IoT (community library)


Name Value
Name IoT
Version 5.1.0
Installs 8537
License BSD
Author Ron Lisle
Download .tar.gz
All Versions 5.1.0, 5.0.0, 3.1.0, 3.0.0, 2.0.0, 1.1.6, 1.1.4, 1.1.2, 1.0.2, 1.0.0, 0.1.0

Control your Photon projects using MQTT events from other Photons, Alexa and iOS devices A framework for building Photon IoT projects that can be controlled

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Library Read Me

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A framework for building powerful Photon based IoT projects.

Welcome to Patriot

This library makes it quick and easy to implement powerful Photon based automation projects that combine inputs from sensors, Alexa, and iOS devices.


Start creating your Photon based project using any of the Photon examples provided in the examples folder.

Here is the switchesAndLEDs example. It includes 4 switches and 4 LEDs.

Note that the switches do not directly control the LEDs. They could, but it's much more flexible to have them specify an activity, such as watching TV or going to sleep. This is shown in the table below.

Each activity can then control one or more different devices, each with individually specified settings, such as 0% to 100% brightness.

Switch Activity LED 1 Outside LED 2 Kitchen LED 3 Bedroom LED 4 Bathroom
1 WakeUp Low Low On On
2 WatchTV On Low Low Off
3 Cook On On Low Low
4 Sleep Off Off Off Low
#include <IoT>
IoT *iot;

void setup() {
iot = IoT::getInstance();

iot->addSwitch(kSwitch4Pin, 'WakeUp');
iot->addSwitch(kSwitch3Pin, 'WatchTV');
iot->addSwitch(kSwitch2Pin, 'Cook');
iot->addSwitch(kSwitch1Pin, 'Sleep');

iot->addLight(kLed1Pin, 'Outside');
iot->addLight(kLed2Pin, 'Kitchen');
iot->addLight(kLed3Pin, 'Bedroom');
iot->addLight(kLed4Pin, 'Bathroom');

iot->addBehavior('Outside', new Behavior('Wakeup','>',0, 100));
iot->addBehavior('Kitchen', new Behavior('WatchTV','>',0, 100));
iot->addBehavior('Bedroom', new Behavior('Cook','>',0, 100));
iot->addBehavior('Bathroom', new Behavior('Sleep','>',0, 0));


void loop() {

The polling of the switches, and fading of the LEDs is performed by the library. Your sketch code just needs to call the IoT loop method, passing the current millis() time.

See the examples folder for more examples.


Wouldn't it be great if you could quickly prototype an idea using a Photon, and have it just automatically work with other Photons, Alexa, and iOS apps? That's the main idea behind this library. In addition to providing a lot of common home automation functions, such as controlling LED lights and reading switches and other sensors, it includes iOS apps and Alexa skills that can automatically detect when you connect a new device to your network.

Self Registration

I refer to this automatic detection of new devices as _self registration'. Each Photon controller exposes information about itself that allows other applications to detect and interact with it.

Event based interactions

In addition, the use of events provides a many-to-many network, where new devices can be added without having to modifying any other devices.

Activities and Behaviors

Instead of directly controlling devices using commands such as "turn the living room lamp on", each device is controlled by defining behaviors that respond to activities. So for example, in order to turn the living room light on, you might define an activity called "Watch TV", and a behavior for that lamp that would turn it on whenever "Watch TV" is active.

By using activities and behaviors, new devices can be added and start working without modification to other devices. For example, you might add a switch that detects when the TV is turned on. It could then send the "Watch TV" event, and the living room lamp would immediately respond to it.

Or you could add another lamp controller, and have it respond to the "Watch TV" activity also, and you wouldn't have to modify the existing controllers.

This may sound similar to what HomeKit and other IoT architectures refer to as scenes. And while might be similar, it is important to understand that activities are not just a grouping of devices. It is anticipated that activities will eventually be able to learn new behaviors.

For example, let's says that I currently have two outside lights: "Porch" and "Awning". I can control both of these by defining an "outside" activity. Then when I tell Alexa to "turn on outside", both lights will come on. What happens then when I add another outside light? I could update the programming to add the new light to the the "outside" activity, but wouldn't it be better if the system could learn to include the new light in the "outside" activity. For example, if I set the outside activity, and then always turn on the new light, couldn't the system figure out that I want the new light turned on also when I set "outside"?

So that's the dream, and it will remain to be seen whether we can figure out how to do this. In the mean time, it's important to create activities with that sort of behavior in mind.

Why and Photon?

When evaluating the plethora of microcontrollers and communications protocols available, I eventually decided on a few important requirements:

  1. Controllers must be over-the-air programmable. I'm mounting light controllers inside the walls or behind switch plates, so I don't want to have tear them out of the wall everything I make a change to their behavior or fix a bug.

  2. Wifi. Having the controllers directly connect to Wifi just simplifies everything.

  3. Super easy to use. I'd like as much functionality out-of-the-box as possible, so I don't have to create and maintain it. I'd also like great support, and a large user base to help answer questions. And it needs to be reliable. I hate getting into the middle of a project and get diverted to chasing hardware bugs.

I was initially put off by the $19 price tag on these parts, but everything considered it's a great deal. I'll probably use at most about 25 of these in my home automation projects, meaning that the total cost of these will be roughly $500. Think about how much can be controlled with 25 individual controllers. Using my own custom PCBs (also posted on this repo), these 25 controllers can be built-out for $5 to $10 each, bringing the anticipated cost of all 25 controllers to around $700.

Creating a new Photon Controller

Start with one of the examples. You can use any of the available IDEs or CLI. Use the notes in the examples to connect the correct pins to LEDs, switches, etc. Then flash the device.

Monitor events using the console logs page.

You can use the particle CLI to generate events, and/or monitor the state of exposed variables.

I'll be adding a article about doing this in the near future.

Companion Alexa Skill and iOS apps

Once you have created one or more photon based devices, you can access them using either or both an Alexa skill or iOS app.

The Alexa skill was submitted to Amazon for public release on 3/24/17.

The source for the iOS apps will be included in this repo when ready. Currently you'll need to build these yourself, including your account information where indicated in the sources.


Here's how you can make changes to this library and eventually contribute those changes back.

To get started, clone the library from GitHub to your local machine.

Change the name of the library in to something different. You can add your name at then end.

Modify the sources in and with the new behavior.

To compile an example, use particle compile examples/usage command in Particle CLI or use our Desktop IDE.

After your changes are done you can upload them with particle library upload or Upload command in the IDE. This will create a private (only visible by you) library that you can use in other projects. Do particle library add IoT_myname to add the library to a project on your machine or add the IoT_myname library to a project on the Web IDE or Desktop IDE.

At this point, you can create a GitHub pull request with your changes to the original library.

If you wish to make your library public, use particle library publish or Publish command.


Copyright 2017 Ron Lisle

Refer to the included LICENSE file.

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