Home automation is all about making things simpler and easier. It doesn’t have to be complicated, and it doesn’t even have to involve voice commands (although it helps). It just has to make things work in a more natural, and fluid nature. And that’s exactly what Robert Cowan set out to do in one of his latest builds.

He has a Sonos Connect media player which allows him to quickly start playing music from his phone from anywhere in the house. The house has a series of connected speakers, but the amp needs to be turned on before you hear any sound. This requires walking to the lounge, selecting the right remote and powering up the system.

The amp has an RS232 port open to communication, so Robert set about setting up a connection. He uses a small sound detector circuit (similar to this) that he repurposed to check one of the Sonos Connect’s analogue sound outputs for a signal. It outputs the volume of sound as an analogue reading to an Arduino Pro Mini which then decides if music is being played.

He then sends commands to his amp over the Arduino’s serial output (via a shifter). And voilà, he has it all working.

Now he could have left it there, but what impressed us the most about this project is the effort he went through to make a final product, worthy of sitting alongside anyone’s sound system. He purchased a general purpose aluminium extrusion enclosure, then used a CnC machine to make all the holes and used a laser engraver to finish off the box and add labels.

You can view the whole build on Robert’s YouTube channel where you can also find some more links, and follow him on Facebook. Thanks to Hackaday for the heads up.

Images are sourced from the YouTube video.