The dream of home automation is forever present among makers and other tech types, and the Raspberry Pi has helped many people turn their Enterprise fantasies into a reality. Here are some kits, add-ons, and other gadgets that can help.
Automation HAT: for serious plans
If you have big home automation plans, or already have some serious IoT around your house, you’ll want to look into the Automation HAT (£29 / $31): you can plug a lot of devices into it.
Energenie Pi-mote: Remote-control plug
A quick and easy way to do some home automation is to remotely control a mains socket with your Pi and some code! The Energenie Pi-mote (£17 / $18) allows you to do just that.
SparkFun ESP32 Thing: WiFi smart home
ESP32 is a standard that lets you use wireless LAN to communicate with the various IoT/home automation projects you’ve set up. The SparkFun ESP32 (£21 / $23) also has Bluetooth as part of it!
Google AIY Voice Kit: Vocal commands
We had this as a freebie with the magazine once – the AIY Voice Kit (£25 / $20) allows you to add powerful voice control to your Raspberry Pi, and any connected IoT or home automation systems in the process.
Pi NoIR Camera V2: See in the dark
If you’re setting up a CCTV network in your home, or want a front-door camera that works 24 hours a day, then the IR version of the excellent Pi Camera Module (£25 / $25) is for you.
Gravity Light Sensor: Ambient light control
Ambient light sensors are very common (you probably have one in your phone) and can be a good way to slowly bring up lights, as it gets dark outside, in a more natural way. See the Gravity Light Sensor (£7 / $9).
DHT22 temperature-humidity sensor: Thermostats beware
With stuff like Nest around, it shouldn’t be too surprising how many people use a Raspberry Pi and a temperature sensor such as this as a thermostat for their house. With the DHT22 (£10 / $13), you can even use the humidity and temperature parts together to detect a person.
SparkFun OpenPIR: Motion sensing
Want to trigger a camera recording? Or lights turning on? Or literally anything involving seeing if something has moved in a location? A PIR sensor like this (£15 / $16) will help.
Philips Hue Lights: Controllable bulbs
While you can do a lot using Raspbian, there are dedicated home automation operating systems for the Pi that are already preconfigured. We like openHAB.