Home Forums Chat Forum Home Automation

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 76 total)
  • Home Automation
  • 1
    leonthepro
    Free Member

    Hello,

    I have just ordered a Raspberry pi to start playing with Home Assistant.

    Give me some inspiration on what you have automated (and with what) around your home’s?

    nwgiles
    Free Member

    it depends on what you have technology wise in the house,

    I have my blinds & curtains linked to lights, so in the dark they close when the lights come on

    morning music linked to lights in the kitchen, nice gentle radio whilst I trip over the dogs in the morning

    zilog6128
    Full Member

    Been messing around with HA for about 2 years now, although more focussed on stuff that amuses me or is interesting rather than useful 😂. I am trying to re-focus now & concentrate more on things that will save me time/a job although you might find that actual automation (i.e. having it do things by itself, with no input from you) is a lot trickier than you think. Having an understanding OH is definitely a bonus 😀

    Lights (Shelly for me) & heating (Drayton Wiser) are two fairly easy things to start off with. If you have cameras (especially IP cameras) they should be fairly easy to integrate & you can do some pretty cool things with them quite easily. Robot hoover (Roborock) is probably my #1 favourite & most time/effort saving thing as I hate hoovering 😂 Although the automatic doors for the chicken coops which stop us getting out of bed at silly o’clock in the morning are a close 2nd 😀

    I initially shied away from the idea of having a futuristic-style control panel mounted on the wall but actually, after I implemented it (and spent FAR too long making it look aesthetically pleasing) it’s actually really useful & this is one of my favourite things about HA. You can just grab an Amazon Fire HD 8 or 10 half-price in one of their many sales, they’re perfect for this.

    leonthepro
    Free Member

    Love the auto chicken coop 😁. I was thinking power monitoring to start as seems straight forward ish then moving to other things. AliExpress seems to have a lot of add-ons a lot cheaper than most places, appreciate you have to wait but any experiences or is it just spin the roulette?

    Flaperon
    Full Member

    I’ve been using it for about a year to handle my solar + battery setup. It runs on a Raspberry Pi 4, although if doing it again I’d use a cheap mini-PC from eBay instead. The wireless chipset on the Pi is particularly poor if you’re unable to use Ethernet. It also struggles during high loads (eg a backup) and will chew through MicroSD cards over time.
    It mainly looks at the solar forecast for the day ahead and charges the batteries up to cover the predicted shortfall during the Intelligent Octopus cheap period.
    Also automates some stuff like the immersion heater and hot water tap and bodges the Drayton Wiser heating and Mitsubishi heat pump into working together.
    The integrations I’m using:

    • Octopus
    • Tesla
    • Podpoint
    • Forecast.Solar
    • Sonoff
    • MELcloud
    • Drayton
    • FoxESS Modbus

    The learning curve is unpleasantly steep, with appalling documentation. The way you implement stuff has changed two or three times in the last few years, and much of the documentation refers to an older way that doesn’t work. YAML is a simply awful way of doing anything. Get a space in the wrong place and the whole lot will break.
    You can do good stuff with an old Android tablet though – I use a £30 Lenovo thing from eBay which doesn’t have a battery, so can be left plugged in all the time.
    IMG_1351

    sharkbait
    Free Member

    I’m not using HA but I have three Pi’s at this house:
    Pi 1) Just controls a number of lights internally and externally (runs a little web server allowing me to control these things manually also)

    Pi 2) Watches our [very old] oil boiler and records when it starts and stops running and uploads these events to IFTTT which adds data to a Google Spreadsheet which is the basis of my oil consumption/tracking app.  It also connects to the Agile Octopus API every 30 minutes and switches the electric underfloor (and other) heating on and off via IFTTT when the cost of electricity falls below the threshold I have set.

    Pi 3) Very old pi lives in a stable connected to our PV Inverter and uploads generation data to pvoutput web site.  It also switches on the electric UFH when there is enough spare generation.

    I probably should combine Pi1 with Pi2

    ….. at the place by the beach I also have 3 Pi’s

    Pi 1) records house temperatures and controls the [all electric] heating and lights – I can connect to this remotely

    Pi 2) Is attached to the hot water cylinder and monitors the temperature – boosting the immersion if it drops too low at a time when we are likely to use it

    Pi 3) Connected to the PV Inverter and uploads generation data to pvoutput web site.  It also switches on the electric UFH when there is enough spare generation.

