Data receiver


Hundreds of small embedded devices receive small chunks of data transmitted at 433.92MHz from a sensor somewhere. Weather sensors commonly send data to a receiver located somewhere dry and warm, whereas different home automation systems can use the data from a variety of different temperature sensors to do things like stop pipes from freezing, warm a house before you get home, or open the gates as your car approaches. Home automation is one of the biggest consumers of this kind of technology, but every vendor seems to implement its own set of protocols for its own set of hardware, making it very difficult for those of us trying to implement an open source system that may integrate some of their kit.

Thanks to much of this hardware being built around the Realtek RTL2832 receiver chip, a chip that can also be found in many common USB DVB digital television receiver dongles, all that was needed to turn those proprietary dongles into open source data sources was an open source implementation of their driver protocols. This is exactly what rtl_433 does. It supports nearly 100 separate devices, from car key fobs to oil tank level monitors, and grabs the data those devices are broadcasting. With a simple rtl_433 command, that data can be output to your Linux command line and, from there, transformed into almost anything. With the Domoticz home automation system, for instance, you can very easily execute a read command at set intervals and use this to update a virtual sensor within a home automation system, triggering an alarm, perhaps, or sending a new heating oil order. These small tools are the epitome of what's made Unix/Linux successful, and it's the best thing about open hardware in general.

Project Website

Like a pen in the hands of an author, the humble rtl_433 utility can take simple readings and transform them into smart home automation controllers.

Bash alternative

Buy this article as PDF

Express-Checkout as PDF
Price $2.95
(incl. VAT)

Buy Linux Magazine

Get it on Google Play

US / Canada

Get it on Google Play

UK / Australia

Related content

  • Irssi

    The Irssi console chat utility is powerful yet frugal with resources. And Irssi’s scripting features make it a giant among chat tools.

  • Revisit IRC

    Drop Discord. Say goodbye to Slack. The real way to communicate online is IRC – here's why it still rocks.

  • FOSSPicks

    Ocenaudio 3.3.6, Otter Browser, Joplin, WeeChat 2.0, Mailspring, Siril 0.9.7, SuperTuxKart 0.9.3, and more!

  • Kit Scenarist

    Creative writers take note! Kit Scenarist is a free application designed to simplify the process of writing a screenplay.

  • Tool Tips

    Briefly tested: Dxirc 1.20.0, XS-httpd 3.7, Nmap 7.0, MegaFont NEXT, Isync 1.2.1, Zeal 0.2.1.

comments powered by Disqus
Subscribe to our Linux Newsletters
Find Linux and Open Source Jobs
Subscribe to our ADMIN Newsletters

Support Our Work

Linux Magazine content is made possible with support from readers like you. Please consider contributing when you’ve found an article to be beneficial.

Learn More