Smarter SmartThings with MQTT and Home Assistant

nine minutes reading time
  • How-To
  • MQTT
Comments

This is a guest post by Home Assistant users Jeremiah Wuenschel and St. John Johnson.

So you own a SmartThings Hub. You probably bought it when you were looking to get into the whole Home Automation hobby because it worked with pretty much everything and offered you the ability to automate anything. After a week of ownership, you realized that building dashboards and automating required writing way more Groovy then you expected. Then one day you were browsing reddit and discovered the amazingness that is Home Assistant! A solution that offered dashboards, graphs, working support for Nest, and REAL EASY automation!

You spent your weekend getting everything set up, showing it off to your significant other, but in the end you got stumped when it came to integrating with all your existing SmartThings toys. What do I do now? Should I buy another hub? Should I just buy a Z-Wave stick?

That’s where we came in. We wanted a solution that can bridge the awesomeness of Home Assistant with the SmartThings hub that works with almost everything.

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0.12: Insteon, LIFX, Twitter and ZigBee

two minutes reading time
  • Release-Notes
Comments

Another sprint has come to an end and it seems that we have not slowed down a single bit 🚀. 0.12 is full of new components, platforms and organizational additions.

I would like to give a shout out to Greg Dowling (@pavoni) as every release includes new work from him. He is constantly adding support for new platforms or improving the reliablity of existing components and platforms. Keep up the good work!

This release includes a very frequent requested feature: the ability to organize entities in different tabs in the frontend. See the demo to see this in action and read more in the group documentation how to get started.

Example of the new views in the frontend. Learn more.

Backwards incompatible changes

  • Nest config has moved from thermostat to the Nest component.
  • Entity IDs for Z-Wave devices are now generated in a deterministic way causing all IDs to change starting this release. This is a one time change. (Changed again in 0.31)

Perfect Home Automation

five minutes reading time
  • Internet-of-Things
Comments

People often ask me about my vision for Home Assistant. Before I can describe where I want to go with Home Assistant, I should first talk about how home automation would look in my ideal world. This will be the aim of this post. I’m not going to focus on protocols, networks or specific hubs. That’s all implementation details. Instead, this post will focus on what is most important: the interaction between the users and their home.

You should not have to adapt to technology.

When people start using home automation, they always experience home control first: being able to control devices in new ways using a phone or computer. They believe the future is now and their app will be their remote for their lives. They only focus on what they are getting, not on what they are losing. You install some light bulbs and all of a sudden you are no longer able to use the light switches. You’ll arrive at home at night and have to pull out your phone, open the app, let it connect and finally you’ll be able to turn on the light. All while turning the light on could have been a switch away.

Yes, you can solve this with presence detection. What if your phone runs out of battery? You’ll have to resort to the switch again.

If you find that using your new home devices is cumbersome, the promise of home automation technology has failed you. Your lights should work with both a switch (or button) at the entrance of your room and via presence detection. Honestly, there are hardly any valid use cases for being able to control lights from your phone except for showing off.

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0.11: Extended support for DIY solutions

two minutes reading time
  • Release-Notes
Comments

First release of 2016 and we are on 🔥! The main repository has passed 2500 ⭐ on GitHub (2596 ⭐ as of now). This release also has a record number of 20 contributors all working on improving and extending Home Assistant. With the continued growth, I am very excited to see what 2016 will bring us 🤘.

Backwards incompatible changes


0.10: Amazon Echo, iCloud, Dweet.io, Twitch and templating support!

two minutes reading time
  • Release-Notes
Comments

Alrighty, it’s time for Home Assistant 0.10. A lot amazing things have changed and sadly we also had to introduce a bunch of backwards incompatible changes. I would like to give a big shoutout to Philip Lundrigan (@philipbl) who put a lot in effort in helping the migration to move towards using templates for a wide variety of platforms.

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Set up encryption using Let's Encrypt

five minutes reading time
  • How-To
Comments

Exposing your Home Assistant instance outside of your network always has been tricky. You have to set up port forwarding on your router and most likely add a dynamic DNS service to work around your ISP changing your IP. After this you would be able to use Home Assistant from anywhere but there is one big red flag: no encryption.

This tutorial will take you through the steps to setup a dynamic DNS for your IP and allow trusted encrypted connection to it - for free using DuckDNS and Let’s Encrypt.

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Activating Tasker tasks from Home Assistant using command line switches

three minutes reading time
  • How-To
Comments

In this tutorial I will explain how you can activate Tasker tasks from Home Assistant command line switches. We are going to set up a switch that when toggled will make your Android device say either “On” or “Off”.

You could also do this with the automation component instead so whenever you put your house to sleep mode for example your Android device will open up Google Play Books or the Kindle app ready for you to read as well as dimming your lights, but this tutorial is all about the switches.

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InfluxDB and Grafana

two minutes reading time
  • How-To
Comments

The InfluxDB database is a so-called time series database primarly designed to store sensor data and real-time analytics.

The influxdb component makes it possible to transfer all state changes from Home Assistant to an external InfluxDB database.

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0.9: Rollershutters, locks, binary sensors and InfluxDB

Less than one minute reading time
  • Release-Notes
Comments

It’s been a few weeks but we managed to polish a nice new release of Home Assistant for y’all!

To update, run pip3 install --upgrade homeassistant.