Smart Home Automation News

Youtube You're buying the WRONG light bulbs. 25 Soft White LED Bulbs Tested

The Hook Up Youtube channel posted a video today about dimmable LED light bulbs, and how they rank. Definitely a must-watch!

Hat-tip to @ano for mentioning this video.

Arduino introduces Nano ESP32

ABX00092_01.iso_b10db4bd-6688-4ac0-bf23-ff84449ba8c5_1000x750[1].jpgArduino just announced their latest product, the Nano ESP32.

Nano ESP32 packs Wi-Fi®/Bluetooth® connectivity, 8 MB of internal and 16 MB of external flash memory, 512 kB RAM, as well as a USB-C® programming port and RGB LED. It supports 5V USB, 3.3 V operating and 6-12 V range power supply. All in just 45x18 mm!
There are 2 variants. The standard version for $20, and a variant with headers $21.

Home Assistant 2023.7 now available


A new major release of Home Assistant has just been announced. 2023.7 includes some interesting changes & improvements:
  • Improved ESPHome Bluetooth proxy response time
  • Service calls are no longer 1-way, and can be interactive
  • Improved performance for Matter networks, and support for climate devices
The list is much larger, but instead of rehashing content, check out the announcement below.

Reverse engineering the popular BM2 BLE car battery monitor

Someone has taken the time to properly reverse engineer the apps used with these popular BM2 lead acid battery monitoring solutions. As suspected, it phones home and reports data back to Chinese infrastructure, generating major privacy concerns.
A great 3-part article which is worth checking out.

However, there is a work around here for Home Assistant users. Since I have this same hardware, but always refused to install the app, I figured out how to grab this data using an ESP32 running ESPHome. Now I can read the BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) broadcasts raw data into ESPHome, which can massage the data and output the actual voltage of the battery, no Chinese application required.

I personally use this setup to alert me when my vehicle's (only gets driven once a week at best) lead acid battery drops too low for comfort. This data is more helpful in the winter, where not being able to predict battery performance can be an issue and having it trickle charge is not an option. I may create a write up for this someday, if there's interest.

Taken from my Home Assistant dashboard:


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Arduino announces Uno R4

Arduino just announced their 32-bit Uno R4:

UNO R4 preserves the standard form factor, shield compatibility, 5 V power supply and robustness of the UNO range while offering no less than a 32-bit Arm® Cortex®-M4 and a 16-fold increase in memory. Thanks to enhanced thermal design, the UNO R4 boards can be powered up to 24 V.

There are 2 different models:
  • Arduino UNO R4 WiFi ($27.50 USD): The Arduino UNO R4 WiFi merges the RA4M1 microprocessor from Renesas with the ESP32-S3 from Espressif, creating an all-in-one tool for makers with enhanced processing power and a diverse array of new peripherals. With its built-in Wi-Fi® and Bluetooth® capabilities, the UNO R4 WiFi enables makers to venture into boundless creative possibilities. Furthermore, this versatile board boasts a convenient on-board 12x8 LED matrix and a Qwiic connector, offering ample space for innovation and unleashing creativity. This dynamic combination empowers makers to transform their ideas into reality and elevate their projects to unprecedented heights.
  • Arduino UNO R4 Minima ($20 USD): Introducing the Arduino UNO R4 Minima! This board boasts the RA4M1 microprocessor from Renesas, delivering increased processing power, expanded memory, and additional peripherals. And the best part? It stays true to the reliable UNO form factor and operates at a practical 5 V voltage. Brace yourself for an upgrade like no other with the Arduino UNO R4 Minima!

WiFi model
RA4M1256 kB Flash, 32 kB RAM
ESP32-S3384 kB ROM, 512 kB SRAM

Minima model
MemoryRA4M1256 kB Flash, 32 kB RAM
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Home Assistant gets nod of approval from KNX Association

Home Assistant just announced that it has received official endorsement from the KNX Association for its KNX integration. KNX is a flexible building & residential home automation standard, especially popular in Europe.