One of the trouble spots with my RV home automation system has been the MQTT server. I know that should be a fairly simple component, but it seems that fairly frequently things will stop working, and the problem is that the MQTT server hung up, or rebooted and didn’t fully restart. I’m currently using an old Mac Mini mounted under my desk, and have often considered switching to a Raspberry Pi, but then there are new problems that go with that.
Let me clarify that I think that MQTT is awesome, and a very good addition to a home automation system. It’s just that for my RV home automation where the power is constantly being turned on and off as I travel, it tends to be problematical.
With my recently upgraded cellular modem setup, my internet is pretty reliable and works even when I’m moving down the road. I also depend on having a consistent internet connection in order to use Alexa. So I’ve decided to eliminate the local MQTT server and move the broker to the cloud.
Particle.io Cloud Limits
I would love to be able to be able to just switch to using the particle.io cloud for all MQTT messaging, but the number of message permitted on the free plan is only 100k messages per month, which averages out to about 2 messages per minute across all devices. This isn’t enough because I also write diagnostic logging messages over MQTT which can greatly exceed this.
So I’m looking at various cloud based MQTT brokers. These include HiveMQ, Adafruit.io, and Google IoT. We’ll see how this works out over the next couple weeks.