Receive push notifications from your rice cooker


I have a lovely, and reasonably priced, Mini Panda Rice Cooker. It does not have any SmartHome features. You put in water and rice, press a button, it cooks rice. Nice!

The only problem is - I don't know how long the rice will take to cook. It uses "Fuzzy Logic" to work out exactly how much heat and time is needed for perfect fluffy rice. This is inconvenient. I cannot always hear the beep the machine makes when it completes its culinary wizardry.

So let's hook it up to the Internet of Things!!!

Step 1 - Get an Energy Monitoring Smart Plug. These are now relatively cheap and reliable. As the cooker is cooking, it reports back its energy use. But where does it report to? You can use the associated app, but that doesn't have an alert to say when something has stopped drawing power.

Step 2 - Install Home Assistant on a Raspberry Pi. HA is a nifty bit of software which gives you complete control of your SmartHome. It integrates with all the various makes and models of devices you have controlling your lights, TV, plugs, smoke alarms, and other gadgets. It comes with a companion app which runs on your phone.

Step 3 - After spending a few weeks configuring everything, getting frustrated, wiping everything, starting again, and then getting it right this time - you're ready to add some automation! I used Leo Fabri's Appliance Status Monitor. You tell it which plug you want to monitor, what power level to detect as "on", what power level to detect as "off", and how long it should be off before sending you an alert.

The user interface is... intimidating.

A dense UI with lots of text and multiple dropdown boxes.

It is necessarily complex. But this definitely isn't for the casual user!

Step 4 - Test with users. My rice cooker dips in power a few times through its cooking cycle - which sent my wife scurrying to the kitchen expecting to be fed. After which, I eventually worked out that I needed to tell the monitor to wait for the power to have dropped for at least 60 seconds before sending an alert.

Step 5 - It works!

Android alert telling me that the rice is ready.

One minute after the end of the cooking cycle, I receive an alert on my phone. I can now go and eat. Lovely!

Is this worth it?

I like playing with gadgets - so yes.

I also don't want to eat over-cooked curry, or under-done rice - so also yes.

I am lazy and don't want to get off my arse every five minutes to check the cooker - so again yes.

I don't want my rice-cooker sending all my rice-cooking habits back to the manufacturer - so even more yes.

This is a fun project for adding a minimal amount of smart-alerting to your existing appliances.


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6 thoughts on “Receive push notifications from your rice cooker”

  1. Stuart Hall says:

    One little point of warning - some of the generic smart plugs are definitely optimistically rated. When the say "13A maximum", I would certainly treat this with a pinch of salt!

    Fine for low-power usage (and I've no idea how much a rice cooker uses), but worth keeping an eye on. The consequences can be a little painful:

    Reply
    1. @edent says:

      Please can you provide a schematic for my rice cooker which will allow this. Also, how do I do it without voiding the warranty? Is it possible to make the beep loud enough to be heard a few floors away, while not annoying my neighbours? If you have the time, I'd love to know of a way to make the beep loud enough so I can hear it when listening to headphones. Oh, and while you're at it, what's the process for making the beep accessible to people with hearing loss?

      Cheers Pete!

      Reply

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