Home automation on the cheap

Well my mycroft project is coming along grate with help from some very helpful people on this forum @dmwilsonkc, @gez-mycroft, among other people.

Iv been looking into home automation for my son who is autistic and I’m hoping this will give him a little more independence Eg turn lights on by him self. I’m not the most well off of people so cheaper the better.

I’ve been looking at the sonoff devices for control (as these are grate for hacking form what iv read) are there any skills to control these?? Or is there a better path to go down??

Original Sonoff firmware works over (chinese) cloud servers which have outages on a regular basis.
There is are alternative firmwares available (ESPEasy, TASMOTA) which removes the cloud server dependency and enables MQTT. There is a MQTT skill for Mycroft available.

Warning: In order to flash the alternative firmware you need to open the Sonoff device, solder cables on it and connect it with UART-USB-Adapater to your computer. This will void your warranty of course.

An alternative to Sonoff are the devices from Shelly.cloud which have cloud-free MQTT support already with the factory firmware.
Main drawback of Shelly: they are produced in Bulgaria so getting them outside Europe could be more expensive because of shipping cost. Currently they are hyped a lot and most of the Shelly products have a order backlog - you may have to wait weeks or even months until new production batches are available.


I was looking over the TASMOTA I’m more than happy to do some soldering, iv also been looking at the ft232rl for flashing the new firmware, thanks for letting me know about the skill I’ll have to have a look for it.

Not herd of MQTT before so I’ll be asking Google for a little knowledge on that one

Thanks agin

if you like I find using zigbee2mqtt works very well for home automation you flash a zigbee sniffer once and all the other device connect easily… it you live in N.A you can easily modify the xiaomi wall plug to work with our adapters or you can buy zigbee units that look similar to the sonoff stuff (also about the same price as sonoff devices) or just go to your local Ikea store and use thier smart home products and they cost about the same as Sonoff with out all the hassle … i have mycroft working vellish domoticz turning on my zigbeelight ( philiip hue and sengled ) plus controlling my zigbee wallplugs and switches … and with the zigbee stuf basicall bring it home push the pairing button and your done.

@Jmh474 wow great to to know you are looking into home automation for automation. I will definitely recommend you Hogar Controls as I have recently purchased home automation deices for one of my relative’s son. Really its amazing. I got the info from this blog. You can refer that link. http://homeautomationtips.over-blog.com/2019/05/4-home-automation-ideas-to-keep-kids-safe.html

Definitely it will more helpful for your son regarding home automation.

This may not be helpful, but nothing ventured and all.

I’ve been setting up an OpenHAB controller using a Rasperry PI. I’ve gotten to the point where I can use the OpenHAB web interface to control my lights, and I have the controller managing the schedule of my smart switches. OpenHAB has bindings that let it control most of the smart home gadgets I’ve heard of, and you can mix them as you need.

My goal here is to have Mycroft talk to the OpenHAB controller, and let the controller do the grunt work. This will allow me to add devices from different manufacturers without having to add more skills to Mycroft. Now that I’ve got the controller working, getting the conversation going is my next step.