Home Automation Index
December 18, 2019

Temperature and Humidity Sensor and Reboot/Shutdown Switch for the Raspberry Pi

Two additional sections have been added to the never ending post on Various Hardware with Raspbian Buster Lite. The first shows just how easy it is to connect a DHT11 or DHT22/AM2302 temperature and humidity sensor to a single general input/output pin of the Raspberry Pi. The second shows how to add a reboot/shutdown switch to the Pi.

December 13, 2019

Upgrading U-Boot and Installing Linux on a Headless La Frite (AML-S805X-AC)

Here's how to upgrade the U-Boot boot loader of a headless La Frite (no monitor and no keyboard connected) from a Linux computer and upload an operating system to the eMMC memory module of the single-board computer. Libre Computer [...more]

December 9, 2019

The Domoticz Time Synchronization Problem

The solution that I was using for the problem causing Domoticz to shut down if there was time synchronization problem does not work in Ubuntu 18.04 (Bionic). The problem is discussed at length and a new solution using a systemd unit file to start the service is provided. I removed the lengthy discussion in the guide to Home Automation Servers on Raspbian Buster Lite and only show how to use a unit file to start Domoticz [...more]

Last Update: December 21, 2019. First version: December 4, 2019

Cheap Of-the-Shelf Raspberry Pi Hardware Watchdog

This is about using a cheap so called USB watchdog meant for cryptocurrency mining rigs as an external hardware watchdog for the Raspberry Pi. This is a single relay watchdog which performs hard resets as a last resort. Perhaps later I will test the ubiquitous two relay USB watchdogs that appear to be much more flexible [...more]

November 16, 2019

Real-Time Clock on Raspbian

The section on the RTC in Various Hardware with Raspbian Buster Lite has been rewritten. I am quite happy to report that installation of a real-time clock is now much simpler in Buster. However, I still have questions on the subject and I have been investigating time keeping in Linux on and off over the last few days. Will I ever emerge from that rabbit hole? And if I do, will there be anything worthwhile to say about it? Stay tuned...

November 12, 2019

Report on Progress or Lack of...

I am making slow progress with the guide to installing a home automation system using Domoticz on a Raspberry Pi running Rasbian Buster Lite. The third part on installing hardware, still in draft form, is taking longer than expected as I stumble with changes because of the new version of Rasbian. I am striving to ensure that each step described is warranted. For example, I have found out that it is not necessary to explictely update the real-time clock nor is ntp needed. I am also learning perhaps more than I wanted to know about systemd. Older posts need to be updated. The fight against one of the banes of the Internet, the out of date how to blog, continues.

November 8, 2019

No More Tasmota/ESP8266 Mosquitto MQTT Disconnects

Want to git rid of all those socket errors and MQTT disconnects occurring for not apparent reason? Just upgrade your ESP8266 device firmware [...more]

November 5, 2019

Installation and Configuration of Raspbian Buster Lite

This is a major update to the initial October 27 post. There is a better explanation of how to do a first boot of the Raspberry Pi which now includes instructions to connect to the Pi with a USB to serial adapter. The Information for neophytes sidebar are collapsible which hopefully makes the layout cleaner. The presentation has been slightly reorganized to make it easier to follow the different paths to the initial installation of the operating system. Two sections that are more hardware related have been moved to the third post of the series on the subject. An incomplete draft of the third post is up so that these two sections remain available. [...more]

November 2, 2019

Home Automation Servers on Raspbian Buster Lite

This is part 2 of the series of posts about installing a home automation system around Domoticz on a Raspberry Pi with Raspbian Buster Lite. It covers installing the major services that are needed for the home automation system: the home automation server itself, an MQTT broker, a Web server, and others services that I find quite useful [...more]

November 1, 2019

Domoticz Tips, Tricks & Info

This is just a list of tips and tricks that can be found in the Domoticz documentation, Wiki or Forum that I find useful and decided to compile for easy retrieval. [...more]

Last Update: November 5, 2019. First version: October 27, 2019

Installation and Configuration of Raspbian Buster Lite

This is a first part of a three part series of posts that will chronicle the installation of a home automation system based on Domoticz. This first part describes in excruciating detail steps that can be followed to install the latest version of Raspbian Buster Lite on a Raspberry Pi. I hope it will be useful for a newcomer to the ubiquitous single board computer. [...more]

October 15, 2019

Hardware Watchdog - Need Information

In the hope of making my home automation system more reliable, I ordered hardware watchdogs from Chinese vendors on eBay and Aliexpres. One vendor sent the wrong item. The other sent what I ordered but there is no information about it. I think I have the basics of how the watchdog works, but can someone provide me with more detailed information? [...more]

