How to Replace Your Keypads with a Tablet for Smart Home Control

Transform your smart home experience by replacing traditional keypads with a versatile tablet. This guide provides a detailed walkthrough using an Amazon Fire Tablet, Fully Kiosk Browser, and SharpTools.

 

NOTE: Any tablet will work, and the below are simply recommendations for what we've found to be a setup that can most cost-effectively reproduce the functionality and aesthetics of a high-end touchscreen alarm system control panel after configuration and customization. 

The software recommended below is not necessary to interact with your smarthome via a wall mounted tablet, it's just an optional recommendation to emulate the functionality of a traditional alarm system keypad. 

If you simply want a fixed location tablet to interact with your smarthome, you can just use the app or web interface of your chosen smarthome platform.

Selecting Your Tablet

Amazon Fire Tablet

  • Recommended Model: Amazon Fire 7 or Fire HD 8 for their balance of cost and performance.
  • Purchase Link: Amazon Fire Tablets
  • Price Range: $50 - $100, depending on model and sales.

Enabling development mode on Fire Tablet

On your Fire Tablet we need to enable the development mode, this will enable us to do some advanced configuration.

  • To enable it go to Settings, Device Options, About Fire Tablet, tap around 5 times on Serial Number until you have the enabled it.
  • Now go back and open the Developer Options menu, and turn on developer options,
  • tap 'OK' on the message box.
  • Scroll down and toggle 'USB debugging mode' - this will enable you to use the android toolbox if you needed it.

Installing Necessary Software

  1. Fully Kiosk Browser
    • Purpose: Converts your tablet into a kiosk, displaying only your smart home dashboard.
    • Download Link: Fully Kiosk Browser
    • Pricing: Free for basic features, around $5.90 for the Plus license for additional features like motion detection.
  2. SharpTools
    • Purpose: A dashboard app for controlling and monitoring smart home devices via SmartThings.
    • Download Link: SharpTools
    • Pricing: Free tier available, premium plans start at $3/month.

Setting Up Fully Kiosk Browser

  1. Installation: Download and install Fully Kiosk Browser on your Fire Tablet.
  2. Configuration:
    • Enable Kiosk Mode to lock down the browser.
    • Set up Motion Detection to wake the screen.
    • Configure Screen Saver settings to prevent screen burn-in.

Configuring SharpTools

  1. Linking with SmartThings: Follow the in-app instructions to connect SharpTools with your SmartThings account. (You can connect your Home Assistant instance to SharpTools using the SharpTools Add-on or connect your Hubitat Elevation with SharpTools.io web dashboard and Rule Engine via Manage Connections)
  2. Creating Dashboards:
    • Design custom dashboards for device control.
    • Add these dashboards to Fully Kiosk Browser for easy access.

Mounting the Tablet

Enhancing Your Setup

  • Customization: Use custom icons and themes in SharpTools for a personalized look.
  • Voice Control: Integrate with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant for voice commands.
  • Smart Home Integration: Link with other smart home systems for a unified control center.


    By following these steps, you can create a sophisticated and user-friendly smart home control center using a tablet. This setup not only modernizes your home but also offers enhanced functionality over traditional keypads.