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I'm just getting into the Raspberry Pi and love the idea of home automation. I'd like to use the Raspberry Pi to turn on/off lights, control the thermostat, and possibly a few other tasks in the future. However, I don't own a home. I live in a recently built apartment. I'd really like the idea of having wifi enabled outlets, but I'm don't believe I can safely take out the electrical outlets in my apartment. Also, I doubt the management for apartment would do it for me. I've seen plug in adapters for outlets as an alternative, but I haven't found any that are that attractive. Are there affordable and practical wifi solutions to control lights with the Raspberry Pi for an apartment?

Also, the digital thermostat installed in my apartment does not support wifi. Are there wifi enabled thermostats that are affordable that I could install in my apartment without causing any damage to the wall?

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  1. short answer -- please, don't, because Raspberry Pi is a wonderful piece of hardware to play with, it's going to be a waste to use it for such a mundane task -- turning lights on and off.

  2. wifi is very expensive and basically overkill, when plain old X10 or RF module will suffice.

  • I use the RPI to turn on and off lights, and i'm very happy with it! – Michel May 30 '13 at 12:59
  • Now if you were to take it to the next level, and have a web interface, temperature sensors, and be able to control and monitor everything from work, on vacation, etc. then it becomes a viable project that will allow you to leverage the power you have in your hands, and ensure your house stays the same way you left it. – Butters May 30 '13 at 13:43
  • @user2301728 when i leave my house, i flip the switch on the wall, and my house stays the same no matter where i go, to my work or to my vacation. why on earth you need anything more complicated than simple on/off switch to control the lights? well, maybe IR sensor could be useful, but anything beyond that? Raspberry Pi is a COMPUTER, let's use it as a computer: take a video, do motion detection, file servers, backup services, scan fingerprints, store some data and so on. why should someone use a full blown computer with 1GB of memory when a $1 micro controller with 16kb of RAM will suffice? – lenik May 30 '13 at 13:50
  • The point of home automation is transparency and remote control. When I leave my home for weeks, I know that I can sleep better at night knowing that a security lamp in the living room has turned on and the heater is still running, rather than coming home to 10,000 gallons of water frozen in my garage. In this case, the pi would replace a full size tower PC that has been dedicated as a home automation server. I fail to see how running apache, a RRD database, generating graphs, SMS alerts, E-mail alerts, automated phone calls in the event of a threshold breach is not using it as a computer. – Butters May 30 '13 at 14:11
  • @lenik what part of wifi is very expensive? I think I'm missing additional charges. – wwwuser May 30 '13 at 21:38
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As far as your thermostat question, yes, there are WiFi enabled thermostats available, but they are expensive, up to $250 USD.

Another option is to replace your thermostat(s) with relay(s) controlled by the GPIO pins of the pi. All your thermostat does is allow current to pass through it when the heat needs to come on. This can easily be done remotely from the pi with an opto isolated relay, not wireless, but easy to work with. You would then have to integrate temp sensor for each heating zone in your house, and write a script to control when to turn on and off the relay.

I found this thread where someone is controlling multiple relays from a pi. May be good for reference.

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Take a look at this to control lights: - relatively cheap - easy to use

http://docs.spacebrew.cc/tutorials/2013/2/6/power-switch-tail-contorl-any-ac-electrical-device-remotely-via-spacebrew

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The UniPi hardware sounds perfect for this!

Go to UniPi.technology and check out what they have to offer. Basically it is a module that has 8 relays, tons of inputs, temperature sensors, and much more!

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