How I Assembled A Smart Home From Improvised Means & How Much Does It Cost?

I blinded him from what was. This story is about how I accidentally assembled a “smart home” based on Yandex services. And she is also about pitfalls, unexpected problems that have arisen because of “did not think”, and about how to avoid them.

When I just moved to a new rented apartment, the first month I was busy exploring its possibilities. The owner of the apartment approached the renovation wisely: he split different rooms and groups of consumers into separate machines and brought out additional groups of sockets everywhere – for example, there are 15 of them (!!!) only near the bed. For overhead lighting, the owner of the apartment installed two types of chandeliers:

  • In the kitchen and living room there are budget LED chandeliers with a round shade and an IR remote control: you can find them in stores from 3,000 dollars. Such lamps are able to change brightness, color temperature and turn on the “night light mode”.
  • In the corridor and in the bedroom, we found RGB LED chandeliers with built-in Bluetooth speakers and control via an app from a smartphone, something like this:

Of course, on the very first day I joined them and in the future pinned special hopes on them. Looking ahead, I will say – so I have never been wrong.

In addition, the house included:

  • Air conditioner
  • LED Curtain with IR Remote
  • RGB tape with IR remote control
  • Air humidifier with IR remote control
  • Xiaomi Multicolor Smart Bulb
  • Xiaomi Robot Vacuum Cleaner
  • TV set

At first, I enthusiastically connected, switched and juggled with a dozen remotes and applications, but it gets boring very quickly – in about two weeks, after which you still return to the good old key switches. And then I got a Yandex Station with Alice on board, and rushed …

Stage one. Starting with the easiest

First of all, I tried to connect a smart light bulb and a vacuum cleaner to Alice – both from the MiHome ecosystem, both are sharpened for a smart home, what’s so difficult? Immediately I came across the first pitfall.

It so happened that the vacuum cleaner (Roborock S6) was stitched for the English region, and the light bulb – for the European one, although it was purchased in EU-US – let’s leave behind the scenes all the inconvenient questions that arose to the seller. Alice, on the other hand, pulls information about devices from the linked MiHome account, and only perceives the regions of EU-US or China. Juggling the regions showed that:

  • MiHome of the European region sees both a vacuum cleaner and a light bulb, but is not friendly with Yandex’s smart home
  • MiHome of the English region sees only the vacuum cleaner, the light bulb is not available to it
  • MiHome of China sees only a light bulb, the vacuum cleaner is not displayed in the application – but Yandex’s smart home picked it up and successfully controls it. But now you can’t see the map of the house and the progress of cleaning.

With grief, I connected these two in half, played enough, thought about expanding opportunities. And here lies the second pitfall: out of the box, Yandex’s smart home can control devices only via Wi-Fi. If gadgets can independently connect to a home network without a gateway, then you are on a roll. No – put intermediate nodes.

Initially, I got the idea to assemble a single-board controller in a closet, hang it with whistles and stretch IR transmitters around the house, but it turned out that everything had already been invented before us. The same Yandex has released a smart remote control – an omnidirectional IR transmitter in the form of a black washer, which clings to the home network and emulates commands from the remote control.

Well, not that he released … Ali has a lot of such remotes for every taste. They say they are even fully compatible with Yandex, but I have not checked.

Stage two. Getting rid of remotes

Contrary to fears, it turned out to be quick and easy to drive devices with IR remote controls into Yandex – the application provides step-by-step instructions on how to write commands to the device’s memory. But here, too, there were several pitfalls:

  • Since there are many devices and few commands, the latter are often duplicated. And the same command is used in several places. So, I found the same codes for chandeliers in the living room and in the kitchen. And also – at the humidifier and chandelier in the bedroom. As long as there were weak standard consoles in business, this did not create problems. But:
  • The Yandex remote control is TOO powerful (from the center of the apartment it reaches everyone – however, and my house is tight). And it is also omnidirectional, that is, it “shoots” in all directions at once. As a result, the lights in the kitchen and living room turn on at the same time (I don’t know how, but the signal goes through the wall!), And starting the humidifier in the bedroom turns on the overhead light in the same place. And if the first problem can be solved by weakening the transmitter signal (for example, hiding it behind a semitransparent barrier) in one room and placing the second transmitter in another, then I have not yet succeeded in solving the problem “How to turn on a humidifier at night without waking up the household”.
  • Some devices use the same command for both on and off. At first you don’t pay attention to this, but at the stage of building scenarios it becomes very inconvenient.
  • More sockets needed! The more RGBT lighting in the house, the fewer free sockets. And also the Station. And also the Remote. And also … In general, splitters will definitely not hurt.

