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2023 Prime Day Deals

Interested in home automation? Here are a few of the prime day deals I would personally recommend.

Note, this is not a kitchen-sink post full of non-relaxant links, but, rather, a list of things I have hands on experience with.

Every single product linked below, will work with Home Assistant, 100% LOCALLY, without any required cloud services or subscriptions.

If, you need reasons as to why required cloud services are bad, see Reasons to avoid cloud products

FADD - Feline Area Denial Device

My wife presented me with a unique challenge recently.

"The cats keep getting on top of the kitchen table, and getting hair everywhere!"

So- the logically minded person I am- I decided to build a home-assistant integrated device for keeping cats off of the table!

I present to you, the FADD. Feline Area Denial Device!

Pioneer Minisplit control using ESPHome

Around a year and a half ago, I installed a Pioneer Mini-split and integrated it with Home Assistant

I used a local integration, which had a cloud dependency for the initial setup. And, since installation, it has been working flawlessly.

However, last week, it completely stopped working and I was unable to reinitialize it.

So- Today- I will be replacing the midea dongle, with a device running esphome.

Using ESPHome on critical devices, such as networking gear

In an effort to monitor the consumption of everything- I ran across an unusual problem.

When connecting my core switch to a ESPHome flashed smart switch, I noticed two things-

  1. It is very easy to accidentally turn the switch off.
    • This is a problem, because you cannot turn it back on remotely! Since, wifi connects to the core switch.
  2. When flashing updated firmware, the relay will quickly toggle for a very short duration.
    • This can cause devices to power cycle.

So, I set out to see how I could customize my configuration to be suitable for managing my core switch.

I will be implementing:

  1. A button to power-cycle the core switch.
  2. Configuration to prevent the relay from toggling during firmware updates / ESPHome restarts.
  3. Removing toggle switches.

Home Assistant - Is Working Sensor

Creating simple sensors to determine if we are "at work". Includes setting up a work_days sensor, time of day sensor, and a template sensor to tie everything togather.

As well, includes steps for handling vacation / OoO days, and holidays.

Hidden door sensors

The default directions for installing doors sensors, involves using the included double-sized tape directly stick the sensor to doors and windows.

I personally, wanted these sensors to be out of sight, and out of mind. So, I decided to recess them into the doors themselves.

Home Assistant Alarm

So, you want to have an alarm for your house. But, you don’t want to give your money to ADT/Ring/SimpliSafe/etc… and you want to build it yourself, with components you can easily service and replace, right? If so, this is the article for you.

I have a few Reolink cameras. Recently, I noticed the time of many of the cameras was not set correctly.

Since, I keep all of my IOT and Security devices isolated from the internet, they are not able to communicate with the pre-defined external NTP server. However, I do have a NTP server running on my opnsense firewall which they do have access to.

But, it appears the ability to set a custom NTP server no longer exists in the reolink’s configuration page.

Home Assistant – Programmable Thermostat GUI – Part 2

A while back, after converting my primary thermostat over to z-wave, I found a creative way of managing my thermostat’s schedules using the scheduler-card.

Well, I recently installed a new mini-split for my bedroom/office, and needed to integrate and maintain my schedules via home assistant. So, I decided to redo my schedules a bit.

I found the scheduler-card has a “make-scheme” button, which is far more intuitive for creating schedules then what I put together in PART 1. In hindsight, this feature existed then as well…

Full local Z-Wave HVAC Control


My house has had a Emerson Sensi thermostat for the last 6 or 7 servers. While, this thermostat has served its purpose, and worked reliably (locally), I have had the ongoing issue of having to integrate it into my Home Assistant by using it through the Smart Things Integration. This cloud integration randomly stops working, and does not give very much warning regarding its status.

Normally, this wouldn’t be a huge issue, but, a few years back, I automated my fireplace. So, my fireplace will kick on during the day, to avoid heating the entire house, saving energy. Since, the fireplace bases its temp on the MAIN thermostat located in the center of the house, its important to have somewhat accurate details.

So, I have decided to upgrade both the fireplace, as well as my thermostat, to leverage z-wave.