5 Ways to start Home Automation for under $50

Home Automation is getting more and more simple with each day. Using WiFi, almost everything in your house can become ‘smart’. For under $50 you can begin to monitor and control your house, from anywhere, without breaking the bank.

Hook-Budget-Home-Automation-SystemHook: The Hook home hub finds its origins in DIY Home Automation. With successful crowdfunding, Hook is a low-cost Automation system that can control up to 15 devices remotely; in partnership with IOS, Android, Amazon Alexa, and the IFTTT web server. With Radio Frequency compatibility, Hook can convert any cheap RF socket to a smart socket. The Hook hub ships this month for just $49.95.

tplinkTP Link: This smart outlet is an affordable Home Automation device that can give your house a lived-in look to deter burglars with its ‘away mode’ protocols, turn your devices on and off from afar, and control your appliances. Compatible with Android, iOS and Amazon Alexa, the outlet also integrates energy monitoring, and can be controlled through their free Kasa app. A low-cost beginning that save you money and monitors your home, the TP Link comes with a 2-year warranty and 24/7 customer support to guide you through the transition of smart-proofing your home. The TP Link can be purchased for $40.72, with cheaper options starting at $29.95.

huePhilips Hue lighting:  Starting at $29.99, your investment need not go beyond a lightbulb. The Philips hue lighting products offer lighting protocols that adjust to your time of day; creating a natural light that can also be customized for specific moods and settings. With daily routines and quick-control features, you can flick the switch; dimming or turning off your lighting, from your smart light-switch on your phone. With the addition of an optimized, open source Home Automation system such as Hobson, this investment can be the first piece of your Home Automation framework, and control your in-home lighting remotely, for ‘lived-in’ protection in your house. Philips Hue also offers a free app tailored specifically towards this product.

insteonforscamInsteon Remote Control Plug-In On/Off Module: This small hub can control lamps and other small appliances. The perfect introduction to Home Automation, Insteon is compatible with smartphones for remote accessibility. Starting at $49.99, the Insteon can also be connected to a larger hub, for when you need to expand upon your Home Automation.

Foscam Camera: Using Home Automation, you can check on your house remotely with this IP camera. With its own remote viewing and recording system, this device can easily be linked into any open source software, as part of your User Interface; growing with multiple devices. Pricing for Foscam IP cameras start at $39.99

Home Automation has become a vast and diverse landscape of options. Expanding outside of WiFi’s limitations, Investment in Home Automation seeks to revitalize your household with Infrared, Bluetooth and Z-wave compatibility.

Hue emulation on a ESP8266

You might already know that I like the ESP8266. There is a cheap LED dimmer named H801 available on AliExpress and other Chinese web sites that uses the ESP8266 to control RGB LED strips.  You find a bit technical information about in on this Dutch web site.


One issue is the simple protocol this device is using. While it has been reverse-engineered, the protocol is still proprietary and that makes it hard to integrate it into existing home automation solutions.

One option is emulating a Phillips Hue. There is the Github project ESP8266HueEmulator that implements this. Have a look at this!

Note that the Chinese device shown above is not certified to be used within the US or EU!