When I buy a new device for my home I it to be smart. I might be pushing it a bit to far, including scales, washing machines, barbeque, toothbrushes… But sometimes devices are just not smart out of the box. I use the following four steps, going from easy to hard, to make devices smart and use it in home automation.
Search for integrations, home assistance has very large ecosystem, there’s tons of integrations available out of the box, there’s HACS and then there’s countless blog posts published. You can also find like minds that have similar issues and already solved issue on the Home Assistant forum and Discord server.
If your device has a remote and you have no luck with the device name. You need to start investigating your remote and again this could be an easy solution. If it’s an infrared remote you can use an IR blaster, is it a 433MHZ signal you can use a RFXcom. Open the remote and start Googling the chipsets in the remote, perhaps it’s based on Zigbee protocol that someone already build a solution for.
Is the device is in any way smart connect with Internet using Wi-Fi or UTP cable? You can use tools, like WireShark, to sniff the network traffic on your network. This is where it gets more technical and complex. Using these tools you need to reverse engineer requests and build an integration. Don’t forget to opensource your integration so others can help you and benefit of your hard work.
The final option is to build your own solution. With building your own solution I mean replacing a hardware switch with a electrical switch, a relay. Creating a smart switch that will take over the control of your device. Although this sounds really hard, it’s not. You can get great results without being heavy technical. No advance wiring, soldering or programming is required. However, it does help it you know about this.
At the end, I made my fireplace smart by building my own solutions. Read the next article on how I investigate the different ways of making my fireplace smart and why I decided to go for this solution.