Author Topic: Generic Shop Vac with Festool Bluetooth Success/Share  (Read 803 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Giggs

  • Posts: 1
Generic Shop Vac with Festool Bluetooth Success/Share
« on: February 14, 2023, 10:51 PM »
Hi All,

I'm a first time Festool owner as of the last couple of days having picked up a Track SAW (TSC 55) and absolutely love it. So Hi everyone!

I wanted to share my succes story on using my cordless saw with my generic shop vac for auto on. While I would not be surprised if I end up getting a Festool Dust Extractor one day, I currently have a Karcher shop vac that had a power sensing outlet so I was a little hesitant in going cordless with losing the auto vacuum on capability. But I'm also into my home automation and felt confident I could manage to make something work and the good news is that I could.

Now first the warning/caveat, this is not a soultion so for someone not technical and possibly not running existing home automation/IOT of some sort. It is not a self contained solution but if you are already running Home Assistant and like DIY, this may be of interest. It also may prompt other solutions.

At a high level, the solution I have implemented is as follows:
- The festool battery outputs a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacon signal (repeatedly every 1-2s) when set to pairing or when activated by the tool (saw).
- A device that can monitor BLE signals is always listening for this specific signal from either battery, in my case I use an ESP32 chip running ESPresense (, more detail below
- A home automation platfrom runs actions on the detection of this BLE Signal via the listener
- The action is to turn on a standard wall smart plug that the home automation can talk to.
- After a set period 3-5s of no new signal, the outlet is turned off.
- The vacuum just needs to be turned to on (not Auto) and then it kicks in.

That is it at a high level, I'll provide further detail about my exact setup but thought a high level summary may be useful for all.

The Detail...

Festool BLE Signal Detection:
- As mentioned, I used ESPresense ( and flashed a spare ESP32 board I had around (something like this
- I just have it plugged into a usb power plug and no pretty box for the moment.
- There is full how to on the espresense site including how to connect to your Home Automation MQTT server after you have installed the software on the ESP32
- Once it is connected to MQTT, I used "MQTT Explorer" to monitor the new updates from ESPresense - it detected phones etc, but importantly, when I activated the battery pairing or the saw, new signals appeared which were from the Festool batteries.
- Using the ESPresnse web interface (see docs), I could filter the monitoring to only the ID's from each battery and restart
- After doing all the above, I only see new MQTT messages when either battery is triggered

- I use Home Assistant and Node-Red for my home automation and IOT stuff
- I setup Node Red to monitor the 2 MQTT topics that are published by ESPresense when the batteries called out
- When a signal is detected on either topic, 2 things happen:
       1. Turn on service is called for the Smart Plug the vacuum is connected to
       2. A 3 second timer is started or restarted then on completion of the timer, a turn off call is made to the smart plug
- The Festool batteries keep producing a signal very couple of seconds so you want a timer that restarts upon each signal so the plug only turns off a couple of seconds after the last signal.

Other points:
- I added an IOT on/off switch to the vaccum so that I could turn on the vaccum power without following the cord to the wall. In my case, it is an Ikea Tadfri light switch that talks over Zigbee as I had a spare one, but anything that can send a signal to the Home Automation works. If it was easy  to, I would have added it to the hose Festool style but but the seitch was better double side taped to the vacuum itself. This way I can still use the vacuum for my router/sander using the auto on for corded tools.
- The way mine is setup is all communication is local on my network, no cloud IOT services utilised, it is close to instant when I turn the saw on. If you were using a smart plug that relied on cloud, it may be frustratingly slow.
- The way I'm detecting the Festool Bluetooth is one of many ways to do it, the signal sent by the batteries is basic and open and anything that can listen and act on BLE signals could be utilised - I may refine what I've done over time but as a proof of concept, it worked and I will keep using it from here forward.

Sorry for the long first post, but I'd read people trying to do similar and was excited to share this and as mentioned, it is probably the high level process that is of interest rather than the specifics. This means that it should be possible to do similar with other tools or technologies that others may have or be familiar with.

Happy to answer questions or provide more info.



« Last Edit: February 14, 2023, 10:59 PM by Giggs »

Festool USA does not pre-approve the contents of this website nor endorse the application or use of any Festool product in any way other than in the manner described in the Festool Instruction Manual. To reduce the risk of serious injury and/or damage to your Festool product, always read, understand and follow all warnings and instructions in your Festool product's Instruction Manual. Although Festool strives for accuracy in the website material, the website may contain inaccuracies. Festool makes no representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness or timeliness of the material on this website or about the results to be obtained from using the website. Festool and its affiliates cannot be responsible for improper postings or your reliance on the website's material. Your use of any material contained on this website is entirely at your own risk. The content contained on this site is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice.

Offline TinyShop

  • Posts: 615
Re: Generic Shop Vac with Festool Bluetooth Success/Share
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2023, 09:06 PM »
Pictures please (or it isn't real). ;)
ETS 150/5 EQ (DE) [po], TS 75 EQ (DE) [po], OF 1400 EQ-F (DE) [n], CXS (DE) [n], CMS-GE [DE] [po], CMS TS 75 (DE) [n], LA-CS 50/CMS (DE) [po], VB-CMS (DE) [n], MFT/3 (CZ) [n], DF 700 EQ w/Seneca Small Mortise Kit (DE) [po], FEIN Multimaster 350 QSL (DE) [n], Bosch 1274DVS w/dust collection, sanding frame,  stand & fence (CH) [n], BOSCH 1590EVS w/dust collection (CH) [n], CS Unitec CS 1445 HEPA extractor <re-branded Starmix ISP 1435 H> (DE) [n], CT SYS (DE) [po], Milwaukee 0302-20 (US) [n], Two (2) Porter Cable 862 (TW) [n], Porter Cable 447 (US) [n], Zyliss Vise (CH) [nos], Hitachi C 8FB (JP) [h], Walko 4 MKII (NL) [nos], Festool MFS 400 w/add-on 700 profiles & router slide (DE) [n], Festool RAS 115 (DE) [n]

[po] pre-owned   [n] new   [nos] new old stock   [h] heirloom   (XX) country of origin

Offline bobtskutter

  • Posts: 159
Re: Generic Shop Vac with Festool Bluetooth Success/Share
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2023, 08:45 AM »
Thank you for sharing that run through.  I've not got a home automation system set up, but I've often thought about trying to trigger some of my blue tooth devices from some kind of web interface.  I'll look into the software and hardware you've mentioned.



Offline eschumac

  • Posts: 72
Re: Generic Shop Vac with Festool Bluetooth Success/Share
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2023, 11:41 AM »
I'm a software engineer and have also worked on a wide range of hardware. I take a practical approach to hacking these days instead of using things like decompilers, jtag,  rework stations...

You can simply use the Festool bluetooth module and a cheap relay. You keep all of the pairing and its a lot less complex. If you do that you can do a few interesting things:

  • When you buy a CTxx you can just drop it in
    You can very easily and cheaply wire up the button portion of the Festool kit with an RF receiver so you can use really cheap keyfob RF remotes all over the shop.