But the air conditioner and the TV were pulled from the base of devices, and the remote control is now able to emulate all the functional buttons.

At this stage, I remembered that the TV is also seemingly “smart”, and tried to connect it to the smart home directly, but suffered a crushing defeat. It turned out that there is no place for rogue here LG TVs are friends with Alice only in the version of webOS 5.0 and higher. I have webOS 4.9.3 on my TV in 2019. And no, LG OS updates don’t. Buy a new one. Hi LG!

Stage three. Too smart chandeliers. Or not

After successfully connecting the entire small Chinese zoo, I switched to chandeliers with BT speakers. And then the same disappointment happened: it is impossible to connect Chinese noname chandeliers to Yandex. He does not know how to control them via Bluetooth, they do not know how to use Wi-Fi, and only one has an IR remote control (and that is only emulated: dimming and smooth color change will not be available to you). Now I choose between two chairs in ways: take them off to hell and buy Xiaomi, or raise them on the Android home server, in which I emulate user clicks, and already try to make friends with Yandex. Both options are not very good, to be honest.

Stage four. Scripts

After connecting the zoo, setting up scripts turned out to be easier than a turnip: from the point of view of UI, Yandex’s smart home is, of course, extremely easy to learn. There were some nuances here too – as I said, several devices can be triggered by one command at once, and some have one on / off command.

Therefore, I refused from the scenario “Turn off all devices in the house at all by the phrase“ I’m leaving ”: I would have to check every time that all devices were turned off or turned off manually after the scenario was worked out.

Stage five. Who is the boss in the house?

The last task was to share all this automation with the household. So: this is impossible. At all. If your smart home is registered to your account, pets will only be able to command Alice with their voice, they cannot be controlled from a smartphone.

The solution may be to create a new empty account, connect all devices to it and issue a password to the family, but if you (like me) bought the Station by subscription, you will not be able to re-link it to another account until the subscription expires.

You have to suffer.

How much is?

If we count all devices (except for the air conditioner, vacuum cleaner and TV), then for August 2021:

  • Yandex.Station with Alice – from 3,000 dollars
  • Yandex.Pult – 1,500 dollars
  • Chandeliers – about 3,000 dollars each, 12,000 in total
  • LED curtain – 600 dollars
  • RGB tape – 600 dollars
  • Air humidifier – from 3,000 dollars
  • Smart bulb Xiaomi Multicolor – about 1,000 dollars

In total, it turned out about 22,000, of which more than half are ceiling lamps. The automation itself cost me 4,500 dollars for the Station and the Console. In general, you can do without them, the smart home platform in Yandex itself is free and publicly available. But with them it is more perky.

How not to be me?

One could advise “think first, then only do”, but this is not about me. So:

  • Do not take a Subscription Station if you are not living alone. Then you will probably want to re-link it to your family account – but no! We’ll have to wait 2-3 years.
  • Don’t buy chandeliers with Bluetooth speakers, even if you really want to. Even if your mom swore that these chandeliers won the Nobel Prize yesterday, they are so smart. Firstly, their sound is “very not very”. And secondly, you will get bored with management.
  • Check the regions! Otherwise, you will juggle regions in MiHome and crutch bridges, like me.
  • If you think there are enough outlets, make more outlets. Two times. Or even three. And you can also buy splitters.
  • If you plan to make repairs first, and then extend control – don’t do it that way. Plan ahead and get it inside the walls. And then you will probably want to start the sensors too …

Well, and if you asked the questions “Why is this all?” and “Why Yandex?”, the answer is simple: because I can. It was boring, and the components were at hand. After all, someone had to write this post.

Rate article
Add a Review