My home automation setup involves a Raspberry Pi 3 with RF receiver module and a dockerised Python script that reads in signals and converts them to MQTT messages sent to the broker and consumed by the rest of home automation system. In this post I want to make some recommendations for useful RF devices that are not only affordable but also improve your home automation system by creating new automation opportunities.
This post is a short review and recommendation of some cheap RF devices that I have been using for a few months. I found these devices to be very reliable.
One feature that all have in common is that buttons can be pressed in any combination, as the device emits different RF payloads for each button combination. This means a 3 button panel will give you 7 possible button combinations. With a bit of practice (and good memory) this can be used to trigger 7 different automations.
Note that I wrote a custom Python component for Home Assistant that helps map RF payloads to service calls in your configuration. It allows you to define RF devices such as a wall panel and specify the different button codes it is able to emit.
You can the define schedules (e.g. morning, afternoon, evening, night) that can be used to give the buttons on the device different functions depending on the active schedule.
This allows you to extend the usefulness of the physical device even more by having them be time scheduled.
Kerui Motion sensor (battery or Micro USB powered)
This is one of maybe 4 different motion sensor models I have tested. The kerui costs aboutAU$12-15 and is very reliable.
I run two with a Micro USB cable attached. The others run on 3 AAA batteries (have not had to change any batteries in 18 months, meaning they use very little energy).
Highly recommended because they detect motion reliably, send out a strong signal that can be detected all around the house. I have had no problems with this model and it happens to be a good looking and functional design as well. (Some designs look very cheap or have round bottoms making it impossible to just place on a shelf without mounting it properly.)
The front features a LED to indicate when motion is detected. There is an on/off switch on the side and a Micro USB port for powering. The back has a battery compartment. Mounting options via balljoint are provided in the box.
I purchased mine on KERUI Official Store on AliExpress where they are sold for around AU$13.
Another Kerui product I tried is a different motion sensor model which I can recommend as well. It appears to have a wider detection area, though I doubt there is much difference.
Wireless RF Buttons and Wall panels
Black RF Button
This small button is very compact and reliable. It reminds me of Amazon Dash buttons. It emits a single RF code when pressed.
Ebay: 433MHz DC 9V 12V 24V 10A 1-Button RF Wireless Remote Control Round Transmitter
Black Touch RF Panel - 3 Button
This panel comes with 1, 2 or 3 touch sensitive buttons that can be pressed in any combination, as the device emits different RF payloads for each button combination.
The draw back is that the buttons lack physical haptic feedback which makes them difficult to find in the dark. The buttons do light up in a dim blue colour for visual feedback.
This panel is available on AliExpress. I purchased mine from SAMT Shenzhen and I paid around AU$10 for it.
RF Wall Panel - 3 Button
I purchased this one as it features physical buttons. It works the same as the previous panel, offering up to 7 combinations of button presses. Due to the physical need to press the button down it is a bit harder to press multiple buttons at the same time. There is a small yellow LED underneath the plastic which does light up when a button is pressed for visual feedback. The other thing to note is that the push buttons themselves feel cheap because of the microscopic travel distance of 0.5mm. It does click and produce a ‘click’ sound but does not feel as satisfying as conventional light switches.
RF Wall Panel - 4 Button
This wall panel works like all the previous ones except it offers an additional button. This means there are 15 possible ways these buttons can be pressed.
The button mechanism feels more solid and less cheap compared to the 3 button ones before. There is an LED as well for visual feedback of button presses.
Ebay: 86 Type Wall Touch Panel 433MHz Wireless RF Remote Control Transmit
RF Remote Control
This remote was originally part of a set of RF controlled plugs. Since the remote controls RF code are remapped to automations, I cannot use the plugs anymore because of interference.