Home Automation - Smartkit

Deanza

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2008
Messages
109
Hi everyone,
Absolute nOOb here who has just gotten a Google Home Hub and a few mini’s and played around with a Sonoff smart plug, eWelink and GH. I have read and reread the posts here from #1 and the more I read them, the more I understand. But it seems most of you have some level of skill here and so the basics are missing. I don’t know anyone who is doing this, so I don’t have a mentor.

I am looking for the best way to start my automation. I don’t want to start a system and then find out later I need to do system change or upgrades.
I want to start with some Sonoff devices, light switches, motion sensors etc and then move onto security, irrigation, geyser etc and I am thinking of running on a Pi with Tasmota.

In light of the above, which system would you recommend? From the posts here, it appears most people are using either Home Assistant or hass.io or OpenHAB? (They will all have a steep learning curve for me, so which would be best for me?)

Many, many questions, but this is a starting point.

Thanks!
 

ebendl

Expert Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2004
Messages
3,514
Hi everyone,
Absolute nOOb here who has just gotten a Google Home Hub and a few mini’s and played around with a Sonoff smart plug, eWelink and GH. I have read and reread the posts here from #1 and the more I read them, the more I understand. But it seems most of you have some level of skill here and so the basics are missing. I don’t know anyone who is doing this, so I don’t have a mentor.

I am looking for the best way to start my automation. I don’t want to start a system and then find out later I need to do system change or upgrades.
I want to start with some Sonoff devices, light switches, motion sensors etc and then move onto security, irrigation, geyser etc and I am thinking of running on a Pi with Tasmota.

In light of the above, which system would you recommend? From the posts here, it appears most people are using either Home Assistant or hass.io or OpenHAB? (They will all have a steep learning curve for me, so which would be best for me?)

Many, many questions, but this is a starting point.

Thanks!
So many people are quite happy setting up automations using just the Sonoffs with stock firmware, Google Home / Amazon Echo and cloud services like IFTTT. This is probably the easiest route (and if you add some smart bulbs that has IFTTT and Google Home / Amazon Echo support then you can build some pretty fun things).

The main reason I went the non-cloud route with Home Assistant was:
1) I had trouble integrating my different services. At that point I had Xiaomi Yeelights, Sonoffs & eWelink and Xiaomi Mi home devices. The latter has automation built in, but Xiaomi hasn't officially released some of these things outside of China, so I had to use the China server to get it to work. And while their automation system supported the Yeelights, the Yeelights only had Google Home & IFTTT support on the Singapore server, so I had to either let that go (which I didn't want to) or not integrate the two. On top of it, neither integrate natively with eWeLink.
2) eWeLink had a massive cloud outage after I used it for 2 weeks. So I couldn't turn on / off some devices at all because of the cloud outage. I believe it is better these days.
3) I had trouble setting up more advance automations since IFTTT just is too limited. For example, I want to turn on a light when I leave work around 17:00 to let my family know I'm heading home, but not around 12:00 if I'm getting lunch. Turns out I could either do it if I leave work (any time) or at a specific time, but not both using IFTTT (no conditions).
4) Delay -- turning on lights and devices had a couple of seconds delay, which is annoying.
5) Lock-in: I could only use the app that Xiaomi gave me, or the Yeelight app. If they decide to stop support it, then bye-bye home automation.
6) Chinese spying (potential) -- all of the above are Chinese companies. I'm the last to don a tin-foil hat but there's definitely traffic going to China from these devices.

If any of the above bugs you, then you are probably looking at setting up your own server as it solves almost all of the above.

I should also add, I'm a computer engineer turned software developer, so it comes more naturally to me (including hardware mods and soldering). If you're not in IT it could be a bit more frustrating.

I tried OpenHAB but it didn't work well on Windows (then again, HA probably doesn't either) and broke it completely when I tried to upgrade. At that point I discovered Dr Zzs' videos (he's an anesthesiologist by trade, so his videos are really simple even for non-developers) and since he's heavily leaning towards Home Assistant, I decided to take the plunge on a Raspberry Pi and give it a go.

I think the Sonoff + Tasmota + Raspberry Pi has more than enough videos to get you started, so that's the route I'd recommend if you do want to tinker yourself.
 

InternetLuddite

Expert Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2016
Messages
1,355
. At that point I discovered Dr Zzs' videos (he's an anesthesiologist by trade, so his videos are really simple even for non-developers) and since he's heavily leaning towards Home Assistant, I decided to take the plunge on a Raspberry Pi and give it a go
So that explains his nickname and history. Never knew. So cool !!
 

Deanza

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2008
Messages
109
So many people are quite happy setting up automations using just the Sonoffs with stock firmware, Google Home / Amazon Echo and cloud services like IFTTT. This is probably the easiest route (and if you add some smart bulbs that has IFTTT and Google Home / Amazon Echo support then you can build some pretty fun things).

