My Domotics Journey #0 — Introduction

Davide Imola
5 min readFeb 27, 2023

In my last post about the 2022 Retrospective, I wrote about how I bought my first home. As a tech addict, I want to make it as domotic as possible. So, I decided to describe my journey into domotics.

A set of domotics stuff
Some Domotics Stuff

Firstly, I want to clarify what I want to achieve with the domotics in my house.

  1. I want to avoid being bound to a specific voice assistant.
  2. I want to have a system that may be easily customizable.
  3. I do not want to spend much money on maintaining the domotics.
  4. Interaction between different systems.

Ok, as I have specified all the macro points, we can start our journey.

The House

The first thing you have to consider is how it is distributed in the house and what you can do in it.

My home is on the ground floor with a garden outside. It comprises an open space, two bedrooms, one home office, and two bathrooms.

The entire apartment is heated by a boiler with a wired thermostat. Currently, I do not have an air conditioning system.

My Initial Domotic Setup

One of the first things I thought about was my domotics' initial setup. Like in software engineering, you can only do some of the stuff by thinking about it before.

Of course, you must adapt the domotics to the house somehow.

Voice Control

Photo by Andres Urena on Unsplash

Voice control systems are a fundamental part of a domotic system. I would like to be free to interact with any of the possible systems out there, so I have decided to go for a separate home automation platform.

Of course, I wouldn't say I like having so many different things so I have decided to start with Amazon Alexa, as I already have gained some experience.

I have decided to locate a few Echo all over the house.

  • An Echo Show 5 in the open space.
  • An Echo Show 5 in the home office.
  • An Echo Dot in my bedroom.
  • An Echo Dot in the guest bedroom.

With this disposition, I am achieving good coverage of the apartment with voice control systems, but I am always free to use Siri on my Apple devices.

Home Assistant

The home automation platform is one of the first things you have to decide when you want to build a domotic system.

My choice is directed to Home Assistant, for whom do not know, it is the most famous home automation platform out there. One of the best things about HA is the fact it is a completely open-source project released on GitHub.

I have decided to go for HA as it allows me to integrate many smart objects shipped by different companies and all the famous voice control systems. The interaction is awesome and the critical thing in a domotic setup to me.

Of course, as Home Assistant is open-source, it is completely FREE! Apart from the cost of the thing, you want to use it to host it, as it is a light application you can run on a Raspberry Pi or similar system.

Raspberry Pi

Photo by Harrison Broadbent on Unsplash

The Raspberry Pi 3 is a cheap microcomputer that mounts an ARM processor. I have decided to use it for serving Home Assistant, as I already have it.

Storage

As Home Assistant creates a lot of YAML configurations you had to store them somewhere. In the beginning, it may be ok to store the system and the data in the Micro SD inside the Raspberry, but there is a problem with resiliency with them.

So, in the end, I have decided to store all the data inside an SSD Disk, to avoid data loss and memory corruption due to the high amount of writing traffic to the disk.

Perhaps I will make a more deep technical blog about that shortly.

Smart Objects

Finally, we can start talking about nerd gadgets I am considering inserting them inside the apartment.

Starting with the lights, I have decided to go for the gorgeous BTicino Living Now, as they are completely smart and I do not have to change all the bulbs with a smart one (like Philips Hue).

BTicino Living Now

Talking about the thermostat I have decided to change the current old one with a smart one. My choice is tado, a company that builds intelligent climate management tools, like thermostats, radiator valves, and so on with a minimalistic design.

Tado products

To start the setup, I bought only the wired thermostat, but I must buy the valve as soon as possible.

I have considered using a smart climate management tool by viewing the savings made by my parents in their house, in the last few years. You have to believe me, it may be one of the best things you can buy.

I have decided to create a GitHub list where I will put all the things I will use from now on in my domotics system. Ops you will find it useful!

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Davide Imola

DevOps Engineer @ RedCarbon • Community Manager @ Schrödinger Hat • Public Speaker and Trainer • Open Source Evangelist