All posts tagged: openHAB

Experimenting with Home Assistant

The home automation side of our world seems to be a bit quiet at the moment. But not really. There are things “cooking” in SS’s head right now. Usually we talk about what he is planning on but lately with my pregnancy and the new bub, we have hardly had time to talk anything other than nappies, poos, sleep, settling etc. Anyways, I thought I should update a little on what is happening. SS is trying something new. Yes, we are experimenting. Yet Again. This time SS is trying out a new home automation software called Home Assistant. This will essentially replace OpenHAB that we are currently using. OpenHAB has been working perfectly fine, as far as I know. But I it is the curiosity in SS to try something new –  basically to code in Python – that has let to trialling out Home Assistant. Okay, let me correct that. We are past the trialling phase. We are definitely moving to Home Assistant. I will perhaps put up a post on his comparison between the two systems, …

Fibaro System - Motion Sensor

Sensing things

Another update on getting our home more smarter – We can now detect “presence” – for real! Nope, we have not become ghostbusters (it would be pretty interesting if we did though), so let me explain. We have basically installed sensors in the hallway and living room. In the hallway ceiling we have fit in the AEOTEC Multisensor. It is a powered by mains electricity (via a mini USB connector) so we had to get an electrician to do this. In the living room ceiling corner, we have mounted the Fibaro Motion Sensor. This one however is battery powered. And it literally only needed to be glued into place. Super easy to install. They sense motion: Both of these sensors are able to detect motion. And it feeds that info back to the ‘home controller’ device, and then on to our phones apps via the openHAB software. This means that via the openHAB app on our mobile devices, we can see if there was “someone” at home. And I just learnt that detecting presence by sensing motion is called the Wasp In a Box technique …

Testing the wired Z-Wave connection with the USB Home Controller device

And at the end of that long day, I was saying “All Lights Off”

It was the day. The day to wire in the Z-Wave devices on the switches and test that the openHAB software was able control the switches. The tests had been done. And this was the real deal. The devices had been purchased. The instructions had been revised several times. The circuitry had been discussed with the electricians several times. All the necessary doubts had been cleared. The softwares had been tried and tested. And yet when it came to the day – Of Course, we had problems. But glad to say, this story had a good ending and lessons learnt from all the problems we faced. Here’s a visual capture of the day. And at the end of that long day, I was saying “All Lights Off” to turn off all the house lights. Our brother still does not understand why we need to use our mobile phones or voice commands to control the switches. And he also does not understand our excitement. So over to you…Does the idea of home automation excite you? Or is it …

Testing the waters with openHAB

Nerd Alert. If you are not into technology, you will find this boring. You have been warned! The Z-wave switches are being installed today and SS has been working throughout the week trying to ensure that openHAB has been installed ready to be configured. SS has been testing the waters in writing the rules for openHAB and he has been successful so far in automating a lamp via a WEMO switch. I was thrilled! Let me describe his setup so far. Firstly, everything is not going as planned. SS planned to have openHAB hosted on our ASUSTOR NAS server and use the Aeotec Z-Stick USB as the controller. But on the limited version of the Linux OS on NAS, installing the driver is proving to be a problem. Poor SS. He is still waiting on ASUSTOR to respond to his query. So a temporary solution while SS figures this out, is to use Raspberry Pi instead of NAS. I am told the USB Z-Stick works like a charm on this. And that it was easy …

Getting our geek on!

Well, Well, Well – look what we have in the mail – the z-wave microswitches for our lighting automation project! Nerd Alert! Let me explain a little about what these things are for and what they do – in non geeky terms. Again on a side note, there are various types of ‘home controllers’. You can also get ones that are stand alone devices with its own processor that can connect to internet, install the necessary apps etc. But SS, opted to use USB controller because he wanted to see whether he could make more use of his linux based NAS device – which is currently our “media server” (There should be a post on this. SS does some cool things), and run the openHAB software (and there should be a post on this too. it will be particularly interesting to the tech-heads) , which typically requires Java, off it. He also just likes to do things out of the norm. Crazy dude. By the way, these devices are certainly not cheap. Here is where we purchased them …