How have you automated your homes?

This is a bit of a fluff topic, I don’t know if there is space for those here. Feel free to delete if not!

I’m interested in how you guys have used your Cores/Photons/Electrons for cool but low-key home/work automation. Do you for example have a Core monitoring a coffee maker? Or a garage door? Or a flower pot’s moisture?

I’d love to hear about this. I find it interesting/inspiring.


Currently using an old Core with a 5m RGB strip as mood/wakeup lighting.
Have connected the 4 outlets of an extension cord to a relay shield with a Core.
Bought a cheap 433MHz socket set (3+remote) for €10, which I can now control using a Photon and a 433MHz transmitter, currently controlling some lights, though I got it to keep the house lit over the holidays.
Also have a relay shield in the garage hooked up to the opener, since there wasn’t a manual button, and the only remote was starting to give.
Have some 433MHz door sensor laying around which I’ve yet to set up.
Have two ‘VoronoIoT lamps’, using internet buttons, standing next to the TV as mood lighting. One has a DHT22 for temperature and humidity as well.

No ‘real’ automation yet, other than IFTTT timers calling functions, and a homebridge integration, though I’d love to spend some more time on that to make it a bit more autonomous (presence detection for lighting, for starters).


Hi Dane!

I like every aspect of contributing and sharing, so here I go…

I have an old core set up to control (via a WEMOS D1 relay) my Christmas tree, which I plan to repurpose to start other lights. I talk about it here:

I have a Particle-Pi (rasp Pi 1) that I used to add sound effects to an electric fireplace:

I have a couple of Photons as IR remotes, and I’m trying to add a Bluz and a RedBear Duo to the gang for those places that are far from a plug:

I helped a guy in Australia to build an irrigation system with around 20 Photons:

and another guy to automate his pool and sauna:

I have a master Photon that runs these 3 projects (one of them being of course the classic garage opener):

I usually talk to my phone so the photon opens the door - with Google Voice:

Just today I configured Google Assistant on my phone with the help of Autovoice so I can open the garage with it too - or get a notification with the temperature of my pool:

I use Pushbullet to get notifications from those Particle MCUs:

Another classic: I replaced my thermostat with a Photon and a Blynk app:

This thermostat stores data on a Google spreadsheet:

I have an Electron 2g that I would like to use to start my car, but I haven’t found the time and guts to do it yet. But in very cold days (we got plenty, lately), I get a nice reminder about this.

What I’ve been after for some time now? Control and visualize all of that from Home Assistant, but haven’t found the time to do the python integration with Particle required yet nor have found someone who did this and shared the code:

Any interest in Home Assistant around here?

For a GUI on my phone, Blynk does the job very very very well.
And so does Porter.



@gusgonnet has done way more than I have, but I’ll mention a couple in case there’s interest.

Of course, my first foray into this space was the garage door opener. Since our garage doors are out of sight when we’re in the house, we’ve accidentally left a door open for long periods of time, even overnight–yikes. So, I added a feature so that it continually texts us every hour if it’s been open more than 2 hours. This has been very helpful.

My second project was to integrate a motion detector in the backyard to turn one of the irrigation sprinkler zoness when motion was detected after dark (~10PM-6AM). This usually means there are deer attempting to dine on my wife’s plants and it has helped significantly in reducing flower damage/loss. I did change a couple of the irrigation heads to the old “banger” style to make more noise and spray a greater distance to cover the back yard flower beds.

My most appreciated device involves giving my wife the ability to refill our water feature (read: fountain) every couple of days without having to get the garden hose out. I learned how to create an Alexa Smart Home Skill (with help through this forum!) in order to give her the ability to simply say, “Alexa, turn on the fountain filler” and it operates a Photon-controlled water valve to add water to the fountain for 45 seconds, which conveniently does the trick.


hehe, I think your second and third projects “beat” several of mine, if this were a competition!
We could be arriving at the finishing line together with the first one :medal:

Now for your third one, and knowing that “happy wife => happy life”, that project is simply priceless :slight_smile: . Way to go!



i have taken home automation quite far as I wanted to see where I could go with it, and how “industrialised” I could make it.

i automated the following:

  • Swimming pool motor and light controlled by timers. Internet connectivity for offsite control, status and history

  • 8 Zone sprinkler system with multiple timers. Internet connectivity for offsite control, status and history

  • 5 Security lights and fountains with multiple timers. Internet connectivity for offsite control, status and history

  • 5 sensor weather station on my roof with solar power for measuring and recording temperature, humidity, light, pressure and water (rain). All data is stored every 15 seconds via webservice post to AWS server.

  • Main gate triggered by blue tooth tag or secure code using Telegram

I then build some central functionality to manage the following:

  • Communication module to allow me to send emails, tweets and Telegram messages based on different rules and needs.

  • Heartbeat module to listen for a heartbeat message from all devices every 15 minutes and report status of any devices that go missing.

  • Communication module that houses a number of web services to communicate with the outside world and co-ordinate activities between devices.

All of this talks to an AWS EC2 server which houses the database and website for the overall automation solution. I have also implemented JWT tokens for access control via the website.

All edge devices are on Photons and the central modules run on a Raspberry Pi

The project is complete and it demonstrates that IOT home automation is definitely a possibility and that the options are endless.

Happy to share more if there is interest.


Hi Greg, I’m interested in knowing more about how you integrated Telegram in your home automation (with Particle?). Thanks!


I publish a set of particle variables which call a webhook integration in the Particle cloud. The web hook posts the data to a small node web server which I have running on a Raspberry Pi.

The Raspberry Pi sits at the center of all my devices and does common things such as logging, messaging, heartbeat management and providing a bunch of services for extracting data and reporting. I have a common service that does Telegram messaging for all my devices.

It is really very simple to set up and use. I now use Telegram to report and activate on all devices and services.

Happy to help if you need.



Our Water Leak Sensor ( uses a Photon to publish alarms when a water leak is detected (using Blynk). It also measures and publishes temperature and humidity.

Our Particle Door Open ( uses a Photon or Core to trip an electric door strike when a cloud function is called via IFTTT,

Our SIS Project ( isn’t really home automation but does use cheap wireless sensors to record a persons movements around and in/out of the house and make logs of this information available to the cloud.

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Used a Photon with the Blynk app to run/monitor a hot water recirculating pump and temperature sensor. Basement is unfinished so it was easy to run a return line from the kitchen sink back into the bottom of hot water heater around 30 ft apart. Didn’t want to pay $200 for the off the shelf solution which sends hot water back through the cold water line, although a good option if you can’t put in a return line.
In the end, I probably still have about $200 into it with everything including insulating the pipes. It was a fun project.

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My favorite is a simple device I made to monitor my furnace and check for water leaks. Unlike most water leak monitors, this one works indirectly in that it measures the temperature of the water line as it enters the house and compares that to the ambient temperature of the room.

I first printed a box using my 3D printer that holds the Photon and the temperature sensors. One temperature sensor sits tight up to the water line. The other sensor, located on the underside of the box and isolated from the Photon and pipe, monitors the ambient temperature of the room (which is the same room as where my furnace is located.)

The ambient and water line temps are sent to Blynk. One graph displays the ambient and water line temps and a second graph shows the difference between the two temperatures. (I also have a Photon outside the house which feeds temperature data to the same Blynk app.)

When the water isn’t being used the water temp approximates the ambient temperature of the room. When a water faucet is opened (or a leak occurs, hopefully) the water temperature drops rapidly relative to the room temperature. I can have the Blynk app send me a notice that the temperatures have diverged. It’s precise enough that I can tell when my wife makes coffee in the morning. The added advantage is that I also receive a notice if the ambient temp drops below a certain level so I know if the furnace stops working (which is often what precedes burst pipes.)

The first Blynk photo shows a 6-hour timeframe, clearly showing when a faucet first opened in the morning. The second one is a 1 month timeframe showing the graph signature while we were traveling.

A few things to consider. The nice thing about monitoring leaks with this method is that it will work no matter where in the house the leak occurs. This is an advantage to placing contact leak detectors all over the house. On the other hand, I don’t know how slow of a leak this system will detect so it might make sense to add some contact leak detectors in critical locations. Another thing that could trip this up is if the power goes out or your WiFi goes out. But it’s cheap and there are no recurring costs.

Fun, practical project made simple by Particle Photon and Blynk.


That was very clever!!!

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What type of sensor are you using?
And can you share a picture of the inside of your box? The box is pretty neat !

I’m using simple, inexpensive TMP-36 sensors which cost around $1.50 USD each.

The wiring is also simple, as you can see from the photo. The box is zip-tied to the water line and the box cover is press-fit. I took the Photon logo from the box it came in from Particle and glued it to the 3D-printed cover which added a nice touch.

I made the box with compartments to minimize heat effects from the Photon and between the ambient and pipe temp sensors. A little foam insulation and triangle shaped openings in the box also help.


I feel like such a wally but I don’t “get” the logic behind how the sensor detects a leak. ELI5?! Thanks!!

You might have missed my original post from Feb 4. In that I explain everything, including a few potential problems with doing it this way.

Sorry, I don’t know what ELI5?! refers to.

I turned a typical on/off switched plant light to an automated one that every day @3am grabs data from a web site to find out the sunrise and sunset time for the new day, which then controls the LEDs to mimic that. Also has a web interface to see that information is, and to control the LED brightness of the white & pink strips.

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I use openHAB and connect to several Photons (and a few Arduino Megas) as area nodes. They are all linked by MQTT. I control RGB LED strips, garden irrigation valves, and landscape lighting primarily.

I also built an electronic busy board for my son that is powered by a Photon. The board controls the room’s connected lights (RGB Hue and overhead lights along with a disco bulb) with a parental sanity override!


Impressive. You win!


Would love to see more! A video? Its own post? This is too good not to show off!