Friday, November 8, 2019

Teardown and repair of a dangerous Porsche toaster

I was nicely asked if I could take a look at a disabled toaster unit that stopped doing its job.

Post-cleanup it looks like this:


The quick repair job turned out to be quite entertaining in figuring out post-mortem how the unit failed and the questionable design decisions. It involves no complicated electronics and it might help other people figure out what to look for before buying an appliance. With another layer of failures stacked on top, this unit could have set the house on fire or shocked someone.

Fortunately no damages were recorded, but the deep-dive might prove interesting to some people.

Blinds/Shutters automation with Home Assistant

My apartment has the shutters/blinds controlled via a trio of wall-mounted button panels.
Here's my experience of integrating them into Home Assistant for automation and remote control.

Steps:

  • Identify the control units
  • Buy the remote unit or reverse engineer the control signals
  • Build a firmware for NodeMCU (ESP8266) based on ESPHome


Result

I've kept the intrusion to a minimum so they can be reverted without any traces:

Home-Assistant panel with the three blinds actions:


Control Unit

The button panels have Elero stamped on them so the first thing was to go to the manufacturer's website and search for a product: https://www.elero.de/de/produkte/jalousiesteuerungen/

The closest match seemed to be Elero VarioTec, not sure at this point if it supports remote control or not (spoiler: it doesn't).