Raspberry Pi Zero PLC for home automation



A small PLC-like unit for home automation based on a Raspberry Pi Zero that can be mounted on a DIN rail in a fuse box.


Unlike my home, which has about 50 separate CAN bus nodes scattered around the house, I wanted a compact and simple solution to control and monitor our cabin. What I ended up with is a small unit based on a Raspberry Pi Zero that can be mounted on a DIN rail.

  • All sensors are wired to maximize stability and avoid the need to replace batteries (important because the cabin is a remote location).
  • The Raspberry Pi runs a very minimal software setup, and only does what really needs to run locally and can't handle an internet outage (like the thermostat logic).
  • All logs with significant activity are written to RAM, to minimize flash wear.
  • The Raspberry Pi connects to my server using MQTT through 4G.
  • The server runs an MQTT broker and an additional instance of Home Assistant in a docker container


Hardware specifications

  • Raspberry Pi Zero socket
  • 2 x 16 A 230 VAC Omron relays that can handle inductive loads with large inrush current
  • 4 x 1 A 230 VAC solid state relays with external snubber circuits, primarily intended to control contactors (and other small but inductive loads)
  • 4 x inputs with pull-up and filtering
  • 2 x optoisolated inputs
  • 2 x optoisolated outputs
  • 1 x open collector output
  • 1-wire bus transceiver (DS2482) to maximize range for a DS18B20 temperature sensor bus
  • Expansion port with M-bus slave (for meter reading)

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For the cabin application I've written a Python program which:
  • Sends all sensor values and states over MQTT
  • Accepts setpoints for thermostats and output states over MQTT
  • Implements thermostats
  • Reads 1-wire sensor bus (DS18B20), M-bus (and parse the messages), and inputs (with debouncing)
This is the dashboard on the server after making all the MQTT entities available:


The remote control works really snappy, and it's nice to know that all states are acknowledged. (When I turn on a switch and see that it's on, it reflects the actual state of the output.)

Source code

In case there is interest, I can publish schematic/layout files and source code to Github.


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Design: Jon Petter Skagmo