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Home Assistant – open-source home automation (home-assistant.io)
561 points by gjvc 41 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 177 comments



Founder Home Assistant here.

Home Assistant is turning 8 years this week. To celebrate we have launched crowdfunding campaign for Home Assistant Amber, a device for both beginners and home automation enthusiasts and the easiest way to get started with Home Assistant.

For more info see https://www.crowdsupply.com/nabu-casa/home-assistant-amber


I just want to say: Thank you.

Whenever I buy smart-home stuff I first check if it is supported by HA. (So no more Kasa, and Nest was a huge compromise, I'm thinking there is a place for HA to make a [OpenTherm] Thermostat, like you made the P1 smartreader ["SlimmeLezer", reads energy and gas usage in the Netherlands]). The new Energy dashboard is extremely cool and useful and it's making a difference.

I love what you are doing and it's making Home Automation/IoT a better place. It is how Home Automation should be, with privacy and local control as founding principles. Keep it up.

Edit: Amber looks great! M.2 nice! I thought you were all about Odroid internally, so I'm a bit surprised it has a Pi compute module, I like that though. What drove that decision? Maybe you can go on the Self-Hosted podcast [0] again and talk about Amber, I enjoyed the previous interview [1] :)

[0]: https://selfhosted.show/

[1]: https://selfhosted.show/45


I second this. I tried other platforms (jeedom, domotics) before stumbling into HA a few years ago, and my Home Assistant experience was so much smoother than the others. I never looked back. Most of the things just worked. When it did not, the community was super helpful and welcoming in the forums, even with the noobs, this is a big differentiator. Thank you.


SelfHosted and all the other shows at jupiterbroadcasting.com are fantastic! (Especially Coder Radio.) If anyone here somehow hasn't heard of them yet, congrats you're one of today's 10K. :)


Coder Radio never really sticks with me, I'm a big fan of Linux Unplugged (LUP) though. I also enjoy Linux Action News (LAN).


If I could ask, is there a reason that your development team is hostile to others packaging Home Assistant:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=27505277

To the point that they will threaten to relicense their own software: https://github.com/NixOS/nixpkgs/pull/126326#issuecomment-86...

And when they ask about it: https://community.home-assistant.io/t/consider-to-avoid-addi...

It gets delisted.

As the author of FOSS tools, I have worked to make sure things I have developed get packaged and used, and I have even spent a fair amount of time helping others to port it to their systems, even if it does nothing to help my use case. Frankly, seeing tsuch a hostile stance towards redistribution makes me wary of using it.


I just wasted half an hour reading through the threads.

The gist is that NixOS has some weird dependency management that overrides Home Assistant's in a way that makes HA on NixOS a unique experience. And NixOS is not done repackaging HA, so it is in an unfinished state that only advanced users should attempt. ThIS will inevitably confuse users. Those users will then go to HA for support and will be unable to get it. HA doesn't want to support that and was pretty clear about it. Then this Jorg person got all up in arms and threw a hiss fit all over the internet and everybody got tense.


NixOS offers reproducible builds, which is why their package manager is the way it is. pip doesn't seem to offer very good support for that: https://github.com/NixOS/nixpkgs/pull/126326#issuecomment-86... (I don't use pip so I don't know enough to comment on it)

The NixOS also offered several ways to prevent just "go[ing] to HA for support and will be unable to get it":

https://github.com/NixOS/nixpkgs/pull/126326#issuecomment-86...

https://github.com/NixOS/nixpkgs/pull/126326#issuecomment-86...

Also, if you look, the HA dev has the same complaint about Fedora:

https://github.com/NixOS/nixpkgs/pull/126326#issuecomment-86...

So it is not just NixOS's "weird dependency management".

The threat to relicense the software came after the NixOS devs offering several ways to prevent more burden, and after the HA dev discovered Fedora packages it too:

https://github.com/NixOS/nixpkgs/pull/126326#issuecomment-86... (Feel free to scroll up from here to find the other two linked comments)


> The gist is that NixOS has some weird dependency management that overrides Home Assistant's

In other words, NixOS does what every other distro do and package every dependency required to run the application beforehand. HA devs appear to be claiming in almost every single one of the linked discussions that the Nix package is broken, but I can't find them pointing to any concrete evidence or specifics. I doubt they have any, because they can't have tried it out in a matter of few hours.

> And NixOS is not done repackaging HA

HA devs appears to be making a whole point out of this too, but it's quite overblown considering that the example being listed is a dependency that was introduced only days prior [1].

> HA doesn't want to support that and was pretty clear about it.

Did you see the Nix devs' proposal early on about requiring users to set the option `config.ambee.acceptThatThisPackageIsNotSupportedByUpstreamDevelopersAndIWillGoToNixpkgsToReportAnyIssues = true` [2] in order to be able to use the package? That was met with immediate hostility from HA devs.

> Then this Jorg person got all up in arms and threw a hiss fit all over the internet and everybody got tense.

That's likely not the impression people get from looking at any of the mentioned links, which is presumably why the prior HN thread mentioned in GP seems to have blown up. If anything, it makes me think twice about using HA myself because I fear this is the standard response I'd get from HA devs if I ever dare file an issue.

[1]: https://github.com/NixOS/nixpkgs/pull/126319#issuecomment-86...

[2]: https://github.com/NixOS/nixpkgs/pull/126326#issuecomment-86...


> Did you see the Nix devs' proposal early on about requiring users to set the option `config.ambee.acceptThatThisPackageIsNotSupportedByUpstreamDevelopersAndIWillGoToNixpkgsToReportAnyIssues = true`

I did see that but it's somewhat irrelevant because the person that would know what that means would already know where to ask the right question. And the person that has no idea what they're doing would just type 'true' and not know why. I'm in the latter camp btw. Things have to be mostly idiot proof for me. When they're not I'm going to ask questions where I think the most experts are. If I have a problem with HA, I dont care where I got it from or what configs I had to do surgery on, I'm gonna post my question in the HA forums.

To be clear if I was trying to use HA on NixOs at this very moment, I would have no idea what questions are appropriate where except that my problem is with HA so thats where I'd ask it.

> That's likely not the impression people get from looking at any of the mentioned links

We're all different, but as a person ignorant of NixOs and HA, it's the impression I came away with.


> irrelevant because the person that would know what that means would already know where to ask the right question

How can people not know where to ask questions when all the people who'd ask has been told exactly where in a single short English sentence? What's not clear about "accept that this package is not supported by upstream developers and I will go to Nixpkgs to report any issues"?

> it's the impression I came away with

It's not a reasonable one on two counts. Let's go over the statement again:

> Then this Jorg person got all up in arms and threw a hiss fit all over the internet and everybody got tense.

First, he did not appear "all over the internet." The are only two places where I can find him discussing the topic online: in the Nixpkgs GitHub issue and a single Home Assistant thread where he sought to get clarifications from upstream regarding licensing policies.

Second, that he "threw a hiss fit" is taking your imagination to a real stretch. In no single comment did he express anger or frustration. All he ever did in his very few comments was 1. decline to drop the package from Nixpkgs and 2. ask about Home Assistant licensing. Take that in contrast with the behavior of HA devs where almost every single comment in the linked threads is provocative, sarcastic, and condescending, making evidence-free claims of incompetence and breakage at every step of the way right from the start.


I'm a random human on the internet who doesn't care about HA or NixOS and went down a rabbit hole. My impressions of what I saw are my impressions. I don't care about any of this enough to argue about it.

I will answer this, though, because its happened to me a thousand times: > How can people not know where to ask questions when all the people who'd ask has been told exactly where in a single short English sentence? What's not clear about "accept that this package is not supported by upstream developers and I will go to Nixpkgs to report any issues"?

I install HA on NixOS and everything seems to work perfectly and I'm happy. I buy the latest, just released Phillips Hue light and try to connect it and can't get it connected. I go to HA to try and troubleshoot ( because thats what I'm using and where this question is most relevant). HA devs tell me I'm missing a dependency and to pip it in or add it or however it normally works. I can't on NixOS and start collecting weird exception messages. In the end, HA devs spend hours wondering wtf is going on with my system until they realize it's NixOS and doesn't work the way they expect it to. I've now wasted their time unintentionally and had no idea it was actually an issue related to packaging I should have been asking about in NixOS - who are totally unaware of the trouble being caused to HA. That's just how the real world works.


Just trying to see the benefit of the Home Assistant Amber over a Raspberry Pi 4 2GB.

It looks like you get:

* Zigbee module ($45 for rp4 https://phoscon.de/en/raspbee2)

* PoE module ($20 if desired for rp4 https://www.sparkfun.com/products/14882)

* M.2 Slot (but no SD card slot)

* battery powered RTC

* A case

It's priced at $149 with all that, whereas rp4 2GB w. zigbee and PoE would be $45 + $45 + $20 = $110, so price seems reasonable if you need all those things as you're getting the rtc, m.2 and case all in a nice package.

My use would probably only need the Zigbee module and I can 3D print a case, so I'd go with the rp4 especially as I have a bunch lying around anyway! But Seems like a really nice package if you need all those things, and especially PoE is nice to have built in.


> Just trying to see the benefit of the Home Assistant Amber over a Raspberry Pi 4 2GB.

I'm guessing largely the "for beginners" part in the description. That and people who lack time or for other reasons want something working out-of-the-box?


Right now, I have an issue with a third party add on where if I upgrade the host OS it doesn't pass USB devices the same way to the guest container. Its stuff like this where I don't want to designate the time to figure it out. Where an out of the box solution would more than likely alleviate that and have more people working on a solution for everyone.


Yea good point, although since it's a raspberry pi compute module anyway I wonder how different support will be.

The Zigbee module is the main place that support will be better


The main thing that I notice is the lack of wifi and 2GB of RAM. I think it'd be easy for that to get tight with some of the big add-ons and I'd think the consumer space is exactly where you'd want wifi.

Otherwise, it looks like a pretty decent package, though.


Note the Zigbee / RaspBee II in your link contains a battery powered RTC already.


Good spot! That settles it for me then


Thanks for posting and your service!

Any chance declarative configuration (tank or any other format) will be getting a second chance? Like many here it’s the one way of working with HASS that feels/felt nice.


Yeah, I started out orchestrating Home Assistant via Ansible throughout many devices in my home.

Now I feel that it would take me days to recreate the configurations that I needed to make with the UI.

Deprecating yaml is bad for configuration versioning.


Thank you!

I feel like you're missing an opportunity by launching this as a DIY type device. That market segment can already cater for themselves with a Raspberry pi etc..

You've made big leaps with the Config Flow system, I feel like the time is right to launch a fully polished device. Cater for the people who don't want to ever see the PCB, they're tech savy but want a pretty device to sit on the mantle piece with a GUI that just works.


Sorry if this is a stupid question, but is there a reason for not having z-wave support on Amber? It wasn't mentioned in the picture and no ctrl+f "wave" hits on the page.

I'm very excited about this device. I've been using Smartthings and then IKEAs gateway, but haven't been happy with their performance and features.


The same is true of Blue, the current iteration of the hardware, and I believe its because people who are into home automation enough to buy a dedicated Home Assistant box probably already have a bunch of hardware and opinions on whether they like Z-Wave, Zigbee, HomeKit, 433mhz radios, or pulses fired down their power lines. Its much easier to provide some hardware which can support any of those via USB and GPIOs.

Also, Z-Wave licensing is an absolute nightmare, and significantly expensive.


That makes sense, thanks for the thorough response.


Product request: make it simple to create devices. Doing custom entities in the config, i miss those.


I worked around this by creating a button that runs a git commit & push, and an iframe that points to a local running flask app that renders a <pre><code>{{ shell("git status")}}</pre><code>. Not as nice as fully declarative YAML, as this also captures the data files, but at least I have point in time restore.


Why not collab with the pine64.org peeps?

They have a great amount of hardware already available and lots of knowledge to accelerate and cheapen your roadmap.... If you are willing to share the design of course.


This is very interesting. I host hass my self and probably will get one. Have you considered bundling it with hardware to also measure and control home devices?


I don't use Home Assistant because it's not being packaged by Linux distributions.


Then submit a PR to you local repository maintainers! The rest of us thank you for your service.


I would encourage you to look here for context: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=27505277


Whoa, that was really bad. I'll stay far from HA.


Docker containers work fine and iirc are officially supported.

I’m unsure of the maintainers motives, I’m also unclear on whether they’re even a hass core developer, but I don’t really care enough to read more either.


Various people tried but the project is not friendly towards packaging efforts.


They release pretty frequent updates (monthly), with features added in most of them. It honestly doesn't really make sense to package it with the distro. Home Assistant 1 year ago was missing a lot of nice features in the present version. Plus fixes for integrations that stopped working reliably due to API changes (Ecobee comes to mind), etc.

The best/easiest way to run it is to use Docker. They have a script that will set it up for you. After that, the container can basically self update and self manage. Any addons that you want to use are installed as separate docker containers that talk to the main home assistant container. It's super seamless and easy.

In my case, I just setup a barebones Debian VM and ran their setup script. It took care of all the Docker stuff and got it up and running.


I think being in control of your device's update cycle is pretty important if you're relying on that device for anything. I want to be able to leave my home-automation controller alone for years without maintenance, and no matter how good their release cycle management is this fighting over distro packaging is a bit of a red flag.


It probably deserves its own distribution at this point. HA comprises multiple containers and container management so it would probably be an invasive install to your host OS.


It already has its own distribution.

https://github.com/home-assistant/operating-system


The UniFi Protect integration is awesome. Turn on outdoor lights on motion, disable loud doorbell ding when the dog is sleeping, change privacy zones, send critical notifications to bypass silent mode on iOS devices when a person is detected while away… really amazing stuff.

The HomeKit Controller integration is also neat. All kinds of HomeKit compatible devices can just work with Home Assistant. Honeywell Lyric is the best example: PIR sensors with local push for lighting automation or special alerts when gates open to prevent the dog from escaping the backyard.

Edit: More useful things!

I have my washer and dryer in a garage. Can’t hear the machines inside. The Z-Wave light switches around my house have status LEDs, so one LED is dedicated to the washer and dryer status based on power draw from the outlet. Works really well. The same status LEDs are shared for all light switches around the house, so it’s a good ambient notification.

The Mac app can provide webcam or mic status as a sensor, which turns on a key light when I join video calls and turns on an LED on the light switch outside my office to signal when I’m on a call.

I also get a push notification on my computer and a LED light on the light switches when the Roomba is full. It fills up a few times during its typical run while I’m working.

I also have the door status (open/closed/locked) from the Lyric as LEDs on the light switches. Very easy to tell if something is unlocked or open at a glance while walking around the house.


Bolting on to this comment with some other neat things, as a fellow HASS enthusiast:

* Every single light in my house moves from dim/orange -> bright/bluer -> very dim/orange throughout the day (basically like an whole-home f.lux or Night Shift). Sadly still third party, but it's easy to use: Circadian Lighting component will find it

* I have "night" modes in all my rooms. This is usually a single bulb in lowest-brightness full red. You can barely see it during the day, but at night it makes bathroom trips a non-blinding affair

* I have 6+ speaker zones, on Raspberry Pis mostly. Snapcast runs the audio stream, but turning on/off a room mutes the speakers in it (walking into a room turns on the lights via motion detectors and music continues to follow, which is neat)

* I pipe a lot of text-to-speech messages. Some rooms won't play them if the room is off (outer stuff like my garage), but others always do (so I hear them). This is more custom now, and I even duck the playing music stream for the TTS portion. It can take in text, so I do things like have my automation say a bunch of things every morning (my age in days, some web-scraped snippets, etc)

* $10 power sensor is enough to know when your washer is finished. Power for awhile -> running state, no power after awhile in running state -> finished. This goes right into the text to speech system

* Every room has a 10-button remote (the very, very cheap zap remote kind). Most of the layout is the same--room on, room off, start music (or skip track if playing), stop music, full-bright lights, night lights. This still leaves a few for custom-to-the-room buttons, which I use

* Contact sensors on all openings to the house. I let me cats into the backyard during the day. Cat access via any configuration is still open, and sun is below X degrees? Text to speech

* Most of my logic is Node-RED (another comment here about that), which gives me a lot of flexibility. I have a global "house" mode, which I can set to guests or party to suppress most of my assumptions that I'm home alone

* Example of one of those: My setup knows if I'm using one of my two desk computers. If I am, and house is in "home" (alone) mode, I turn off all the other rooms in the house

I could go on--I went pretty deep when I first set up Home Assistant, but that was years ago now. Every now and then I do a major update or add functionality to smooth over something that's been bugging me

Once you hit some tipping point of soooo many things available as sensors or services in HASS, adding completely new functionality is a very incremental change


I'm getting imposter syndrome from reading these two posts. Just how much time did you guys spend on this?


It’s a few hours a month here and there over several years. I started with a few smart bulbs while renting and I have evolved the system as I moved to a new home and installed more things to solve a problem. I didn’t do all of this in a weekend!

What’s nice is the Home Assistant automations tend to stay working without major overhaul far longer than stuff I used in the past, such as SmartThings which I no longer use. Always better to use your own small server and code for things like this. IOT platforms and services change way too much and it’s a lot more work to maintain than local HA.


the Home Assistant automations tend to stay working without major overhaul far longer than stuff I used in the past

This is a major selling point, and also why I haven't bought into any cloud-based home automation system (unlikely I ever could get past the surveillance aspect anyway). These systems are supposed to last as long as your home does, you don't want to replace/overhaul the system every few years because the supplier wants to earn more money from you.


I have the same answer as reid, basically!

I don't even know offhand how old my installation is, but it's been a couple of years for sure. Two things really help with longevity:

* Local-only devices. My only cloud-integrated thing is a Nest thermostat, and only because I already had it before my HASS adventures. Lights/sensors/etc is all offline, so it can't break from some company giving up on a product line

* Home Assistant itself is quite stable as software! I do keep my install up to date here and there, but not religiously. Once every year or so, a minor deprecation thing might finally drop off completely and need a quick configuration update, but very rarely. (I'm pretty deep into a "homelab" style setup too; my HASS install is a linux VM, I have a separate storage layer, etc)

So early on, it was probably a few hours of work a week, but these days I can go several months without even thinking about it or changing anything.

Quick note on audio: I use Spotify out of sheer laziness. I think they've lightened up since I did my initial setup--or just stabilized API maybe, but years ago it was common for libspotify-type client integrations to break and need an update.

So now my audio stream is routed out of the linux VM itself at the system level. Unless Spotify is willing to drop the linux client completely, they can't break my use case. And if I ever switch back to my own local file collection, I just need something that can play audio on linux to do it. I could even have a line-in wire hanging off that hardware to play any audio source broadcast to my Snapcast network too.


It's all pretty impressive until I start to imagine myself renting an apartment or house like this or being a guest in house like this. Then it fills me with dread and starts to send shivers down my spine. Every damn single activity monitored, human being like NPC in Sims game - wth,bed occupancy sensors?


I think that's a fair response! It's worth clarifying a few things. In general, I think people tend to have that reaction because there's a growing assumption that "technology" = "the cloud"--i.e. a Google or Alexa kind of smart speaker that is very clearly vacuuming all kinds of data:

- Home Assistant runs locally, in my house. None of this data is uploaded anywhere outside of my control

- I live alone. And really, the vast majority of my automation really uses/needs that assumption (computer activity turning off other rooms, etc)

- I don't have any interior-facing cameras, because yeah--even with those also purely-local, it's very odd to know they're there. Years ago, when I did leave the house every day for work, I had a living room camera to keep an eye on my cats. I completely de-powered its PoE port based on whether my automation knew I was home or not--it was only on if I was gone. There are a couple of ways to do person tracking, but I just used my phone and Home Assistant's app

- I do have a global override for a "guest" mode, mostly so lights don't inexplicably turn off. That mode turns on automatically when my girlfriend uses her keypad to unlock my door

That said, I do occasionally browse the wider HASS forums and communities. I don't have kids, but I see people use some automation pretty effectively for things like chore management/reminders. People do stuff like put cheap tablets somewhere central with status updates of who is supposed to take out the trash, reminders if any perimeter doors are open, etc


> walking into a room turns on the lights via motion detectors

Do you know if there's anything good in this space yet for detecting presence (not just entry)? There are some spots in my home where I only want the lights on while I'm there, and I haven't found anything yet that can reliably detect that somebody's actually left a space other than Hiome (https://www.hiome.com), and that doesn't work for something not delineated by a doorway.


Room occupancy is something I’ve been playing with for several years, and I’m yet to find a really good solution to it. Having said that Hass has a Bayesian filter component which can give you a probability of occupancy based on a bunch of weighted inputs, for example if a motion sensor triggered in the last minute the room is probably occupied, likewise if the TV in the living room is playing video.

I keep toying with the idea of a bunch of BLE beacons in every room and then using signal strength triangulation in a mobile app to determine which room someone is in but that falls over the moment someone leaves their phone in a room.


There's a project called "room-assistant", however you'd need to have multiple Raspberry Pis running it in various locations...

https://www.room-assistant.io/


I’ve just recently found out about ESPrensense [1], which does this, but running on ESP32 microcontrollers, so it should be much less resource intensive.

[1]: https://espresense.com/


That honestly seems like a nice feature. No more trying to call yourself when you lose your phone, it's in whichever room has the lights on.


It's a good question! I'm super curious about that myself.

I do have a bed occupancy sensor, in the form of a SparkFun OpenScale under the legs. There was a Raspberry Pi in the room for speakers already, so it's just on that.

It needs some fancy calibration to deal with temperature changes, but I just constantly tare it when my desktop computer is active (and I'm home alone I'm certainly not on the bed). That's been super responsive and great. Bed transitioning from empty->occupied when bedroom is in night mode turns off all the other rooms again.

In general, I've found that it's a lot easier to track actions than presence. So computer activity, or a door opening.

I did just flash some ESP32s with this, which is a way to report bluetooth signal for a single device across a network of listeners. They can report direct to HASS via MQTT, but it also has its own persistent python thing to more carefully triangulate. No idea if it'll work reliably or fast enough to really be useful: https://espresense.com/


If you're willing to tinker, a camera that compares the current image with a "baseline" image and says it's occupied if there's enough change. You'd have to have an IR or NIR camera to work at night, and take special care around things like doors/drawers/curtains that move.


Could a CO2 sensor do the trick?


Can you recommend one for USB or ZigBee that works with HA?


> Bolting on

My favourite is the automatic switch on for the espresso machine at 6am each day. It changed everything.


That is a good one. Many years ago, I did this with a dumb timer on the outlet.


"$10 power sensor "

Which sensor do you recommend. I am searching but some are low amps


My washer is pretty low power consumption. I forget what exactly I set the threshold to, but when I did I was watching its output history. It spends a lot of time under 100w, and only irregularly spikes higher.

It is possible to watch much higher-power systems with power clamps--the same magnetic sensor kind you can put on your entire house power feed. I have one on my 220v dryer for completeness, although I never even bothered to rig up automation. There's no real penalty for ignored dry clothes like there is for ignored wet clothes--I guess it'd be useful for people with roommates, though.

Specifics devices will depend on zigbee vs z-wave vs wifi. If I were starting totally fresh, I'd go all zigbee.


If I were starting totally fresh, I'd be paying careful attention to the smart panel setups https://www.leviton.com/en/products/residential/load-centers and what they can do, above and beyond individual outlets.


For whole home power, I use a Rainforest Automation EMU-2.

It’s connected as a USB serial device to integrate into HA. The HA forums have a custom component for it.

This can be useful for monitoring the entire home power. No load center clamps needed, it communicates with my power meter over Zigbee.


I use two TP-Link HS110 outlet plugs for power consumption monitoring for my washer and dryer.

My dryer is gas so I don’t need anything special. Would maybe check out the smart Leviton load center mentioned in this thread for new construction.


Man I'd love to live in your house for a couple of days to see what it's like.


"The Z-Wave light switches around my house have status LEDs, so one LED is dedicated to the washer and dryer status based on power draw from the outlet."

Could you elaborate on how this works? Which Z-Wave light switches measure the power draw?


Typically, there is zwave plug measuring the power draw and sending data to hub. Based on the data, an event is triggered to change an LED on a light switch. HomeSeer has zwave switches with LEDs used for dimmer feedback than can be programmed to show a color. I use the LEDs on one switch to match the state of two exterior door locks. Green/unlocked and Red/locked. I use another LED on the switch to match state of the Litter Robot, automatic cat litter box. Blinks red when full and needs to be emptied.


Yup, exactly this! I send custom documented Z-Wave commands to switch the wall switch dimmers LEDs into “status mode” and can then control each one with a custom color and blink.

I just send the same commands to all the dimmers so they all show the same thing.


Not OP, but I would guess they don't directly.

If it's possible to set those status LEDs arbitrarily, you could use another power-sensing outlet's data, so a different device entirely.

This is the magic of Home Assistant in general--it's really just a big bag of sensors (temperature/power/times/etc) and a bag of services (turn on, set to X, change color). You can have sensors from anything trigger a service on anything else.


Honest question: do you live with other people? I'd ask matthew-wegner as well but I can infer that he doesn't.


Reading between the lines here, I guess the real question is “does this stuff work when not everyone is technically inclined”.

When I first started working in home automation my boss at the time had a saying “if you have to press a button, it’s not home automation”. That single phrase is the core of making automation work with non-technical users. The house should always do the least surprising thing by default, for example turning on lights when you enter a room, but only if it’s dark. Light switches should turn the lights on and off, rather than disable the light automation (looking at you Hue).

If you can configure things to that extent, then yeah, it works beautifully. If everyone has to faff around with a mobile app to be able to see where their aiming on a 4am toilet run it’ll be hated with a passion.


The huge stumbling block I ran into when I proposed looking into home automation with my wife was that we had very different ideas of what the "right" thing to do in any given situation was. The combination of lights she wants to have on when in a room are very different from the ones I want to have on, for example. So unless there was face recognition so the room knew who was there, it would never automatically do the right thing.

Also anything that involved having to use an app to do anything was a very hard No.


Having 1 button to switch an entire room filled with many light sources between your wife's and your preference is also automation, and exactly at the right level. HA is not going to solve disagreements between people ;). In this case the alternative would be changing many lights manually, right? I mean the face recognition sounds like huge overkill and a pita to get perfect.

I have a Hue Tap, which has 4 buttons to program, we set: 1: Normal on, 2: Cosy on, 3: Cooking on (bright in the kitchen) and 4: All off. Near the couch I have an extra Hue switch to dim the couch area even more if desired. That works well for us. Atm this doesn't involve HA but it would if I had any other brands of lights and I would also want other aspects changed (like room temp, i.e. "cosy on" could also raise the thermostat by 1 degree, because it's couch time) with the same Hue Tap buttons. HA is great at having different brands of home automation stuff talk to each other, so you can pick the best of all worlds.

I just got a smart thermostat, so my "All-off" Hue Tap button may just as well set the thermostat to "eco", of course only at night because otherwise it may just mean the sun being bright enough was the reason I turned all lights off. Or, maybe when I set my thermostat to "away", HA can signal the rest of the house that the lights and the coffee machine can now be turned off, if any were still left on, I'd do that with a 10 min delay or so because I may still be running around the house to get stuff. HA is perfect for this type of logic.

Using a phone for anything is a big No for both of us as well. Home automation for us means having single buttons that do many things at once. We set timers for our garden lighting (dawn=off and sunset=on). And we use some motion sensors. In the bathroom for example, the Hue motion sensor switches the light on, and then HA turns on the fan, through a Sonoff flashed with Tasmota. At night the light also switches on but less bright, everybody loves this automation (more than the previous manual solution), and it's completely in line with Home Assistant's vision for Home Automation: [0]. It's easy to over-do Home Automation, the people you live with are good indicators for when you do so ;)

[0]: https://www.home-assistant.io/blog/2016/01/19/perfect-home-a...


I have [GE Z-Wave light switches](https://www.amazon.com/GE-Repeater-Extender-SmartThings-1429...) installed in the wall. They have the expected "press up" and "press down" which go to my "passive" and "off" room modes accordingly.

They also have "press up 2x" "press up 3x" "hold up" "hold up released", and the same for the down direction.

My GF and I use these to switch the room between modes that we want. My main modes are "passive" "gaming" "movie" "meeting" "off" and "party".

The modes are a state machine written in both node-red, using a global state variable that is saved to disk, and homeassistant using a select template variable. They stay in sync through a node-red flow, so changing the mode from either has the exact same result.


My wife prefers bright lights while I prefer them dim. My solution was to have the dim lights switch on when motion is detected and it is dark. My wife would then use the wall switch for the bright lights. This works great for the kitchen and bath.


> Light switches should turn the lights on and off, rather than disable the light automation (looking at you Hue).

Why are you looking at them? The Hue lights wired properly do exactly what you describe. You wire them in so they are constantly fed with electricity and send smart signals with a wall mounted control panel. They sell you this control panel. It looks like a switch.

Heck if you are retrofitting a building you you can use their wall switch module to adapt any traditional wall switch to become a smart switch.

They have the spunk to also work with half-assed installations. You can define in what state the bulb should be after the power is restored to them. Of course if you go this route they can't be turned on when the power to the bulb is off. What would you expect them to do? Should they pack an RTG in their bulbs to have the option to illuminate when the power is off? Should they throw a tantrum and tell you off for installing the lights wrong? Of course they don't do either of those. They just keep on trucking the best they can.


Could they remember if they were off or on? And return to that state? Could they interrogate the switch to see what state they are 'supposed' to be in when power is restored? All of those would be acceptable I think.


> Could they remember if they were off or on?

Yes. That is an option. Not a default option because when most people flick a switch ON they expect light. If by default the light would not come on, they would receive a lot of returns. But you can totally set that if option if that is your preference.

> Could they interrogate the switch to see what state they are 'supposed' to be in when power is restored?

What type of switch? The dumb one they know is on. If you have a smart switch they could. But if you have a smart switch why would you not wire the bulbs to be always powered? (always as in when the circuit breaker is ON, not literally always :) )


I live with my wife. It’s important to do smart home things which work well for everyone in your space!

I don’t do a lot of fixed unchanging automation. I do a lot more ambient status and voice assistant integration.

It actually was really nice when my lady moved in after our wedding because my HomeKit things were able to work right away with her Google Home she was used to. :)

The webcam hall status light was to know when either of us are in a meeting. We are both working from home so it’s like a free/busy signal.


Hue turns on my bathroom lights, HA then switches on the fan via a tasmota flashed Sonoff. Everybody loves that. How does this relate to your remark? I read between the lines that you are making poor automation decisions, you need to rethink those. Not HA.


So you don’t have to read between the lines, I don’t have any home automation. Doesn’t solve any problems for me, at least nothing that doesn’t create new ones.


Well it’s important that automation of any kind solves problems, if it doesn’t for you then indeed, staying away from it is the best thing to do :)


Amazing write up! Can you provide a link to the switches you use?

Also, how does HA know when the dog is asleep?


I use the HomeSeer HS-WD200+ which has programmable LEDs over Z-Wave: https://shop.homeseer.com/products/z-wave-dimmer-switch-arch...

HomeSeer is coming out with a new model soon so that model is discontinued. But the new one looks better since it doesn’t need a neutral wire!

My dog has really consistent daytime nap times. So I can disable the doorbell chime during those times to prevent the barking during a delivery. :)


> Also, how does HA know when the dog is asleep?

I have the same question! Until OP answers, I'm going to guess some accelerometer collar that reports when little motion has occurred in 3 minutes?


Haha, just a time based schedule and nothing that fancy.

But if anyone out there has made an API client for the Fi collar… let me know!


How do you disable the doorbell chime?


I have a UniFi Protect G4 Doorbell, so it’s as easy as calling the service unifiprotect.set_doorbell_chime_duration and setting the duration to 0.

I still get phone and other notifications when the button is pushed! Just no indoor bell.


Whoa! That's awesome. I didn't know that that existed.


Nice to see HA getting some love on HN. A colleague recommended it to me about 3 years ago as an alternative to Domoticz. I've migrated back than and haven't looked back since. I consider myself a real Home Assistant enthousiast. I've contributed some small amounts to the project, created and maintain my own add-ons and love to share my configuration with others.

Although most of the things currently just work, especially with the (migrated) UI integrations. Some things still feel very unfinished, like blueprints. Which was a terrific idea, but maintaining and keeping those up to date is an absolute nightmare and you will have to that yourself [1]. Same with battery powered devices. When they work, it's all great, but having to watch their battery level is just a hassle. You can create your own automation to do that for you, but it seems unnecessary.

For me the community also sometimes feels very hostile. For instance, you can have a Portainer add-on, but installing other Docker images makes your system 'unsupported'. Same with some blacklisted images [2], which break Home Assistant Supervisor. Or when the maintainer of one of the add-ons completely ignores a breaking issue after a day [3].

1. https://community.home-assistant.io/t/reload-automations-aut...

2. https://github.com/home-assistant/supervisor/blob/main/super...

3. https://github.com/hassio-addons/addon-adguard-home/issues/1...


If you want to do anything more than just run Home Assistant with the system it's on, I recommend ditching their whole OS and Supervisor, and just running HA Core in a virtualenv.

The developers have shown that they're very opinionated about how their software should be used, and they're hostile to everything that falls outside of that. That makes their OS totally unusable as a general-purpose solution. Besides, it's an OS that doesn't get regular security updates, so that alone should disqualify it from serious use.


Well their approach allows them to deliver software that works without being inundated by issues related to someone’s peculiar set up. I don’t think ‘hostile’ is a very fair assessment.


I totally understand that they don't want to support peculiar setups, and I get why non-standard setups are labeled as unsupported. But actively asking for your software to not be packaged, even under another name, and threatening to change the license to prevent that [0], is a whole other ballgame, and I do consider that hostile. Hopefully this was just an extreme outlier, but the desire to not have people use it in ways the developers don't like, even if they aren't being bothered with it, seeps through in a lot of their work.

Of course it's their right to steer their project and decide what you can and cannot do with their software, but it does make Home Assistant significantly less attractive for lots of people that don't agree with all their choices (and judging by the mixed feedback in this thread, that's not a negligible group).

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=27505277


FWIW, I am in the same camp as you. They seem oddly hostile to FOSS development (as shown in your comment and the top comment you replied to), and as such, I hesitate to use it for that reason.


I also found the user/support community hostile.


Well I see your point... but I just want to automate a few lights and blinds, and this stuff seems totally peripheral to that.


+1 to that - HASS is nice option if you don't want to host anything else on this device and/or really want add-ons and in-gui upgrades.

For me it was giving up too much control over the device. I'm running plain docker image for over a year now with zero issues. Upgrade is done by simple bash script, functionality offered by add-ons can be achieved by manual installation as add-ons are simply wrappers for various software.

Anyway HA is awesome. Highly recommend it.


Funny, I'm finally throwing in the towel and going back to HASS after trying to go all node-red. I loathe the GUI experience in both, and node-red updates weren't as painless as I read online (better than HASS, but now I'm monitoring a litany of NPM packages).

HASS seems like the least bad OSS solution for home automation--it has a lot of inertia but I'm not a fan of the group (company?) making big decisions for the project. I really wish they hadn't dictated the end of YAML/declarative configurations.


> I really wish they hadn't dictated the end of YAML/declarative configurations.

Agree here. I wouldn't mind replacing YAML itself with some kind of other configuration language or stable configuration API as long as I'm able to use a IaC/declarative approach to create a immutable/disposable HA instance. But they seem to be going more and more toward GUI only configurations. Meaning if the application state is broken, you can only rely on (outdated) backups or doing everything manually through the GUI again.

This, together with the core team's hostile attitude towards alternative installation methods and other OSS projects like NixOS[0] has really turned me sour against what used to be a great and fun open source project to contribute to.

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=27505277


Agreed. Been using home assistant for years, and right now it's probably in the weirdest state as far as configuration/yaml/gui goes. And often times you need to go and edit "read-only" huge json file that contains every single integration instead of individual integration yaml files like it was before.

Nabu Casa (for profit company behind home assistant) made some of the decisions that were questionable at best.


I didn’t love nodered. It just didn’t click with my programmer mind.

Instead, I found appdaemon along with HASS. This allows me to write all my automations as python code rather than dragging and dropping boxes around. And it’s easier for me to use vs HASS yaml files.


I gave up on all open source home automation solutions. Home Assistant is the "least bad" but that's not saying much at all.

I pony upped for a Hubitat earlier this year, and although the GUI is fugly, it just works and I don't have to keep babysitting it constantly like I did with Home Assistant.


Same boat here. I really really really wanted to love home assistant. But it’s been constant battle to keep it running over 3 years of me using it. I’m fighting to keep systems up for money at work, and at home I just want something that works.

If only one day Hubitat makes usable dashboards (I know there are third party ones, but it means either some cloud solution that will die one day, or some hacky custom stuff I’ll need to fight with) then it’ll be perfect home automation solution for techies IMO.


Not my experience at all, HA has been unfailingly solid.


I’m running HASS with the HASSOS VM image and it’s pretty solid. I’ve never tried running a custom install of HASS on a Linux system I installed separately but I can’t imagine that being much fun.

HASSOS is pretty much an appliance at that point. I can’t remember the last time I had to ssh into it. Upgrades, backups, etc are all done via the web UI or the iOS app with a couple of clicks.


I (tried) using it since 2017, and there's been a ton of breaking changes since. Basically a major redesign of everything. The overall trend is a move from programmability to (in my experience fragile) UI centric. Even worse is when you have some more obscure components that just quietly get dropped.


> there's been a ton of breaking changes since. Basically a major redesign of everything

That's exactly why I stopped using it. I used it for five years and witnessed tons of features introduced then dropped and re-architectures for no other reason than the devs got bored with something. One example is dropping support for Python 3.7 earlier this year when 3.7's not EOL for another two years. Maintainability is of little concern for this project.


See, I just went to ha. My hubitat experience was bad. For two years I had crashes, failed devices and failed automations. The last lockup I had I said enough. At least with HA I could get under the hood and deal with an issue. Hubitat gui is awful and the rule system is tedious but powerful. It was just way too unreliable for me.


> I really wish they hadn't dictated the end of YAML/declarative configurations.

Can you elaborate a bit here? I might be on an older version but afaict it's still configured via yml configs.


The devs decided to essentially eliminate yaml config files in favor of GUI configs. The reasoning being less braking changes (no need to individually update your yaml files when an update requires it) and easier adoption for new, less technical users.

I don't know about op, but I very much prefer config files. Using tools like sed or grep to make changes is much faster than mouse clicks - but I understand the devs point of view.


I'm not a big fan of that either. I like my workflow of using git to version control integrations, dashboards, scripts, etc. Not sure how I would do that with dynamic configs.


Blog clarifying this, and addressing such concerns, here:

https://www.home-assistant.io/blog/2020/04/14/the-future-of-...


> the .storage folder contains all Home Assistant managed configuration files in JSON format, which in those cases, can be stored and versioned in a git repository

Sounds like I can still do what I need. The only difference being, those configuration files can also be changed via UI which is fine. Thanks for the link.


Your post resonates with me, but I dread the yaml configuration. I find it very hard to discover available settings and every module seems to have a slightly different file layout. I’m not a fan of needing the GUI for configuration either.

The constant work to keep things updated is a hassle, requiring python upgrades unavailable in the raspbian distro meaning slow compiles from source (which somehow fails on 3.9 and requires dropping to 3.8).

I would be very happy with something that just works, without constantly needing fiddling and handholding.


I've found openHAB to be quite stable. Setup is pretty heavyweight but I've just had it chugging along happily managing BLE, Z-Wave, a few cameras, etc.


Ditto. Even across upgrades it’s had very, very few issues - and I’m using it for both a bevy of normal home automation stuff, and to manage isolated power and water microgrids for several homesteads - routing power, switching dump loads on and off, balancing battery banks, monitoring tank levels, running pumps, alerting on low flow states (time to change a filter), and all the rest. It’s mission critical for us, and hasn’t let us down in the two years it’s been running the show.


I like Openhab. I hope the userbase and the community keeps growing.


Doesn’t node-red complement HASS? I use Home Assistant for simple things and bridge to node-red for more complex automations.


It can, a lot of users pushed people to use node-red in place of HASS automations prior to the automation update earlier this year and app daemon. "In theory", node-red can do everything HASS can (possibly missing some integrations, see inertia comment above), but in reality it's quite a bit more complex, especially when you don't have HASS handling all the stateful things.

I think the consensus now is to just use HASS, node-red isn't necessary?


Cool, I haven’t kept up to date, I’ll have to check out the latest version.


Best of luck with your upgrades =D


My main problem with Home assistant is the automation language. It could be very powerful, but isn't.

I feel that if there was a way to introduce temporary state and force an expression as the value of a switch it could be great. I would love for something ASP/Datalog based.

Having a light that's just on if some expression is True and off if the expression is false is more difficult than it should be. The automations are not goal-based. But maybe in a decade the next project will do it that way.


At the risk of sounding like a broken-record, Node-Red is a very easy but flexible visual-scripting engine and has a good integration with Home Assistant. It could be a solution for the places where HA is lacking.

https://community.home-assistant.io/t/home-assistant-communi...


You can try pyscript (https://github.com/custom-components/pyscript), which allows you to write automations in plain Python.


That's not AI/Logic programming though. Ideally I'd write a boolean formula and the system tries to make it true by adjusting the values it can adjust.

Say I want something like the light should be off it is dark and the window is open (bugs), but if the window is closed and it is dark, the light should be on.

    dark & window.open -> !light
    dark & !window.open -> light
Obviously, it can't close the window. But it can turn the light to make the formulas true.

If this were answer-set-based, the system could find multiple ways to make the formulas true (that's why I say goal-based) and act in a truly intelligent manner.

Edit: if it could close the window, it had a second way to make the formulas true. That would be nice as well, that the window closes when I turn on the light.

Edit 2: note that at daytime the formulas are always true, such that I can adjust the light and window as I like.

Edit 3: We could also rewrite this as

    dark -> (window.open != light)
And it is great that we could reason about our rules in that manner.


> And it is great that we could reason about our rules in that manner.

That's what I've been missing as well. Node-RED comes close, but is event based.

I've been thinking of implementing this kind of system. It has similar principles to functional languages or a reactive system like Mgmt[0]. But I foresee a few issues that would render potential simple formulae into complex ones. Things like keeping state on event based inputs (push-type wall switches), time based decisions and outputs that don't provide feedback on their current state.

If I ever find the time to get practical with the idea and work out these issues I might put it into a Show HN.

[0] https://github.com/purpleidea/mgmt


That's an interesting idea, and I agree it would make a great addition to HA. From an outside standpoint it doesn't even seem to be that hard to implement, all the pieces are already there, "just" needs some glue.


Have you considered AppDaemon ? https://github.com/AppDaemon/appdaemon


This is dead easy to do in Home Assistant if you use a jinja-based template as the automation trigger. Any template that will evaluate to true will trigger the automation. Templates are re-evaluated every time the state of the object changes or (if you use a time function, or don't reference any objects) every minute.

Here's a simple example that would send a notification if I left my kitchen LEDs on 200 brightness or more for longer than two hours.

  alias: Kitchen
  description: ''
  trigger:
  - platform: template
    value_template: ' {{ state_attr('light.kitchen_led', 'brightness')|int >= 200 and as_timestamp(states.light.kitchen_led.last_updated) + 3600 < as_timestamp(now()) }} '
  condition: []
  action:
  - service: notify.my_phone
    data:
      title: Kitchen lights still on
      message: The kitchen LEDs have been on very bright for more than 2 hours. 
  mode: single


That's absolutely not what I meant. The trigger condition is not the problem. The action is. It is not goal-based. I can't give a target value (as template) and the system tries to bring the entity to that state.

I have to have another check (or two automations) to trigger the off/on-action. Home assistant basically has no idea how to bring entities to a desired state.


Yes, I added some simple automation scripts to calculate bandwidth being used on my router from snmp data and it eats up 100% CPU. The calculations are super simple and shouldn't take almost any CPU.


Home Assistant really hits the right spot on the "enthusiast" vs "product" spectrum for me - it's flexible and configurable, but also easy enough to set up that I basically spent almost no time actually making it work.

I've got it hooked up to a Z-Wave Hub so that I can control mechanized blinds with HomeKit (where no native integration exists), all the way over to Volvo On Call to report where my car is, how much gas is in the tank, and what the odometer reports. It's got a great community, and isn't too difficult to extend that it's not worth mucking around in the guts when I really want something to work.


With the HomeKit and UniFi integration I can finally say “Hey Siri, turn off the Xbox internet”

I do have to say, the amount of integrations are quite remarkable. I’ve been running Homeassistant for about two years now. It can only see it getting even better.


I also use HomeAssistant, and am quite happy with it, but i wish, they would start including the [`remote_homeassistant`](https://github.com/custom-components/remote_homeassistant) addon.

It solves the Usecase, where not all BT(LE) devices in the house are reachable from the main HA, and you need remote "pickups" for their signals, and then want to integrate them back into the "master instance". It also solves a bunch of other problems, like integrating some sensors of the HA of your holiday home into the HA of your main home.

The author describes the rationale better here: https://github.com/home-assistant/architecture/issues/246

For some reason, NabuCasa doesn't want to integrate it. Maybe they see it as competing with an own upcoming (cloud?) solution of their own?


Instead of running full blown secondary HA instances for that, simply use ESPhome on a ESP32. I used that method to pick up the signals of a couple of bluetooth hygrometers in the cellar: https://www.splitbrain.org/blog/2021-08/16-humidity_control_...


But I already have devices running linux-SBCs with "free" bluetooth in most rooms. Why should I need to add ESP32s just for that?

And what about the second-home-case I also mentioned?

Also, I use remote_homeassistant also for e.g HDMI-CEC-control of devices in other rooms/places, which ESPHome cannot do.

(I agree though, ESPhome@ESP32 is a viable solution for some subset of situations)


I used to use this quite heavily, but about a year ago the move away from YAML made it too hard to keep a declarative config that can be checked into source control...

Ended up giving up and just have a dumb home now.


Works great with z-Wave devices on a raspberry pi. I've got a few 433mhz sensors as well, integrated with all rtl-sdr. Also other raspberry pi devices taking to it via mqtt. Fun stuff.


I bought an RTL-SDR dongle years ago thinking I was going to do all sorts of awesome things with it. After my initial screwing around with it, it landed in a drawer for a few years.

Well a couple of months ago I found this[1] and hacked together my own daemon to read my power meter and publish the result via MQTT. I then wrote a couple of sensors in Home Assistant to estimate my upcoming electric bill and the instantaneous power draw of my house.

It's been rock solid so far. I've been surprised how much energy I use while sleeping in the middle of the night (something like 350W)

[1] https://hackaday.com/2017/12/21/read-home-power-meters-with-...


How does rtl-sdr compare to say esphome and those cheap 433mhz receivers/transmitters? I remember playing around with those a long time ago, with arduinos and without esphome, with some outlets before wifi outlets became really common.


HA also has a pretty great community. I've done a couple small changes and have had very positive experiences


I have a large mix of devices in my house. From WiFi to Zwave to ZigBee. I have about 100 lights, garage doors, various sensors and switches. My configuration in HA is insane. Extremely large, with a lot of custom configs. I would say: unmaintainable. It works almost flawlessly for about 3 years.


Been using HA for over a year now to run my Z-Wave+ network of sensors and switches. It has a rather steep learning curve but should be usable by most software folks. I feel like some of the terminology could be changed to make it more familiar and understandable, but after a few weeks you'll get the hang of it.

One warning though: If you're running it off an SD card or other small, solid-state device, your first priority should be turning down the amount of logging. Without reducing log spewage, expect your SD card to die within the first few months of use.

I can't complain too much, it's free software and I don't have the resources to contribute much right now, but there are some sharp edges you need to watch out for.


HASS looked nice initially with all its polish, but I gave up on it when I couldn’t figure out how to interface with MQTT from the web interface and it generally just didn’t seem to have many features.

I’m going to try OpenHAB next, as I’ve seen relatively complex setups with it.


I believe things like Home Assistant are the future of IoT. There are always going to be thousands of random devices and sensors - many of which may become obsolete or unsupported by their manufacturer. A centralized intelligent and well-maintained hub which can communicate with many different things really helps keep everything glued together and working long term.


Hi balloob! I was showing my non-commercial weather API project [0] to HN 2 days ago. Another HN member was already pointing out your project.

If you are interested, we could have a look at integrating weather data without the need of your users to sign up for API plans with their personal data.

[0] https://open-meteo.com


Yep. Like many here I appreciate the idea of Home Assistant, but the abstraction on top of abstraction is a little disappointing, and seems like too much for someone who's pretty comfortable shell scripting..

..so yes, thats kind of what I'm fishing for. Is anyone aware of something a little more shell-oriented?


You can try pyscript (https://github.com/custom-components/pyscript), which allows you to write automations in plain Python.


Some say nodered, I personally didn’t like it.

Appdaemon however is exactly what I wanted. It can do anything python can and there is no drag and drop UI, you write actual code to make things happen.


Is appdaemon standalone or does it require HomeAssistant?


I’m not sure if you can run it without HASS. I run it with, and I think it would be much harder without.


Node red is probably closer to what you’re looking for, though it’s JavaScript and not shell, it’ll give you a lot more flexibility.


I just started switching to Home Assistant and LOVE it. Rather shocked to see this is just now being posted to HN to be honest.

Up until the switch I’ve had a patchwork system consisting of Alexa, Smart Life (app), Smart Things, and a lot of digital duct tape.

Having both 1) a central "command center" and 2) Zigbee/Z-Wave capabilities (requires a dongle) suddenly opens up so much more opportunities than WiFi components alone. EG I've attached door sensors to my garage doors to trigger lights and notify my dumbass when I leave the garage open at night.

Plus, I'm no longer locked into one brand's ecosystem and can keep my patchwork hardware setup.

Big fan here, strongly recommended.

Note: I have no association with any smart home brand/equipment nor home assistant… though I'd consider being associated with HA.


> Rather shocked to see this is just now being posted to HN to be honest.

Home Assistant frontpages on HN probably every other month, fear not, lol.


I am very grateful for Home Assistant but I’m in a weird spot with my setup now. I’m running an old version (honestly can’t remember which) in a Docker container and when I tried to upgrade all my integrations stopped working. So I downgraded again and have been sat there ever since. Every now and then it stops responding and I restart the container.

There’s a tricky balance between a dumb appliance that doesn’t do what you want and a smart one that requires too much babysitting, and for me HA is just too far towards the latter. Not enough that I’m going to replace it tomorrow but I’ve been looking at Hubitat lately:

https://hubitat.com/

More and more I’m liking the idea of a box that runs itself more than HA does.


Every HA I setup and invested time in cratered beyond repair within a few months. I gave up due to the Discord experience.


Try upgrading version by version, not directly to the newest. I've dockerized instance I upgrade very regularly for over a year, and it had zero issues.


One of my favorite uses of Home Assistant so far has been to allow to be a bridge for voice control for cheap Bluetooth lights. I'm running it off a Raspberry Pi and wrote my own code to control the lights based on a reverse engineered description of the protocol I found online. HA makes it easy to connect to Google Assistant and Alexa as well.

It's also great being able to set whatever rules for automation I want. Far more powerful than IFTTT or any routines with Google Assistant or Alexa.


I'm looking into 2-3 wireless cameras and some movement trigger sensor for home security. Besides security, we are getting a dog and I want to see what she is doing when we are away. If anyone has good ideas, links to equipment they used, or just want to share their experience with HASS in regards to home security, it will be appreciated. Link to some good project is also great :) (I only played with is and connected few sensors I made with ESP32s)


For any camera that provides an rtsp stream, you can use frigate[1], which has some excellent detection algorithms (it differentiate between people, dogs, ...). It also has hooks to integrate with HASS. I use it with a LaView system to monitor my external cameras and get notifications (including push to my iphone) through HASS.

[1] https://github.com/blakeblackshear/frigate


Thanks!


I’ve been trying HA yearly (as my home set up is essentially HomeKit/homebridge with Node-RED bolted on to expose unsupported devices) and it always strikes me as very declarative and finicky to configure, requiring either maintaining a bunch of YAML files or clicking through screen after screen of longish forms.

I wonder if there are any plans to make the UX feel simpler and less crowded…


Ive just gotten started, but what I like so far is based on node-red but only using HA triggers, functions, and HA call service nodes.

Essentially I use the trigger blocks to schedule my function calls. The function then ignores the inputs entirely and just inspects the variables from home assistant that it cares about, it then sends this output to any devices I want to toggle.

This way, I'm just writing code. This works naturally for me, since it's my day job. But I can use node-red for visually organizing input output tuples, and the debugging data that it shows as things activate.

I also add one manual trigger and one debug output node on each end of the function so I can just run it manually if desired.

So far it's pretty goos, but I'm missing stuff like writing tests, which means I test my functions by turning on/off devices or something which isn't ideal.


I think that is priority 1 for them, after starting as a yaml first system, you can now even add automation using natural language (never used that though). It will get less complicated for sure. As for the "crowded", I think that's up to you.


It already is. With the latest changes, almost everything can be done through the UI, hardly ever I touch YAML files.


anyone creating an insolated network for IoT devices around the house? I'd be interesting in how this can be achieved.


Yes. VLANs.


Which is only the first half of the story for many installations.

If something at your place uses SSDP/MDNS/UPNP/etc to communicate/find_each_other, you'll then have to start doing multicast bridging/rewriting and other hacks. And for those, there is no one-recipe-fits-all.


That's only if you want non-IoT devices (like your phone) to communicate with IoT devices directly, right? If you use a bridge like HA you can simply have it be in both VLANs and control everything through it.


Well, where do you draw the line? Is e.g. the SmartTV an IOT-device, or not?

If you want the TV to reach the Internet for some things (e.g. Netflix, Youtube, WhatEv), but also isolate it from your other devices, block ads, yet be able to use the UPNP-mediaservers in your network, and want to use the phone to control it for the things HomeAssistant cannot yet do, then you'll run into some difficulties. They can be worked around, but will need intimate knowledge of protocols and such.

Also some of these issues can be worked around by e.g. using HomeAssistant also as UPNP-MediaController, which I haven't gotten around to set up yet.

But "true", some categories of smart devices can be nicely sequestered into isolated VLANs.


You can create zeroconf records on standard DNS servers.

A few years ago one of my clients which ran a school wanted to give airprint access to his guest network so that parents could print documents into the school office printers.

Creating those records is a bit of a PITA and you need to find out how to replicate SRV and TXT values but it works.

Here is a good source for this type of configuration:

http://www.dns-sd.org/ServerStaticSetup.html


Are there alternatives to homeassistant? I liked the idea until i figured out that i cannot easily create a new integration with my custom adruino automation.

The forums didnt had any example and the discord/irc channels couldn't help.


I currently use HA OS for my automation and have bad experience with it and would immediately jump ship if there is any other alternative. I have my lights, thermostats and MOST importantly my pool pump automated with it. Home automation is meant to control devices VERY VERY reliably. The previous pool automation system lasted outdoors for over 30 years, I don't trust HA to last even 3 week without code issues or reboots. Most of the UI decisions don't seem well thought out.

LONG RANT

1. Too many moving pieces to get Z-Wave working, they deprecated native Z-Wave support and now use 2 or 3 different JS open source projects whose reliability is still in-flux! (running on node!, NPM is part of your home automation)

2. Z-Wave network randomly goes down, if you enable logging to debug the issue it will only show top 20 or 30 lines, no indication on how to access rest of the log data. After you google for it, you have install addons for SSH and go through bunch of steps to enable it and then google where the logs are getting stored. WHY the heck are logs not downloadable in UI?

3. Forced updates, yes the system will auto update after certain days and restart itself. No way to disable it, the dev for OS actively refuses providing option to disable auto updates. They push updates VERY frequently, multiple times every month, I guess my home automation is that dev's russian roulette? Screw your pool pump if it runs too long or doesn't run or burns itself because update messed up automation task.

4.iOS app makes your system cloud dependent!. I don't think the dev who writes iOS app uses HA himself. The app in your own home, on your own Wifi requires the local computer named connection to have valid SSL certs, it can't save signature of self signed or cloudflare or letsenrypt cert and verify that for future connections. You have to override your router DNS resolution and use public domain name. App has option for internal/external URL's but uses WiFi name to decide which to use, which requires iOS location permission!. BRUH, why don't you try local URL connection in parallel and if it connects, use it?, Why is there no option to ignore local URL cert verification and make app not internet/cloud dependent?

5. Number of "ideas" to name stuff, "Blue Prints" - Auomation template, "Scripts" - Automation without trigger, "Automation", "Devices" - DuckDNS and File Editor are devices, "Entities", "Helpers" - Variables for use in automation, "Scenes" - Goodluck, "Addons", "Integrations"

6. Significantly less reliable than Samsung Smart Home, which ran for 5 years and rebooted less than dozen times (and Samsung notified me about update reboot through email ahead of time). If you can't beat Samsung's software reliability that says something.

7. The left navigation screen is cluttered with irrelevant(for me) hard-coded links. (Energy - for solar panels because everybody got them?, Map - Why?, Media Browser - Why would I want my automation server to deal with video streams - is it reliable home automation or storage for movie files?),

8. Log book and History, why aren't these same thing with different visual options?, it's like 2 people developed them without talking to each other and both had git permission to hard code those links in left nav.

9. History defaults to 3 hours, if you change it and leave that screen it will go back to 3 hours again. Good luck debugging any issue which spans more than 3 hours.

10. iOS app starts auto-tracking iOS device properties without asking if user wants them, these properties flood your logbook and history, can't disable or delete these easily. Dozen of these properties start showing up in every screen and drop down.


Can anyone recommend what the best way is for me to set up a simple temperature sensor connected to Home Assistant on a Raspberry Pi?


Best is hard to say. Depends on what you want. I have 4 Temperature sensors (2 Aqara temp & humidity sensors, and 2 Hue motions sensors that have temperature sensing included) connected via Zigbee (using Deconz) to my HA on the PI. No issues at all.


Sounds like a great solution. What are you using in terms of hardware to get Zigbee on your Pi?


The Conbee II (USB Stick)


Anyone have an idea as to why you wouldn't be able to get the PoE version with their nice looking case? Too big, too hot?




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