Adding more competent bluetooth detection

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I remember seeing a blog a while back about making bluetooth detection better, but it really didn’t detail how to do it well for a total new guy like me… So here’s my basic question

I’m using bluetooth for my arrival sensor and presence detection, obviously the issue with this is the range. So when I’m back in my room or the other end of the house, HA marks me as Away. So combat this, I bought two Raspberry Pi Zeros to put in my room and in the back room. What I don’t know how to do, is to add these to my current Home Assistant setup on a Raspberry Pi 3. Do I install HA on all three? Can I just use them as bluetooth beacons somehow on the same network? (keep in mind I don’t have ethernet ports around the house, directly connected to my router is the only option)


You could do this:


@tom_l is there no way to simply add the two raspberry pis as simple bluetooth sensors? Is that essentially what that article is trying to accomplish? I guess my problem with that is I very quickly get lost in how to set that up as the writer’s targeted audience is a much more involved audience than myself, when it quite simply says “I run these shell scripts” it glosses over how I’d actually do that, assuming the audience knows how. Unfortunately, I get confused reading through it but if that’s the simplest option then I’m sure I could figure it out

Either way, thanks for the suggestion! I’ll keep lookin through that in the meantime


The actual setup steps on the github page are quite detailed:


@tom_l Yeah I saw that shorty after, which does help a fair bit. I guess my biggest point is asking whether this is the simplest option to turn a Pi Zero into a simple bluetooth sensor. Seems like it’s a much more complex solution to address the shortcomings he experienced with the devices, no?


I’m using this approach and it works well. You just following the installation instructions and the Pi Zero’s automatically run the script and send MQTT messages when people arrive or depart. The documentation then shows how to configure HA to hook into those messages (but I’m using Node-Red within HA, so I’ve done it differently).

To reduce the complexity, go straight to the github page and just follow the Configuration and Setup of Raspberry Pi Zero W instructions. However you will first need to install an MQTT broker (eg. enable the internal HA MQTT broker).

If you’ve not used MQTT before you should also download something like mqtt.fx which gives you a GUI that can subscribe to the messages so you can see what is being sent around. Otherwise it might look like voodoo.

The only problems I’ve encountered is my 2 Pi Zero’s seem to crash and require a restart every couple of days. Sometimes I can reboot them over SSH, sometimes I have to power cycle them.