Home Automation Covers Everything

When starting out on a project, it’s accepted best practice to try to avoid feature creep. Of course, we can’t all say that we follow this guideline completely every time. In fact, sometimes it can get away from us, and in rare situations it might actually turn out pretty well. That appears to be what happened with [superczar]’s home automation project which now covers basically everything possible in home automation.

The build started in 2013, so we assume that features have been added periodically and that the system wasn’t designed and built all in one furious weekend. Either way, though, it covers a lot: lights, switches, media players in several rooms, includes sensors and logging for temperature, smoke, fire, and power, supports a number of cameras, the doorbell, and the locks. It also includes voice control for most of the systems.

That’s an impressive list, but what really drew our attention to this project is that it used to be based on domoticz, but that community has waned over the years and [superczar] had kept his system patched together with self-built scripts. An accidental upgrade recently broke the entire setup, so rather than rebuild everything a migration was made to home-assistant, an open-source platform that has a more active community. We’ve seen plenty of projects around here that use it as a platform, for ceiling fans, custom remotes, and doorbells.

Thanks to [pradeepmur] for the tip!

29 thoughts on “Home Automation Covers Everything

      1. Looks like a mix – most are something other than Grafana (mini graph card?) but the power one is definitely Grafana in an iframe card.

        Biggest issue with grafana in iframe cards is that there’s an issue with Home Assistant’s ingress setup such that authentication tokens (or something along those lines) for Grafana are only created when you click on the standalone Grafana tab in HA. So iframe cards in your main dashboard will eventually transition to “401 Unauthorized” after half a day until you click on the Grafana tab again.

      1. I hade bad experience with InfluxDB. First off it has lost our databases twice during regular restarts (not upgrades).

        Secondly there was a bug in the abs() function that returned the input value unchanged for floats.

        Third, on a request to support nested functions (sum(abs(value))) the developers responded with a flat “we don’t support nested math” and closed it.

        1. I use the Prometheus integration in homeassistant and have Prometheus use Victoria Metrics (opensource too) for long term storage and also for powering grafana. Works quite well on embedded hardware too.

  1. I started about one year ago also with Home Assistant. It’s not great, but I think one of the best out there and gets constant updated.

    So far I have:
    – temperature/humidity sensors
    – door/window and PIR sensors
    – reverse engineered the blinds to make them go down up at dusk and down at dawn
    – mailbox sensor
    – face or QR code intercom unlock
    – storage of intercom videos (e.g. to see if the delivery man really tried to deliver the package)
    – cofee machine startup in the morning
    – robot vacuum
    – media players
    – reverse engineered some big LED panels (nrf24-like) which can provide an almost pleasant 100W wake-up light
    – universal remote control, router interface, Alexa(s) are on Wi-Fi plugs, several cameras, etc.

    Still on my list:
    – apartment door unlock with some code that does not require keys or remote
    – automatic cooling by cracking open the windows during the night
    – OctoPi integration
    – some sort of voice control to turn Aexa on and provide better voice control
    – a safe way to access it remotely, I don’t dare keep it online
    – a nice touch interface that works with Kindle
    – many more sensors (lightning, fridge, water quality) and automations

    Additionally, I have some other things that don’t make sense to integrate such as a touch-activated night/reading light or PIR bed underside orientation light. At some point one has to draw the line at automation.

    1. I’ve tried Home Assistant a number of times. I’ve been running it on and off for about 3 years now. It’s nice… when it works. Then they an update and it breaks all your config files and you have to spend 7-8 hours debugging which tiny change is causing Home Assistant to no longer boot.

      THEY NEED TO STOP RELEASING BREAKING CHANGES IN THEIR UPDATES. That and the toxic personality cult that has grown up around this project, is why I moved away from it. It’s really unfortunate because you’re right, it’s probably the best (when it works).

      1. This in fact was the very reason that made me move away from domoticz.
        With HA running as a virtualized instance on a KVM, it’s a matter of minutes to automate nightly snapshots that can be restored within a few minutes without leaving your desk.

      2. People who make breaking changes a lot seem to almost be proud of it. They seem to see software as a process, not a product, and kind of like the breaking changes to force people to stay on their toes with maintenance and not run old stuff.

        Usually they seem to be very security focused and not want anyone to do anything big enough to cause a maintenance challenge in the first place, but in this case HA already is pretty big…

      3. Yeah, I wish I could just concentrate on my projects instead of fighting with HA all the time.
        On the other hand, most closed-source solutions rarely provide an update after the first year and sometimes they render YOUR products obsolete for no good reason.

        My TomTom navigation, with “lifetime map updates” suddenly does not get map updates anymore. Instead, I am “nudged” to get the “final offer” on the new model, which also comes with lifetime updates.
        My smart TV from Toshiba never got an update so almost no internet functionality works anymore.
        Logitech Harmony was a complete failure from the start, I could not convince them to improve the apps, at least they provide an API.
        The Sony receiver which claimed to have internet radio stopped having that radio after one year, since the service shut down and they never provided an update. They went with only one provider, vTuner.

        My point is, I’d rather have constant updates with breaking changes – that I can choose to update to, or not – instead of having a brick after one year of service.

      1. ssh tunnels -> yes, that’s my intention. My home router is behind two other routers but I have a public host somewhere that I can use for this.
        However, I first need to vet the security of my (unsecured) HA and make sure nothing can leak out.

        The second issue is that I might need access to other internal hosts, such as the intercom system. Or modify those so that the data is kept inside HA. Right now it lives in an iFrame which would not be accessible through a tunnel.

        The other option is tunnel + VPN.

        The situation is much better since I’ve consolidated a lot of rPis into a single rPi4, previously they were scattered everywhere: media server, print server, RF433 gateway, media renderer, NAS, Home Assistant. They just did not have the grunt before to run everything at once, but pi4 can do it.

  2. Did mention it only cursory, but most of the stuff I got integrated through esp-home or reverse engineering existing protocols from the stuff I had inside the house. The sensors are almost 10 years old and still not supported by most decoders (made a PR for that), the LED panels have their own chip and protocol, the intercom interfaces through analog video to a rPI4 running a custom Python script for image detection, the blinds are electric but have no communication, etc.
    It’s basically a fully custom solution which would help very few people, if published.

  3. As a Home Automation enthusiast I find it fascinating how peoples approaches and solutions, as well as the hardware used tend to differ a lot from region to region, country to country.

    1. Home assistant is developing at a breakneck pace right now– so much so that it is seeing lots of sturm and drang about breaking changes and deprecating things. I run a fairly involved setup of it and while it does require some care and feeding, its pretty awesome. What it did for me was really expose the complete failure of the propriety cloud iot platforms and opened a whole world of either standards based or free as in freedom hardware and homebrew devices. The integration with node-red is really game changing because it is an accessible visual-code automation platform that can be as simple or complex as you make it.

      1. Popularity is hardly predictable, but often determines the fate of a project. At first glance, Platypush looks good, but also like a tool for a developer. HA has a nice homepage, fancy user interface, which is manageable with a simple point-and-click method, offers a relatively smooth learning curve even for a power-user, thus addressing a larger group in general.
        Diversity is great. Even if this won’t get as much attention, and even if I won’t use it, I hope you will continue developing it.

  4. Ha ha ha all you guys struggling with Home Assistant and its breaking changes. I’m now using Hubitat. It also has its issues but it offers a much more stable platform and a huge array of device support. Combined with Node-RED it’s about as good as it gets right now.

  5. Fantastic job.
    I’ve been pondering a venting system that measures outside temperature.
    If the outside temp goes below AC, it shuts down the AC and starts a fan, maybe in the attic, maybe somewhere else (not sure yet) That forces air through the house from outside and cools it down.
    Still hammering details but your automation of the ac looks like a good starting point for shutting down the AC during this process.

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