Technology / 

01 Apr 2018

DIY Home Automation (2018)

An update to my [[2016-10-01 DIY HA Links 2016 research]] into the possibility of building out an open-source, commodity-hardware, inexpensive, reliable, and not-cloud-dependent home automation system.

2018 Update

So, I acquired a bunch of cheap Chinese ESP8266-based “smart plugs” (they were on an Amazon deal and alcohol may have been involved), and now I need to decide what to do with these things…

Reflashing with Tasmota

The first order of business was to [[2019-09-20 Tasmota OTA Reflash|blow away the firmware they shipped with]], and replace it with something at least reasonably trustworthy, and (most importantly) which doesn’t require me to install any shifty-looking apps on my phone. I honestly don’t care that much if someone in China knows when I turn my kitchen lights on and off, but I do mind very much installing anything on my phone that absolutely doesn’t need to be on there, and procuring a ‘burner’ phone to control my lights by bouncing HTTP calls off a server on the other side of the planet does seem a bit… dystopian.

The wireless reflashing process was surprisingly smooth, although it required a dedicated Raspberry Pi for several hours, running a custom Linux distro… which seems a bit overkill as a way to load a few hundred kB of firmware onto a microcontroller. But hey, it cleared off the junk they came with, and put a generic firmware on—one that’s even capable of letting them work with Alexa and Google Home, violating the whole “cloud-free” requirement. Whoops. So, currently, we have lights that don’t work when the house’s Internet connection is down.   The future is a glorious place.