    1
    zilog6128
    Full Member

    It runs on a Raspberry Pi 4, although if doing it again I’d use a cheap mini-PC from eBay instead.

    yeah as much as I love Pis, it’s not the right fit for HA. As mentioned you’ll get SD card errors unless you run from SSD – but with the expense of that you might as well get a (2nd hand?) mini PC for the similar money. Or something more powerful – if you start doing interesting stuff involving audio/video processing/AI/ML etc then the Pi is going to come up short very quickly.

    The learning curve is unpleasantly steep, with appalling documentation.

    that’s one way of looking at it 😂 Another way is that it’s incredibly deep with almost unlimited potential, a great learning experience, and with a huge & enthusiastic user-base who will give you as much help as you need along the way 😀 I actually like YAML now I’ve got a handle on it & am annoyed that they’ve made some things GUI-only to configure, as YAML is actually a lot faster/more flexible once you know what you’re doing. If you’re falling foul of indentation etc then you’re probably not using the right editor… the built-in one is terrible, obviously… VSCode is the way to go!

    I probably should combine Pi1 with Pi2

    well, you should probably replace the lot with HA 😂 I see this all the time on the Raspberry Pi forums, and always think, why have you just re-invented the wheel about 4 times over 🤣 (because they haven’t heard of or haven’t tried HA is almost always the answer!)

    Love the auto chicken coop

    one my favourite things I’ve done – largely completely useless, bar the learning experience of course – is using AI to count the number of eggs we have 😂

    11
    midlifecrashes
    Full Member

    I have a kettle which turns itself off when the water boils.

    sharkbait
    Free Member

     using AI to count the number of eggs we have 😂

    That is brilliant!!

    1
    Cougar
    Full Member

    I’ve been meaning to start this thread for a couple of years now, so thank you.

    I’m hoping that Matter will eventually fix this but, right now it annoys the crap out of me that everything comes with its own app, it’s own bridge, &c &c. I have a bunch of Calex(sp?) bulbs which have their own app, but it’s a crippled version of Tuya’s Smart Life app which seems to support various rebranded stuff, and last I looked there was two different versions of that as well. In order to configure it with Alexa I have to set things up in the app, then add the Skill, then set it up all over again in Alexa.

    I’ve thought for a while that I probably should look at HA but my fear is, well, as ever there’s an XKCD for this:

    In particular it’s not clear to me how much of it is, as above, a branded standard or is actually proprietary. Like, can I replace the Hue bridge with a Zigbee stick in a Pi? Compounding this is that I share a home with a technophobe who will accuse me of “messing” if I dare fart in an unconventional key. If I could reconfigure Alexa’s wake command to “oh for ****’s sake” it’d likely be more consistent.

    surfer
    Free Member

    PV, Battery, Heating, Hot water, Ring Doorbell and lights.

    zilog6128
    Full Member

    I’ve thought for a while that I probably should look at HA but my fear is, well, as ever there’s an XKCD for this

    that’s the entire point of HA though! There are all these millions of different standards – deal with it! (I don’t think Matter is going to change this much, if it all – there certainly hasn’t been 100% take-up/enthusiasm in the industry) HA takes them, makes them all work together, and presents them to the end-user seamlessly as a single, collective “thing”, all within the same app.

    Like, can I replace the Hue bridge with a Zigbee stick in a Pi

    of course! Although, it wouldn’t be “Hue” any more (couldn’t control it with the Hue app) just generic Zigbee. But this is a Good Thing (see above).

    Compounding this is that I share a home with a technophobe who will accuse me of “messing” if I dare fart in an unconventional key.

    there’s a thing in HA called (sexistly!) “Wife Acceptance Factor”. Everyone has to deal with this according to their own situation 🤷‍♂️😂 I similarly live with a technophobe, albeit one who is happy to let me crack on and is very patient with random things happening in the house at any time 🤣

    If I could reconfigure Alexa’s wake command to “oh for ****’s sake” it’d likely be more consistent.

    this is actually the main focus of the HA dev team at the moment, and it is advancing at an incredible rate – they now have their own open-source, fully-local voice assistant, with customisable wake-word. Early days yet, although very exciting. The main stumbling block I’ve found at the moment is that without subsidised Amazon, etc hardware, decent quality microphones/speakers etc for independent voice-assistant satellites are expensive/difficult to implement!

    PV, Battery, Heating, Hot water, Ring Doorbell and lights.

    nice! Although a textbook example of someone who hasn’t (yet!!) fallen down the deep, dark hole of dashboard customisation 😃

    b33k34
    Full Member

    Built our own house and I fitted a Loxone system which runs all the lights, ventilation and various other stuff.  It doesn’t actually do the heating – the most efficient way to run most boilers is using weather compensation controls from the boiler manufacturer so the heating is fully automatic in that I never need to touch it (except to put it in holiday mode if we’re going away for any length of time in winter) .

    If I was retrofitting I’d definitely be looking at Shelly kit.

    A lot of the nice stuff is around convenience – all the light switches are ‘push’ buttons so you can have some extra (secondary) functions on them.  A triple click on the one by the front door switches all the house lights off (and the radio, and turns down the ventilation) 30 seconds after you trigger it.  We can also turn all the lights off from the bedside at night (and a long press on the bedside switch puts on very dim lights in en suite if you need them in the night)

    DickBarton
    Full Member

    I’ve jumped into this with some TP-Link cameras, bulbs and extension plugs and Google Home. I’ve got Google Speakers and Hubs and they sit in various rooms. All accessible and controllable from the Google Home app, but the cameras don’t really have much control via that so I use the TP-Link app for those (viewing them and switching them off and on.

    I’ve got 2 houses with this all running via the Google Home app and it seems to work well, but most of the control stuff is really being done on the Google speakers and hubs. I’ve got a couple of routines I can activated by voice or via my phone. I’d be keen to get more of the houses set to use more voice control stuff, but I also think I might need to get a hub for the lights – I’m happy to add them all as individual wifi connected devices, but I’m pretty sure my home router (in either house) may struggle with the volume of things connected like that.

    I’d like to get my blinds connected up as although I don’t change the blinds just now, I think that is because I can’t readily reach the drawstring so I leave them as they are…being lazy if I had these set on a controller then I could close my blinds when it got dark. I need to do a bit more looking into this as I’ve got an extension cable near the window so could plug something in that had the blind controller connected.

    This thread is proving useful as it gives plenty ideas of what could be done…thanks for starting it.

    chvck
    Free Member

    I’ve shied away from home automation despite it being right up my street – partially because it keeps being my plan “to move house next year”. The one thing I have set HA up to for is to control a single tp-link plug which is connected to my espresso machine – wake up, hit the coffee button on my phone and by the time I’ve made my way downstairs my machine is preheated. I could’ve done this without HA but I didn’t really love the idea that a wifi enabled plug to feed my coffee habit needed access to the internet to work…

    andybrad
    Full Member

    Ive started to play about with the google home script editor. Apart from issues with humidity reporting it seems to be able to do a lot of IFTTT type of automation. i.e it sensors a person on an ourdoor camera and switches the outside lights on.

    I have seen a lot of people using HA for solar automation but recently the luxpower apps have been down because people with HA are pulling lots of information from the servers. I wonder how long its going to last before they pull the API?

    Apart from dashboards im curious as to what actual automation you folks are using it for,

    zilog6128
    Full Member

    recently the luxpower apps have been down because people with HA are pulling lots of information from the servers. I wonder how long it’s going to last before they pull the API?

    this is an issue with undocumented/closed APIs for sure. Mazda have just sent the guy who published an open-source integration based on their closed API a cease & desist resulting in him & HA pulling it. The solution of course is to carefully pick & choose what devices you spend your money on and go for things which have open technology. Or for companies to provide an API but charge a (reasonable) fee for access, which is fair IMO if it covers server costs.

    K
    Full Member

    Outside lights: motion sensor on camera and gate sensor with times so that the lights don’t come on just when local cats come through the garden as with pir and also don’t stay on longer than needed late ar night.

    Inside lights: presence sensing and natural light levels and automated different shades of white and brightness time dependent. More blue in the morning while having breakfast, dim late at night.

    Ebike battery charger: monitors current and switches of with the power dropping below something like 80w that’s about 95% charge in the battery and the charge current is sloping down. Also set to stop after being on for x time and if the current is power is higher than it should be.

    Alex
    Full Member

    ooh good thread. Some great applications up there.

    Sadly our Ground Source heat pump is one generation too old for any integration. We do lights (mainly Shelly – recommendation off here and the control over the LEDs and Smart lights is very good), I binned the EV app and used the HACS OCPP add on to control/monitor the charger. Have around 12 Smartplugs that I converted to Local Tuya so they don’t need to poll China!  Also have around 10 wireless (some old BT) temp/humidity sensors

    Use those for stuff I can’t get at (heating in shed office based on temp so it’s warm when I start work), and a few useful things like ‘if it’s wednesday and < 10 degrees in workshop and I’m not in (so out on a night ride), turn the heater on so it’s warm when I get back)

    Agree with @couger et al, Yammer is horrible as was a lot of the functions for moving stuff in the UI. But it’s way better/easier now. Voice integration with google works well. 

    andybrad
    Full Member

    how have you pulled the charger current into ha?

