Home automation with the raspberry pi

You’re sitting in bed, drifting away to sleep, but your light is on. Who wants to get out from bed and switch the lights off? The year is 2014–why are we still carrying around keys for our homes? All of these issues can be addressed with the concept of home automation, that comes along with a variety of protocols (X10, insteon, z-wave, etc).

I wanted to get started on a project that was 1) low cost, 2) wireless, 3) relatively expandable, and 4) DIY. The raspberry pi seemed to be the obvious answer for me.  There are countless others who have used the RPi for home automation such as controlling lamps, LEDs, integrating motion sensors, scheduling events–so I naturally turned to a few of these write-ups for guidance.

I started with an Etekcity RF remote control outlet controller. If I could automate the button signal on the remote’s circuit board using the Pi, I could simulate a button press for the on or off event and control electrical devices this way.  I accomplished this using a relay. Applying 3.3V from the GPIO to a relay can activate a mechanical switch that closes the circuit for a designated button on the remote. A similar circuit could then be repeated for each respective button.


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Raspberry Pi-powered pet feeder

After getting accustomed to the workings and capabilities of a Raspberry Pi, I came up with an idea for my first project: An internet-controllable and/or schedule-automated pet dry food feeder. I did a quick google search and found a similar project with a great write-up by David Bryan, so I started here for reference.

First, I need a feeding apparatus. I went with a similar choice as chosen by David Bryan, just a different brand (link). I will be using a cereal (dry food) dispenser with a rotary knob for controlling the amount of food dispensed. I went with a similar servo as mentioned in the previous project as well. The servo will be attached to the knob and run for a designated and calibrated duration of time to dispense the exact amount of food desired.

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Tasker script to temporarily disable android security

The goal for this project was to disable the android security features of my phone for a set duration of time once I manually unlock the device (with pattern or pin). I also wanted the ability to disable the security feature while on my home wireless network. There are several methods of completing such a task, as detailed in the Tasker wiki and other forums. Most of the scripts that I tried didn’t work on my device for one reason or another, so I created this quick script (attached below) to solve my problem.


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Tasker Script for OpenWeatherMap.org API


After relentless searching for a current, working script to query any of the major weather servers for integration in tasker apps (and in my case, autocast), I couldn’t find one that worked perfectly for my needs.

Below, I have made available the tasker scripts that I created for this project. My script makes use of the OpenWeatherMap.org API with JSON data. Tasker uses javascript to interact with the raw data and import into global tasker variables.

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