Home Automation system using Raspberry Pi (2023)

A Home Automation system using a Raspberry Pi 2 and Windows 10 IoT Core including an App.

Update 2:The project is still growing and a lot of new features are already implemented (like a Twitter-Client and the integration of Telegram-Bots). Please check the GitHub repository and release notes to learn more about the new features(or follow me on Twitter). I hope I am able to update this project page as soon as possible.

Update 1:First I want to say “thank you” to everyone who has read this project page and gave me feedback (either private or at the comments). It was a lot of fun to present this project at Maker Faire Rome 2015 and Microsoft Technical Summit 2015 and future events are still waiting. I added some pictures from the events.

Iam developing a home automation solution for the last 3 years. This includes the physical installation of the hardware and developing the software.


At this time, the following features are supported.



  • Lamp (ceiling)(driven by relay, no dimming)
  • Socket (driven by relay, no dimming)
  • Roller shutter (window) (driven by two relays for up and down)
  • Fan (ceiling) (driven by 3 relays for every gear)
  • Bathroom fan (driven by 2 relays for every gear)

Other features

  • The solution contains a web app for iOS, Android, Windows, Mac OSX which can be used to control the virtual actuators. The configuration for the web app is loaded from the controller (Windows IoTinstance).
  • All events generated by inputs and outputs can be published to a Microsoft Azure Event Hub and/or logged to a CSV file.
  • The controller (Windows IoTinstance) provides UDP based tracing which can be shown using a console application. The trace is very detailed and can be used to find bugs or wrong connected actuators etc.
  • Custom actuators can be added to support more hardware.
  • Physical outputs can be combined to logical outputs.
  • Animations (the physical outputs within a logical output can be animated).
  • The whole system is designed to be as resistant to errors/hardware failures as possible. Even if multiple core components are disconnected/broken the remaining system still works as intended (e.g. some of the boards in the living room are not reachable due to a hardware failure, but the bathroom still functions as intended)
  • Support for 433Mhz remote relays.

The concept

As we renovated our home 3 years ago,I decided to implement my own home automation solution.The main idea behind the implementationis to control everything from the power distributor using relays.Due to this decision every button, lamp, socket, roller shutter etc. needs to be connected by it's own cable via the actuator to the power distributor.Abus like KNX or EIB is not required.

Note: Due to the fact that I live in Germany, every component is designed to work with the 230V power supply. Other kinds of power supplies may need further modifications. The installation of 230V cables (NYM), new power distributors etc.are done by my preferredelectrician and not by myself.


The new power distributor

We installed a new power distributor which is responsible for the two floors of our home.

The I2C bus

In general, the I2C bus is not designed to work with longer cables but it is possible to increase the maximally possible length using some tricks(I do not know the reason for every optimization but these are the things I found at the WWW).

  • Drive the bus at 5V. The RaspberryPi drives the bus at 3.3V, so a I2C level shifter (P82B96)is required. This is the first (and only) device which is added to the RaspberryPi 2 (called Controller in my solution). The cable for this connection should be as short as possible. The specification allows running the bus at up to 15V but the slaves like PCF8574 only support max 5V.
  • Use a twisted pair cable like CAT7. It is important to use one pair for SDA&GND and another one with SCL&GND.Do notuse a single twisted pair cablefor SDA&SCL.Also ensure that the shielding of the cable is connected to PE (in Germany).
  • Prefer a strand cable. This makes it more complex to connect everything but will boost up the length of the cable.
  • Add pull-up resistors with 10k to the end of the bus for SDA and SCL.
  • Limit the bus speed to 100kbits (Standard Mode) even if the slaves supporting faster speeds.
  • Include a I2C buffer (P82B96). The IC can be used as a level shifter or can be used to separate the bus in physical segments. I usedone of this buffers within the power distributor. The buffer should be placedat the middle of the bus.

This optimized I2C bus is used to connect every board within the power distributor.

The relay boards (outputs)

CCToolsfrom Germany sells boards with relays which can be connected to the I2C bus. It is also possible to buy the boards as individual parts or the circuit board only.This allows replacing the port expander with pin compatible alternatives.The former is required because the available addresses of the devices are limited.I added holders for therelay and ICs so I can replace them easier if one o them is broken. Another point is that I can use aPCA9555Dinstead of aMAX7311because thePCA9555Dis cheaper and can be ordered easier (in Germany).