    2
    zilog6128
    Full Member

    Apart from dashboards im curious as to what actual automation you folks are using it for

    the thing about HA (specifically) is that it’s so much more than simply home automation, it’s an integrated development platform for IoT, AI/ML, hardware/software development, environmental monitoring, you name it, the sky is literally the limit. Because it’s open-source people carve out their own little niche and some of the projects people are undertaking are really quite impressive. I find it endlessly fascinating. As a result 99% of my use of HA is just me falling down rabbit holes/trying stuff out/experimenting rather than doing anything that most people might regard as “useful” 😃.

    For example I’ve recently deployed a HA addon that uses the audio feed from my outdoor Tapo cameras (100% the best cameras to go for at the moment IMO based on their a) frequent cheap prices on Amazon and b) they have by far the best HA integration that I’m aware of) which obviously runs 24/7 and runs it though the Cornell Uni ML algorithm to automatically detect & log local bird activity by recognising their songs/calls. Logs all the data to a database obviously although I haven’t got to grips with Grafana yet so not turned it into any pretty graphs so far 😃 Not “useful” as such but now I know we have a heron who regularly visits about 5am 😂 Also regularly detects a Black Redstart which I’ve never seen and is apparently quite rare (although according to the RSPB site does hang around where we are). I really want to do the same thing with bats as we have quite a lot of bat activity but that will depend on the investment in a €300 Wideband ultrasonic mic which I can’t really justify at the moment 🤣

    I’ve also really got into developing my own IoT devices using HA’s ESPhome platform, current project is smart-ifying our hedgehog house – just finished 3d-printing an automatic dry-food dispenser which will re-stock the house with food depending on the previous nights hedgehog activity (as detected by the in-house camera!). Will record various useless data like temperature, frequency of visits/duration of stay etc, again might make some graphs out of it at some stage 😃

    Sadly our Ground Source heat pump is one generation too old for any integration.

    there’s probably some way of bodging dependent on what exactly you want to do and/or what data it presents! For example there’s a great project someone’s developed using Edge AI to monitor water or non-smart electricity/gas usage by literally photographing & interpreting the analogue readouts as they spin round!

    Alex
    Full Member

    Oh also use the excellent energy template to monitor power usage in the shed (and remind me if I’ve left a heater on when I switch SSIDs to the house). When I finish ‘work’, I just need to say ‘home time’ and after 60 seconds lights and heaters go off. 

    We have the EV charger and the rest of the house on different circuits. So when Octopus FINALLY put us an aerial in so we can have a smart meter, I’ll be using the octopus app to make sure we’re making best use of the variable tariffs. £20 aliexpress wireless power sensors just clip onto the board and work really well.

    My original HA died due to SD corruption. So now I run it as a VM on my Syntology NAS. And back it up to the cloud. A lesson hard learned there! 

    Had loads of sensors off Ali Express, a few are hard to crack (ie get bindkey so you can either root or locally add them) but at $2 a shot, it’s not a big issue.

    Alex
    Full Member

    here’s probably some way of bodging dependent on what exactly you want to do and/or what data it presents! For example there’s a great project someone’s developed using Edge AI to monitor water or non-smart electricity/gas usage by literally photographing & interpreting the analogue readouts as they spin round!

    That’s amazing. And also worrying because now I’m going to have to go research that!

    K
    Full Member

    how have you pulled the charger current into ha?

    Just using a smart socket with power monitoring. Wattsin is directly related to watts out.

    The current power shows as an entity.

    Alex
    Full Member

    how have you pulled the charger current into ha?

    If it runs the OCPP protocol (which most do), and you can redirect the outputs to HASSIO on a specific port. Our charger is an ICS and it’s easy to get to the config to do that (if you can navigate the mad UI!)

    Here’s a sample of what data we can collect. 

    SCR-20231024-ojpb

    Alex
    Full Member

    SCR-20231024-okva

    This is what the HACS OCPP automation picks up. (there’s a load more off screen)

    1
    zilog6128
    Full Member

    That’s amazing. And also worrying because now I’m going to have to go research that!

    https://github.com/jomjol/AI-on-the-edge-device

    And back it up to the cloud. A lesson hard learned there!

    yeah that is a hard lesson learnt for many! They really should recommend the user-contributed Google Drive cloud backup add-on during initial setup… I can understand why they don’t as it isn’t core and therefore not officially supported but still, it’s basically the most essential add-on you can have 😃

    Alex
    Full Member

    So once we get the Octopus plug in, I’ll basically trigger a charge via an automation based on a KWH price threshold.

