Posts Categorised: SmartHome & IoT

0Old Foscam FI8918W in Milestone XProtect

I’ve recently been on a tool buy­ing spree and decided I now need a degree of secur­ity for my gar­age. I also have an old VGA foscam cam­era sat unused in a box and a func­tion­ing CCTV serv­er sys­tem, so I figured I might as well set the foscam up inside the gar­age — not only would it help identi­fy any­one who was in there who should­n’t be, it will also help me know where I left that tool I just can­’t find, and if the neigh­bours cat has got locked in there again
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0Getting the most out of HikVision Cameras

I have a 4Mpix Hik­Vi­sion mini dome cam­era for CCTV on the house. It provides a pretty reas­on­able pic­ture con­sid­er­ing the price, but the man­age­ment inter­face is a bit rub­bish and get­ting it set up with any­thing is a bit of a nuis­ance, so heres some notes on get­ting it work­ing…
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0Setting up an XBee ZigBee repeater

As part of the gradu­al expan­sion of my smarthome (might as well do some­thing dur­ing lock­down right?) I decided to set up an XBee to improve the reach of my SmartTh­ings hub. Good inform­a­tion for total begin­ners is a bit of a mis­sion to find so I thought I’d put togeth­er a basic sum­mary to start with.
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0Expanding smarthome on the cheap

As I’ve writ­ten about before, I have begun to exper­i­ment with the world of smarthome devices, and cur­rently use a smartth­ings hub and a google home mini. So far these have just turned on lamps and oth­er “plugged in” devices via smart­plugs, but with more com­pat­ible devices at reas­on­able prices finally start­ing to appear I wanted to start doc­u­ment­ing more of what I’ve tried
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2Cheap WiFi SmartPlugs with SmartThings

SmartTh­ings com­pat­ible smart plugs are annoy­ingly expens­ive — typ­ic­ally around £40. This is far too expens­ive to con­sider buy­ing many of. There are how­ever WiFi plugs avail­able online for around £10 that don’t offi­cially work with SmartTh­ings. Most of them are based on the ESP8266 chip which can be reflashed with new firm­ware that will work with SmartTh­ings. Below I doc­u­ment my tri­als and tribu­la­tions with hack­ing these plugs
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0Set up “home assistant” on a windows PC

As I’ve writ­ten about before I have a range of “smart home” devices that I’v ebeen gradu­ally exper­i­ment­ing with. One of the greatest frus­tra­tions of link­ing some of them is that many force you to go via “the cloud” which even with high speed inter­net can lead to delays of mul­tiple seconds for some tasks (“ok google, mute kodi”) for example. I’ve decided to give the free “home assist­ant” a try. As usu­al with any­thing linux based, get­ting it up and run­ning just isn’t straight for­ward. Here’s how…
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