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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all, so i've found myself on this forum as a newbie. I have some basic electronics experience and can get my way round with some wiring but really getting into the smart/automation tech - whatever you want to call it :D

I've picked up some parts over the few months with various other projects including some sonoff controllers, an echo dot, some lights and some smart plugs.

Anyway, I digress. If anyone has any cool projects for beginners and have any ideas they could send over that would be much appreciated.

I'm always interested in finding out how its made your daily life easier too (if it has)!

Thanks in advance, and apologies if this is posted in the wrong area - please let me know as i'm new and still trying to get to grips with it :p
 

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Team Manager, Microsoft Support
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Motion sensing outside lighting is a good project.
 
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you can to to amazon and do a search for "works with alexa" and it will show everything they sell that works. It should give you some ideals. You can also go to cnet and they have a whole section on smarthome products and even have a tour of a smart home they fixed up. CNET Smart House

The following is what I have and do. Maybe it will also give you some ideas for projects.

My small apartment is basically run by alexa, at least as far as my landlord with let me get away with. All lights, tvs, computers can be turned on/off with alexa. I have smart security cams and doorbell that can be viewed on the alexa show on command. I have an alexa instant pot, alexa smart oven/microwave, alexa smart frames (glasses) and echobuds. Also use a smart thermostat.

The smart oven replaced both the microwave and toaster oven. I cannot live without it now. Just have to remember that when using the oven, not to remove food bare handed like I do when using the microwave.

The glasses are great for hands free activities, great for answering phones and making calls, read or send emails, phone notifications, listen to audiobooks, music and news. If you had frames, you really would not need any other echo devices around the house or apartment.

The thermostat is great, don't have to get out of bed in order to turn it up to get the chill out of the air or out of the nice comfortable recliner.

I also have google home to troubleshoot with when alexa acts up.

Sorry if I seemed to be bragging a bit but I hope it is helpful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Motion sensing outside lighting is a good project.
Thanks, i have seen a few cheap PIR sensors on Aliexpress. Do you think something like that would be ok to start? I can always upgrade to something better if I'm happy I suppose...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
you can to to amazon and do a search for "works with alexa" and it will show everything they sell that works. It should give you some ideals. You can also go to cnet and they have a whole section on smarthome products and even have a tour of a smart home they fixed up. CNET Smart House

The following is what I have and do. Maybe it will also give you some ideas for projects.

My small apartment is basically run by alexa, at least as far as my landlord with let me get away with. All lights, tvs, computers can be turned on/off with alexa. I have smart security cams and doorbell that can be viewed on the alexa show on command. I have an alexa instant pot, alexa smart oven/microwave, alexa smart frames (glasses) and echobuds. Also use a smart thermostat.

The smart oven replaced both the microwave and toaster oven. I cannot live without it now. Just have to remember that when using the oven, not to remove food bare handed like I do when using the microwave.

The glasses are great for hands free activities, great for answering phones and making calls, read or send emails, phone notifications, listen to audiobooks, music and news. If you had frames, you really would not need any other echo devices around the house or apartment.

The thermostat is great, don't have to get out of bed in order to turn it up to get the chill out of the air or out of the nice comfortable recliner.

I also have google home to troubleshoot with when alexa acts up.

Sorry if I seemed to be bragging a bit but I hope it is helpful.
You are a bloody legend! thanks for that amazon tip.

Also, i never realised that the instant pot was a smart product and could work with Alexa. Ouch, my bank account is about to take a hit!

The glasses sound very futuristic. I must admit again, i didn't even know these existed. Are they not uncomfortable to wear? i'm sure it must take some getting used to?
 

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Thanks, I will have to look into the Raspberry Pi. I have also seen the Arduino, but i believe the Pi is slightly easier for beginners but has less functionality in terms of add-on controllers and modules. Would that be right?
It all depends on the goal really. Here is a great article comparing the two:

TomsHardware.com Raspberry Pi vs Arduino: Which Board is Best?
By Les Pounder July 10, 2020

Which board is best for learning? And which should you use for your project?

[...continues...]
 

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You are a bloody legend! thanks for that amazon tip.

Also, i never realised that the instant pot was a smart product and could work with Alexa. Ouch, my bank account is about to take a hit!

The glasses sound very futuristic. I must admit again, i didn't even know these existed. Are they not uncomfortable to wear? i'm sure it must take some getting used to?
To me, the glasses are not uncomfortable. I sometimes forget I am wearing them. But I am used to glasses anyway. They can be covered by your eye care insurance just like regular glasses and you can get prescription lenses. The frames would be out of network though if you get the lenses locally it would be in network. I don't leave home without them. The battery is not that great if you play a lot of music/audio. I had to get extra cables, one for the car and one for work.
 

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Thanks, i have seen a few cheap PIR sensors on Aliexpress. Do you think something like that would be ok to start? I can always upgrade to something better if I'm happy I suppose...
Yes, a start.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Heya, thanks for all your lovely replies you lovely humans! - I thought I owed you all a bit of an update!

I couldn't decide between the Arduino, something like a Raspberry Pi, or this Broadlink RM4 smart home hub.

Ultimately they all have their pro's and cons. The Broadlink has quite a wide range of capabilities imo, and i really liked the IR features it provides, so that i could also control things like my old TV (yes, it's ancient). Price wasn't too bad either...

The Arduino was really cool and i got quite deep into research. The pro looks like its on another level, but we'll come back to that in a second...
Whilst on my google search of Arduino and Arduino-related products, i came across their cultivation and agriculture segment - when mentioned using the Arduino as a smart controller. Mind-blown. I've since ordered myself a basic Arduino whilst i learn the basics and get to grips with everything, along with one of these SUPER cheap soil moisture sensors from Aliexpress. Ey, it might take 5 years to get here, and all broken, but I'm in no rush :D My plan is to set this up in my little indoor veggie garden to automate my watering whilst i'm away or working. I've managed to pick up a small DC5v water pump on ebay, so we'll see how that goes.

I also couldn't decide on the Raspberry Pi. I really like the function and capability. Learning Python has always been on my list of things to do, so maybe is the time.

Yeah, I did a thing - I bought both of them!

I'm hoping the Pi would be a better option than the broadlink in terms of projects and learning. Realistically IR is being phased out and i should get rid of that crappy TV too.

I will update you all when parts arrive and i start building (if you're interested - of course.)

If you've made it this far, thanks for reading my rambles. :love:😅
 
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