IOT and related gizmos - Honey I bricked the house!

Anker come clean?

Probably just more / worse dirt further down :D

meanwhile, back in digital nomadland, the government has decided to accelerate the rollout of our digital meters. or rather... start it, finally. or something. because afaik about 130k of those are actually installed at the moment, compared to a grand total german electricity meters of 50+ million. they're not quite IoT yet, since the communications unit is not being installed in most cases... sooooo:

View:[yes it's german, but the auto-translated english subtitles are actually quite good]
also, take note: that video is already 5.5 years old. nothing has changed about the tech being rolled out in any way. it's still exactly the same.
As discussed in the normal random thoughts, I was looking for a "Smart Home Shenanigans" Thread and decided this thing here was close enough and since I liked the "honey I bricked the house" I'm gonna go quote all our stuff over:
Well, I went down a rabbit hole, so my thoughts on this are many and diverse. :blush:

I noticed that IKEA has started selling window sensors for €10 and thought this might be a good way to automate my “turn the heating off” scene. Who’s got the time to do that manually, eh?

Then I remembered that the Swedes also have physical smart buttons, so I could get one of those for the bedroom and use it to activate “good night”, i.e. lights out and heating down. I’ve decided to try banning my phone from the bedroom again and using the iPad that lives in the bedroom to activate the scene seemed counterproductive.

However, SOMRIG is fugly and wouldn’t work with my TRÅDFRI gateway anyway, so I started looking for alternatives. Flic 2 starter set for €95? Possibly, but are there decent ones for much less?

Of course, I noticed at some point that beyond Thread, there is now Matter, so it might be time for a new Apple TV 4K which supports that and can replace my current one as a hub for Apple Home. Hang on, how much cheaper is this generation in the US than in Germany? Oh, there’s probably going to be a new one before July? Right, let’s check the rumours!

Anyway, what could I do about my windows - see, I hadn’t completely forgotten about those - with Matter that would be more elegant than the IKEA sensors? A smart window handle that is lockable without a key, you say? Lemme just check if I can install one without damaging the frames. And why is it 1:30 in the morning?

To be continued… probably.
Ah yes, the usual :|

luckily, since setting up home assistant, I no longer care about whether any system, sensor, switch, whatever will talk to any other system. compatibility is no longer a concern. everything talks to home assistant anyway. So I don't have to give a damn about Thread or Matter, either (despite having the apple tv and homepod mini). Because, while the promise sounds good and everything, I still find it way too limited and many implementations are, honestly speaking, hot garbage. Watching youtube videos of actually adding matter devices into apple home, I'm always astonished at how bloody awfully slow that whole spiel works - if it does work. It's insane. also I don't like the apple home app lol*

I've even already replaced some of my automations that were living inside their respective "gated communities" (i.e. not leaving e.g. hue or homematic) with automations running in home assistant - i.e. having to come from outside those systems, simply because it's so much easier to set up, edit, navigate and I have so many more triggers.
Yes, home assistant is more work - but considerung the pains even some of the closed systems are, well worth it imo (everybody has to decide that for themselves ofc).

regarding actual window sensors: I still have a few homematic IP "hidden style" window sensors with an optical sensor that live inside the actual little hollow space between outside-frame and window (see attached pic). Never installed them, though... originally wanted to use them to prevent the rolling shutters from lock us out in the garden when they automatically go down, but never got around to actually doing it. not an issue, since we're in bed at 10 anyway... and also wouldn't work, because the door would probably no actually be wide open. no use for heating either, since the underfloor-heating is too slow for that. I'm still surprised that that kind of idea wasn't adopted by more / other systems - probably because it's much more expensive than a simple magnetic reed switch.

* as posted somewhere else, I'm actually in the process of throwing out my apple homekit secure video camera / floodlight thing, because it keeps disconnecting and being a general pain in the ass. many times, the clips that get stored on icloud (exclusively!), simply won't ever load... and since the camera seems to be offline for long stretches of time anyway, it seems pretty pointless anyway.

edit: I think we may be in the wrong thread for this.
also: is there no smart home shenanigans thread on finalgear??? :eek:
edit2: actually, there is this thread: which sort of feels like a "Random Smart Home Shenanigans" type of thread, so I'm going to take both of our posts and quote them over to there. And will also link some other more specific threads that are sort of smart home related in there as well, just for fun.

also, there's these rather more specific smart home related threads, in case anyone needs the reminder... :|

Since we got a new garage door and the wall switch (which runs off a pair of AAAs) they delivered with it is fuck ugly, I decided to browse around and found that there’s a plug and play homematic module that only costs 50€, lets me control the thing from existing hm switches I have (or from my phone), runs completely locally and integrates well with home assistant (no idea what use that’ll be yet). Win win win. Plugged it into the motor (mini USB lol wtf), power cycled the thing, registered in my homematic hub - done. Completely foolproof and painless. Impressed.*

