I was looking for sensors that allow to monitor the status of a door. Typically those are magnet triggered switches that send some sort of signal when the magnet moves away and comes back. I wanted something based on Z-Wave. I’ve already light switch relays that are running on Z-Wave and am very happy with them. Z-Wave is on the pricier end of RF-devices. 433Mhz switches would be much cheaper, but Z-Wave offers nicer handling and hopefully more reliability.
Many of these sensors come in at around 40€. That is quite pricy so I opted for the cheap chinese solution at around 13.5€ per piece. You just have to be patient: 4+ weeks delivery time.
Setup into Home Assistant was straight forward. Add the device to the Z-Wave network via the web interface, rename it to mydoor… but then… How does the device report ‘door open’? The binary sensor that showed up, did nothing.
After some fiddling and searching I found that the sensor.mydoor_access_control changes it’s state rather unspectacularly from 23 to 22. It’s so inconspicuous that I didn’t notice the change the first few times I kept looking for changes.
Perfect! there is something we can use to integrate it to Home Assistant for automation and other stuff. Luckily there are templates that allow us to turn this into a binary sensor which is more useful in automations.
Add this to your configuration.yml:
The talk covers a simple example of a DIY sensor that runs MicroPython. Finally I give a short introduction to Home Assistant, a Python Home Automation Hub, that allows you to integrate with hundreds of devices. Home Assistant offers integrations to light switches, smart lights (Hue, Trådfri, Lightify,…), door sensors, heat control units, and many others.
There is a video of my talk on my Youtube channel:
I’ve been playing around with MicroPython and Home Assistant. MicroPython is a ‘bare-metal’-Python flavor that you can use to program ICs. Home Assistant is a home automation and home control software written in Python 3. It can be hosted on a Raspberry Pi. It enables you to connect a vast amount of different devices: lights, switches, sensors, locks etc.
This is a raw guide on how to make your own smart plug and connecting it to MQTT which is then connected to Home Assistant.
You will need a relay board (single relay), a NodeMCU board, a power adapter for 5V, a case, a button, some wire and a 1k resistor.
Connect the devices according to this schema (WARNING: Don’t do this if you’re not comfortable handling mains power!). Don’t forget earthing (it’s not on the diagram):
See the Home Assistant documentation for how to integrate the MQTT part with Home Assistant.
The nice thing is: you can press the button to switch the device. The status of the device will update via MQTT and Home Assistant gets a correct status update. You can of course switch the device from within Home Assistant as well.
The torproject just released ‘Tor Messenger‘. It’s an instant messaging application that allows you to communicate via XMPP (jabber) over the Tor network. It is based on Instantbird.
It is important to know that the client will mask from where you are connecting, but it will NOT mask who you are! This is due to the fact that your alias at the jabber server was probably created beforehand. And even if you create the alias with Tor Messenger, your connections to other users make it possible to identify you.
XMPP (aka Jabber) in combination with OTR is a secure way to chat with others. There are some public servers available, but their popularity centralizes the infrastructure and leaves single points of failure. A recent example is Chaos Computer Club’s Jabber server (jabber.ccc.de) which was down for some days between Christmas and New Years 2014/2015, as a consequence of a DOS attack.