Smart Home with Raspberry Pi – What is possible?

A Smart Home and its components can be quite expensive. If you have technical understanding and craft skills, you can build your own Smart Home with the Raspberry Pi single-board computer and matching accessories. We show you how to build your own Smart Home.

Smart Home with Raspberry Pi

Smart home initially means intelligent control of household appliances and functions. That’s one step further than just remote control using the remote control supplied with many appliances. With a Raspberry Pi, hobbyists can simply retrofit the missing intelligence and switch devices on and off at least smartly using standard radio sockets and a 433 MHz transmitter module without the need for a remote control. Such a radio module consists of a small circuit board with only three connectors, two for the power supply and a data input, which has to be connected to a GPIO pin of the Raspberry Pi. Many Smart Home modules from DIY stores such as adapter plugs or radiator thermostats use the 433 MHz frequency. Raspberry Pi is therefore a good opportunity to get started with the home-made Smart Home.

IR remote control for Raspberry Pi in Smart Home

The infrared remote control has become widely accepted for consumer electronics and household appliances. To use these interfaces for home automation with Raspberry Pi, you only need an IR LED as additional hardware. Their range can be extended with a simple circuit consisting of a standard transistor such as the BC547 and two resistors. Learning the codes of existing remote controls is possible with an IR module with a frequency in the range 36 to 40 kHz, for example Sharp GP1UM26XK. These are all components that are also available from electronics retailers for cent amounts. One of the smallest breadboards with 10×17 contacts (approx. 3.5×4.5 cm) is sufficient for the solderless construction of the circuit.

Raspberry Pi and Alexa

With some components technology fans with a Raspberry Pi can also build an Amazon Echo themselves. Besides the single board computer you need a USB microphone and a loudspeaker as well as a jack cable to connect the devices. Besides the components you need an Amazon-Developer-Account where the Raspberry Pi has to be registered. If the Raspberry Pi is registered there, you can start programming the single board computer. Detailed information on how to do this can be found in numerous tutorials on the Internet. To start the self-made echo you need three terminal windows. The necessary program commands can also be found in numerous online instructions.

Raspberry Pi and HomeKit

Apple’s Smart Home solution HomeKit has the disadvantage that not many components are compatible with it. In combination with Homebridge and Raspberry Pi it is possible to integrate devices into HomeKit that are not supported.

Raspberry Pi as a surveillance camera

The Raspberry Pi camera module turns the single board computer into a surveillance camera. The camera module is compatible with Raspbian and records Full HD videos and is available with or without infrared filter. It can also take photos with 5 megapixels.

Raspberry Pi with motion detectors

If you want to activate devices through movement, you need a motion detector. There are various modules for the Raspberry Pi that turn the single-board computer into a motion detector. A five-pack of motion sensors is already available from Amazon for less than 5 dollars.

Raspberry Pi as weather station

Many events in the Smart Home are based on weather data. Therefore, a weather station is part of the basic equipment of a well functioning Smart Home. The Raspberry Pi can also record weather data. All you need is a sensor connected to the circuit board. The DHT11 is well suited for this and is available at a reasonable price.

Raspberry Pi with Enocean modules

Without batteries one can operate the radio technology Enocean. The Enocean devices generate sufficient energy to carry out actions by changing their state. For example, there are temperature sensors or wireless switches. For the control of Enocean devices with Raspberry Pi one needs an appropriate Enocean module.

Raspberry Pi with Homematic

Homemmatic is one of the most popular Smart Home systems. A Homematic Gateway is required to control the Homematic Smart Home. With a radio module and the Homematic OCCU software development kit, Raspberry Pi becomes an alternative to the Homematic CCU2 control unit.

Further options for smart home with Raspberry Pi

The modules presented in our article are suitable for implementing extensive Smart Home functions. But Raspberry Pi also offers many other possibilities, such as the ZigBee or Z-Wave radio standard.

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