Adventures in Home Automation – Part III

Well, here we are at Part III.

Right now, there’s nothing good to write beyond spitballing what is next on this journey:

– Finish replacing all light switches with Smart Switches. At least then everything will be consistent.

– 12v integration. The garden shed has a covered area next to it that I use for running a BBQ and Smoker. The lights over there are all 12 volt, connected to the solar fed batteries. It’d be absolutely awesome to integrate a way of being able to trigger those lights remotely so I can turn them on before stumbling out there in the dark at 4.30am to start a cook.

– Power monitoring the server rack. We don’t have a lot in it, but the 6KVa UPS in the bottom takes up a lot of space. We do actually have a power meter wired in before the UPS to monitor the circuit – purely because the limits of the circuit are significantly lower than the 32A the UPS is able to pull. It’d be ideal to replace that with something smart. A large portion of the load on that circuit is work & business related so having some solid data logging would be handy.

– Power monitoring Kevin’s tank. We find it useful to monitor the stuff that winds up using a good chunk of power. It’s also a good way of being able to see if something isn’t quite right when consumption is unusually high or low.

Water Leakage Sensor. We have a shelf over the ATO reservoir on our marine aquarium sump. It holds dosing containers for our Triton Core supplements. If our skimmer goes off though, that shelf starts to get wet. The plan is to add one of these sensors to that surface so we know that something is wrong. We are fairly slack on tank maintenance simply because Triton takes away a lot of the water changes, the ATO takes the manual work out of the top offs, and we have the RO/DI plumbed throw to a Tunze sensor that detects when the reservoir is low and tops it up… and of course we use a fish feeder. After years of weekly water changes, throwing out shoulders from carting around drums full of water, paying someone to drive 1000L of salt water from over an hour away and so on, we deserve this level automation! 

Smart Fish Feeder. This is less a necessary change and more of a “because we can”. We could probably put one on Kevin’s tank too, but his pallets are big, and if we leave a space open in his lid, he will attempt to fit through it.

Temperature Monitoring. Both of our aquariums could benefit from better integration. Kevin definitely needs it. The reef tank – yes, but then we could just upgrade the heater controller. It’s currently using a pre-WiFi generation Inkbird controller that they once provided in return for a review. Certainly this style of monitor is suitable for aquarium monitoring. It’d be nice to monitor some of the hot areas around the property as well. The Aubess devices might be better suited to that task.

Blind control. All of our blinds are on chains, and a few of them are broken.. mostly due to the kids pulling too hard on them and snapping the chains. It’d be nice to start automating control of blinds in areas that we use the most, like our living room. We can drive most other things through Alexa, and it’d be really cool to setup a scene that drops the blinds and turns off the lights. It’d be nice to be able to push a button, say a word or quite simply allow a program to run to shut both of our bedroom blinds.

– Other stuff. We still need to fix the HDD monitoring on our storage server. It’d be nice too to get some integration into ESXi, and maybe find a way to tap into the management interface of our UPS (it’s not APC). We do have some APC PDUs that would be cool to integrate as well. The wavemakers on our Reef tank also apparently have the ability to connect to a WiFi gateway that might have the potential to integrate.

These are all goals for 2023. We probably won’t achieve them all, but there’s a plan.

Update 1: Dec 20th 2022 – We’ve got the 6KVa UPS integrated into Home Assistant. Using the install guide here we were able to install and configure NUT on a server in the same subnet (one of our PiHoles). We then used the SNMP examples from here to get an idea how to get NUT talking to the SNMP card. From there, Home Assistant actually found NUT on the network and just needed some basic config to get it online.

Unfortunately the smaller UPS we have that runs another switch uses an older BestLink SNMP card that isn’t recognised. The plan is to grab some spare ConnectLink SNMP cards and try them in that UPS. It may work. Possibly.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *