I have an old refrigerator in my garage which I suspected was a power hog. I bought a Sonoff S31 Power Monitoring outlet and flashed it with custom firmware (Tasmota) and blogged about that here.
I’ve since figured out you can do a WHOLE LOT MORE with a Tasmota flashed Sonoff S31. I figure there are two important things you’d want to know about an old refrigerator.
- Is it running?
- Has the door been left open?
Both answers can be tackled with home automation. I use the EXCELLENT program HomeAssistant. So let’s get to it, shall we?
So sometimes a really good technology just never really takes off. A USB TV Tuner is just one such technology.
It should have taken off. Just about everyone who has a laptop should have one of these. I have three.
So what would you use it for? In my case I live in a Hurricane zone and in fact got blasted by Hurricane Florence last year and had no power for several days. (Actually I had power because I have a full house generator). Anyway, due to a concern for the amount of fuel I had on hand I shut down at times and THIS is how I got my news during those times.
AirSpyHF+ on Spyserver on Raspberry Pi
What is a Spyserver and why do you NEED one? A spyserver takes an RTL-SDR software radio and allows it to be used over the network or controlled from the internet if you allow.
For this project I’m using the AirSpyHF+ ($199 USD). The AirSpyHF+ is probably the BEST HF SDR radio you can get. This project will let us operate from about 9kHz to about 31 MHz where AM radio, and Short Wave Radio reside.
Did you know a lot of people still used pagers? I had no clue. Did you know that all that pager traffic and all those messages are sent unencrypted and can be easily decoded? All you need for hardware is a $10 USB SDR radio stick with a cheap indoor whip antenna.
NOTE: Reading pager traffic is NOT against the law, however retransmitting it or acting on any information you learn from it is. Decode for good. Not evil.
And much like any other Linux techie project I’ve ever done following the directions somewhere else DIDN’T WORK. Oh, it mostly worked but something is always missing. This page is for the first timer trying to figure this out. And for me to recreate this once I screw it up or my computer dies.
Doing this on Windows is easiest and the directions I found here DID WORK. This will be a tutorial on Ubuntu (Or LinuxMint) Again most everything worked but the actual decoding process didn’t until I changed a thing or two. Also one major step was left out that almost caused this to epic fail for me. YMMV. Depends on the Decoder your system is using.
I run RTL_433 to push data from several sensors and a motion detector to an MQTT server for home automation. For some reason as of late it is just not that stable. Could even be a hardware failure with the dongle….I dunno. I generally just run the program command inside a terminal on the raspberry pi it is installed on and just walk away. When it crashes I have to log back in the Pi and re-run the command. Un-cool.
The command I use specifically is this:
rtl_433 -F json -M utc | mosquitto_pub -t home/rtl_433 -l
Again, that pushes data found on 433.920 MHz devices to publish a topic on my MQTT server called “home/rtl_433”.
Found these cool little outlets on Amazon and verified they can be flashed with Tasmota Over The Air (OTA). They are technically called “Home Awesome Breathing Light Smart Light.
They are also sold under the name TMRLife Plug
They are another made in China device that is controlled via phone app and I generally don’t trust such things. Flashing the device with Open Source firmware is MUCH better for securities sake.