A Better Way to Give Your Coffee Maker the IoT Treatment

Connect your coffee maker to your home automation system, while still retaining manual control.

There are a lot of products on the market to give your aging devices some modern IoT capability. But most of them have the same problem: they force you to choose between IoT control and manual control. For instance, you can get a smart plug for your lamp, but that means you can no longer use the light switch on the wall — a situation that is particularly frustrating for guests who don’t know how your IoT system works. Maurice Makaay ran into that problem with his coffee maker, and designed a solution that we can all learn from.

This D.E. Moccamaster project makes it possible to control the coffee maker remotely with home automation systems like you can with any other IoT gadget, but also lets people prepare the machine and start it up by hand. Maurice was originally using a typical smart plug, and ran into the issue described above. The coffee machine in his home is a simple conventional model that doesn’t have any smart features. In order for the coffee maker to start brewing, the smart plug had to be turned on and the coffee machine’s power button needed to be in the on position.

The solution was to use a FIBARO switch, which has Z-wave support that is compatible with Home Assistant and many other home automation systems. It’s essentially just a relay that can be activated wirelessly, but it also has provision for a connecting a switch. That needs to be a momentary switch, so Maurice found a momentary rocker switch to replace the coffee maker’s original power switch. That was connected to the FIBARO switch, which was placed inside of the coffee maker’s enclosure. The mains power runs through the relay. This means the coffee maker can be turned on through Home Assistant or by simply pressing the rocker switch on the outside of the machine.

Another alternative, if you don’t want to modify your coffee maker, is to use a smart plug that has its own built-in button and leave the coffee maker’s power switch in the on position at all times. This will require that caffeine-deprived guests know to reach around behind the machine and push the button on the smart plug in order to turn on the coffee maker, but it is easier to setup.

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