Automation & IoT How-tos

Automation used to happen in your local network, while the Internet of Things obviously relies on an Internet connection, but in recent years both categories merged in some ways, so I’ve gathered related links in this page to offer an easy access to those resources.

ESP8266 & ESP32 Getting Started Guides

Espressif Systems WiFi SoCs have become really popular in the maker community thanks to their low cost, and great community and software support around the platforms. Over the years, I’ve written a few tutorials showing how to get started on ESP8266 WiSoC or the newer ESP32 WiFI + Bluetooth LE SoC:

ITEAD Studio Sonoff Automation Products

ITEAD Studio has made a popular family of home automation products called Sonoff that include wireless switches, RGB lightbulbs, smart sockets, touch switches etc.. Their products work reasonably well, and beside built-in support for eWelink Android/iOS apps, most of the product can be upgrade with open source firmware alternative such as Sonoff-Tasmota or ESPurna. We have received a few samples of such products, tried various projects and published reviews.

ESPurna firmware

Sonoff-Tasmota firmware


The final link is a quick test of a waterproof water compatible with some of Sonoff wireless switches, and should be useful for outdoor projects.

Karl’s Home Automation Project

Karl has published a 4-part tutorial showing how he setup his home automation system with Sonoff switches to control lights, ESP8266 boards, WiFi to RF (433 MHz) bridges, motion sensors, door bells, etc… using open source software firmware / components like Sonoff Tasmota, Home Assistant and others.

Realtek Ameba Platforms

When Realtek RTL8710 was first discovered in summer 2016, it looked promising with a $2 WiFi module based on an Arm Cortex M3 core. However, usage has not really taken off as at the time, ESP8266 was already well established with a good software ecosystem. I still tried a few modules and boards, and reported how to get started with the platform.

Raspberry Pi Automation & IoT add-on boards

Low end part are often good enough for many tasks, but in some cases, a Raspberry Pi is easier to play with, and provides more flexibility.

I’ve been receiving and testing a few kits from individual makers and companies, which were fun to use, and a good learning experience.