September 5, 2019

Syslog Server on Raspbian and Tasmota Remote Logging

This is a much needed update of the original October 2017 post on how to set up rsyslog on Raspbian Buster as a centralized syslog server and how to enable remote error loggin in Tasmota [...more]

Updated October 1, 2019. First Version: August 22, 2019

Flash Tasmota on a Sonoff in DIY mode in Linux

Without Windows, the software provided by Itead to flash firmware on the newly available Sonoff Mini and Basic R3 cannot be used. Here's how to install Tasmota in Linux with the DIY mode REST API without using the Sonoff_Devices_DIY_Tools utility. I think we could do the same in Mac OS and Windows. On the other hand, more hardware is needed to create a Wi-Fi hotspot connected to the local network [...more]

Updated July 14, 2019. First Version: July 4, 2019

Installing WireGuard on Raspbian Stretch and Buster

In the original version of this post, I overstated problems with the installation instructions kindly provided by Adrian Mihalko on GitHub. I hope to have made honourable amends in this revised version of the post by showing that the instructions do work in Raspbian Stretch. It is also shown that WireGuard can be installed with the apt wrapper if an additional step is taken. I have also found a German language post by Michael Bachmann, which updates the instructions for Buster. Finally, the Dietpi script which works in both Stretch and Buster [...more]

Updated July 14, 2019. First Version: July 11, 2019

First Taste of La Frite from Libre Computer

Back on the October 17, 2018 I backed a Kickstarter project by Libre Computer, named La Frite: Open Source Fries. Delivery was slated for November 2018, but there was a slight delay, and I received the package in the mail yesterday. Here are my first impresssions after I installed Debian Stretch on a headless system [...more]

Updated July 14, 2019. First Version: July 4, 2019

Installing WireGuard on Raspbian Stretch and Buster

Installing the WireGuard VPN server on Raspbian was not difficult, in great measure because there was good information available on the Web. But just lately, the instructions that I was following no longer work. So I hurriedly wrote this post to point out that the DietPi crew has a working script to install WireGuard on Rapbian Buster that also works on Raspbian Strech [...more]

July 2, 2019

Bluetooth, BlueALSA and Buster

The good news is that the newest version of the Official Linux Bluetooth protocol stack BlueZ is included in Raspbian Buster available since June 20, 2019. However some tweaking still needs to be done to use Bluetooth on the Raspberry Pi [...more]

June 16, 2019

Wi-Fi Dimmer with Domoticz

A major retailer sells Wi-Fi dimmers and other IoT devices that meet Canadian safety standards and that are certified by recognized agencies. Here's how I installed two of these devices and how it was possible to integrate them into the Domoticz home automation system. Voice commands (Google Home and Alexa) also work [...more (in French)]

May 10, 2019

May 2019 Domoticz Update

About some problems with the May 5th stable version of Domoticz. There was no reason to adopt it so quickly and had I been less eager I would have avoided some difficulties. Nevertheless, all's well that ends well [...more]

April 9, 2019

Raspberry Pi and Domoticz Watchdog

It is about time that a watchdog be setup on the Raspberry Pi that is hosting my home automation system. This post describes a first effort which aims to implement the basics:


March 12, 2019

Remote Logging of the Orange Pi Zero Core Temperature

Perhaps undeservedly, the Orange Pi Zero has the reputation of running hot. I wanted to use the Domoticz data logging facilities to record the core temperature of the single board computer which is on all the time running HA-Bridge. And while setting that up, I decided that I should also log any errors occurring during the execution of the script that updates the temperature data on a regular basis and look into sending some sort of notification if the Orange Pi Zero seems to be getting too hot [...more]

March 9, 2019

Remote Logging and Email Notification

This note is about how to configure an rsyslog server to have it forward some or all of the log messages it receives to a remote syslog server. A method to send an email in response to an alert message is also discussed. [...more]

February 15, 2019

HA Bridge on Armbian Working with Domoticz and Alexa

As I speculated, HA Bridge is very good as a proxy between Amazon Alexa and IoT devices defined in Domoticz. And installation was a snap [...more]

February 9, 2019 (updated Feb. 11)

ir-keytable on the Orange Pi Zero

While LIRC could be useful for some, many will just want to use an IR remote control with software designed for that purpose such as Kodi. In that case, LIRC will not be needed if the remote control uses one of the following IR protocols: rc-5, rc-5-sz, jvc, sony, nec, sanyo, mce_kbd, rc-6, sharp, and xmp. The ir-keytable utility contains over 130 remote control definitions and can be used to craft one if the IR remote is not among that list [...more]

February 5, 2019

LIRC on the Orange Pi Zero

To quote "Using lirc on Raspberry Pie [sic] is quite popular these days." Being a self-style contrarian I installed the package on the Orange Pi Zero. I managed to get simple demonstration programs working with it. [...more]

February 3, 2019

Using Bare Metal IR on the Orange Pi Zero

The note shows the basics about handling button presses from an infrared remote control using the python-evdev package and the built in kernel support for IR events on an Orange Pi Zero. Neither LIRC (Linux Infrared Remote Control) nor ir-keytable is used [...more]

January 31, 2019

Creating a Custom Armbian Image

Lately, I'm using an Orange Pi Zero for new projects. This means burning the OS image on a microSD card and then performing a number of initial steps, setting up networks, upgrading all installed packages and so on, that need to be repeated in exactly the same way each time a new image is used. All this takes time. So I decided to create a custom binary image that avoids these steps [...more]

January 30, 2019

Using HA Bridge with the Echo Dot 3rd Generation

This is a second look at the Amazon Echo Dot 3rd generation with emphasis on using it with HA Bridge on an Orange Pi Zero for local control of IoT devices. This is not a detailed explanation but a reassurance that devices installed in the bridge will be discovered with the 3rd generation Echo Dot [...more]

January 28, 2019

A Note on BlueAlsa 0.9 with BlueZ 5.49 and 5.50 on Rasbian Stretch

This is a continuation of the previous note on Bluetooth on the November 2018 version of Raspbian Stretch in which the default version of BlueZ is replaced with version 5.49 and later version 5.50. There is not much difference between these three versions of Bluetooth protocol stack at least for audio streaming [...more]

January 26, 2019

A Note on BlueAlsa 0.9 with BlueZ 5.43 on Rasbian Stretch

This is a short note reporting some changes encountered with the newest version of BlueAlsa when used with BlueZ version 5.43 with the latest version of Raspbian Stretch [...more]

January 24, 2019

Creating a custom image of Raspbian

Lately, I have experimented a lot with the new version of Raspbian Stretch Lite, trying different configurations and software. To check that everything works, I prefer to return to the operating system as obtained from the Raspberry Foundation. Whenever the image is copied to the SD card, the /boot partition must be changed in order to start the Raspberry Pi without a keyboard or monitor. Then the operating system has to be upgraded. All this takes time. So I decided to create a binary image that avoids these steps [...more (in French)]

January 22, 2019

Installing an Older Version of Lighttpd

This post shows how to install version 1.4.35 of the Lighttp web server in Rasbian Stretch. It then becomes possible to route the video stream obtained from MJPG-Streamer as could be done in Jessie. The problem with version 1.4.45 of Lighttpd is also better identified though no solution is offered [...more]

January 20, 2019

Updating Raspbian to Stretch

The original post has been corrected. Some changes were minor but it was wrong to state that the latest version of Mosquitto could not be installed. It was a good opportunity to make clearer how to connect the real-time clock and temperature and humidity sensor without having to refer to older out of date posts. [...more]

January 16, 2019

New Hardware (Episode 2): IP Camera, Itead Sonoff Goodies, and Amazon Echo Dot

How can I get on with software experiments and updates when new hardware keeps on arriving? In this second "mailbag" post without a video stream, I will present my first impressions of a cheap wireless IP camera, the 3-pole Itead Sonoff T1 wall switch, the new version of the Itead Sonoff Basic and the 3rd generation Amazon Echo Dot. [...more]

January 14, 2019


The post entitled All does not always work has been updated and translated into English. I added an item about the automatic update of the home automation IP address at FreeDNS. I also added an explanation for my problems with using the Arduino IDE to compile TASMOTA.

Information about installing and using K3b to burn a CD/DVD/Blu-Ray disk has been added to Installing Ubuntu 18.04.1, Additions and Adjustements. This post is in French only.

January 10, 2019

Updating Raspbian to Stretch

The New Year seemed like a good time to tackle once again the task of updating the Raspbian operating system on my Raspberry Pi hosting my home automation server. This is but another of my series of posts on setting up a Raspberry Pi so it would be of interest mostly to new fans of small single-board computers. I did manage to do a truly headless installation, and I did resolve some little problems which may be of general interest [...more]

December 16, 2018

Three Small Projects Based on the ESP8266

Here are three projects under development that work on the home Wi-Fi network: a touch-controlled lamp, a Wi-Fi temperature sensor, and a weather data display. The first two are connected to home automation software, Domoticz, the latter could be in the future [...more (in French)]

December 12, 2018

All does not always work

By way of proof that I am far from being an expert in the field, here are some projects that have not succeeded as expected [...more (in French)]

August 4, 2018

New version of Domoticz

A new version of the home automation server Domoticz (version 4.9700) has been available for a few weeks. This version in now compatible with Raspbian Stretch (version: June 2018, kernel: 4.14).

However, I ran into problems with the secure connection of the video stream as described in the post entitled Secure Webcam streaming with MJPG-Streamer on a Raspberry Pi. For some reason, I can get snapshots through the secure lighttpd proxy server but not the video stream. If I ever solve this mystery, I will update the post.

May 14, 2018

Bluetooth Audio with Rasbian Stretch on the Raspberry Pi 3

This is a second take on connecting a Bluetooth speaker to the Raspberry Pi 3 running under Raspbian Stretch (based on Debian 9). In this version, the somewhat more radical route of updating BlueZ is used. This post also goes on to show how the Raspberry Pi 3 can be a used as a Bluetooth speaker playing sound emanating from another Bluetooth enable device. [...more]

May 8, 2018

Music on Console, ALSA, and Bluetooth on Raspbian Stretch

Installing Music On Console (MOC) on a Raspberry Pi 3 running with Raspbian Stretch was just as simple as it had been when I installed it on an Orange Pi Zero with Armbian a few weeks ago. However things got complicated when I tried to send the sound out to a Bluetooth speaker [...more]

April 11, 2018
Update: April 23, 2018

Secure Webcam streaming with MJPG-Streamer on a Raspberry Pi

I have just finished translating the April 11 post to French. As often occurs when there is a fair amount of time before I undertake a translation, I actually modified the content a little bit. This reflects the experience I have gained in streaming the webcam. The English version is now updated.

Using MJPG-Streamer it is possible to stream video from a webcam connected to a single core Raspberry Pi B+ that is also running my home automation server and an mqtt broker. Furthermore, using a web server on the same Raspberry Pi, the video stream can be encoded and served over an HTTPS connection. [...more]

March 31, 2018

Google Assistant with snowboy Hotword Recognition (circa March 2018)

With a seeed studio ReSpeaker 2-Mics Pi HAT, it becomes possible to move my voice recognition project over to a Raspberry Pi 3. Hotword recognition will be done with snowboy from KITT.AI. The good news is that the ReSpeaker HAT seems to work well. The bad news is that there is now some sort of incompatibility between snowboy and Google Assistant Service [...more]

March 13, 2018

New Hardware: Micro SD Cards, ReSpeaker 2-Mics Pi HAT and Xiaomi 3G Router

This post is just like a ubiquitous YouTube "mailbag" video only without a video feed and without a sound track. In the space of a few days, I have received, from far, far away, five 8G micro SD cards, two ReSpeaker 2-Mics Pi HATs and a Xiaomi Mi WiFi 3G router [...more]

February 7, 2018

Music on Console with Armbian on an Orange Pi Zero

This post is all about using the Music on Console (MOC) audio player on an Orange Pi Zero running Armbian. In other words it is a continuation of the previous post wherein MOC replaces the Music Player Daemon (MPD) which could not quite handle some streams running at higher bit rates. [...more]

February 2, 2018

Spoken Weather Forecasts and Internet Radio on the Orange Pi Zero with Armbian

These last few days I have been improving my home automation assistant based on experience gained from using the Google Home Mini. While not at all anticipated, the latter's ability to play radio stations has proved useful. It has also been helpful to get weather information with Google Home. Accordingly I wanted to add similar capabilities to my DIY project running on the Orange Pi Zero [...more]

January 18, 2018

Voice Recognition on the Orange Pi Zero (DietPi Armbian)

I installed two Python libraries for voice recognition on an Orange Pi Zero running DietPi. The libraries are the hotword recognition engine snowboy from KITT.AI and the excellent SpeechRecognition library by Anthony Zhang (Uberi). It provides a uniform Python interface to many speech recognition engines. I have tested with two online services: Google Speech Recognition and Microsoft Bing Voice Recognition as well as with the off line engine Pocket Sphynx from Carnegie Mellon University. I wrote this back at the end of November, I don't recall the reason I delayed putting it up. [...more]

January 18, 2018

Google Home Mini with Domoticz using IFTTT

I have finished translating the corrected post on the use of the Google Home Mini as a home automation voice assistant. The original text was published a week ago and considerably modified since then to remove a bad suggestion on my part that compromised the security of the home automation system. [...more]

January 10, 2018

Google Home Mini with Domoticz using IFTTT

Taking advantage of a half price sale before the holidays, I bought the Google Home Mini. Unfortunately, Google Home no longer supports Sonoff switches programmed with Theo Arends' Tasmota firmware. On the other hand, it is possible to create applets with IFTTT to send HTML requests to the Domoticz server and thus control home automation devices with voice commands [...more]

January 2, 2018

Removing Nuisance Messages in Raspberry Pi Syslog

This is a short follow up on a previous blog about using a Raspberry Pi as a remote log server. Using information posted by knowledgeable persons, I removed the source of what turned out to be spurious error messages that were filling up the log... [...more]

December 4, 2017

Baby Bluetooth Steps on Raspberry Pi 3 - Raspbian (Stretch)

A chance meeting with cheap Bluetooth portable speakers with hands free capabilities led to a grand scheme to use them to talk to vocal assistants with the help of a Raspberry Pi 3. Before going ahead with the project, I had to learn the basics of using Bluetooth in Raspbian (Stretch). Here is a description of my first steps in this arcane world. [...more]

November 27, 2017

Serial Connection with the Orange Pi Zero

Today I had a good reason to test the debug UART port which is next to the RJ45 connector on the Orange Pi Zero. I really like this method of connecting to the headless OPiZ, so I wrote a short note about it [...more]

The cause of all this was an upgrade of Armbian that for some unknown reason went haywire. The system became unusable. I had to update the post about dietPi on the Orange Pi Zero.

I also updated my first post about the OPiZ to mention that ssh is not the only way of logging on the board initially.

November 22, 2017


  1. The following posts have been updated: Some ESP8285 and ESP8286 based devices, including newer versions of ITEAD products such as the Sonoff switches, contain flash memory that can be accessed only in DOUT mode. This implies a change in the parameters used with the flashing script or with the Arduino IDE flashing tool. Thanks to Sébastien Giroux for reminding me to update these older instructions.
  2. I stumbled on the precompiled binaries of sonoff.ino by Theo Arends. I thus corrected my November 17 update of Flashing a Sonoff with a Raspberry Pi to indicate that ITEAD Sonoff product can be flashed with Theo Arends' latest offering, Sonoff-Tasmota, with a Raspberry Pi without installing the Arduino IDE
  3. Firefox Quantum 57.0 has become available on Ubuntu and I mechanically updated. Not a good idea... I lost all my bookmarks and my last backup was quite old. Shame on me. Hope readers of this do better. Also, an older post A Domoticz application in Linux is now out of date. Maybe I will be able to look into updating it in the coming weeks.
  4. The updating of the CSS style sheet continues. The boxes showing terminal sessions now use an almost black background which more closely resembles what is seen on screen. Hopefully, that is an improvement although it does make the pages look a bit more busy.
November 16, 2017

Hotword Detection with snowboy on an Orange Pi Zero running DietPi

The novelty of talking with Mme Google has worn out, it is time to do something practical with voice recognition. Furthermore, who wants an open microphone streaming all sounds in the house to the outside world? I would prefer so called "hot word" recognition to be done locally. I had problems installing snowboy from KITT.AI. Fortunately, some clever people had already found solutions [...more]

November 8, 2017

Raspian from for the Orange Pi Zero

The maker of the Orange Pi Zero makes available a number of images of operating systems. I installed Raspian server found on I was not impressed it, but I could be wrong of course. In any case, I returned to DietPi. [...more]

November 6, 2017

Google Assistant on an Orange Pi Zero running DietPi

Following excellent instructions found on the web, I managed to install Google Assistant on the Orange Pi Zero running the latest version of DietPi. [...more]

November 5, 2017

Domoticz on an Orange Pi Zero, a First Look

The original October 18 post written in French is now available in English. [...more]

October 31, 2017

Updating to Sonoff-Tasmota

Updating to Sonoff-Tasmota by Theo Arends has come around a lot faster than projected. At the same time, it was possible to update to version 2.4.0-rc2 of the Esp8266 Arduino Core which is one more step in preventing a key reinstallation attack (KRACK) [...more]

October 22, 2017

Syslog Server on Raspian and Tasmota Remote Logging

Theo Arends' replacement firmware for the Sonoff WiFi switch logs error and information messages to the serial port and to its webserver by default. It can also log debug messages, and send all these messages to a syslog host where they will be stored to be reviewed later. However logging errors is not the default behaviour and so I decided to enable it. As my home automation server is a Raspberry Pi running Debian, it makes sense to use its default syslog daemon rsyslog. [...more]

October 18, 2017

Domoticz on an Orange Pi Zero, an overview

Curious, I bought another single board computer, the Orange Pi Zero. As a first test, I installed the home automation software Domoticz on it over Armbian. I also installed mosquitto, the MQTT server. Here are my first impressions of how it all works [...more (in French)]

October 17, 2017


Since the end of May, the company hosting my website has been providing SSL certificates (OpenSSL from The site can be browsed securily with the HTTPS protocol. That should inspire confidence; the little green padlock is now visible in the address bar. There was a catch, the style files and images were no longer found when viewing files in sub-directories. A solution had to be found. [...more (in French)]

I took the opportunity to reorganize the site. Updating the site had become a daunting task. New directories have been added, HTML files have been moved, and file names have been changed. I hope that the permanent redirection I have added will make the transition as smooth as possible.