* especially since homematic stuff usually tends to be a bit fiddly…
Since my homekit-only driveway camera is acting up (constant disconnects, super long loading times for clips and the live view) and since I want a second camera for the front of the house anyway, I've decided to ditch the fucker and ordered a pair of cheap but cheerful reolink PoE dome cams, a fitting PoE switch (I also sort of want to switch to a unifi network once the bloody fibre connection is installed, so that should fit nicely) and a Google Coral accelerator thing so I can have proper detection going on without melting the Rpi4 that's supposed to run the whole thing in the process...
I'll have to look for an alternative light for the driveway, as well, since the camera there doubles as the floodlight. Which also reacts super slowly at times. Ugh. May just put a 5m outdoor light strip underneath the little overhang at the side of the house. Oh yes... I also ordered a bunch of ESP32s with a few temperature and humidity sensors, so I may as well use one of those with WLED, triggered off of the camera, I guess.
View attachment 3571558View attachment 3571559

edit: YES GOT THE LED STRIP AS WELL. regular old thing, because I don't want any colors and they're just much cheaper, especially in IPwhatever. I'll just have them run off one of the bazillion zigbee switches I still have somewhere (I'll just have to find them) or just bundle it into the one running our main door stair lights.
Last edited:
Smart Meter with Home Assistant Glow energy usage monitoring
Finally got around to actually flashing the NSPanel I had lying around for ages with ESPHome... surprisingly simple and straightforward, considering you actually have to take the thing apart and connecta bunch of wires to the PCB. Also did three other ESP32 boards I ordered at some point, those are easy with their built-in USB ports, but those are just "blank" at the moment. May use them for some sort of weather station as well as bluetooth relay in order to be able to have BT / BLE sensors running into HA despite the Raspi living in a metal network case in the basement (i.e. BT range is all of about 2m).
I must say the actual built of the NSPanel is sursprisingly well done, for what is basically a chinesium product. Very well done separation between 230V AC / 5V DC electronics, very easy to open and tinker with. Nice. Haven't actually connected the 230V side to mains yet, so I don't actually know whether the flashing was a success :p the ESP32 boards I have just plop up a in HA a few seconds after flashing, since they run off the USB - which the NSPanel does not.
... and I still have to figure out what I want to do with the thing :|
edit: well, at least flashing the thing seems to have been a success!
Last edited:
Is that the "base" NSPanel or the Pro variant that iirc runs Android out of the box? If it runs nicely with ESPHome I may look into some in near future.
that's the ESP32-based non-pro model - hence why ESPHome is probably as easy as it is. However, that process you see there (uploading the TFT that tells the display what to do / show) failed and it's now only showing me a lovely little error message. Oh well, AGAIN!

I basically just followed this guide here:
... which does have a bunch of troubleshooting stuff for exactly the issue I seem to have (the TFT I'm trying to teach the display is 7 MB in size... which the ESP has issues handling).

edit: also @Adunaphel went through this whole thing as well, iirc. so he could chime in with his experiences if i turn out to be too clueless (which, tbf, is likely).
edit2: here are the corresponding posts from the other threads
Finally got around to installing my latest smart home additions, which required pulling a blue Neutral wire from the central junction box down to the switch box I was mounting these in. Reading up on the internets, it seemed easy enough, use one of the existing wires to pull its replacement and the new wire through by taping them together. And then the pulling cable came out without the other cables attached to it... There was some swearing, and I decided to give it another try, now trying to pull three wires with one (because two went so well!) using a LOT more tape (length, not girth, of course, it still needs to snake through turns in electrical conduit) And somehow that worked...
View attachment 3570614
Some impromptu switch box modifications and blanking plate modifications later, because these two devices are much wider than what fits inside a standard double switch box, which will probably get rectified some time in the future by mounting two new switch boxes at the correct distance from each other. Probably at the same time we tackle the quite terrible job we did with the glassfibre wallpaper we did when we moved in (see creases in pic below.)
But the end result looks quite snazzy...
View attachment 3570615
Now I "just" need to spend some time properly setting up all the features this panel has... For now it's just light switches for the left three buttons (two of the built-in relays are used for dumb light fixures, the middle one tells home assistant to turn on the smart light bulb in the third fixture in the living room) and the right two buttons control the awning in front of the main window)
Flashing was super simple once I got the wiring harness sorted (don't believe the youtubers who claim you can connect Dupont wires to the small header, or worse, people who tell you to stick a dupont pin into the plug of another one, just get a breadboard and use one of the bus bars on its side for common ground), and after some ill-documented workaround for firmware weirdness on newer NSPanels (you need to trigger a switch on the Home Assistant frontend to stop the firmware from tryin to load something that isn't there, and then manually tell the firmware to download the TFT file), it all just works. Sadly, while M5 and NSPanel look wonderful next to each other, they're too wide for a standard double wall junction box, so I will have to look into fabricating something for that using some spare blanking plates I still hava laying around. Oh, and I need to pull a blue N wire from the ceiling junction box to the wall junction box. I'm sure nothing could go wrong there. I might just start a home automation topic so we can discuss more in detail there.
about flashing: I was fairly hesitant about my cabling job, but I stuck to the guide (see here) and it actually worked out perfectly. Yes, I just stuck a 5er bar of header pins into the corresponding holes on the PCB and kept a little sideways pressure on the whole thing through the attached wires and did the GND-bridge over (to the second GND-pin of the backpanel-connection because someone somewhere posted about issues otherwise). also: i stuffed a piece of foam behind the PCB to keep the header pins from reaching through to the metal backplate of the display (the guide advises wedging something in between as well, to keep the PCB lifted up).
No idea what happened on my first TFT file upload, but I went ahead and uploaded a blank TFT first, then followed that up by the correct TFT file and it's now up and running for me as well, showing nothing :p

edit3: what the flying fuckkkkkkkk is the blueprint for building the UI lol
Last edited:
edit3: what the flying fuckkkkkkkk is the blueprint for building the UI lol
since I already had so much fun with this, I finally got around to flashing AWTRIX to the ulanzi smart clock (which is basically an ESP+temp/hum/light-sensor with an 8x32 LED matrix display) I've had lying around for a while now. since it now connects to home assistant via MQTT, I can basically have the damn thing show and do anything I want... which should be good fun. The standard setup for the display is a combination of an 8x8 icon (which can be animated) followed by numbers/text.

What I want it to do is cycle through the following pages / features
  • default pages / infos:
    • date & time
    • current weather + forecast
    • current solar/PV stats
  • notification on garbage collection days
  • "night mode"
    • triggered on button press
    • waits 15 min then
      • turns brightness all the way down, clock only (maybe even off)
      • turns off everything that's still going (i.e. living room and outside lights)
    • back to default automatically at 6 am
  • maybe find some use for the additional two buttons, no ideas yet
  • the temp/hum sensor is basically useless, as it's inside the unit (currently 31C in my office... yeees), but maybe I can do something with the light sensor as well...
should be straightforward enough, most of the stuff still exists in some form or another, will just need to adapt.
Last edited:
ALRIGHT I'm done... for now... :D
I skipped the solar stats for now, because that somehow felt boring, but I added pages for when my daughter has her kiddie gymnastics and swimming days with corresponding nice little 8x8 gif animations. Ha, that tickles my nostalgia bone a little. The garbage day notification also shows a little garbage truck picking up the bin next to the text telling me which bin it is. the little gif-bin is too small to put the right color bin in there, wouldn't be any use.
night mode does turn the LEDs off now and automatically comes back on in the morning or on button press on the unit. button press on the unit now also plays a quick pacman gif for the lulz if it's earlier than 8 pm. if it's after 8, night mode goes off.

I got a thing to read our water meter and get that data into home assistant. it doesn't do anything else, just provides a number of how much water we use. and honestly, that's a shocker. yes I had a yearly water bill or whatever, but somehow I never really took note of what those numbers on there actually meant - the usual: a year is such an abstract timeframe, doesn't really get put into perspective.
Now, though, I have home assistant telling me that I've (e.g.) used 39 L so far today (... which somehow is very little), but 354 L yesterday. that included one full bath, so fair enough, but it's also not too far off the average (±300 L). oof.
Interestingly I recently got new digital water and electricity meters so I too can get in on this game.

Bought one of those plugin thingies for the electricity meter and now I have realtime insight into everything, graphs and all


With most stuff off we use about 100watts which seems very low (we have 2 freezers and 2 fridges which constantly use power).

Main reason I bought it was to make sure I don’t overdo it on peak power, as my electricity price is now influenced by peak power, not how much you consume.
So far so good, peak is at 7,5 kw (car takes 7,2), as lang as I can keep it below 9 i’m good

Also, we use a lot of water apparently. 167 m3 per year equates to 457l/day. Then again I do have 2 smelly pubescent boys, so thats a lotta showers.

Also we fill a 9 m3 pool every summer which doesnt help.

Water usage should be coming through the same app, nice to have it all in one place
Ha, I have their water meter reader thing. But don’t use their software at all. Home assistant all the things!

With most stuff off we use about 100watts which seems very low (we have 2 freezers and 2 fridges which constantly use power).
Yeah that’s quite good! We’re at ~130W during the night, or thereabouts.

Also, we use a lot of water apparently. 167 m3 per year equates to 457l/day. Then again I do have 2 smelly pubescent boys, so thats a lotta showers.
That was my first reaction to the water meter as well lol - we use a lot! We’re at about 250l/day average since I got the unit. Minus the smelly pubescents, so I’d say that’s a good match 🤣
since I already had so much fun with this, I finally got around to flashing AWTRIX to the ulanzi smart clock (which is basically an ESP+temp/hum/light-sensor with an 8x32 LED matrix display) I've had lying around for a while now. since it now connects to home assistant via MQTT, I can basically have the damn thing show and do anything I want... which should be good fun. The standard setup for the display is a combination of an 8x8 icon (which can be animated) followed by numbers/text.
lol and I just ordered two more of those things because the German ulanzi store doesn’t have their coupons in check 🤣

No idea what to do with those yet, but I’ll find something to do with them for sure. Even if it’s just clock and weather it’s great at 17€ a pop.

edit: .... aaaaaand they cancelled. can't say that I'm surprised.
Last edited: