The Open Source Smart Home

[Tijmen Schep] sends in his project, Candle Smart Home, which is an exhibit of 12 smart home devices which are designed around the concepts of ownership, open source, and privacy.

The central controller runs on a Raspberry Pi which is running Mozilla’s new smart home operating system. Each individual device is Arduino based, and when you click through on the site you get a well designed graphic explaining how to build each device.

It’s also fun to see how many people worked together on this project and added their own flair. Whether it’s a unique covering for the devices or a toggle switch that can toggle itself there’s quite a few personal touches.

As anyone who’s had the sneaking suspicion that Jeff Bezos was listening in to their conversations, we get the need for this. We also love how approachable it makes hacking your own hardware. What are your thoughts?

27 thoughts on “The Open Source Smart Home

    1. Instead of thinking of it as “incomplete”, consider it “open”.
      The ending can be written by you, decide your own destiny, take charge, dream dreams, imagine an ending that goes beyond what others have been brainwashed to expect, blaze a trail into a new frontier, raise your sights above the humdrum existence of ordinary sentence endings, elevate humankind to new levels of possibility.
      Go ahead, you’ve earned it!

    1. A quote from the link:
      ” I think this was an add on to our house (looking at the rest of the house and how it was framed underneath it seemed to be maybe a 3 season porch that someone insulted).”


    1. There’s not been a ‘wait’ for quite a long time- I started using misterhouse for self-hosted home automation around 20 years ago, and more recently switched to the fantastic openhab.
      There’s also home assistant, and many other similar and smaller options, and enough common standards (Zigbee, MQTT etc) that they all support a wide range of equipment.
      Don’t wait, dive in, there’s a lot of fun to be had!

  1. Sounds great. Last thing I want is a light, door, alarm, camera, whatever to not work because some sysadmin in some cloud somewhere screwed up. Or that the company was bought, sold, bankrupt…. or even just got bored with their older products.

    Speaking of which I have an, need to write some android widget so I can control it from the WAN without any 3rd party servers involved.

  2. I love their thinking
    4. Generate fake data

    Wโ€Œe believe smart devices should be able to tell little white lies once in a while. That’s why under the hood of this CO2 sensor there’s a hidden button to enable or disable ‘fake data mode’.

    When activated, the sensor will pretend the CO2 levels are stable. If, for example, you bring over a cute date, the CO2 levels may rise. By using fake data mode you can be assured your parents will be none the wiser.โ€

    1. While I hear the sarcasm, I actually agree! A proliferation of open and interoperable device standards makes sure that every use case is covered.

      But really, it looks to me like WiFi for the phy, MQTT for transport, and then some kind of JSON / text encoding for the payload has won out. The rest is just details.

      1. There are still some implementations that are lower power than WiFi which is often required. Once you go down to this level you also have so many to choose from.

        Zigbee is too complicated, too expensive and the mesh thing is not to my taste. But it is becoming popular tanks to Ikea and some low cost devices like the Xiaomi stuff.
        Bluetooth could have been good, but only from version 5 with multiple nodes and high range could be useful.
        LoRa is too long range for home, and quite expensive.

        Then you have the proprietary stuff implemented with radios like NRF24L01, 433/866 Modules, each with its own pluses and minuses.

  3. Many aspects of this concept seem like really great ideas! If I were (able) to start from scratch, I’d seriously consider this system as a basis. I have, however, a convoluted mess of proprietary/semi-open systems already in place. “Migratability” is becoming more and more of a concern.

    1. In which case you will be screwed at somepoint when one or other of these systems disappears or breaks – You might as well (when you have time) gut the mess and start with a clean open build. Though some of the propitiatory devices might be workable from open source master node etc – so possible you won’t have to start from scratch.

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