it also supports HomeKit, which I was looking for. Configurations are done with YAML files, but documentation is usually good enough and if not, forums are full of helpful people. I was already familiar with doing stuff with YAMLs.

I placed my Home Assistant over my garage door rails and bought also a Z-wave Plus USB stick to control and monitor other sensors in my home wirelessly. Garage door motor is controlled with relay which connects two pins in motor. The relay is connected to Raspberry Pi’s GPIO, where it gets its power, too.

Raspberry Pi running Home Assistant, Z-wave USB stick and relay controlling garage door. Three years, zero issues.

When the garage door is opened, the door sensor will send a signal to Home Assistant. I also get notifications if the door is left open for too long time.

Cheap door sensor connected to Raspberry Pi GPIO

I got some cheap Z-Wave Plus door sensors for other doors. These chinese sensors were 15€ each and I have them on every door leading outside.

Door sensor installed to front door.

I also wanted to play with interior lightning, so I ordered led strips from eBay. There are about 400+ leds controlled by the same relay unit, that controls garage door. My garage is starting to look like a cyberpunk bunker..

Neon lightning, because why not.

And all of this can be controlled through my iPhone, with the Home app. There is also Home Assistant app for it, but I wanted to control these from anywhere by installing HomeKit Hub in my network (iPad). Now, I can check from anywhere, if I left my front door accidentally open..

I have also some home security implemented, but for obvious reasons not going to share any of that in here.

Overall, I can highly recommend Home Assistant to anyone who is interested implementing home automation.

I can share more details if you like, this was just a high level introduction what I have done with it. So leave a comment, if there is something I should share with details..

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