Hey Siri, turn the Christmas lights on - Thomas Bibby

My fellow podcast hosts on Worst Case Scenario had both got smart home gear for Christmas. I was feeling a bit left out so I wanted to hack together a low-budget version. Here it is in action:

Now I can use Siri (or the iOS Home app) to turn on my Christmas lights from anywhere!


  • Raspberry Pi
  • Relay shield from the gear we bought for the hackathon last year (it’s marked FE_SR1y)
  • Christmas lights

The relay shield has a transistor and a diode built in, so I didn’t need to do any fandaglement with a circuit, just hooked up the + to 5v on the Pi, – to Ground, and the switching pin to one of the GPIO pins.

On the Pi, I installed the excellent Homebridge which allowed me to create a HomeKit accessory that Siri can talk to. I used the homebridge-gpio-wpi plugin to talk to the GPIO pins.

It’s obviously super fast on my home wifi network but it’s also surprisingly speedy going through the phone network: iPhone -> phone network -> Apple’s servers -> Apple TV -> Raspberry Pi -> lights takes about 1.3 seconds.

I am toying with the idea of creating a low-budget connected home using 433MHz RF remote controlled sockets which I could control from the Pi with a transmitter board. The other two lads on Worst Case Scenario are also expanding their systems based on the Amazon Echo – subscribe and keep up to date with how we’re getting on!