New Home Automations

I’ve been toying with the idea of home automation for several years. The expense has been one of the highest priorities, as I don’t like spending where it’s not necessary. With some bonus money over the past year or two, I’ve been able to make some additions that didn’t break the bank.

I was looking through Facebook last year when I came across Konnected.io, which is a way to make use of existing security panels and allow the home user to monitor their own home. It reads the signals of doors, windows, smoke/CO detectors, and any other input devices and allows you to sound the alarm or send yourself an alert on your phone. The options are much greater than that, but you get my point.

Konnected works with SmartThings, which is another element of home automation I had already looked into for lighting, but hadn’t taken the plunge. I found that because Konnected was open source, I could buy the modules at a very low cost and flash them myself to save even more money. For around $10/module, which has 6 inputs/outputs (IO), I figured I could put my disconnected security system back to good use without having monthly charges. Of course, I would have to also invest in the SmartThings hub, but with the plan of extending automations, it was worth it.

I bought the SmartThings hub and 4 modules to load up with Konnected, as well as some accessories to get everything hooked up adding up to less than $200. Using my existing home wiring, door and window sensors, and sirens, I now have a working security system that will alert me when something is not right at home… with no extra monthly fee.

It did take some time to figure out how to load the modules for the first time. I did spend several hours making up all of the connectors for the new modules. I took the extra time to repurpose two used Amazon Fire tablets to use as replacement alarm panels using ActionTiles and FullyKiosk browser. The tablets get their power from my new alarm panel.

I left the original smoke alarms connected to the old panel for several months until they began to die… time for a necessary upgrade because they were at least 18 years old… I bought 6 new 12V 4-wire smoke alarms and one 12V 4-wire combination smoke/CO alarm to wire into a Konnected module, so now my phone will alert me if there’s smoke or CO detected in the house.

Shortly after I ordered the SmartThings hub, I ordered several Smart light switches from Innovelli. They were cheaper than most smart light switches, and also didn’t require multiple smart switches to remotely control 3-way wired lights. On top of that, they work as repeaters for the SmartThings hub network, so using them, I would not have to be concerned with their proximity to the hub. The light in front of my house that illuminates my address now comes on automatically in the evening and turns off in the morning. Before, I just left it on all the time.

When I go in the garage, the lights out there turn on automatically for 5 minutes, because many times anyone goes out there, our hands are full, and reaching for the switch can be a pain.

At night, I have several lights set to turn off on a timer any time they’re turned on, as I have kids that have, so far, refused to turn them back off, even after agreeing to do so.

I have more automations, but I feel like I’m getting a little long-winded at the moment.

Have a great day!

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