TheHSRel5relay board has 5 relays and3GPIOs. All requiredports are taken from the internalPCF85748bit port expander which has 8GPIOs. The first 5 are used for the relays and the last 3 can be used for other outputs. The relays require 12V to operate which can't be provided by the port expander (which can only drive a LED). So, a relay driver is needed. The relays are connected with the relay driver and the relay driver in return is connected to an inverter.This inverter is required because the state of all ports at the portexpander isHIGHafter the IC gets power. This will close all relays, which is an unintentional behavior.

Conclusion:If the first relay should be closed,it is required to send00011110 (MSB)to the port expander using the I2C bus. This willset the first port toLOW(the other ports are also updated). The first port of the port expander is wiredto the firstinput of the inverter.And the first output of the inverter is wired to the first input of the relay driver (ULN2803).As the last part of the chain the relay is wired to the first output of the relay driver.

Another relay board fromCCToolsis theHSRel8(+8)which uses aMAX7311as the port expander and contains 8 relays and 8GPIOs. This board does not need a hardware inverter. This means that aHIGHstate for a relay at theHSRel5meansOFFand aHIGHstate at theHSRel8(+8)meansON.This different behavior is handled by the driver for those devices and is part of the software.

Every lamp, socket, etc. is connected to one of these relays. At my homeI currently use8HSRel5and 4HSRel8.I also use boards with solid state relays and other kinds of relays but to keep it short I won’t go into the details here.TheHSRel5is the simplest relay board. But thePCF8574only allows 8 distinct addresses. ThePCF8574Ais the same port expander but has 8 different addresses. This means that16HSRel5can be wired to theI2Cbus.

The port expanders (inputs)

Buttons, motion detectors and reed switches (for the windows)are wiredto a board calledI2C-Port16 HSfromCCTools. This board contains a port expander (MAX7311), pull-up resistors (5V, 10K)for every port and ceramic capacitors (100NF). The board can be used with 12V or 5V power supply. The ceramic capacitors are used to filter out noise (glitch filter).


Everyinput device (button, motion detector, reed switch)has its own cable leading to the power distributor. ACAT7cable is used for every input device since it needs to have shielding, which is connected with PE (protection ground). Spots which have more than one button like the buttons for the roller shutterscan be connected using only a singleCAT7cable.

At the power distributor, every input device is wired to one port of the port expander andGND. Due to the pull-up resistors, the state at the ports isHIGHby default. Pushing the button willconnect the port toGNDwhich results in aLOWstate of the port. The motion detectors and reed contactsare working that way too.

An sharedinterruptcable is wired toall input boards. This cable is pulled-up by default. In the case of a changed state at any of the port expanders, the corresponding port expander will set the state of theinterrupttoLOW.This behavior prevents continuous polling of all port expanders using the I2C bus. The software at the Pi2 is only polling the correspondingGPIO.If the state at the interrupt-GPIO has been changed, the current state of each input board is polled accordingly and events are fired if needed.

Raspberry Pi 2

The Raspberry Pi 2 is running Windows 10 IoT and is mounted with a custom case to the power distributor.It also has a prototyping shield with a status-LED, theinterruptport with a pull-up resistor (10K), a protectionresistor (1K),and a ceramic capacitor (100NF) for glitch filtering. All cables can be wired using a screw-terminal.

Temperature & Humidity sensor

The current temperature and humidity at every room/place (currently 10) is measured using aDHT22 (AOSONG).This sensor provides the current temperature and humidity using a proprietary protocol which does not support addressing. This requires that every sensor is wired to a micro controller. For my solution I decided to add anArduino Nano V3.0as a slave to theI2Cbus.TheArduino Nanoreads the values from all attached sensors every 2.5 seconds and caches them locally.These values can be read from theArduino Nanoafter sending the port id (0-10). It is the same behavior when reading data from registers using the I2C bus.

The temperature and humidity is shown at the web app using two different views.

Temperature and humidity at the web app

The icon on the right side of the humidity (“Luftfeuchtigkeit”) entry indicates whether or not there is an increased risk of growing mold at the walls. A valueless than 60% isgreen, less than 70% isyellowandabove 70% isred.

The web app also provides an overview of all sensors.

Hardware setup

The following image illustrates a hardware setup at the power distributor using input- and output-boards. The 12V/5V power supply and the N/PE connectionsare not shown.


