Choosing a Home Assistant yellow

I have an HA instance set up in my garage, but I’m having a lot of Zigbee coverage problems and I can’t move my instance because it’s a mini PC and the fan can’t be changed (it’s too noisy). I have tried everything, even the Hubs via ethernet. I’ve gotten tired of all the problems I’ve caused by moving the house to home automation. So I have decided to buy a Home Assistant Yellow. However, I have never used a Raspberry and don’t know which configuration to choose. I want to think long term and I have several doubts:

1 - In my HA I have more than 32 GB occupied, so I will surely opt for an M.2, but I want to know if the internal Coral expansion is worth it or if you can use the Coral USB (although it sounds to me that you have to do some magic to make it work).

2 - I have seen that there are some problems with Thread and Matter. Does the CM4 need WiFi to work as a Hub? Do I need a Bluetooth adapter for HA or can I use an ESP-32 (with a Bluetooth extension) to make Matter and Thread work?

Any Raspberry 3 or better with enough ram will do. But if you’re already using HA and have stuff that’s ‘not working well’ then ensure that you have both enough memory and storage on the box.

As for the coral support I’ll leave that to someone else. Unsure with the CM 4. But yes SSD of sufficient size (if migratinf I always default to current used disk size *4 for minimum disk)

For memory… As much as you can afford. I personally won’t deploy new on anything less than 4GB. CM4 don’t ship with absurd amounts of ram and if you’re memory bound (we don’t know from your description - I’d make sure there’s headroom). If you plan on running a bunch of addons (extra stuff) then this is the most important decision - more ram.

For thread you will need a thread capable coordinator stick like the HA Skyconnect. It CAN also be used for Zigbee with the Multiprotocol addin. Make sure you have at Least a. 5m usb extension cord or preferred a USB2 powered hub.

Pi are power hungry monsters and pi are horrible for 2-3Ghz rf interference - which make ZWave zigbee and thread sticks have a bad day.

Don’t run wifi for your home automation SERVER <don’t run wifi for servers period of you can avoid it.

Finally for Bluetooth lookup esp32 Bluetooth proxies it’s a nice clean way to spread Bluetooth reception around the house.

  1. There’s no support for the internal Coral (hardware issues, nothing that HA can work around)

  2. Thread is … yeah, unless you really need Thread, just don’t bother. Even Matter is a source of frustration currently - they have a lot of maturing to do. HA’s internal Thread support is not recommended by the Thread developers, and the multi-protocol option even less so - that should tell you something.

I’ll second the advice to use wired networking, and ESPs for Bluetooth, doubly so if you plan on using Zigbee.

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You haven’t said what problems you are experiencing and why new server hardware would make a difference. You specifically mention Zigbee. Zigbee has a notoriously short range. My zigbee devices were mostly unreliable until I added a router in every room. The more devices you add to the Zigbee network makes the network more reliable.

You can never have too much storage or RAM.

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If you already have HA running on decent hardware(?) you could use a hybrid zigbee coordinator like the UZG-01, and place that somewhere central in your house. I just migrated to a similar setup this weekend, server running out in my garage, UZG-01 in my media rack.

Edit: Is this what you already tried (“Hubs over ethernet”?)

My Zigbee network is horrible. I have my installation in the garage and I don’t have many outlets nearby. I tried putting a lot of outlets nearby, but they don’t get much signal because the walls are so thick. Also, I have found that there is a lot of latency no matter what I do because my devices are at the other end of the house. I bought a Hub that works over Ethernet, but I have not been able to get it to work well. I am now trying to use the Sonoff one (when they want to run the lights). I tried to change the fan to the PC, but I can’t and it makes too much noise to put it in the middle of the house.

If I finally decide to buy the yellow model, do you think I need any extra (Bluetooth, Wifi…)?
I have read that you have to use the console and use the same ZHA and Thread channels for Matter to work. It’s a bit tedious.

My hardware is fine, in fact, I might even decide to put two instances of HA later on and just dedicate one to control cameras. The problem is Zigbee. I have quite a few devices at home and many do not work well because of poor coverage. I can’t move the computer, and I’m tired of the banger. I just want something stable so I can reconfigure everything and never touch it again. I have tried the ZB-GW03 router, but it gives me errors when I start it up and I have not been able to get it to work. Besides, my router sometimes does weird things with the IPs and I can’t log in to the router because my ISP won’t let me. I don’t want to spend +200€ on another computer, but it seems to me that I have no choice if I want the home automation to have a life of its own.

Thanks so much for the information. I’ll write it down!!

That just sounds strange. At least wrong. Can you log on to the router?

I’ve been running Home Assistant on a used Intel Nuc for a few years with absolutely no problems. You could put it anywhare because it is fanless.

No. You don’t need WiFi since you’ll talk to the WiFi devices over the network. You’ll use the ESP Bluetooth proxies to talk to Bluetooth devices.

Then you misunderstood. Matter does not require Thread, and Thread doesn’t require you to make HA a TRB.

As I said, the devs don’t recommend using HA for Thread. If you really need Thread then you’re 100% better off using Google Home or Apple Homepods as your TRBs.

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I can’t access the router. I have to pay extra in order to access it.

I didn’t remember the NUC. I’m going to look second hand on eBay and other stores.
One question, can I reset (erase the ZigBee devices) from the Sonoff dongle? To start from scratch my ZigBee network

What backwater ISP is this? Then just install your own router.

I’ve never done it. Why would you need to? I am relatively unfamiliar with Zigbee, but I recently had a hardware failure in my Home Assistant server and when I installed Home Assistant to a new server and restore the latest backup, all my Zigbee devices were still there and working.

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Indeed. If you think the network is unstable because HA. Fix HA then see what the network does. Don’t take out a cannon and blow everything away. If you get on the new gear and the network still gives issue. Then look at blowing it away.

I have five Intel NUCs, four from eBay for around $100. Generally the eBay ones don’t come with the power supply, RAM or M.2 SSD so by the time you add these you are up to near $200.

I just took another look and am surprised how far the prices have dropped. This one looks like a good buy.

I am tempted to buy some of the “parts only” NUCs to build a good unit.