Making Our Smart Home Smarter With PART 1

I often get asked about our Smart Home & SmartThings and how I have created the level of integration I have. The short answer to this is so, today I am going to tell you all the things you need to get working and the best places to get them.

Please Note: this project is pretty simple but if you have never played with a raspberry pi before or have never seen any kind of programming languages like YAML or HTML or Python, this project probably isn’t for you, you can still get Hue Bulbs & smartthings but, unless you’re ready to learn about code, the rest of this project will not be up your street.

For this build you will need:

  • A raspberry Pi 2 Model B+ or above
  • a micro SD card
  • a micro USB lead
  • a USB Power Adapter
  • The Latest Distro of the OS for Raspberry Pi
  • a Samsung Smart Things Kit 
  • Phillips Hue Hub
  • Phillips Hue Light Bulbs

These are the basics of my setup, there are additional components to the build which I have added over time but for the getting started component of the project, these things will get you going.

Nice To Have (But Not Needed)

Setting Up your Hue Bulbs

To get started, I always recommend setting up your Hue Bulbs first, I bought all of my kit from Amazon have put links to each thing in the above shopping list.

Setting up Hue Bulbs is super easy and is well documented on the Phillips Hue website & in the pack that comes with the kit. You’re probably going to save some money by buying a kit so I have included a link to the Amazon product I bought first, bare in mind that extra bulbs start at about £20 for the clean white or £30 for the color ones, each so this is not the cheapest project but trust me, it’s worth every penny!

Setting up your Samsung SmartThings hub and extras

SmartThings Starter Kit

This is the starter kit that I bought, it comes with a smart Power monitor switch plug, motion sensor, door sensor & presence sensor. These all pair really easily & it only takes about 20 minutes to get all the devices connected but when you first turn on your SmartThings hub, it does take quite a while for it to boot for the first time. Once the SmartThings hub and extras are setups, you could stop here, if you wanted, I did for a good year and was really happy with everything with just these two components, as time went on though, I found myself wanting new bits which added extra functionality, this is where came in!

Setting up

Now that you have the foundations of your Smart Home setup, now we want to start making it super smart, that’s where comes in!

The beauty of is that it is completely opensource and is not locked to any one kind of technology! Because it runs on a raspberry pi, it even gives you the ability to do extra things and integrate several arbitrary services whereas using services solely like smart things, can be quite restrictive.

Getting the installed:

Before we look at what can do, now would be a good time to go and download their OS ready to load onto the Pi, you can get their latest version for your device by going here.

Now that you have the base files for the OS, you are going to need a mounting tool to get the OS from your PC (or Mac) to the SD card, I use Etcher it’s quick, easy & lightweight making it a perfect addition to your software library!

The etcher tool is free and I use it every time I need to install an OS to an SD card, as most of you know I use a Mac for everything but if you don’t have a mac this tool will still be fine for you, they offer a PC & Linux version, the only thing you will need on a PC which I have built in and you may not, is an SD card reader.

Raspberry Pi B+

Once the SD card has the OS loaded onto it the next step is to put the SD card into your Raspberry Pi & connect the Ethernet cable to it. Once you have the SD in & the Ethernet connected, connect your Raspberry Pi to your micro USB lead and finally, plug the pi into your USB power outlet. if at this point your Pi doesn’t boot (indicated by the red light on your Pi turning SOLID RED) then you might want to check the output of your USB plug as the pi may become unstable or damaged if you use a USB outlet which is not providing enough power, a flashing RED light indicates there is insufficient power being supplied, a flashing GREEN light is normal, this is just the standard activity light we are all familiar with on pretty much every device ever.

Now that the Pi is booted up, could take up to 20 minutes to become configured and accessible, keep checking http://hassio.local:8123 which will become your dashboard once everything is configured.

Thanks for reading Part One of my first ever How To guide! In the next episode, I will show you how to get to find your devices and how to connect your configuration to your SmartThings bridge using MQTT. We will also start making customizations to the dashboard and exploring some of the add-ons available for

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Jay Gordon-Rolfe
#Blogger, #Proud #Gay, Fiancé to @StevieG26, #Awesome #Autistic & creator of #Random things on @Youtube. Occasionally Tweets about life & Writer of this blog.

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