add your own smart devices to Home Assistant using ESPHome

a tutorial sequence: > the offer > why a platform > home assistant > ESPhome > camera project > main menu

Sometimes you can’t even buy the smart home gadget you need or it’s overpriced. ESPHome is software that allows you to monitor or control home-made devices with ‘Home Assistant’.

For example: a camera project using an ESP32-CAM was my first foray into DIY home automation. That wasn’t the easiest (but it was the funnest I think). I went on take apart and flash Sonoff devices which was challenging – though by 2022 this was less necessary. A next but easier task was to find a way to display readings of Xiaomi temperature sensors I’d placed in several rooms. You buy one of many sensors and wire it to an ES32 board. This is how I monitor how much heating oil is in my tank and how I made a smart meter that could tell me how much electricity I’m using through the day.

what’s needed to start using ESPhome?

  • option 1: an ESP32 development board with a micro-USB socket
  • option 2: an ESP8266 development board – less power use, but no Bluetooth
  • option 3: an ESP32 development board without a USB socket (+ FTDI UART)
  • option 4: a Sonoff ESP-based device (+ FTDI UART)
  • a FTDI UART 5v / 3.3v to flash a ESP32 board that has no USB socket.
  • a USB charger and lead to provide 5v power to the ESP32
  • Dupont jumper wires – mostly female to female (ebay £2)
  • optional: a sensor or display or switch or LED or relay or items listed at ESPhome
  • a Raspberry Pi and the instructions below to run Home Assistant software with the ESPhome add-in

how to add ESPhome to Home Assistant

The details above will have changed – but install is what you must do.

now we’re ready to code a ESP chip

In this camera project you can flash a chip. A more advanced project is to flash a chip inside a Sonoff smart plug

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