433Mhz remote relay

While migrating and documenting the project in the course of this challenge I also developed the 433Mhz sender unit which is conveniently hidden inside a plain case together with the temperature and humidity sensors.

This feature makes relay boards optional. TheArduino Nanowhich is responsible for theDHT22(Temperature and Humidity) sensors is also sending the 433Mhz signals. The sender (FS1000A) is mounted together with the temperature and humidity sensor within a case at a central room of the house.To increase the range of the sender even further, it is additionally powered with 12V (also working with 3.3 but short range).

One of the main problems with the remote relays is that they are not sending any state information. So it is absolutely possible for the user to introduce state changes to the system by using the original remote. To force synchronization, the software solution automatically updates the state every 5 seconds. This keeps the state which is shown on the web app as reliable as possible (but making the usage of the original remotes useless).

Remote relays can be used within every automation and providing the same features as relays from a relay board.

The 433Mhz remote's codes can currently only be manually configured via a circuit build on a prototyping board. Those codes are then copied to the configuration.Thefritzingsketch for the required circuit board is referenced below and theArduinosketch is located at the repository at the folderCK.HomeAutomation.SensorsBridge\RemoteCodeFinder.

The digital cat litter box

The cat litter box for our cat is placed at the storage room which is sadly lacking any window to let in some fresh air after usage. Due to this problem, the box is connected to an oldunusedflue.In front of the tube which is connected to the flue, there is a fan wired to a relay at the power distributor.A motion detector at the storeroom detects even the cat and starts the fan for some minutes.

The cat litter box has its own icon at the web app which allows for controlling the fan remotely.

Cat litter box at the web app

Cat litter box setup in code

By analyzing the generated logs and filtering by the corresponding actuator changes (Azure SQL DB or CSV file) it is possible for us to track the cat’s litter box usage over time and therefore improve upon the required cleaning intervals.


Before the release of Windows 10 IoT, the software was running on aG120fromGHI electronicsusing the .NET Micro Framework in Version 4.3. But mainly due to the lack of performance (120Mhz, 16MB RAM and interpreter) not all planned features were working as planned.

A couple of weeks ago I started migrating the code base to run as a Windows 10 IoT background task, while also adding features like the Microsoft Azure integration.

The repository which is referenced below contains the Visual Studio 2015 Solution and all depending projects. It is all that is required to use the Raspberry Pi 2 as a Home Automation Controller, while being open for extension by writing custom drivers for other relay boards or sensors.


The projects of the software solution are grouped into:

  • App (Contains the web app)
  • Controllers (Contains the startup project for the Pi and the home configuration)
  • SDK (Contains all shared projects)

Overview of the solution

Software architecture


This project contains a console application which displays trace messages sent by the controller (Pi2 instance). Currently all notifications are continuously sent to a broadcast address using an UDP socket. Therefore opening a port (e.g. 19227) at the firewall is required. I use the TraceViewer mainly to find bugs and/or misconfigurations.

Example trace

All classes which are required to send notifications are located at the projectCK.HomeAutomation.Notifications.


This project contains the implementation of a basic HTTP server. The HTTP server is required for the web app and provides status information in JSON format and accepts requests with status changes.

The HTTP server is also able to host the web app. Due to different package names, the content of the web app must be manually uploaded to the destination folder using the administrative SMB share.

Target folder:\\[IP]\c$\Users\DefaultAccount\AppData\Local\Packages\CK.HomeAutomation.Controller-uwp_p2wxv0ry6mv8g\LocalState\app


Each project in theControllersfolder is astartup projectimplementing anIoT Background Task. Until a detailed documentation is provided one can use these projects (currently at use in my home) as an example.

Additionally I provide the projectCK.HomeAutomation.Controller.Emptyas starting point for playing around with the solution.NOTE: The controller namedCellarwhich is responsible for the garden and parking lot lights is not covered in this documentation.

Before testing the solution you should be familiar with the following tasks:

The solution directory also includes a smallPowerShellscript calledSetupRaspberryPi.ps1to execute a common chain of commands to setup the Raspberry Pi2.It is recommended but not required that you execute the script (make sure to adjust all IP settings according to your own infrastructure).

Empty controller initialization


This project provides the highest level of abstraction. The home, rooms end every actuator like push buttons, lamps, socket etc. are implemented in this project and provide special events and methods according to the features of every actuator.