October 1, 2017

An Update and Small Change

The post on Flashing a Sonoff from a Raspberry Pi was modified to insist on the need to turn the Sonoff on and off after flashing. The script used to upload the firmware cannot perform a hard reset of the ESP8266 when used as described.

There is now a little envelope icon after my name at the bottom of each page. It should be clearer that these are links to send e-mail messages with questions or suggestions. These links start your default mail client and fill in the subject line with the name of the HTML file containing the link making it easier to identify what your comment or question is about.

September 28, 2017

Another ESP8266 NodeMCU Development Board - UPDATE

In the original September 19 version of the post, I made an important error. Further tests, showed that the board does not boot when powered up from the VIN pin. Hopefully, the seller or manufacturer of the board can help resolve this problem and I suspect that I will be rewriting the post once I get more information. For some users (including myself), this is a significant factor which may tip the scales when comparing the board to the WeMos D1 mini which is not subject to this problem. [...more]

September 19, 2017

Another ESP8266 NodeMCU Development Board

I have purchased a new ESP8266 NodeMCU development board. I compare the latest Geekcreit/DOIT board to the Wemos D1 mini which I have been using up to now. Both based on the "orignal" NodeMCU development kit, they are quite similar but they do offer an interesting tradeoff. [...more]

September 11, 2017

A Better ESP8266 Loop Watchdog and Better Recovery

This post continues with improvements to the third loop watchdog introduced in the previous post. But most importantly, it provide a useful technique to recover in a hands-off way to watchdog timeouts and exceptions. [...more]

August 28, 2017

Arduino Sketch Managed ESP8266 Watchdog

Adding a third watchdog is a good idea for some ESP8266/Arduino based projects. That's because it is very easy to write code that feeds the built-in watchdogs but nevertheless goes off the deep end. The task of this watchdog is to ensure that the Arduino loop is executed regularly. [...more]

August 26, 2017
Updated: August 27, 2017

ESP8266 Watchdogs in Arduino

While the hardware and software watchdog timers of the ESP8266 are essential, they are not sufficient to ensure the kind of reliability needed in an IoT device. In a future post, I will discuss how to implement yet a third watchdog to further improve the dependability of the firmware programmed into this chip. In the mean time, I thought it would be useful to discuss watchdogs in general and to delve into some of the details of the ESP8266 watchdogs. [...more]

July 3, 2017

Temperature Sensors - Take 2

This post contains a corrected Python script for reading the temperature and relative humidity from a DHT11 sensor and sending them on to a Domoticz server. Bogus values will not be passed on when it is not possible to read the sensor. The second topic of the post is human comfort as it relates to relative humidity and temperature. This is groundwork for controlling an air exchanger and a dehumidifier in the future. [...more]

June 25, 2017

Temperature Sensors on a Raspberry Pi hosting Domoticz

This post explains how to connect a DHT series temperature and humidity sensor on the Raspberry Pi GPIO and how to monitor its values in Domoticz, a home automation server hosted on the same Raspberry Pi. There are plenty of descriptions on the Web on how to do this. But most assume that the default One-Wire GPIO pin will be used. Unfortunately, I could not use that pin. To increase the post's value-added, I also describe how to monitor the temperature of the Raspberry Pi [...more]

June 22, 2017

Two updates

First, the sidebar about the use of an independent power supply for the Sonoff in the post entitled Flashing a Sonoff with a Raspberry Pi was confusing. Hopefully, the new version is an improvement. Thanks to Robin de Kruyf for pointing out that deficiency. Second, I updated my Lua script for handling MQTT messages from Domoticz in the January 30th post NodeMCU, MQTT and Domoticz - part 2. Turns out that the CJSON module has been replaced with the SJSON module.

June 3, 2017

Workflow when Working with a Headless Raspberry Pi

The missing second post in the new series about home automation with Domoticz on a Raspberry Pi is finally added. I explain how I use FileZilla to more easily modify files on the Raspberry Pi. The instructions on making backups have been moved to this post [...more]

June 1, 2017

Motion and Dusk Sensor with CM11A in Domoticz

This post explains how I added the X10 ActiveEye Motion Sensor (outdoor model MS16A) to a Domoticz home automation server running on a Raspberry Pi. The latter is linked to the sensor through a CM11A serial computer interface and a RR501 transceiver. It is a reworked version of Adding an ActiveEye Motion Sensor that showed how the same sensor was used with a wireless CM19A computer interface [...more]

May 31, 2017

X10 RF controller with a CM19A Interface in Domoticz

This post shows how to use an X10 PalmPad Remote Control to manually control a lamp connected to a Sonoff WiFi switch from ITEAD. This is a continuation of the previous post about the necessity of providing a way of manually turning on and off lamps connected to Sonoff WiFi switches [...more]

May 30, 2017

MQTT with Domoticz

This post continues the new series about home automation with Domiticz and ESP8266 based hardware showing how I installed an MQTT broker on the Raspberry Pi and how it is used with the home automation software [...more]

May 27, 2017

X10 Dimmer Switches with a CM11A Interface in Domoticz

This post continues with the building of a home automation system using legacy X10 hardware with Domoticz on a Model B Rev 2 Raspberry Pi. At the end of the post, it will be possible to add fully integrated X10 LM465 Lamp (dimmer) module. Unfortunately, the Lua script may not work with newer (post 2007) lamp modules [...more]

May 23, 2017

X10 On/Off Switches with a CM11A Interface in Domoticz

This post continues with the building of a home automation system using legacy X10 hardware with Domoticz on a Model B Rev 2 Raspberry Pi. At the end of the post, it will be possible to add fully integrated X10 on/off modules. [...more]

May 20, 2017

Domoticz on a Raspberry Pi - "Déjà Vu All Over Again"

This is a detailed description of installing the Raspbian operating system and the Domoticz home automation server on a Model B Rev 2 Raspberry Pi and on a Pi 3 Model B. This is the first in a series of posts about DIY home automation using legacy X10 hardware and using the newer, cheaper, and in my opinion better ESP8266 based hardware [...more]

May 19, 2017

Over the Air Sonoff Flashing

One of the very useful features of the Sonoff-MQTT-OTA-Arduino firmware for Sonoff switches by Theo Arends is its ability to update itself over the air (OTA). Here is how to use this very usefull capability especially once a switch is being used [...more]

May 19, 2017

Flashing a Sonoff with the Arduino IDE (2)

This follows the May 15th post, showing how to flash the Sonofo-MQTT-OTA-Arduino - TASMOTA firmware from Theo Arends on a Sonoff switch Wifi. TASMOTA is complete and makes adding the switch in the home automation program Domoticz very simple. [...more (in French)]

May 17, 2017

Flashing a Sonoff with the Arduino IDE (1)

There is nothing very new here. I show how to upload a sketch in a Sonoff WiFi switch from the Arduino IDE. The steps described are a) Installation of the Arduino IDE in Ubuntu; b) Preparation of IDE; c) Serial port access; D) USB-serial connection with the Sonoff switch and e) Uploading a Blink sketch [...more (in French)]

May 15, 2017

Real Time Clock, DS3231, for Domoticz on the Raspberry Pi

Since the Raspberry Pi does not have a physical clock, schedules events triggered by the time of day will not work properly in Domoticz if access to the Internet is lost during a power failure. The obvious solution is to install a hardware real-time clock (RTC) [...more]

April 26, 2017

Local Control of Sonoff Switches

Occasionally it is convenient to control devices with a smart phone or tablet,or even a desktop computer. But, very quickly, one tires of having to use such a device to simply light a lamp. I will describe how I added manual switches to control two bedside lamps connected to Sonoffs... [...more]

February 12, 2017

Adding an ActiveEye Motion Sensor

This will be one of the last posts about X10 hardware I should think. It shows how to add the combined motion and light sensor to Domoticz. [...more]

February 12, 2017

BlitzWolf SIC1 Wifi Surveillance Camera... Again

This is another short post with additional information about the camera, its software and firmware. [...more]

February 10, 2017

Conditional timers in Domoticz

The Decemter 17th blog on conditional timers in Domoticz was updated. Phil (user PhillChillBill on the Domoticz forum; sorry, I don't know his last name) has written a Perl script to automate the process by creating the bash script I described before. [...more]

February 9, 2017

USB-Serial Converter, Counterfeit or Not?

The USB-TTL converter ordered on the 27th of November finally arrived yesterday. Initially, it would not work with to flash an ESP8266. Was the converter harbouring a counterfeit chip? In the end, I did find a way to make it work as I wanted [...more]

February 1, 2017

Sonoff, NodeMCU and Domoticz

An ITEAD Sonoff WiFi switch with NodeMCU firmware is added to the list of devices controlled with the home automation software Domoticz [...more]

January 31, 2017

Emulating a Sonoff Switch with a Wemos D1 mini

I still have not received the USB-TTL (3.3V) cable to flash and program Sonoff WiFi Switches. Using the Rapsberry Pi as I did to flash the switches is too cumbersome for software development. Si I decided to emulate a Sonoff with a WeMos D1 mini. [...more]

January 31, 2017

Flashing a Sonoff Switch with a Raspberry Pi

I decided to rewrite the January 23rd posting and to tranlate it into English. It now shows how to use a Raspberry Pi (instead of USB-TTL cable (3.3V) cable) to flash a Sonoff WiFi Switch from ITEAD with one of three firmware: Sonoff-MQTT-OTA-Arduino (TASMOTA), Sonoff-MQTT-OTA and NodeMCU. Full integration of the switch with Domoticz is achieved with the first one without any programming of any sort [...more]

January 30, 2017

NodeMCU, MQTT and Domoticz - part 2

This post continues the exploration of NodeMCU, MQTT and Domoticz begun on the 15th and 17th of January. The subject is how to subscribe to MQTT messages in NodeMCU so as to perform a task based on messages published by other devices to the MQTT broker. In particular a virtual switch in the home automation software will set the WeMos D1 Mini LED on or off [...more]

January 23, 2017

Flashing a Sonoff Switch with a Raspberry Pi

The USB-TTL cable (3.3V) ordered from China in December is still in transit. My impatience is such that I decided to use a Raspberry Pi to flash a Sonoff switch. I managed to flash two Sonoffs and I can happily report that no Raspberry Pi nor Sonoff was hurt in the process. And the good news is that it takes about ten minutes to program the second: five minutes to solder a connector and five minutes to flash the Theo Arendst firmware: Sonoff-MQTT-OTA. Here are the details [...more (in French)]

January 21, 2017

Wemos D1 mini and NodeMCU - reworked

The January 15th post has been reworked slightly to better explain the work flow when using NodeMCU with command line tools. In particular, setting the baud rate correctly makes for a smoother experience [...more]

January 17, 2017

NodeMCU, MQTT and Domoticz - part 1

This post continues with the previous one. In it I show how to establish a WiFi connection and how to update a device (a temperature sensor) in the home automation software Domoticz. This is done in two ways: using an MQTT broker and directly using an HTTP request [...more]

January 15, 2017

Wemos D1 mini and NodeMCU

When I purchased my first ITEAD Sonoff WiFi switches, I also got a Wemos D1 mini board. I thought using a ESP8266 development kit would be a good way to prepare for hacking the switches. In this post, I relate how I learned to program the ESP8266 using a tool chain made up of NodeMCU firmware and Python command line utilies: esptool, nodemcu-uploader and miniterm. [...more]

January 13, 2017

Using the BlitzWolf SIC1 Camera in Domoticz

Domoticz uses video cameras as if they were photo cameras: one image at a time. Many security video cameras can snap a photograph even as they send out a video stream. Unfortunately, in the case of the Blitzwolf BW-SIC1 camera, this requires use of the ONVIF api which, apparently, Domoticz cannot do. There seems to be no choice but to write a bash script to pull a frame from the camera's video stream [...more (in French)]

January 13, 2017

Using the BlitzWolf SIC1 Camera in Kodi

There is an add-on application for the Kodi multimedia player to see the video feed from the BliztWolf BW-SIC1 camera. It is called IP Cam. It is rather easy to do without it and to use Kodi which can read RTSP streams. [...more (in French)]

January 12, 2017

Setting up the BlitzWolf SIC1 Wifi Surveillance Camera

Setting up the BlitzWolf BW-SIC1 Wifi surveillance camera with the BlitzCam application on a Windows computer [...more]

January 11, 2017

BlizWolf SIC1 Camera - in the cold

The BlitzWolf BW-SIC1 wireless security camera spends its firt night in the cold and hits the lower limit of its operating temperature. There is also a short low resolution video. [...more (in French)]

January 3, 2017

First use of the BlizWolf SIC1 security camera

The BlitzWolf BW-SIC1 wireless surveillance camera has interesting features with respect to its relatively low price. Unfortunately, the instructions accompanying this unit are almost incomprehensible. In addition, they contain no information about its use with the Linux operating system. Luckily, it transmits its video streams with the RTSP protocol, so it can be seen and recorded with standard software in Linux. [...more (in French)]

This page lists posts published in the last two years on the subject of home automation. Archives contains links to all the pages published on this site. It is also possible to do a searches limited to the content of this site with the search box at the top of all pages.