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Anyone using Home Assistant


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I'm slowly setting up Home Assistant Hass.io on a Raspberry Pi 3B+ running a Mosquitto MQTT broker and Sonoff wifi switches running Sonoff-Tasmota firmware. 

 

But it has not been easy.

 

I'm using MQTTLens  to help debug and test.

 

Anyone else using Home Assistant? And if so what for and with what devices and software packages?

 

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I've got Python code writing to and reading from MQTT. There are libraries for that but it's simpler, and probably more robust, to just run the Mosquitto command line clients (mosquitto_sub and mosquitto_pub) as subprocesses. E.g., if the MQTT protocol is ever changed I think the CLI clients would be much more likely to be updated in sync with the broker in the Debian repos than separately developed libraries. I use MQTTDash on my phone for looking at what's happening sometimes but most of my debugging and testing was done with the CLI clients. I also input data (e.g., electricity meter readings) using mosquitto_pub.

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Yep, I'm a HA user - not really using it to full potential but it's a useful hub for bringing everything together.

 

For me it's connected to - 

- ZWave via Aeotec usb stick - all lights in the house are zwave controlled

- Weather (met office)

- Climate - Honeywell Evohome

- CCTV - pulling in images from a Hikvision system

- Roku media players on all the TVs

- Owntracks for device (people) location via MQTT client on phone

- Ring doorbells - power level and last ding time

- Generic REST endpoints - pulling in data from another RPi with CT clamps, solar stats being pushed in to a sensor

 

In terms of automations I'm not really doing anything.. I just haven't had the time to sit down and fiddle. It's getting easier in the more recent versions but previously it was very yaml config heavy.

 

At the moment its doing two main functions - 

1 - remote control of the house when I'm away, make it look like someone is in etc

2 - data aggregation - it pulls from all the random sources and presents everything in a nice REST API that I can consume from other systems

 

Check out Dr ZZZs on youtube for simple how tos on HA+Sonoff

 

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Joking aside, my main concern with home automation is that a lot of it seems to be reliant on current smart phone technology, and there seems to be a fair chance that in ten years time that will have moved on to the point where some current systems are no longer supported.  We've already experienced this in other areas, for example, following an iOS "upgrade" the card reader my wife used to transfer photos from her camera to her iPad just stopped working.  The solution?  To pay Apple for a new one, with a high probability that they'd pull the same stunt in a year's time.  Another example, I bought an expensive combined document and slide/negative scanner.  A year later Microsoft brought out Vista.  My old Windows XP PC died and the new one running Vista didn't support the year old scanner.  For me, that was enough to cause me to switch to running one home machine on Linux, so that I could continue to run that year-old scanner.  I'm pleased to say that scanner is now over ten years old and still works perfectly with Linux. It still won't work with any Windows release after XP.

 

Clearly there are some home automation systems that are operating system agnostic, so as long as hardware spares continue to be available they will be able to be maintained.  However, I think we do need to put things into perspective, by comparing lifetime support with existing systems.  Take our old house as an example.  It was built and wired in the early 1980's, over 30 years ago.  It used light and power switching technology that had existed in exactly the same form for more than 20 years when it was built.  As recently as 2012 I replaced a light switch, with no difficulty, as it was an identical standard to one manufactured in the early 1960's. 

 

Houses have a long lifespan, and the systems we build into them either have to have a similar lifespan, or be designed to be easily upgraded/replaced without major work.  As another example, modern (as in from around the 1960's) house wiring has a life of at least 50 years, probably a fair bit more.  The 30+ year old wiring in our old house was still as good as the day it was installed, and I have no doubt that it will be fine for another 30 years or more.  Can we say the same for any of the smart home power and lighting controls being manufactured today by a variety of small manufacturers, who may well disappear within a few years from now?

 

It seems that, as self-builders, we have to take account of the limited life of systems that we might previously presumed to last for decades.  I think that, if I were considering fitting systems like this, then I'd want to look at ways of future proofing it.  Running fairly large cable conduits all over the house, designed to allow new cables to be pulled through without needing to rip out walls and ceilings, may be an option.  There may be other options, too, but I think it's well worth thinking about.  How many buyers would want to buy a house with an ageing system controlling the heating, cooling, lighting etc that needs an antique smart phone to make it work?

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I quite like being a Luddite, less to go wrong. A recent visitor liked our new house and commented on our front door bell being reliable and nothing to go wrong!, well I replied, the string could break but I am sure that could be repaired.

 

 

image.jpg

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57 minutes ago, joe90 said:

I quite like being a Luddite, less to go wrong. A recent visitor liked our new house and commented on our front door bell being reliable and nothing to go wrong!, well I replied, the string could break but I am sure that could be repaired.

 

 

image.jpg

I’m liking that. How have you dealt with the hole in the wall?

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On 02/11/2018 at 19:54, Simplysimon said:

wtf is this post about!!!

 

I too have no idea.

 

What Jeremy says is correct about life span and maintain ability.

 

The inability to maintain stuff without ripping stuff apart in houses is a pet hate......

 

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2 hours ago, Roger440 said:

I’m liking that. How have you dealt with the hole in the wall?

 

2mm dia string fed through 2.5mm hole in fibreglass rod (old tent pole) from plaster to outside of brick skin, brass cover on the inside has 2mm rubber grommet for string to go through. I deemed this an acceptable cold bridge and break in the airtightness.i had thought about making a rubber diaphragm fixed to the string but think it’s overkill.

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30 minutes ago, joe90 said:

 

2mm dia string fed through 2.5mm hole in fibreglass rod (old tent pole) from plaster to outside of brick skin, brass cover on the inside has 2mm rubber grommet for string to go through. I deemed this an acceptable cold bridge and break in the airtightness.i had thought about making a rubber diaphragm fixed to the string but think it’s overkill.

Excellent job :)

 

Im offto buy one!

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16 minutes ago, joe90 said:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Butlers-Bell-Brass-BLACK-IRON-PULL-Full-Kit-Similar-to-Byron-62500K-/230834119650?hash=item35bec923e2

 

@Roger440 gosh, they have come down in price since I bought mine ?

 

P.S. I stained the white string black with boot polish!

 

Even more excellent :)

 

Shall be bought this evening.

 

Im considering extending it a second bell in the hall............ 

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Agree with the sentiment about ensuring future proof where possible - I believe I've gone some way to achieving this by star wiring lighting to central points, i.e. the switch T&E and lamp T&E both go back to the central control point - should the smart stuff become obsolete/fail you can rip and replace with something else, failing that just patch the wires together to make it act like a normal switched light - the flexibility is there.

 

Same for the heating - it's just smart TRVs, rip them off and just screw on a regular TRV. 

 

I looked at a lot of proprietary systems for lighting like KNX, RAKO, Lutron etc but most of those required some form of proprietary cabling at the switch point or some form of catX. In those instances, if it failed, you would have to find another smart system, you couldn't just pop on a normal switch, unless you ran T&E to the switch as well as the catX.

 

@JSHarris Love the video - I don't trust smart locks, thats a step too far. Give me a good ol lock and key any time.

 

One piece of smart tech I don't recommend are NEST Smoke Alarms (or any smart smoke alarm)... getting a notification on your phone that 'Smoke has been detected' when in America does not make you feel great. (luckily(?) it was a false alarm... !!!)

 

@joe90 Thats a lovely doorbell

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Same bell but driven by a relay controlled by Raspberry pi monitoring two infrared sensors on my gates.

The only trouble is the bell can not be heard in all parts of the house so using Home Assistant and a MQTT broker, I intend for the Raspberry Pi to publish a topic to the MQTT broker when ever the infrared beams are broken and a wifi Sonoff running Tasomota will be subscribed to that topic and will ring a bell, make a buzz elsewhere in the house.  Still working on getting the C program on the Pi to call the MQTT broker though.

FieldCottageGateBellSystem.png

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  • 2 years later...
56 minutes ago, Dave Jones said:

 

TVO ? Start with the gearstick ?


Yes mate, TVO not bothering with tho, can’t buy it anymore, you can make your own but it’s harder on the engine so I only run it on petrol. Great little useful “toy” ?

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1 hour ago, joe90 said:


Yes mate, TVO not bothering with tho, can’t buy it anymore, you can make your own but it’s harder on the engine so I only run it on petrol. Great little useful “toy” ?

 

lovely looking machine, did you restore her yourself ?

 

It's on my bucket list to sort a fergie.

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