Maker question

This is probably a really easy one, but I’m completely new to actually trying to make my own “smart” devices. How would one go about making a lock box that could be controlled by an ifttt trigger?

(This forum is for people who are using the Samsung SmartThings home automation system, so I’m going to assume that you already have one of those controllers. If not, this forum will not be able to help you, but you can just go to the instructables site and you should find lots of ideas there.)

Making a Lockbox to work with SmartThings

The simplest type of lockbox (I made one of these in fifth grade) is just an actuator on the inside of the box with an electromagnet so you turn on the magnet, the latch slides and then you can open the box. This is how a lot of cabinet locks work for offices, so it’s actually pretty easy to find working hardware and then you just have to add a radio to it that can talk to your SmartThings hub. @ogiewon can give you some more information about that step.

If you want to get more complicated with pin locks and stuff then that’s a whole different story.

But basically the steps for most projects are very similar.

  1. Design a hardware solution which will require only:

A) receiving a sensor report or

B) turning power on or off

Or some combination of both of those.

Honestly these days the best way to get ideas for this step is just to look at Instructables. Or the LittleBits website, both are good.

Hackaday is another site that is good for more advanced stuff, but save it for now. Start with the other two. :rocket:

  1. add some kind of radio frequency device that can talk to the SmartThings hub to either collect the sensor information or turn on the power or both. This step is where the stuff that @ogiewon will talk about comes in. :sunglasses:

For the radio, you can use a Wi-Fi device, a zigbee home automation device, or a Z wave device as these can all work with the SmartThings hub. WiFi will be both the easiest and least expensive these days if you’re just building a one-off for your own use at home. That way you will be able to send messages back-and-forth between your device and the SmartThings hub and since SmartThings has its own IFTTT channel, you’ll be all set. :sunglasses:

(If you want to build something that can become a commercial product, then you will probably want to go zigbee , but that’s a whole different level of cost and complexity. )

If you don’t have a SmartThings system

Again, all of the above assumes that you already have one of the SmartThings hub models.

If you aren’t going to work with the Samsung SmartThings platform, then just go to instructables and look there. There will be lots of different project ideas using different technologies.

You will still need something that can talk to IFTTT, of course. If you use littlebits, which are essentially Legos that have electronics built-in, their CloudBit has its own IFTTT channel. So you build your project and then add a cloudbit to it. That will be easy and won’t require any programming.

Alternatively, you can use the IFTTT maker channel as long as you have something that can receive a Webhook message. You should be able to find examples at instructables using different kinds of devices. But if the radio device you choose doesn’t already have its own IFTTT channel, the way that SmartThings and littlebits do, then you’re going to have to do both the physical building of the lockbox device and the programming to handle the messaging from IFTTT. But obviously that kind of project would be outside of the scope of this forum, since people here get to take advantage of the features built into SmartThings. :sunglasses: