Home Automation

The Simply Complicated Automatic Sprinkler

I've never owned a sprinkler before. I've just never had a need for one.

Until this past Monday, when I installed some grass seed and couldn't promise myself that I'd water it twice a day every day for the next month as one is supposed to do.

A normal person would just buy a mechanical or stand-alone timer device and be done with it. Not me. No way.

My first thought (a completely normal one, mind you) was to grab an esp32 and a relay board out of my parts bin and liberally apply ESPHome to the problem. This didn't happen because I recently cleaned my office and put those parts in a bin that I can't quite find right now.

cough. Anyway.

My fallback plan was to grab a Z-Wave relay that was more readily at hand and just ("just") use Home Assistant as the timer.


Using a Static JSON File in Home Assistant

Recently I found myself needing to bring some JSON from a file into a Home Assistant sensor. Specifically, the electricity rates for my power company are woefully out of date on OpenEI so I decided I could just maintain the data myself.

Home Assistant doesn't have a direct way to read JSON data from a file into a sensor. There's the File platform which has a promising name but is actually a trap. File is meant for use cases where something writes to, say, a CSV file continuously and you just want to read the most recent line. It specifically does not read the whole file.

After a lot of searching I came across the Command Line platform. The integration does a number of things, but for our purposes it lets you periodically run a command within the context of the Home Assistant container and bring the output back into Home Assistant as a sensor.


Using Eufy Permanent Outdoor Lights with WLED

For as long as I've known her, my wife has been very into decorating for the holidays. She loves it. The traditions, the cherished ornaments, the stockings on the wall, etc etc.

I'm ok with decorating. It's fine. It's not my favorite thing.

The one thing I don't like at all, though, is putting up outdoor lights. Getting up on the roof at our previous house was a complete nightmare that I absolutely refused to do, so we just strung some lights around the porch and called it good.

After moving into our current house I had the idea that I would install "permanent" outdoor lights, but then I was worried that I would need to take them down when we got the roof and gutter replaced at some point so I kept deferring.

This year, though, an internet friend mentioned Eufy Permanent Outdoor Lights.