With the advent of affordable smart home technology, it’s even easier to transform your home. There are many useful gadgets available for this, and the prices of many of these items have dropped as more competitors enter the market.

However, a much cheaper and more profitable option is to build your own smart home system. In this article, we’ll cover the basics of how a Smart Home system works and provide some examples of easy DIY Arduino projects that anyone can do.

DIY smart home: an overview

There are several ways to automate your living space, although most setups will use an Arduino or Raspberry Pi as the brains. In many cases, you will find the ideal solution, which can be a combination of two although today we will focus on the Arduino.


The Arduino in these examples controls the device of our choice when triggered. YouTuber EEEnthusiast has a simple example of turning on an LED with a button to visualize the order of operations.

In the example above, the Arduino reads the input voltage from the button using digitalRead . When voltage is read as HIGH it turns on the LED with digitalWrite, to set its output to HIGH . When the button is not pressed, the LED is off or SHORT .

This simple example is the heart of any automated system. All you have to do is change the inputs and outputs to something useful.

Don’t worry if you’ve never used an Arduino before — our beginner’s guide covers everything you need to know.

Wireless control

There are several ways to instruct your microcontroller to perform a task. The first — infrared (IR). This method can have its benefits if you are using an Arduino board without an internet connection. You can salvage parts from old electronic components and quickly set up and run the remote control. This is a detailed guide from YouTuber GreatScott! Not only is it a great tutorial on how to use IR in your projects, but it’s also a complete build to drive a 12V RGB LED strip!

Internet connection

The second way is to connect your microcontroller to the internet. There are several ways to approach this. If you’re using the official Arduino or a clone, you may need to buy an Ethernet or Wi-Fi shield, although there are ways around this. A much better option is to get a board that already has the connection built into it. The NodeMCU is perfect for this, and we often sing the praises of this little board for good reason!

Whichever way you connect your whiteboard to the Internet, you will need a web service to communicate with it. While you can set up your own server, there are services that will do this for you. We’ve covered how to get started with OpenHAB in the past. it’s a powerful and very handy home automation tool, although its complexity makes it not for the faint of heart!

For easier maintenance, Thinger and Blynk allow you to communicate with the Arduino over the Internet. Both provide the ability to control your microcontroller from your smartphone or via a web request (perfect for IFTTT users.).

a guide to Blynk can be found in our guide to

Bluetooth is another common way to communicate remotely with your Arduino. In most cases, you’ll need a Bluetooth shield to connect, and at under $3, they’re a cheap option if you want to go that route.

For a quick introductory project using Bluetooth with Arduino, check out the following video from Tinkernut Labs.

Light it up

Now that you can communicate with the board remotely, it’s time to take care of the output side of the equation. The LED in our original example is not very useful in real life. By replacing it with relay or MOSFET you can control more powerful items.

We have covered how relays work to control appliances in the past, and used MOSFETS in our previous tutorial on connecting LED strips to an Arduino. See the video section on 12V strips for an example of the most common way to use it in a power management circuit:

When purchasing these components, it is worth noting that they must be logic level to work with your board. In the case of MOSFETS, this is usually indicated by the «L» in the name. As far as relays go, it’s worth looking for cheap off-the-shelf relay blocks for use with microcontrollers.

Ready, Install, Automate!

Now that you understand the basics of building smart home appliances, let’s take a look at a few examples.

User frenzy from Instructables used an Arduino along with a PowerSwitch tail acting as a relay to build his Twitter-activated coffee pot:

YouTuber passxxxa uses the aforementioned Blynk service along with an Arduino Uno, an Ethernet shield, and a relay to control lights. This video shows how easy it is to get started with home automation. Carefully: playing with network air conditioning can be deadly be sure to know what you’re doing before messing around with it!

Youtuber BRUH Automation used NodeMCU along with a servo drive to create web-controlled automated blinds in less than for 15 dollars !

Although RFID (RFID) is not strictly remote control, it is another interesting way to control smart objects. Learn how to use it to make a self-closing door with an Arduino Uno and a solenoid from our smart locks tutorial:

CarLeeToes combines IR control with web control in their tutorial on how to control your air conditioner with your smartphone. The project will walk you through the process of «listening» for IR codes from an air conditioner remote and using them in conjunction with a web server to send the correct signals from your Arduino. Check out his video in action (in Spanish, but the tutorial on Instructables.com is in English):

Ideas are everywhere

Once you start playing around with home automation, you start seeing ideas all over the place. Using an Arduino or similar board is a fantastic way to get started. The Arduino is only one side of the story, as the Raspberry Pi is equally well suited for projects like this and starting relays. can be pretty easy.

Did you work on something we didn’t think about? Do you dream of creating the perfect home automation system for your home? Let us know in the comments below!

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