Home automation systems are fine, as long as the person who built them is there to control them. Let’s face it, it’s often a complex web of interconnected systems, all tied to the specifics of their home – and someone unfamiliar with all of this might be a bit irritated if, on a cold day, the interface with the boiler is via a Python script, and something won’t work. Just say. Home buttons by [Matej Planinšek] on Hackaday.IO is a well-designed project, which aims to take some of the hacking out of such automation by providing an elegant interface to these automation routines, allowing anyone to switch and put one into action without hassle .
The PCB is based on the ESP32-S2-mini which deals with WiFi connectivity and integration with Home Assistant using the usual MQTT protocol. We expect integration with other flavors of home automation won’t be difficult to achieve. The center of the unit contains a simple E-Ink display, for that low standby power consumption. Specifically, the chosen unit is a Good Display GDEY029T94 2.9″ which this scribe can confirm is easy to interface and quite cheap to buy from the usual Chinese online sellers. This has been paired with six low-profile SKRB Clicky Alps series tactile switches, which sit on either side of the screen, and match a flex-like case on the 3D-printed front casing. Clean and simple.
The PCB design was provided in Altium format, which you can find on the project’s GitHub page. It shows a simple design, with some cool little details here and there. The internally mounted 186550 cell is supposed to last for at least a year, but when the time comes it can be charged via USB. A Xysemi XB8608AF protection chip (PDF) provides proper limiting for the 186550 cell, protecting it from overcharging, overdischarging and so on. Not that it is likely in this current configuration. A Sensiron SHTC3 humidity and temperature sensor is also present, hanging from the I2C bus, which makes sense for this application.
There are many home automation hacks on these pages, like this wheel interface, for example. If this all sounds complicated enough, how about starting with a Pico W?