- B590F284207F859E6F7B7CE82A0B6006

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Case#1: Decreasing wife approval points aka light switches not working

This is the start of a series of posts were I will fix things that are broken, or break in my house.

CASE#1

Of course when I go to shift for 24 hours things break. I get the dreaded text message. "Your light switches you HAD to change aren't working." So the first thing with a message like that I always question if she is truly meaning plural light switches. I text her back: "what switches aren't working". My worst fear, there were six not working. Now I had not changed crap for three days in HA so.......

So the majority of my light switches are flashed Wifi switches, well all but one. I have an addiction. I have a couple of brands of smart switches. The the main ones that I use are Aoycocr SW1. I flashed them over the air with Tasmota. They WERE working fine up until two days ago when she tried to turn on the light.

FIX #1

Push the button a bunch of times....the old hit it with a hammer method!


Of course it didn't work. If it did there wouldn't be a post about it.

FIX #2

So frustrated I went to the forums and looked for a similar problem. No go, nothing I could find. I posted to Dr. Zzs group and got this response :


SetOption73Enable Buttons decoupling and send multi-press and hold MQTT messages
0 = disable decoupling (default)
1 = enable decoupling

In the command line it was set to 0 so I set it 1 and then back to 0 to see if there was something weird with it. Yea no go. Still no response with the physical portion of the switch.

FIX #3

So being the troubleshooter I am I went and turned off the breaker and opened the box. All the wires were intact. I mean the light on the switch was on. But in the many years I have done electrical contracting, even the most seasoned installer, can have wires come loose from a device, it just happens. Nope all good.

FIX#4

So after being continually frustrated. I decided to change the module to generic and reboot the device.




I then put it back to the correct module again. Still no go.


FIX#5


Upgrade the firmware:



Still nothing. I was definitely thinking it had to be something to with Tasmota, the template, or something with the rules. I don't think it has anything to do with the switch at all.

FIX#6


I entered Reset 6 essentially put it back to the state it was when it was just flashed as a Sonoff Basic Module.



I put back in the template that I used before when it was working:

{"NAME":"Aoycocr SW1","GPIO":[158,255,57,255,255,255,255,255,56,17,255,21,255],"FLAG":15,"BASE":18}

WE HAVE LIFT OFF.


Credit for this goes to Paul Barrett in Dr Zzs Facebook group. With all the negativity in the world it's nice to have people helping others still. Now to fix the six other ones that are messed up before I have to sleep on the coach, AGAIN.


Thursday, September 10, 2020

NFC tags in Home Assistant the Android way


With the new update to 0.114 in Home Assistant there were alot of cool changes. One of the newest features I was anxious to test out and use for my home automations was NFC tags. Prior to this update, you had to use tasker and/or another app to get it to work. Well that is no more.

NFC (near field communication) is a wireless technology which allows for the transfer of data such as text or numbers between two NFC enabled devices. NFC tags, for example a sticker or a fob, contain small microchips with little antennas which can store a small amount of information for transfer to another NFC device, such as a mobile phone.

If you have updated mobile the app it supports reading and writing on NFC tags. According to my research, almost all mobile smart phones, within the last couple of years, can read NFC tags and almost all Android phones can read and and encode. Apple have enabled NFC tag scanning on the iPhone 7, 8 and X running iOS 11 or later with an App. The latest iPhone XS, XS Max, XR, 11, 11 Pro and SE models can scan NFC tags natively without requiring an additional App. So you have the ability to read then and even write them without you knowing.

So you are asking what the hell does this mean for home automation. Well prior to this update you had to use an other app to read the tags. Then had to use tasker to talk between your phone and home Assistant. Now if you have the HA mobile app...SCAN AWAY.

The first thing that I found was the little stickers/tags are cheap. You can buy 30 tags for $11. At that price there might be tags used for things all over the place. This opens up a lot of possibilities. Imagine having a script or Node Red flow that turns off everything at night or turns it all on again in the AM, with the tap of your phone. You don't have to say anything to a voice assistant anymore. Or push a button on a phone or tablet. Put your phone on a strategically placed tag somewhere on your nightstand, table or wherever, and boom your night routine/script is done.

The second thing I found, I have a Pixel 2/Android, I have to unlock my phone and have the screen on for it to read the tag.

This was the setup my Android phone in the Home Assistant App. Scroll down on the menu down to App Configuration



Then NFC Tags to setup a new tag




Then here you will either read or write your tag. You more that likely won't need to read your tag from here since you will just use your phone's nfc reader anyways.





In Home Assistant you have to set up an automation for it to do something.


It gives you the code you need for your automation. 


You can write you automation manually but I tried it with the UI and here is how I did it. I confirmed it worked.



You can see you need that device ID: from your phone and the tag ID also.

For my Pixel 2 I have to unlock my screen for it to read the tag. But once I touch the tag it opens up a window asking me to use the link for HA.



The automation is run and all is good!! It's not perfect...yet, but it's something cool to try.

The other thing I tested was my wife's phone. She also has the HA app installed. I touched her phone the the tag and nothing happened. So you have to have the app installed on the phone that you are using and add the tag in it also. So if someone came over and didn't have the HA app it won't work. So that's one level of security. So if the tag is tied to an automation through the mobile app it won't work.

I am working on getting a Node Red flow ready for this. But I thought that I would put this up since I found it to be something new and fun to try out.

The automation I made last night was to run a good night script where everything in my house turned off when I scanned the tag.


HAVE FUN!!!

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Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Making Alexa and your echo devices work for you.

                                                                      


If you are like me you have Amazon devices in your house. I have 10 echos in my house. When I moved to Home Assistant I found a skill to make them work for me.

I have an Echo plus, that was the first smart home device I ever owned. I have an Echo Show  in my room. My teenage son has one, my younger kids room has an echo kids. My kitchen has one. I have a three echo Flex around the house. Plus I got in early on the Echo Auto presale.

Initially we used them exclusively for asking questions and basic automations. Then came Home Assistant. I found this skill:

https://github.com/custom-components/alexa_media_player/wiki/Configuration

Which unlocked so many options and cool things you can do. I use the skill to announce things around my house. I can setup automations to give announcements and reminders and also mess with my wife and kids. All the devices have become an "intercom" system.

If you want to see how to install them there are guides all over Youtube to show you how to use it. I even have a view in Lovelace that has a GUI to say things on the fly.

You can put your text on the "Text to speech" line and hit send and it your Alexa device will say whatever you put there.

Prior to using Node Red I used yaml to make automations for our announcements and reminders:

Just put the name of your echo device were the dashes are. In this example it will make just say the message that you put next to "Message:"

if you need to know the name of your Alexa devices go to your developers tools and and call service tab. Look for "ALexa Media Players" and it will give you the devices you have synced with HA.

Here is the node red version with announce:

{{"message":"Its Tuesday, the garbage cans need to be taken out","data":{"type":"announce"}}