Automate all the things!

Getting carried away with home automation

  • 8th February 2018

Recently I've been playing with Home Assistant to automate various things throughout my house, and I definitely got carried away. Here's a quick summary of some of my favourite automations throughout the house.

Morning Summary

Every morning, if I'm in the house, Home Assistant will send a message to my phone, and use the Google Home's broadcast feature to tell me a summary for the day. This includes the weather outside, the temperature inside the house, and how long it will take me to get to work, so I know if I have to leave early or not. Other times, depending on the day, it'll inform me of events and remind me to do things like putting the bin out when it is about to be collected. I'm planning on adding more information to this summary as time goes on.

Magic Cube

I purchased a Xiaomi Magic Cube for £8 and it's ridiculous and brilliant. The cube features gestures which can trigger actions, here's a couple that I have set up so far:

  • Rotate - Turn the TV volume up or down
  • Flip 90 degrees - Flick through lighting scenes in the lounge
  • Shake - Turn the lights on and off in the lounge
  • Drop / Free fall - Turn everything off in the entire house, including lights, music and TVs.

Good night (Turn everything off)

When I say to the Google Home "Good night" (or similar), it will trigger an automation that turns everything in the house off, except for the bedroom. This is great when going to bed for the night, as it turns off all the downstairs lights, pauses any media that is playing and then turns off the TV and speakers. It can then turn on the hallway lights so I can see when going up the stairs.

Reminder for bin days

I'm always forgetting to put the bins out to be collected, until I set up this automation. Home Assistant scrapes the local council website and gets the next bin collection day, and the bin to be collected. It will then trigger a notification on the evening before the collection, reminding me to put the bins out.

Making old devices smart

I've had my surround sound system for about 10 years and have no need to replace it. The only thing that annoyed me was that even though I have a chromecast audio plugged into it, it wasn't very effective because I had to manually change the input to it every time I used it. I now have a Home Assistant automation set up to trigger when the chromecast plays audio, and automatically switch the input using a Broadlink RM Mini 3 IR blaster. It switches back to the main TV input when the playing stops.