Flashing Philips E14 Smart LED Bulbs with esphome

One day I needed to add an automated light near the stairs. Motion sensor was already in place, I only needed some bulbs I could turn on and off remotely and I was not feeling like doing any DIY that time. So I picked a few ZigBee bulbs with Е14 socket. What could possibly go wrong here?

The Chinese guy sent me WiFi bulbs instead of ZigBee. Xiaomi Philips. Those are hooked to Xiaomi cloud via Mi Home. For the most adventurous, token can be extracted from the Xiaomi Cloud to drive the bulbs directly from Home Assistant. That was precisely what I’ve done. However those bulbs didn’t work very stable. They were slow to turn on and off, lost WiFi connectivity occasionally and froze every few weeks.

Things weren’t much better with Xiaomi Cloud connected, save for the huge data roundtrip to China and back every time you need to turn on a freaking lamp. The problems weren’t too critical for me to fix the issue and they worked for over a year. However a few days ago when those didn’t turn on at night I understood my patience is finally over and it’s time to fix the issue for good.

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Useful scripts: Compiling big projects remotely

At the very start of the New Year I decided it’s big time to clean up all the trash from my ‘useful scripts’ folder. Wipe most, improve and document the most useful ones. (And check how the new syntax highlighting plugin works in wordpress and how the content shows up in Medium). I’ll start with the script I use to compile ‘heavy’ software on the ‘big’ server. (I’ll tell more about how I picked the hardware for the task later).

OpenWRT. Takes a while to build it with a bunch of packages enabled.
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Optimizing ESP8266/ESPHOME for battery power (and making an ice bath thermometer as well)

It’s been a long while I wanted to check for how long can an esp8266 with esphome last on a battery supply. Yet I didn’t have a reason to get it done. Time to fix that and add yet another battery optimization manual for ESP8266 to the internets.

And what’s the big reason? The story is simple. I decided to try ‘cold water immersion’ practice and make it a habbit.Yep, not the cold showers, but true hardcore ‘CWI’. I started back in summer when it was hot as hell and went all the way through to November. The weather gradually lowered the water temperature for me from ‘ah, cool and nice’ to ‘Awh shit this is cold!11’. Ideally that would become a habit.

However in November I had to pause that for a few weeks. And that meant the only thing: I had to start over again. And since the weather isn’t helping me any more, I’d have to take care and gradually decrease the temperature myself.

The first idea was to just order a dumb water thermometer. But why order when you have all the parts in stock and can just build one? And with cool features!

Hard as a rock, dumb as a brick (c)
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Distributing python apps for windows (and dealing with the pain)

Even though I’m mostly a linux user, I sometimes have to deal with windows (and, heck, well even mac sometimes). And not only to fire up steam and relax playing some game or wandering in VR worlds (unfortunately).

So this time I had to deal with distributing a python app that should be available for windows users as well. And windows, just as it usually happens, was a huge pain. At this moment on would ask – why not just use pip? And there goes the long read.

Потому что какую-то картинку воткнуть надо было…
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nRF24L01+: Manually calibrating the antenna with MySensors and … HomeAssistant

Perhaps the final post about the good old nRF24L01+ and the shady Chinese suppliers that tend to optimize all freakin’ bits and pieces. This time I will tell how to create a simple RF calibration station to verify the modules are properly operational and how to manually fix those that are not.

That’s how it looks like
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nRF24L01+: Fixing the “magic finger” problem

This time I was spending the holidays as usual away from the city, further improving my smarthome. This time I was installing a bunch of devices with nRF24L01+ radios. When I was running out of spare nRF24L01+ modules, I noticed that I was left with a bunch of weird modules that kind of work, but really crappy. They feature huge packet losses, but whenever you touch the PCB antenna, it goes away. I decided to look into the problem and document my findings.

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WAAAGH-cination: Results

I have to admit, it took me a while to figure out what the heck was going on and finally write this post. To make the story short, I didn’t have a chance for a clean experiment and got ‘something flu-like’ a week or so after vaccination along with my family. No COVID according to the PCR testing, so I got on my feet quickly, got the second doze of the vaccine. Blood tests showed COVID antibodies for me, but not for my family. Yeah, and I got a nice and shiny certificate for that.

WAAAAAAGH!
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WAAAGH-cinating with Sputnik V vaccine

This post (or, perhaps, a few), would be totally different from the stuff I usually write on my blog. I usually post cool stuff I make, tips’n’tricks, tech hacks and other useful stuff, but this time it’s something totally different.

This time I decided to be like an ork from Warhammer and sign up as a volunteer to the death squad test out the new COVID-19 vaccine. And document my experience in the blog. Why? Becuz WAAAGH!

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