Using a Kindle Fire as a Touch Screen Home Control Panel

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Recently, Amazon was selling the refurbished Fire 7 tablet for less than $40. The new one runs for juts $10 more. So I figured I would order it and see if it would be an option. After spending an hour with it, I felt confident that I can make it work. I’ve been running it for a couple weeks at the time of writing, and it’s been awesome.

Installing the Ring Pro Doorbell/Mini Review

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I wrote about the Nelly WiFi Doorbell a little over a year ago. At first, I was pretty happy with it. But after a while, it needed to be reset a couple time and it would need a reboot every couple of weeks. It was just a pain to look after it. It’s probably still one of the best options if you require local recording. In my case, I would love to have local recording, but not with this much hassle. I suspect that there’s a chance that the issues may have been the fact that the transformer was 10VA, and that it may have need a little more juice. But I couldn’t find any details as to what it required. I didn’t feel like experimenting with it, so I decided to go with the Ring Pro. Read more...

Initial Thoughts on the Ring Alarm

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I am currently paying around $27 a month for my monitored home security system. And that's just a system with 3 door sensors, 2 motion, and cellular/battery backup. It's just a dumb system with no connection to the Internet. I have to be at the one keypad to be able to arm it. When I learned Ring has a system that would only have a monthly fee of $10/mo or $100/yr, I decided to take a deep look into it. After a couple hours of reading, it seemed like a no-brainer.

Using the Xiaomi Aqara buttons with Home Assistant via Zigbee2MQTT

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I had recently put Sengled Zigbee bulbs in my nightstand lamps to pair with Zigbee2MQTT on Home Assistant. I was using them to automatically turn the lights off/on when playing/pausing a movie on the TV. However, we found ourselves cutting power to the night stand to turn them off since pulling out our phone to turn them off was too much of a hassle. So when they had no power, the automation for those bulbs wouldn't work unless I manually turned them back on. Not an ideal situation.

Zigbee to MQTT gateway for less than $10

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It's been a few months since my post about Hubitat, and I have not been too happy with it. The MQTT bridge works, but sometimes things get out of sync. For example, if I turn the power on the Zigbee bulb off and then on again, I can't control the bulb through Home Assistant until I turn it on and off through Hubitat first. So I started my quest for an alternative. It costs almost nothing, so I decided to try out the CC2531 Zigbee stick.