Author Archives: Admin

Edimax SP-2101W Wi-Fi Smart Plug with Energy Monitoring

I saw this little plug on Amazon recently and decided to add it to my “arsenal” of gadgets.

Edimax SP-2101W

Edimax SP-2101W

The interesting bit about it is that not only it can be remotely controlled, but it also provide energy monitoring, so you know if the “dumb” appliance that’s connected to it is on or off.

I’ve connected my kettle to it as a test, and I think it might stay there for a while now.

This entry was posted in Misc on by .

Getting the status of a Sky+ HD Box

Thanks to C4rtm4N I now have the status of my Sky+ HD box in Home-Assistant. When used in conjunction with dalhundal‘s sky-remote-cli it becomes close to a fully fledged solution.

Playback or Live TV is now automatically paused if the Sky+HD box is on…

The code I used (for now, there appears to be times when it generates errors in HA) is:

Sensor to catch the box’s status:

Template Switch to control the box:

The shell commands are:

of course replace the ip addresses with that of the Sky box (which should be fixed by your router). You’ll need to ensure sky_remote_cli is installed of course:

Head over to dalhundal‘s page for more info on sky-remote-cli…


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Replacing Cloudmqtt broker with my own via mosquitto

I’ve been using the excellent cloudmqtt since my early days getting to know MQTT. It’s been flawless except for about 3-4 times this month where it failed and I had to contact cloudmqtt support. Now I have to praise the support team as they did an excellent job very quickly, but the few faults made me think it was time to get myself my own broker.

In addition to going away from potential third party failures, it would allow me to keep controlling my devices should I have any internet access issues.

So I followed this page to set up mosquitto on my server.

Once done, I didn’t want to just switch everything over from cloudmqtt to mosquitto as I have quite a few devices to connect to cloudmqtt, some less accessible than others. I therefore created a bridge between my mosquitto and cloudmqtt to get the best of both worlds.

This was done by a new mosquitto config in the /etc/mosquitto/conf.d/ directory, I used cloudmqtt.conf (it can be any name as long as it ends with .conf so mosquitto will read it) with the following info:

All I then had to do was to point my Home-Assistant config to my own mosquitto broker.

Et voilà !

Sonoff Basic

I found this cheap smart WiFi switch on one of my favourite Chinese sites: the Sonoff Basic:

Sonoff Basic

Sonoff Basic

And I thought: for a fiver, I’m not risking much, and it can supposedly be re-flashed with MQTT which I’ve grown found of recently (see Smart Christmas Baubles or Back-lit House Number if you want to know why).

Once received, I saw that indeed there was a header that could be used to flash the firmware. After a bit of search and from some of my readings on the Home-Assistant community site, I settled on the Tasmota firmware.

Now I have to say, at first the Tasmota Github website is quite daunting and complex, bit of a case of too much information kills information, but I eventually managed to get through it.

As I’m using Arduino IDE, I’ll trace the steps I had to follow in case someone else like me is a bit stuck.

First of all, I had to solder header pins on the Sonoff board to connect it to a PC and upload the new firmware. You’ll find everything you need to know in here

Then there were a few things that I had to do aside from downloading the code off Github. Now I have to plea guilty a bit as I simply downloaded the latest version and tried straight away. I say “guilty a bit” as it wasn’t obvious at first that there were more steps to follow when using Arduino IDE. So it’s worth following them else you may get the same error as I did: MQTT_MAX_PACKET_SIZE is too small in libraries/PubSubClient/src/PubSubClient.h, increase it to at least 1000

So here is the info: Arduino IDE

Once all that is done, flashing is a bit of a breeze (though I had to swap the RX and TX connectors on my 3.3V FTDI USB-to-Serial Programmer else it would fail to connect)

Once flashed, it was very easy to add it to Home-Assistant, especially when following info from the Github

Best of all is the control page when browsing to the Sonoff’s IP address:



I will definitely get more of these switches at this price.

My next project will be to add a DHT12 to it as it’s possible to wire one directly to the GPIO14 (on the header so easy) to add temperature and humidity data…

Xiaomi Dafang Camera

I’ve recently purchased a Xiaomi Dafang Camera from GearBest. Why? Well it was cheap, 1080p resolution and has Pan-Tilt functionality as well as audio recording.

Xiaomi Dafang

Xiaomi Dafang

A couple of let downs however:

  1. The camera did not offer any RTSP streaming functionality (so not possible to use motion)
  2. The camera uploads the video feed to some server in China for the Xiaomi Mi app to retrieve

Not happy with either of the above, I started to look around for a solution and Elias Kotlyar managed to hack it to provide exactly what I was after.

I now have a camera that behaves like a “normal” CCTV camera via motion. I’ve also created a switch in Home-Assistant so as to enable motion detection video recording only when nobody’s home. Check my github page for more details.

In addition to the aforementioned standard features, Elias offered manual control of the LED so I can use this as a quick way of showing the camera status (on, off, motion recording enabled) My short term goal is to add MQTT to the camera to make it easier to control the LED and potentially the motors to pan & tilt. Longer term goal would be to get motion to control the pan-tilt functionality automatically. But that is likely to be a much more complex problem to solve, especially since motion documented that feature as “permanently at the experimental stage“…

The camera is however so good and cheap that I already bought another one 🙂

Watch this space…

Smart Christmas Baubles

Thanks to Gosse Adema and his instructable, I’ve also created smart Christmas baubles.

I currently have 3 baubles that I’ve connected to Home-Assistant, and I made some amendments to Gosse’s code to add MQTT Support (inspiration and code taken from corbanmailloux.)

You can get a copy of my code on my github page.

Here are some pics of my baubles:







Merry Christmas 🙂

Back-lit House Number

After the TV cabinet and the staircase, I got a new house number an LED treatment. Using the same H801, I glued a small piece of LED strip on the back of each number and set it in Home-Assistant to come up at dusk and switch off at midnight. I also set the colour to change through the colour spectrum so it’s less boring 😉

LED House Number

LED House Number

Since the picture was taken I’ve removed the “old” number 40 beside the doorbell…