DIY Smart Home Button Using IFTTT

Why spend over $40 for a connected smart home switch when you can make your own for half of that! And this switch can control just about any connected service/device using IFTTT so you aren't limited to just lights!

In the past, I have always chosen to upgrade my analog switches for smart switches for smart home control. While this solution was typically fail-proof, it was expensive! Additionally, it requires a high level of comfort with electrical circuitry, not something most people have. Having moved into a new house I am faced with the challenge of starting from scratch. In order to exert more control and to create a deeper understanding of the cloud and electrical interfaces behind smart devices, I have decided to go DIY!

This switch was based off of the SimpleIOThings The Original Netflix & Chill Button project, with the substitution of the Adafruit Feather Huzzah Breakout Board as opposed to the ESP8266 Sparkfun Development Board used in the SimpleIOThings project. Aside from the fact that I had a few of these laying around the house, it has robust wifi capabilities and can recharge an Adafruit LiPo battery pack to keep the unit truly wireless! This project was especially appealing because it uses the IFTTT service, which means that this wireless button can control just about any device or service connected to IFTTT! Not only does this mean connected lights, but SMS services, media streaming, and more!


Because the setup of the switch internals is essentially the same as the SimpleIOThings project, I will not repeat those steps here. However I will make a few helpful observations:

- Device Location in the Sensor Setup is the IP Address

- Instead of GPIO2 use the feather pin SDA4 (GPIO4) and modify the init.lua file accordingly

- Feather board comes with Lua preloaded, does not need to be flashed

- Use an Adafruit LiPo 3.7V battery pack to keep the switch 100% wireless!


Presently, I am using this switch to control a light in my office that I have connected to IFTTT via an Emberlight smart socket. It is always annoying when someone flips the wall switch off and then your smart lights don't respond to voice or remote control, am I right! Because this switch is a toggle that issue is completely avoided! Plus it's nerdy and it's going to look cool! I've also tested various other applets such as sending texts to my phone and pushbullet notifications to my PC.


What I will do is describe the "upgrades" I am making to change the look of the switch. In addition to making the switch fully wireless, I am awaiting the delivery of an arcade-style button and low-profile project enclosure from Adafruit which will allow me to polish up the project!

Fun fact, the aluminum project enclosure interfered with the wifi signal and was very difficult to drill without bending the casing, so I defaulted to a plastic project enclosure from RadioShack.

In addition to the enclosure, I have ordered a panel mount micro USB cable and a much larger 6600mAh lipo battery. The 500mAh battery I am using at present does not last long enough to make this button fun or practical. And part of what makes the feather development boards so great is that they have built in battery charging. By adding a panel mount and a much larger battery I will be able to have a more portable button. These parts are presently on order from Adafruit.

I am finding the concept as a light switch to be less enticing as its whole advantage is being wireless, so I am trying to think of other fun things to do with it aside from Rick Rolling my boyfriend with the push of a button.

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Katrina Siegfried

BIOMEDICAL ENGINEER / PROGRAMMER

 

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katrina.siegfried@gmail.com

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