Smart Home with Node-RED on OpenWrt

Introduction

This blog will talk about how you can control your smart home appliances using Node-RED running on the OpenWrt System by Seeed. Here I will explain how you can set up everything step-be-step. Also, I will use the reTerminal LCD to view the Node-RED dashboard to visualize the connected devices.

What is OpenWrt?

OpenWrt is an open-source Linux operating system that runs on embedded devices/ routers. It offers more features, performance, and security than a traditional router. It has a filesystem that’s fully writable and includes a package management system. You can make use of these packages to suit your applications in various ways.

By using OpenWrt you can have various features such as:

  • Increase overall network performance when multiple devices are connected
  • Share files between devices via an external storage drive connected directly to the router
  • Increase network security
  • Run a BitTorrent client from the router
  • Connect a printer directly to the router to create a networked printer
  • Limit bandwidth usage of a particular device in the network
  • Active queue management
  • Real time network monitoring
  • Create Dynamic DNS
  • Set Up a VPN client or server

What is OpenWrt System by Seeed?

Openwrt System by Seeed is a great way to add some great Luci applications to the latest version of OpenWrt. It provides a stable, flexible, and easy-to-use OpenWrt system for CM4 and x86 based hardware devices.

Seeed’s OpenWrt system provides not only basic routing functions but also platform software for HomeLab, AIoT, allowing users to quickly implement different scenarios.

What is Node-RED?

Node-RED is a programming tool for wiring together hardware devices, APIs, and online services in new and interesting ways.
It provides a browser-based editor that makes it easy to wire together flows using the wide range of nodes in the palette that can be deployed to its runtime in a single click.

Node-RED on OpenWrt System by Seeed

Node-RED comes pre-installed on the OpenWrt System by Seeed. So, there is no setup process of Node-RED needed. You just have to open the browser, enter a specific URL in order to access the Node-RED UI!

Now let’s start building our Node-RED application!

Control Smart Lamp with Node-Red on OpenWrt

In this guide, I will control a Xiaomi Yeelight Smart Bulb using Node-RED. However, if you have other smart devices you can control them as well. But some steps will be different for them. First, let’s look at the hardware we will be using

Hardware Needed

Install Xiaomi Yeelight Node and Start Node-RED

In order to control the Xiaomi Smart Lamp using Node-RED, we need to install the Yeelight node. After that, we will start Node-RED.

Step 1: Prepare an ODYSSEY – X86 board or CM4 Dual Gigabit Ethernet Carrier Board with the OpenWrt System by Seeed. Follow this guide for an initial getting started

Step 2: Open a web browser on your PC and type 192.168.2.1 to access the OpenWrt Luci web UI

Note: If your OpenWrt router has a different IP address from 192.168.2.1, please replace it with that IP address

Step 3: Navigate to Services > Terminal and login with your credentials

Step 4: Type the following to stop Node-RED

service node-red stop

Step 5: Enter the node-red directory

cd /.node-red

Step 6: Install the Xiaomi Yeelight Node-RED node

npm install node-red-contrib-yeelight

Step 7: Once the installation is finished, start Node-RED again

service node-red start

Step 8: Open a web browser and access Node-RED by typing the following

192.168.2.1:1880

Note: If your OpenWrt router has a different IP address from 192.168.2.1, please replace it with that IP address

Now we will move on to placing different blocks on Node-RED UI to create a flow to control the smart bulb

Create Node-RED Flow – Button Node

Start by creating an ON/OFF button for the bulb

Step 1: On the left side of Node-RED UI, under “dashboard”, drag-and-drop the “button” node to the workspace

Step 2: Double click on the button node and click on the pencil icon on the right side of Group

Step 3: Type a desired Name for the group

Step 4: Click on the pencil icon on the right side of Tab

Step 5: Type a desired Name for the tab

Step 6: Click Add

Step 7: Click Add again

Step 8: Change the other settings for the button as follows

  • Label: ON/ OFF
  • When clicked, send: Payload – Boolean
  • Name – ON/ OFF

Step 9: On the left side of Node-RED UI, under MiHome, drag-and-drop the yeelight node to the workspace

Step 10: Double click on the yeelight node and click on the pencil icon on the right side of Yeelight config

Step 11: Enter the IP address of Yeelight

Note: You can check this by logging into your router and listing the connected devices

Step 12: Enter 55443 for the Port Number

Step 13: Click Add

Step 14: Under Command, select Toggle

Step 15: Click Done

Step 16: Connect the button node to the yeelight toggle node by clicking on the small point to the right side of the button node, drag to draw a line, and connect the line to the small point on the left side of yeelight toggle node

Create Node-RED Flow – Select Color Node

Now let’s create a drop-down menu to select different colors

Step 1: On the left side of Node-RED UI, under dashboard, drag-and-drop the dropdown node to the workspace

Step 2: Double click on the button node and select the Group that we created before

Step 3: Change the other settings as follows

  • Label: COLOR
  • Placeholder: CHOOSE
  • Options:
  • String: 0xFF0000 : RED
  • String: 0x00FF00 : GREEN
  • String: 0x0000FF : BLUE
  • String: 0xFFFFFF : WHITE
  • String: 0x00FFFF : CYAN
  • String: 0xFF00FF : PURPLE
  • String: 0xFFFF00 : YELLOW
  • Name: Select Color

Step 4: On the left side of Node-RED UI, under MiHome, drag-and-drop the yeelight node to the workspace

Step 5: Double click on the yeelight node and select the Yeelight config that we created before

Step 6: Under Command, select Set RGB

Step 7: Click Done

Create Node-RED Flow – Set Color Temperature Node

Next, let’s create a slider to change the color temperature

Step 1: On the left side of Node-RED UI, under dashboard, drag-and-drop the slider node to the workspace

Step 2: Double click on the “slider” node and select the Group that we created before

Step 3: Change the other settings as follows

  • Label: TEMPERATURE
  • Range: min:1700 max:6500 step:10
  • Name: Set Temperature

Step 4: On the left side of Node-RED UI, under MiHome, drag-and-drop the yeelight node to the workspace

Step 5: Double click on the yeelight node and select the Yeelight config that we created before

Step 6: Under Command, select Set Temperature

Step 7: Click Done

Create Node-RED Flow – Set Brightness Node

Next let’s create a slider to change the brightness

Step 1: On the left side of Node-RED UI, under dashboard, drag-and-drop the slider node to the workspace

Step 2: Double click on the slider node and select the Group that we created before

Step 3: Change the other settings as follows

  • Label: BRIGHTNESS
  • Range: min:1 max:100 step:1
  • Name: Set Brightness

Step 4: On the left side of Node-RED UI, under MiHome, drag-and-drop the yeelight node to the workspace

Step 5: Double click on the yeelight node and select the Yeelight config that we created before

Step 6: Under Command, select Set brightness

Step 7: Click Done

Create Node-RED Flow – Color Picker

Next let’s create a color palette to choose different colors

Step 1: On the left side of Node-RED UI, under dashboard, drag-and-drop the colour picker node to the workspace

Step 2: Double click on the colour picker node and select the Group that we created before

Step 3: Change the other settings as follows

  • Label: COLOR PALETTE
  • If width is 4 or greater:
  • Always show picker: ticked
  • Always show value field: ticked
  • Name: Color Palette

Step 4: On the left side of Node-RED UI, under function, drag-and-drop the function node to the workspace

Step 5: Double click on the “function” node and under “On Message”, Add the following lines

msg.payload = msg.payload.replace(/[#]/g,"0x");
return msg;

Step 6: Click Done

Step 7: On the left side of Node-RED UI, under MiHome, drag-and-drop the yeelight node to the workspace

Step 8: Double click on the yeelight node and select the Yeelight config that we created before

Step 9: Under Command, select Set RGB

Step 10: Click Done

Now we have successfully created the complete diagram.

Node-RED UI Dashboard on PC

Let’s move ahead to display the Node-RED dashboard

Step 1: Inside the Node-RED interface, click on Dashboard

Note: Change the settings according to your preferene

Step 2: Type the following on any web browser to open the Node-RED dashboard with smart bulb demo

192.168.2.1:1880/ui

Now you can control the Smart Bulb using these controls!

Node-RED UI Dashboard on reTerminal

You can also display the above dashboard on the reTerminal LCD. Let’s walk through the process

Step 1: Follow this guide to get started with the reTerminal for the first time

Step 2: Type the following inside a terminal window of reTerminal

chromium-browser --start-fullscreen http://192.168.2.1:1880/ui

Note: Make sure the reTerminal is connected to the OpenWrt router

Now you will be able to control the Smart Bulb using reTerminal as well!

Demo Showcase

Conclusion

I hope this blog was helpful to everyone to understand the basic usage of Node-RED and how it can be used to control a smart bulb. However, it can be extended to control many other smart appliances as well right from Node-RED dashboard!

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