Rooms can be created using a fluent API which makes the configuration easy to read and understand.

Example configuration of the reading room

MotionDetector – Actuator

This actuator is used to detect people and motion at the rooms. I use the motion detectorBW8085360° fromAbuswhich is mounted at the ceiling of every room.

The implementation of a motion detector actuator provides two events. The first of the two is theMotionDetectedevent which is fired if motion is detected. The physical motion detector keeps the output at aHIGHlevel until no further motion is detected, at which point the second eventDetectionCompletedis fired.

The following image shows an entry for a motion detector in the web app. Every motion detector can be deactivated (in software only) using the web app. The red dot indicates that motion is currently detected.

Template for motion detectors

Button – Actuator

This actuator represents a physical push button. The button has two events which are indicating that it was pressed.The eventPressedShortis fired if the button was pressed for a short duration (< 1.5 seconds), while the eventPressedLongis fired only if the button was pressed for a longer duration (> 1.5 seconds).The second event is also automatically fired if the duration (1.5seconds) has exceeded and the push button is not released. This two events allowing buttons with multiple features.


Example button actuator configuration

The solution also contains aVirtualButton. This button implements the same interface (IButton) and can be “pressed” using the web app only.

Socket, Lamp,BinaryStateOutput – Actuator

The base classBinaryStateOutputis used for every actuator which supports a binary state (ONandOFF) only.Examples for those actuators areSocketandLamp. The base implementation provides methods for updating (ONandOFF) or toggling the state.Buttonscan interact with objects implementing theIBinaryStateOutputActuator, this allows the addition of multiple custom actuators.

The following image shows the template for every binary state outputs.The icon on the left side is different for sockets and lamps. Custom icons like the poison bottle at the “Mückenstecker” entry can be defined using the configuration file (Configuration.js) for the web app.

Template for binary state output actuators


Every physical actuator of type BinaryStateOutputcan be used to create a logical binary state actuator. One actuator must be set to “master” which is required to determine the new state if the state should be toggled. The actuator has its own ID and can be used like any other binary state output actuator (the required interface is implemented).

One important advantage of this implementation is the way state updates are handled. Usually the new state of a binary state output is directly committed to each device one by one via the I2C bus. This behavior creates short butvisible delays between each actuator state update. TheCombinedBinaryStateActuatorprevents this delay using internal change tracking.


Example configuration of combined lights

StateMachine – Actuator

More complex states thanONandOFFare possible to configure using theStateMachine. This actuator allows multiple states for ports (relays) or other binary output actuators.

Example with a fan:

Home Automation system using Raspberry Pi (40)

Example configuration of a ceiling fan

The state machine provides methods to turn it off or moving to the next state.The state is reset toOFFif the last state of the state machine has been reached and the initial state should be applied next.

Another use case for the state machine is creating templates or “moods” for a couple of other actuators.

Example mood:

Example mood at the office

The methodWithTurnOffIfStateIsAppliedTwiceensures that the state of the state machine will change toOFFif a particular trigger has been activated a second time as the configured state is still active (Example: Pressing the push button for “DeskOnly” will activate the “DeskOnly” mood. If the push button is pressed again while the “DeskOnly” mood is still active, the actuator applies theOFFstate. A dedicated push button for theOFFstate is not needed.).

The following image shows the template for state machines. The caption and image of each state can be changed using the configuration file of the web app.


Is a Raspberry Pi enough for Home Assistant? ›

The Raspberry Pi works great for running Home Assistant and other (smart home related) software as long as you are not doing anything really resource heavy like running image recognition. For running Home Assistant on the Pi there are a couple different options.

Is Raspberry Pi good for home automation? ›

Who Is Raspberry Pi Good For? Raspberry Pi home automation is a great home automation choice for those who don't mind digging into some technical computer setup. If you enjoy taking on projects like this, it can be satisfying. But can also send you down rabbit hole of command-line troubleshooting or installing drivers.

What is the objective of home automation using Raspberry Pi? ›

Basically, the aim of home automation using the android system provide the end-user with a simple, secure, and easily configurable home automation system. The Raspberry Pi home automation project allows the user to control electrical appliances of various kinds inside the house.

Is Raspberry Pi coding hard? ›

The super low cost computer called the Raspberry Pi is mind-blowing and awesome. As TechCrunch recently reported, the $25 to $35 mini computer on a circuit board is designed to give kids around the globe an easy way to learn computer programming.

