Using The Wink Hub With OpenHAB

Spend enough time looking at home automation setups, and you’ll quickly find there are two competing philosophies. The first wants to put an Arduino on every light socket, with everything connected by cheap eBay radio modules. The second home automation philosophy requires astonishingly expensive hardware to talk to other expensive modules. The Arduino solution is a system that can be infinitely customizable, and the commercial solution talks to ‘the cloud’ for some strange reason. There is no middle ground. At least there wasn’t until [Eric] started poking around and looked at a few hardware solutions.

[Eric] was looking to control some GE Link bulbs through his phone, computer, or through the Internet. They’re supposed to be the best bulb on the market in terms of price and performance, but they can only be controlled with a Zigbee. This lead [Eric] to an interesting hack that gave all owners of the Wink Hub local control of their devices. From [Eric]’s research, this was the only way his lighting wasn’t dependent on ‘the cloud’.

Local control of the Wink was only possible after [Eric] read a post on rooting the Wink (and this post from a few days ago). Because the device could be rooted, and the fact that [Eric] already has a few things in his house integrated with OpenHAB, the choice on how to proceed with controlling a few Zigbee enabled lights was easy.

Once [Eric] got the light bulbs talking to the Wink, integrating them with the rest of the devices in his home was easy. The new bulbs are activated with his Arduino motion sensors, door sensors, and can be controlled via smartphone or by voice control. The Wink can also be completely disconnected from the Internet. A good idea, because the ability to turn a light on and off should not be dictated by the quality of your Internet connection.

20 thoughts on “Using The Wink Hub With OpenHAB

  1. There is a third option, centralize your wiring and use “plc” 0-10 volt (or 4-20mA current loop) modules / relays (= with proper certification) to drive everything mains.
    Easy to interface from whatever you want, but takes a fair bit of rewiring or redo of your mains circuit.

  2. Why not using an arduino + Zigbee directly connected to the raspi? If it’s because of OpenHAB then why not try “MisterHouse” (also open source) which can connect to almost anything ?

      1. Btw, you can hack up the GE light bulb and get a PWM output easily. Makes a great a low cost zigbee module. Only requires 3V. The module is fairly easy to extract as it is separate from the power/driver. I used it to create a zigbee enabled model town.

  3. Seriously cool work, do all the modules the wink can connect to work with OpenHab?
    Now all someone need to do is combine it with a Amazon Echo and you’ve basically finished the ultimate interface.

  4. Is there a way to turn on all the lights at the same time (or at least with negligible delay)? Also can you choose which bulbs get turned on or off (like in the fan example)? I assume each bulb is uniquely addressed, how hard is it to access this directly.

    Lastly why use the RasPi if you’ve got your PC sending C&C directives? It seems like one more part to throw in and maintain. Surely one could add OpenHAB functionality to already installed Linux, or use a VM if Linux isn’t your cup of tea.

    1. Yes. Zigbee supports this. There are a few USB dongles for Zigbee support. For example, California Eastern Laboratories has one. The IDE is windows only but the generated software builds on linux (ARM/Intel/etc).

      Wink does not implement this functionality per Zigbee standard so the experience is garbage (completely unsynchronized and inconsistent). I don’t think this could be worked around given Wink’s abstraction of Zigbee.

    2. “Lastly why use the RasPi if you’ve got your PC sending C&C directives? It seems like one more part to throw in and maintain. Surely one could add OpenHAB functionality to already installed Linux”

      ? Not sure what you’re asking. I don’t have a PC running all the time. That would be a waste of power just having a PC to run OpenHAB. The Raspberry Pi is running OpenHAB, and the PC is my personal PC (used when I’m home), and uses the interface served by the Pi, same interface as the smart phone.

      1. Just got it today, ordered as new on amazon, and it does have set_dev_value.php so it should be rootable. I think the fact that yours was used is probably why. Though I don’t know how long until the problem comes up since they’ll run out of stock and start shipping new firmware eventually.

        1. I went to Home Depot and bought a new one. It still has the set_dev_value.php exploit. Yay!

          I was able to add an ssh key and ssh into the wink. I also noticed different behavior. The NEW Wink showed as Wink-11 as a ssid. The used Wink had a longer ssid (something like Wink-10-ea12).

          I would also recommend doing a “cp set_dev_value.php set_dev_value1.php” before you edit the set_dev_value.php file, just in case of edit error (to leave you a back door).

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