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by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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Linked by Dan Moren

Turning your fan smart with an IR blaster and Homebridge

As someone who enjoys mucking around with smart home tech, I was intrigued by Benjamin Mayo’s recent how-to for 9to5Mac on getting his not-so-smart tower fan to work with HomeKit. The solution involves the Homebridge open source project, a relatively inexpensive Wi-Fi IR blaster, and a little bit of programming know-how.

I spent an hour yesterday getting my own fan to work with the process, and while it’s not exactly the plug-and-play experience that you get with HomeKit, it wasn’t exactly rocket surgery either. The only hiccup I ran into was not realizing for a while that my fan’s IR remote uses separate codes for on and off—this after I spent a solid 20 minutes trying to troubleshoot why every thing seemed to be working fine except for the fan turning on.

But in the end not only did I make it work, but I even implemented variable speed control via HomeKit (which fortunately works with the way my fan is set up). Of course, now that I’ve got Homebridge running on my Synology NAS, I’ve started to wonder what other smart home shenanigans I can get up to…