The second idea I had for the usb relays I bought was to turn my printer on and off automatically, as is is located in a place where access to the power button means getting on the floor and twisting underneath a desk. Also the has printer lights that are annoying, even when it goes into "hibernation" mode, so I want it turned off when not in use.
I have an access point which has a usb port, and since the access point is always on and it is in the vicinity of the printer, it's a good candidate for controlling the relay.
I connected the usb-cable to the access point and installed the crelay package, which supports my usb controlled relay, and then I connected the power cable to the printer. The access point runs OpenWrt so packages like this are readily available.
So now I can turn the printer on by ssh'ing to the access point and
running the command
crelay 1 ON. Turning it off is similarly simple. I
copied the contents of
/root/.ssh/id_rsa.pub on my computer to
/etc/dropbear/authorized_keys on the access point to allow
non-interactive ssh access.
prehook_power : ssh accesspoint.koldfront.dk crelay 1 ON
posthook_power : echo /usr/local/bin/printer_off "$TEAPRINTERNAME" | at now + 5 minutes
tea4cups: to the
The prehook runs when a new print jobs enters the queue, and turns the printer on (if the printer is already on, there is no change).
The posthook runs every time a print job finishes, so what I have it do
is to run a little script 5 minutes later. The script checks if the
print queue is empty and if it is, it turns the printer off. If it
isn't, it uses
at(1) to run itself after 5 more minutes, and so on,
until the print queue finally is empty. This is the script:
# printer_off - Turn printer off if queue is empty. If not, try again
# in 5 minutes.
if lpq -P "$1" | grep -q 'no entries'; then
ssh accesspoint.koldfront.dk crelay 1 OFF
echo "$*" | at now + 5 minues
What I like about this hook solution is that the printer is turned on when a job is created, and there is no polling/busy looping to detect jobs appearing in the print queue.
Recently an article on this subject caught my eye: "Home Assistant Printer Power Management". It might be interesting to contrast the two solutions.
What I didn't do: run things in docker containers, run a message queue,
run a script that calls
lpq every minute. Not to mention setting up
My script is 10 lines + 3 config lines for the hooks, compared to 104 lines of script + 25 lines of YAML.
If you are already running HomeAssistant, it might be nicer to integrate the printer into it. But also a lot more complicated, it seems.