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Text-to-Speech in openHAB

In my ongoing endeavor to improve our home, a while ago I added a notification when the washing machine and the dryer are finished. The notification is send to a Telegram channel. Over the summer vacation I added a number new ChromeCast Audio devices (Google no longer offers the Audio CC, if you need one get one now). One is placed in the kitchen. Not only can I listen to music while eating breakfast, I can also output notifications, by using the CC as an audio sink in openHAB.

To make that useful, I decided to use a Text-to-Speech system. openHAB offers a couple different TTS systems, however most of them need a cloud integration, and therefore a working Internet connection. The “Pico TTS” works standalone, and was my favorite choice for this implementation.


Remove Trashcan Icon from Raspberry Pi Desktop

Our home automation got a nice 7" Raspberry display in the kitchen, showing the most relevant information (like temperature, weather, washing machine, dryer ect) on a dedicated screen. Quite handy, especially the temperature, and the one-click stop to the weather forecast.

While installing the Pi and setting everything up, I stumbled over the Icons which LXDE by default shows on the desktop. Not necessary, I want them removed. All I want on the desktop is the browser icon which directly goes to the HABpanel.

The reason is simple: if the Pi starts up, but the browser for unknown reasons doesn’t come up, I don’t want anyone to be confused by additional icons on the desktop. After all, usually the LXDE desktop is not seen by default.


openHAB: widget with multiple different background colors

Previously I blogged about how the washing machine and the dryer are integrated into the openHAB home automation system.

For a while I had a standard Dummy widget in HABpanel, but that didn’t look very nice, was very standard, and the different icons for different states don’t really work. When I started integrating another Raspberry Pi with a touch screen (blog post to come), I refreshed the HABpanel, added another dashboard, and along the way I wrote a new “Template” widget for the washing machine and the dryer.


Notification when washing machine or dryer are finished, with openHAB

As part of my home automation project, I wanted the washing machine and the dryer to send notifications when they are finished. Both machines are in a separate room, and their alarm beeps are hard to hear in the other parts of the flat. Also because of the noise both machines make during operation, the door is usually closed.

After checking several options how to interact with the washing machine and the dryer (from listening to the audio signals to having light sensors glued over the status led, open the frame and install something inside, and a small cam with picture recognition), I settled with measuring the power consumption. Next step: find the right kit.