This project has been years in the making. I first started with a netduino plus 2 and had things functioning but quickly lost the connection and the requirement to unplug and plug back into development computer was cumbersome. Then along came the Spark Core. This device has build in wifi and you can use online code editor to publish directly to the device after you establish the core on your wifi.
Using an old garage door opener remote, i can locate the device anywhere in my garage that has power. In addition i have a magnetic switch hooked up to tell if the door is open or closed.
The Core exposes internet-addressable functions that can instruct the device to run an operation (open/close and isOpen). This in turn is hooked up as custom functions on my Vera Lite home automation controller.
Old Remote Garage Door Opener
5v Power Supply
I really like the Sonos system but it’s expensive. At least 300 dollars a pop for every zone (room) you want to have. I think what it offers i will some day jump to. But in the meantime i have found a way to achieve the same thing with stuff I already had.
First, download Logitech Media Server. Yes, this requires a computer. I happened to have an old laptop. This works perfectly as the server.
Next, you need a player. Something that will connect to the server to access local media, or run through it to run apps like spotify, pandora, etc.
Logitech makes a number of network appliances that can connect to the server (think Sonos and dollars).
If you don’t want to shell out the cash, you can download SqueezePlay (beta). This is free and is a software based player. You can run this on the same computer as the server. My server happens to be in the closet with receiver so i have a 3.5mm -> Stereo RCA cord plugging into it. This is zone 1.
To move beyond the living room I am using an old android phone running Squeeze Player. I said this was mostly free right. This program will turn your phone into a player the server will recognize. This zone connects to the auxiliary input of an ipod system that includes an additonal speaker. This is in the kitchen and the remote speaker is in the office. This is cool because i can take the remote speaker outside when it’s nice.
I also have an android tablet. Another zone. Sometimes i connect this in the bedroom. No restrictions on what device you can download the player to.
I also have another android phone… yet another zone.
I’ve seen someone say that iPenquin (?) works as zone on iphone but i can’t verify that.
To control all this, Logitech makes an app for both android and iPhone called Logitech Squeezebox Controller.
From this app, you can join any zone to another or to all zones. OR play different things in different zones. The server also supports video and will show up as a DLNA player on XBox and other capable systems.
Yes, sometimes it’s not quite in sync. other times it works flawlessly. Oh ya, when i turn the microwave on i lose music too. For the 5 bucks I spent plus reusing old hardware i think this is a small price to pay.
To use Pandora you have to have a paid subscription. Same with Spotify. I have a subscription to spotify and it’s great to use this way.
THere are a number of other third-party apps you can download. I think i use an alternative spotify app available there. Can’t remember why i switched from the default.