Rich Freeman via plug on 15 Mar 2020 18:55:53 -0700

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Re: [PLUG] Open Source Home Automation

On Sun, Mar 15, 2020 at 9:33 PM Adam Zion via plug
<> wrote:
> So, the question is: have any PLUGgers experimented with a solution like openHAB, Eventghost, or the like? If so, what did you think?

I use OpenHab.  I like that you can do so much with it, but I dislike
that even small tasks end up involving a lot of code.  Something like
home-assistant looks much easier to set up, but I'm not sure I could
really implement all the stuff I do using it as the syntax is just
less flexible than full procedural code (but I'll confess I haven't
spent a ton of time digging into it).

One downside to OpenHab is that I'm running their old v1 code, because
migrating to v2 and doing everything the new way seems to require a
complete rewrite of all my logic/etc.  I just can never get over that
hump for something that basically just works.  It will probably become
a pain eventually when it no longer runs on a supported distro
release.  At that point I'm just as likely to try home-assistant as I
am to redo everything for OpenHab.

But the key to most of these platforms is that they don't care what
vendor gets along with what other vendor.

Oh, one tip I do have is to make sure that you have switches/etc set
to DIRECTLY control lights and so on, and just use the automation to
do value-adds.  If my OpenHab Pi is down then any of my lights can be
controlled with a regular switch of some sort, and likely also with a
Hue wireless switch or something like that.  Now, my lights won't
automatically change color at certain times of day, or come on at
night, and I can't hit one button on a remote to change all the lights
in the house, and when I hit my light switch coming in the door in the
dark all the lights and the heat won't come on.  But I can still turn
on the lights in a dark room the old fashioned way.  That helps
mitigate any potential home IT disasters.

Also, keep in mind that some home automation products require cloud
APIs to interface with 3rd party software like Openhab.  Openhab
itself is perfectly capable of running standalone with no internet
connection.  But if your lights only talk to a cloud server then
Openhab will be forced to use that cloud API to control them.  That
works just fine, but if you have no internet then you lose that
control.  Plenty of stuff doesn't require cloud APIs to work, and for
that stuff OpenHab can control things directly.  For example, my
insteon modem is connected to my Openhab server directly via USB - it
can control all my Insteon devices fine and respond to Insteon
switches and remotes if I shut down the entire house LAN.  You just
need to be aware of how it all works.

Also, be aware of limitations for any products you invest in.  Insteon
is expensive, but all their devices can fully mesh any signal to any
other device, and as I understand it they can expand to networks of
thousands of devices.  Some other protocols can only mesh through
certain types of devices and may not work beyond a dozen or two
devices.  You need to have an idea of your requirements.  While tools
like OpenHab let you have your Insteon light switch control your Hue
bulb and trigger an event on your Ecobee thermostat, and react to what
happens on your Plex TV, most of these things probably can't directly
talk to each other which means you'll get some latency between button
and action, and nothing happens when the server is down.  If you try
to pair switches and lights they directly control so they're from the
same vendor you can get zero-latency reactions with the automation
system just noticing after the fact and triggering any needed events.
If I hit my Hue wireless switch all the lights in the room instantly
come on.  Then half a second later OpenHab adjusts brightness and
color temp to suit the current schedule, but I get the light

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