Monthly Archives: February 2017
Home Automation – start of a journey ?

Recently I have been playing with Home Automation …

On Black Friday, I  on a whim bought an Amazon  Echo Dot and shortly after a Philips Hue starter pack… I am now hooked…
With a shake up in my home network configuration,  another project… to try out Pfsense as a firewall !  I had a spare RaspberryPi knocking around. I had a quick look around bought a couple of esp8266 based  boards to play around with and found what I thought were 2 contenders cor the control interface for my automated Home..


OpenHAB – I started looking at this  first as I quite liked the look of the interface, configuring turned out to be a bit of a chore, there was a designer but found it a little hard to use and not intuitive but I went with it ! I kept thinking maybe I should do a bit more reading and watching tutorials  as I configured it but  on trying to set up the Philips hue I came across a big WTF ! moment … To set it up it suggested Wireshark and capturing keys etc. I Can do that but thought no…! and switched to Home Assistant.



Home Assistant – My first impression was it was less mature and still having growing pains as it wasn’t consistent in its installation options.  I started installation and tried two routes , the installer script and from an image. I started configuration but I managed to break the configuration quite quickly, not being a programmer I’d not used YAML before and didn’t realise that YAML was very very whitespace dependant…  so I decided to follow a few guides and quickly was drawn in by an great set of  Youtube tutorials presented by  Ben at Bruhautomation  




Now hooked I started playing around with a relay board that arrived before the NodeMCU boards.  This arrived with the firmware in Chinese ! Google translate kind of to the rescue and then it started the hunt for alternative firmware, the Home Assistant forums pointed me in a few directions, I am currently about to  try out different firmwares as the Home Assistant configuration seems very fragile, finicky and very easily broken.




Adding more switches to the setup broke the MQTT . The switches I added were command line  as I was trying to add my latest addition, some Energenie Mihome socket adapters and bridge , after a lot of forum reading and using commands from posts like this one  with the addition of a Command_state and a value template they worked 

command_state: ‘curl -u “<username>:<password>” -X GET -H “Content-Type: application/json” -d “{\”id\”:12345}”’
value_template: ‘{{ == 1 }}’

MQTT seems to work very temperamentally and the Sonoff relay ( another purchase and currently running ver 1.01 of KmanOz’s firmware  with the addition of a DHT22 ) seems not to want to work eventhough its there in the interface..
Which is a pity as I’d like to start to integrate my BrewPi’s into the setup. which has led me onto what looks like could be another project  the esp8266 version of the old BrewpPi

Maybe  I aught to give openHAB another go….

Time to wind up this post with s screenshot of my frontpage from Home-Assistant. (captured after several flakey restarts where components failed to start)