My Future SmartThings Control Panel

I have dug my old Kindle Fire out of a drawer (modded to run pure AOSP JB Android) and mounted it to the wall. Power will route behind it.


Fantastic idea, Corey! It doesn’t need to be modded though, right? If the app is going to be native to iOS and Android, it could be on any tablet. I’m so stealing this, mounting my Kindle Fire to the wall. Then ordering a Fire HD.

Great idea Cory. I like that you plan to route the power behind it. — My wife and I mounted our iPad to the fridge as sort of a “mission control” of sorts. It works well and because the ipad holds a charge so well we only need to charge it once (sometimes twice) a month! Cannot wait to get our SmartThings!


Check it – >



Modding shouldn’t be necessary…but it will allow it to be cleaner. For example with root you can run an app that keeps the touch digitizer active after the screen turns off so all you have to do is tap the dark screen to wake it up. You could also just set the screen it never turn off…but that will burn it out pretty quick.


You can also set a app to auto start on boot which could further the  “appliance” feel. Also,with stock android you can setup widgets that could be useful…like Google now for example, or I suspect SmartThings will have them too.

ooooohhhh a tablet in a nice dark wood frame. That’s now on my list thanks to @Cory Simpson

Interesting. I’m planning to make heavy use of since I’m already using it to control the devices I’ve built - might also be suitable for a “kiosk” installation - not sure what the smartthings app will look like or support yet :slight_smile:

Alex, That’s a pretty sweet app…


Also, I have decided I will probably relocate the kindle as it’s hardware limitations will be annoying long term. The lack of a microphone will make voice control impossible (thinking Google Now…and future Ubi like apps) and the lack of BT means I can’t stream music with it to my sound system.

I will probably put my Nexus 7 in its place when I upgrade to something new…or when you can pick them up for 50 bucks and move the Kindle into the bedroom where I’d just use it to switch off all the lights and secure the house while getting into bed.

That is a pretty sweet app - would be sweet to tie into a SmartThings system for the “control center.”

Depends how the web interface plays out (I can see my device list etc - but there isn’t a web portal to have control like you can through the phone app) - I’m tempted to just get a raspberry pi and a small touch screen for a “command center” - if their web portal works well like the app.

Haven’t considered using a Pi for a control panel due to the price - it’s cheaper to, say, get a Kindle Fire (original) for ~$100 and reflash it to ICS. I imagine one could also find a generic-ish Android tablet with decent specs for $100.


I’m quietly putting together my own nodes instead of the Ubi - not quite as pretty or as powerful but massively cheaper. Toys like are massively useful. :slight_smile:

The Kindles 1s can actually be had off sites liek swappa for as little as 50. You can also flash Jellybean to them which is a pretty good step over ICS, and Google Now is really useful on a control panel.

I’ve got plans for a Nexus 7 tablet to do the same thing. I am working on fabricating a plexiglass wall mount that it can slide into and hopefully incorporate the pogo pins on the tablet so it can just slide in to recharge.


Very interested in what you come up with Brian. I was also looking for a way to setup some pogo pins into a wood frame for it.

I always get ICS and Jellybean confused. $50? Damn. I may grab a couple for that exact purpose…I bet jury-rigging a USB sound card to it wouldn’t be too terrible.

wow $50 bux! If I just stayed in on the weekends for a month I could buy 4! One for each room!


Cory, if I get some time today I am actually going to look at making a hand hammered copper wall mount. I ordered a Nexus 7 dock today. Once that comes in I am going to look at installing that at the bottom. I’ll take some pictures. If I get a chance today I will bend a hammer some copper and take some pictures. I probably won’t have free time until Thursday of next week but I will see what I can do. Also, I don’t want to do too much without the dock so I know what size to make it.


Sounds good Brian, keep me in the loop.

I have run into a couple minor snags for my ideal setup scenario with the Fire.  Being it is not a Nexus the Kernel dev support is pretty low…so you have a lot less of the niche odd ball features… like turning off a display while leaving the digitizer active. It wasn’t hard to setup on my Nexus 7, or Galaxy nexus, but I don’t think the Fire is up for it.

So, I found an app that replicates that situation rather well, it’s kinda tricky to setup but it can lower the backlamp to 0% after a predefined amount of time has passed, then “wake it up” when you press the screen.  It’s not perfect, as there is still a slight glow coming from the screen, and every now and then it takes a few presses to push it out of bed.


More and more reason why I think I will be swapping the Nexus 7 in its place. I fully expect those to be down around the 75 dollar mark here before too long as well. The 8GB Nexus 7 was replaced with a 16GB version a few months after launch, those would be perfect for this type of setup. However, the supply vs demand on these thing sis keeping the price inflated, I think in May when Google announces their new line we will have plenty to scoop up.

I didn’t get a chance to work on the mount today. I was too busy. I did find the 6x8 sheets of copper I will use to form a mount. I got an email today that my Nexus 7 dock has shipped so I will probably just wait until it arrives so I can see how to integrate it into the design. I will probably put it in the bottom so that it can slide in and align with the pogo pins. I have already talk to our home builder about putting 3 AC outlets with USB in the house. I will keep one in the entry, one in the kitchen, and one for the upstairs area. I’ll have three Nexus 7 tablets around the house. I am going to use a clock/weather screen saver dock app and have the tablet boot directly into the SmartThings app. I have already set it up on the Nexus 7. I decided to buy a Nexus 10 for my everyday tablet so the Nexus 7 was just lying around.

These are the outlets I am going to have installed

When I am done you shouldn’t see any wiring.


Have you tested the power output on those USB ports? I read somewhere they were only doing .5 amp.

Cory, I went ahead and bought one today and measured the output and it’s putting out 5v @ 1.8 amps when I connect the Nexus 7. It advertises 2.1 amps but the amount of current draw will depend on the device connected. I supposed if the battery on the Nexus was a little lower it might get up to 2.1 amps. I have it on the charger now and it’s working fine.


BTW I got the Nexus 7 dock today. It’s larger than what I expected so I may have to rethink my wall mount using the dock.