    1
    Alex
    Full Member

    I’ve also really got into developing my own IoT devices using HA’s ESPhome platform, current project is smart-ifying our hedgehog house – just finished 3d-printing an automatic dry-food dispenser which will re-stock the house with food depending on the previous nights hedgehog activity (as detected by the in-house camera!). Will record various useless data like temperature, frequency of visits/duration of stay etc, again might make some graphs out of it at some stage 😃

    I can’t decide if it’s this or the egg counter I love the most :)

    multi21
    Free Member

    Watching the thread with great interest!

    My experience thus far has been that I’ve saved probably 90 seconds of getting up to turn a light on or off, roll down a blind, switch on the oven remotely on my way home, etc. And probably taken about 10 years off my life with the stress of it randomly not working!

    Okay Google, turn off the lights

    – “The lights are already off”

    Okay Google, turn on the lights

    – “Turning on the lights”

    Okay Google, turn off the lights

    – “The lights are already off”

    NO THEY ARE NOT GOOGLE

    Sandwich
    Full Member

    @chvck Same approach here, though the socket for the coffee machine is behind the dishwasher under the worktop. (Kitchen designed by Stevie Wonder?) A wifi plug was a boon for this, timer set for 20 minutes before I get up so that I can make tea for herself and have the first coffee of the day while it’s brewing.


    @multi21
    here it’s Siri just do your **** job!

    slowoldman
    Full Member

    I have a kettle which turns itself off when the water boils.

    Mine whistles.

    leonthepro
    Free Member

    Raspberry PI arrived yesterday but didn’t get chance to look it. Open it this morning, excited to start to tinkering and it needs a micro HDMI which I don’t have,  doh! Will have to wait until tomorrow and my prime delivery now.

    Been looking at Wifi and Zigbee for connectors. From what I have read so far it seems Wifi would be better as Zigbee needs line of sight?? Any real world experiences though please?

    prettygreenparrot
    Full Member

    it needs a micro HDMI which I don’t have

    For a monitor? Pesky.

    Neat though! I used to just SSH into mine and use the command line.

    zilog6128
    Full Member

    @leonthepro HA is designed to be run headless so you don’t actually need to see the monitor output from the Pi, most people wouldn’t have one permanently connected. You can get up & running simply by inserting the SD card flashed with HA! You’ll need to know what IP address it’s using (which is displayed) but you can get this info from your router.

    WiFi & Zigbee are totally different wireless protocols, both have their pros/cons. Zigbee does not need LoS no. (Phillips Hue bulbs/switches use a version of Zigbee, for example). It has the advantage that any mains-powered device (lightbulbs, switches, smart plugs normally) can act as repeaters, boosting the range of the network.

    Most of my devices are WiFi. The main problem people run into with that is most free wifi routers are garbage and fall over regularly, especially if you add too many devices. I have a Unifi setup so don’t have any problems like that.

    There’s also a third option, Z-Wave. Not as common here as in the US, so not loads of devices to choose from, and they tend to be expensive (not many cheap Chinese options!) It’s even more robust than Zigbee tho.

    savoyad
    Full Member

    @multi21 I lay in bed last night listening to my 11yo have exactly that conversation , but with added subplots involving various colours and brightness % numbers, with google for about 20 minutes.

    This stuff is fun, and I love what people with more patience than me ( hi @zilog6218 !) do with it.  But even branded versions are not exactly mature/reliable/intuitive yet

    leonthepro
    Free Member

    @ziglo6128 Thanks, loads to learn. Will have a play now.

    thebunk
    Full Member

    Gone from rPi to Synology NAS for my HA install. Would like to move of my NAS to a dedicated mini-PC with a Coral TPU. Any recommendations for what’s good atm? Bit lost with the choice and the different intel model numbers.

    1
    zilog6128
    Full Member

    PC hardware isn’t really something I expend a lot of brain energy on, but at least Intel make it simple! The 2 main differentiators are the “i” number (i3 being most basic and i9 most powerful) and then the first 1 or 2 numbers of the rest, which indicate generation number, 14 (I think) being the most recent. You don’t want anything too old tbh. I’m running a 10th gen i5 (16Gb RAM) which has been more than adequate so far including being used as an NVR & Plex server. You don’t need massive storage (I’ve got 250Gb with about 60% of that unused) but HA is a bit funny about using external drives etc for extra storage, and running out is very bad indeed.

    1
    joshvegas
    Free Member

    I don’t get HA.

    Like I can’t think of anything I have heard or read that even remotely interests me in a “that’s useful”

    I’m not a luddite I don’t think… Although I do believe car windows are perfectly functional with little arms you turn…

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 76 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.