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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