Welcome to a series of articles I’ll be doing on the best home automation system you can get. How do I know it’s the best? Easy. You are going to design it yourself! Don’t worry, I’ll walk you through it and it’s going to be cheap!
Make Life Easier
The goal of any smart home automation system is to make your life easier, so why should you go through the trouble of doing all the work yourself? Isn’t that the opposite of what you want? Commercial turn-key solutions exist for everything and can cost thousands of dollars, and once you run into a feature that it doesn’t have, you have to deal with customer service that gives you a run-around or tries to upsell you something. I’m going to show you how to do just about anything you can think of and at a price custom-tailored to what you can afford.
Google Home Automation
You probably already have a phone running some form of Android, or you can still download the Google Assistant app for your iPhone. The Google Assistant is completely free and will be the basis for our project. This let’s you get started without any cash outlay at all. We’ll build on this, slowly adding capabilities and features.
Right now, I actually don’t use my phone since my Google Home device does all the work. When I’m away from the house, I can still say “OK, Google. I’m almost home” and Google will drop the temperature of my AC and start cooling down the house before I get there. Yes, both the phone and Google Home device listen at the house, but Google intelligently responds from the correct device, usually the Google Home, using the phone as a extra microphone if it’s available.
At the house, I tell Google what I want to watch, what to add to my shopping list, ask it about news and weather, walk me through recipes, add to my To-Do list on Trello, and send messages or make phone calls. I’ll walk you through how to control anything in your house that has a remote control, even if its not designed to work with Google’s systems.
Don’t I need to buy special stuff?
Maybe. This depends on what you want to do. If you have a older central heat and AC unit, you may want to buy a thermostat. I’ll walk you through how to buy one in a future article. The same goes for a smart-TV. Stay tuned since the next article will be about how to comparison shop for one. Wanna use your old TV? No problem. Just plug in a Chromecast Ultra or Roku/Fire Stick into your existing TV’s spare HDMI port and now you have a smart TV!
Which one should you get? I think the Roku has the simpler interface, which Chromecast doesn’t really have an interface. That’s both a pro and a con. If you already like the Roku and are a part of the Amazon eco-system, go with Roku. I’ll be focusing on Chromecast because it has way more options and customizations, as well as being a more integrated part of the Google eco-system. It’s also more DIY-friendly, so if you still aren’t sure. Get the Chromecast. Need a new TV? Wait for the next article before you buy, or get the Chromecast for your old TV and put them both in the bedroom!
This is just the introduction. I’ve got lots of detail planned so you can build a cheap home automation system. We’ll walk you through the google home setup and detail some custom home automation software so you can build the best diy home automation system for you.
You may notice some links telling you where to buy some of this stuff. I do NOT influence my reviews and comparisons nor any recommendations based on any payments from third parties. In fact, I’ll usually tell you how to compare for yourself and give you links to both competitors. The links do throw a small percentage my way, so please click them. If you find some place cheaper, let me know and I’ll try to get the link up here so that everyone can benefit.
Bookmark us and check back regularly. I plan on doing a new article every week!