The main reason I went the non-cloud route with Home Assistant was:
1) I had trouble integrating my different services. At that point I had Xiaomi Yeelights, Sonoffs & eWelink and Xiaomi Mi home devices. The latter has automation built in, but Xiaomi hasn't officially released some of these things outside of China, so I had to use the China server to get it to work. And while their automation system supported the Yeelights, the Yeelights only had Google Home & IFTTT support on the Singapore server, so I had to either let that go (which I didn't want to) or not integrate the two. On top of it, neither integrate natively with eWeLink.
2) eWeLink had a massive cloud outage after I used it for 2 weeks. So I couldn't turn on / off some devices at all because of the cloud outage. I believe it is better these days.
3) I had trouble setting up more advance automations since IFTTT just is too limited. For example, I want to turn on a light when I leave work around 17:00 to let my family know I'm heading home, but not around 12:00 if I'm getting lunch. Turns out I could either do it if I leave work (any time) or at a specific time, but not both using IFTTT (no conditions).
4) Delay -- turning on lights and devices had a couple of seconds delay, which is annoying.
5) Lock-in: I could only use the app that Xiaomi gave me, or the Yeelight app. If they decide to stop support it, then bye-bye home automation.
6) Chinese spying (potential) -- all of the above are Chinese companies. I'm the last to don a tin-foil hat but there's definitely traffic going to China from these devices.

If any of the above bugs you, then you are probably looking at setting up your own server as it solves almost all of the above.

I should also add, I'm a computer engineer turned software developer, so it comes more naturally to me (including hardware mods and soldering). If you're not in IT it could be a bit more frustrating.

I tried OpenHAB but it didn't work well on Windows (then again, HA probably doesn't either) and broke it completely when I tried to upgrade. At that point I discovered Dr Zzs' videos (he's an anesthesiologist by trade, so his videos are really simple even for non-developers) and since he's heavily leaning towards Home Assistant, I decided to take the plunge on a Raspberry Pi and give it a go.

I think the Sonoff + Tasmota + Raspberry Pi has more than enough videos to get you started, so that's the route I'd recommend if you do want to tinker yourself.
Thanks or taking the time for such a detailed post. I do tend to agree with all your non-cloud remarks. The only issue I have with HA vs OpenHAB is the cloud on OpenHAB is free but you pay on HA.
 

ebendl

Expert Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2004
Messages
3,514
Thanks or taking the time for such a detailed post. I do tend to agree with all your non-cloud remarks. The only issue I have with HA vs OpenHAB is the cloud on OpenHAB is free but you pay on HA.
You don't need the HA cloud for anything:
1) You can set up DynDNS and open up the ports to connect to it (or set up something safer)
2) You can use VPNs to connect to it
3) You can setup integration with Google Assistant directly and create your own "skill" for it.

I do pay the $5 happily though, because
1) It does make Google Assistant super simple to set up
2) I really do get a great experience from Home Assistant and happily support the guys.
3) It makes Webhooks safer and simpler in that the HA Cloud handles those, as opposed to your local instance
4) I hope in the future to have a simpler way to link to your instance via their cloud, instead of exposing your own instance (and opening up ports etc.)
 

feo

Honorary Master
Joined
Jan 22, 2006
Messages
13,403
PS, anyone have a 3D model of a backplate for a T1?

Wanna maybe see if I can get it 3D printed locally somewhere.
 

InternetLuddite

Expert Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2016
Messages
1,355
Has anybody used Shelly's here with Tasmota? I am thinking of getting when I travel overseas to see if I can use them for my pool pump enclosure. A Shelly 2.5 will meet many of my needs and allow me to install inside DB without getting a bigger dB itself to house Sonoff pow R2s.
 

phaktza

Executive Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2008
Messages
7,958
Ordered...#3304.

Please solder some wires for me and include Tasmota as well.

Thanks guys!
Hi feo. We've just received the stock. Will dispatch tomorrow. Thanks for your patience.
 

phaktza

Executive Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2008
Messages
7,958
Has anybody used Shelly's here with Tasmota? I am thinking of getting when I travel overseas to see if I can use them for my pool pump enclosure. A Shelly 2.5 will meet many of my needs and allow me to install inside DB without getting a bigger dB itself to house Sonoff pow R2s.
Waiting for samples... :/
 

Sinbad

Honorary Master
Joined
Jun 5, 2006
Messages
68,000
Got the ultrasonic transducer talking to the Arduino yesterday - man these things are well thought out :)

So next step is doing the maths to work out water level/volume etc, then replace the outside plug socket with one with USB, do some soldering and then figure out mounting and wiring :D
 

Pho3nix

The Legend
Joined
Jul 31, 2009
Messages
27,733
Some new players - http://www.all-iot.co.za

All about custom solutions. "From microchip to user experience"

Most current IoT solutions use proprietary boards and micro-controllers such as Adafruit, Arduino, etc.

IoT solutions on dedicated hardware specific to the purpose and at a much lower cost than proprietary hardware.
Should probably finish the site before advertising...

My 0.02c
 

xrapidx

Honorary Master
Joined
Feb 16, 2007
Messages
37,073
So - last night I finally made the effort in connecting Google Assistant to my Paradox alarm via home-assistant - much more convenient being able to tell google to arm the alarm in various states than getting out a phone or going to a keypad.
 
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