Do professionals use Raspberry Pi? ›

Raspberry Pi: 7 uses to consider

"For IT professionals, you can do a lot of coding and development with the Raspberry Pi, making it a great tool for when you want to make something and don't know where to start. Using a Raspberry Pi as the base, you can load everything that you would need on.

Is Raspberry Pi powerful enough for coding? ›

In a nutshell, the Raspberry Pi is a fully functional computer that you can hold in your palm. Given its simplicity, the Raspberry Pi is a great tool for kids to learn about computers and computer coding. It can be used for computer programming, robotics, and even making everyday items computerized.

What are the disadvantages of using Raspberry Pi? ›

One of the main drawbacks of using Raspberry Pi for ROS development is its limited performance. Raspberry Pi has a relatively low processing power and memory, which means it can struggle to run complex or computationally intensive tasks, such as image processing, navigation, or machine learning.

How much RAM do I need for Home Assistant Raspberry Pi? ›

If you are planning on using a Raspberry Pi to run Home Assistant, it is recommended to use a Raspberry Pi 4 with at least 2GB of RAM. This will ensure that your Home Assistant instance has enough memory to run smoothly.

Can Raspberry Pi run all day? ›

Raspberry Pi's were built to be used for things such as 24/7 security systems, cameras, or even lights. So, there's nothing wrong with leaving them on all the time. Just make sure to cool your Pi properly and to provide the proper power supply.

What are the benefits of learning Raspberry Pi? ›

Advantages of Raspberry Pi:

Python, the programming language i.e.; Pi uses, is a smaller amount complex than other languages available. It has better code readability and allows the user to type concepts using fewer number of lines. Python also has a automatic memory management function.

What is home automation and benefits? ›

Home automation makes it possible to automate tasks related to security, well-being, and comfort through a smart system installed in a home or building. In other words, it integrates technology into the design of a space. One of the main advantages of home automation systems is energy efficiency.

How long does it take to learn Raspberry Pi? ›

How long does it take to learn Raspberry Pi? Raspberry Pi has been around for quite some time, and there are ample resources both free and paid to help you get started with it. If you're serious about learning Raspberry Pi, it should not take you more than 10 days to get a solid start with the device.

Should I use C or Python for Raspberry Pi? ›

A good language to get started with is Python (or MicroPython). However, if you ever want to create mind-blowing projects like playing Doom on a Raspberry Pi Pico then you'll need to know C, or C++. C or C++ are generally one of the three languages that's most widely used on the Raspberry Pi, the other being Python.

Do I need to learn Python for Raspberry Pi? ›

Python comes built in on the Raspberry Pi, so you can take your skills and start building your own Raspberry Pi projects today. In this tutorial, you'll learn to: Set up a new Raspberry Pi. Run Python on the Raspberry Pi using the Mu editor or remotely over SSH.

What size Raspberry Pi do I need for Home Assistant? ›

If you are planning on using a Raspberry Pi to run Home Assistant, it is recommended to use a Raspberry Pi 4 with at least 2GB of RAM. This will ensure that your Home Assistant instance has enough memory to run smoothly.

Is Home Assistant better on NUC or Raspberry Pi? ›

Here, the Intel Nuc comes out on top. Its superior CPU and RAM mean it can handle a larger system more effectively than the Raspberry Pi. However, you can always add more Raspberry Pi's and create a Kubernetes cluster to use the computing power of multiple devices to run your entire Home Assistant set-up.

Does Home Assistant need 2 cores? ›

2 cores is more than enough to run HA in a VM. Also 2GB RAM should be enough, unless you install a lot of add-ons, especially the ones that require more RAM. Just start with 2 cores and 2GB ram and monitor how it is used over time.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Foster Heidenreich CPA

Last Updated: 05/11/2023

Views: 5420

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (56 voted)

Reviews: 87% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Foster Heidenreich CPA

Birthday: 1995-01-14

Address: 55021 Usha Garden, North Larisa, DE 19209

Phone: +6812240846623

Job: Corporate Healthcare Strategist

Hobby: Singing, Listening to music, Rafting, LARPing, Gardening, Quilting, Rappelling

Introduction: My name is Foster Heidenreich CPA, I am a delightful, quaint, glorious, quaint, faithful, enchanting, fine person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.