Home Assistant Home Automation Z Wave

Home Automation…. reinventing the wheel

A few months back I had a catastrophic failure with the Raspberry Pi that had been running my Home Automation Platform (Home Assistant). Long Story short, I reached the physical limit of writes available on an SD Card. Who knew you could reach that limit on less than 2 years if you are running an a Home Automation System, Logging Location Services, Temperature monitoring, well as an MQTT Broker on the same box?? 

Unfortunately my schedule did not allow for me to rebuild my Raspberry Pi sooner, and I am kind of glad that it did. During the time of being Home Assistant-less, I learned that I was really not using it to it’s fullest extent and that overtime most of the features that I depended on it for had been transitioned over to my Google Home/Smart Things Hub, or my kids ended up reprogramming (more on this later).
I started to think about what I really needed Home Assistant for, well besides turning on my Z Wave Controlled office lights for me (that was very handy). I also thought about how my Google Homes had been taking over my life. Then it occurred to me. 90% of what I use my Google Homes for is Voice controlling my lights. That is not Automation, 4 times out of 10 I have to repeat myself to get it to work, and the effort of turning on a light switch with my hand is not very taxing. 
Really, I am just being lazy….. End of Story!
Just kidding….
In all seriousness I decided to get back to basics and figure out what I had going on in my house that could use Automating and here is a list of projects I have come up with that I will do blog posts about in the future.
  • Install Philips Hue Lights (the wife bought me these about a year ago, Time I put them to work)
  • Automating Dehumidifier – using a Z Wave humidity sensor and a WEMO Outlet
  • Automating Basement Space Heater – Same concept as above
  • Automating Office Fan – Now this one is going to be tricky. I am not sure if I want it to turn on when I open the door, or at a certain temperature. 
  • Automating my Bearded Dragon’s Lights – Using a WiFi Enabled power strip
  • Automating Exterior lights – Using Presence of all family members and time of day
I have other lists of things that I would like to do down the road, but for now, this should keep me busy. 
Just so you are aware, I do have vanilla Home Assistant running on my Raspberry Pi 3 B+ and I am still trying to figure out what I am going to do about an MQTT Broker to communicate with my Smart Things Hub. I have been playing around with Docker and I am thinking that is a good place for it to live, as well as hosting it on a separate Pi or Linux machine. 
Come September my schedule will be going back to crazy, if not worse with some additional things I am putting on my plate which I hope to talk about soon.
Home Automation Z Wave

Home Automation Platform Discussion Continued……

In my previous post I spoke about the shut down of the Lowe’s IRIS Home Automation Platform. I went into great detail about several of the Open Source options that exist out there such as:

Home Assistant

I also made mention to there being paid Home Automation Systems that are available that do not require a subscription. But I did not make mention of them in my last post. I would like to take this opportunity to list some of the (in my opinion) more popular ones.

Depending on which one you plan on going with, you might be locked into a particular type of hardware or protocol, in other cases the platform might me more Open.

Google Home/Alexa – I mostly have experience dealing with the Google Home line of products, however I do have some experience with writing Alexa skills. I can say for sure that Google Home is compatible with a wide variety of products and services including some open source ones like Home Assistant.

Smartthings – Samsung is another one of those platforms that will accept different pieces of hardware. However I am pretty sure that you are locked into using the Zigbee protocol. Oddly enough, if you sign up for their developer portal, you can reprogram IKEA TRADFRI lights to work with it as seen in this Blog post I did years ago.

Philips Hue – I believe they only deal with lights, many different kinds of lights. From Bulbs, to LED Strips, to Wireless LED bulbs. Within their app you can set different Profiles or scenes for each device so you an set the mood.

Ikea Tradfri – I would call this one the poor man’s Hue. That does not mean that this product is any worse that the Hue, but I will say that the lights are cheaper, like $12 a bulb vs $20 a bulb for the hue. Like I said above, the TRADFRI operates using the Zigbee Protocol, so you can reprogram them to work with a Smartthings Hub if you follow the guides.

What I like the most about all of the hubs that I listed above is that they all can integrate with Home Assistant which is by far my favorite home automation platform. The downside is I now have 4 or more hubs running on my home network, but that is my problem.

I hope you guys found this article helpful and if so please share.

If you are interested in purchasing anything covered in this post, feel free to check out some of these links below.




Raspberry Pi: