Completely new to Home Assistant

Hi all,
Apologies, I’m completely new to Home Assistant and have zero scripting knowledge, though I really do want to learn how to use scripting for a range of purposes - my smart home setup being a key one of them!

I’ve managed to get Home Assistant up and running on my 2012 Mac Mini. I’ve set up my dashboard and I’ve got some automations running. I’ve created scenes and I’ve got things linked up so my Zigbee switches are controlling completely unrelated wi-fi kit. So far so good and I’m really happy with it.

My ultimate aim is to remove the need for my kit to have to connect to different servers all over the world so that if/when my internet connection is down the smart home still functions as it should; but baby steps.

I’ve come across a stumbling block. I would like to add a file editor to my sidebar, I don’t know how to. So I’ve watched some YouTube videos and they say I need ‘Supervisor’ I don’t have Supervisor in my sidebar either. I’ve seen that people have posted issues with accessing ‘Supervisor’ and to be honest, I’ve no idea what the answers mean, they’re not in plain English to someone who has 0 knowledge of scripting. I saw something that suggested it could be my install as it could be through a virtual machine. I think this is what I have done to get Home Assistant to run on the Mac Mini, though in all honesty, I’m not entirely sure how - I just followed the instructions on the website and YouTube which involved downloading a couple of files and writing some bits into Terminal.

I’m interested in what I can do with hardware such as a Raspberry Pi but I’m not sure I am at that stage yet. I’m trying to get into Home Assistant using the kit that I have for the time being and the Mac Mini is a relatively low powered system that I can leave running all the time and not worry about its reliability.

My questions are:
1.) Can I get a file editor in the UI without Supervisor?
2.) If I can get a file editor in without Supervisor how do I do it?

  • Is it going to take loads of scripting (if so I’ve no idea where to start)

3.) What started this was the desire to add a calendar to Home Assistant to that I can trigger actions on a recurring basis when I’m away, or when my kids are with me, that kind of thing. Have I gone too far in my search to just add a simple Google Calendar?!

I realise this is quite a rambling post, but I wanted to outline where I’m at and why :slight_smile:

Thanks in advance,

Tom

1 Like

So bare with, this is my first reply to a Home Assistant Forum post, but I’ll try and shed some light on your topics!

  1. File Editor in UI without Supervisor

Ok so to start, Supervisor is basically an install method which (as far as I understand it) is basically where you install the home Assistant OS. I know there are various benefits to this including snapshots etc. but it means the device you run this on will be only doing home assistant tasks, where everything on said device is managed by Home Assistant OS. Now this can be installed via a VM too, but of course that depends on your hardware.

What it sounds like you may have done with your Mac mini is installed “core”. That’s what I run in docker on my raspberry pi (which by the way runs swimmingly, and I’d highly recommend taking a look as your mac mini will likely use MUCH more power…). It sounds like you’ve installed via a Python virtual env. Definitely look into docker if you’ll be sticking with core, it’s FAR easier to manage things like updates! Core gives you the core features of Home Assistant but will leave out some of the other features.

Now, UI editor in the web is something core will not supply and I’m not aware of anything that can be done for this. I’d recommend taking a look at SSHFS, or Syncthings or something like that which you can use to edit the config files on a seperate computer, or if you are editing directly on the host, you can just open the config files and go wild.

  1. (or 3 on your list) Google Calendar Integration.

This one is pretty easy, take a look here: https://www.home-assistant.io/integrations/calendar.google/ - this works on core as I have this setup myself. Automations ontop of that can be done, and that page will explain all you need for that one.

Hopefully that helps. One last tip from me, most, if not all, of the tips, info etc. you’ll ever need exists within the Home Assistant website. Always start there and go external when needed. For example, they have a really good installation instruction page: https://www.home-assistant.io/installation/ which I’d recommend taking a look at :slight_smile:

1 Like

Brilliant, thank you very much! I’ll give it all a try. I was just following the steps from the YouTube video for the Google Calendar but they’d already changed. It was when they started editing the files that I realised I didn’t have those options present and that then led me down a rabbit hole!

I do want to go down he Raspberry Pi route, or similar, but I thought that while I’m just seeing what I can do I’ll use what I’ve got…but I think I am hooked now! In the coming months a Pi will make it on to the shopping list and I’ll have the joy of starting from scratch…but with some idea of what I am doing!

When I’ve looked on the Home Assistant website I can end up feeling a bit thick wondering what it’s on about, but follow the steps and all seems good. I do kind of get distracted quite quickly too as I see a new ‘shiny’ thing that I need to add! I need to keep focus on what I’m doing!

Yeah I’d never say don’t use Youtube, but do keep in mind Home Assistant docs are always going to be update. They’re at least a good starting point to then go to Youtube or elswhere for better understanding. Also, searching these forums or the home assisant reddit is a good move.

I’d also recommend moving to your end-goal hardware sooner rather than later as transferring your current install can be a challenge (if you go say core to superviser/home assistant OS). You’ll become reliant on your home assistant install before you know it!

And last thing from me, always set some good time aside for anything!

I believe there are ways to implement editor on HA without Supervised version however its going to be tough if you don’t understand scripting. Again I’m not sure on your capabilities.

Furthermore, you used mac as you OS for running HA meaning that you are running docker?

Anyway this is one of the editor created for HA. GitHub - voxic/ha-editor: A web-based editor for homeassistant based on the Monaco editor.

You can always add VSC as your editor or better yet implement samba.

1 Like

My capabilities are practically nonexistent on scripting, but I am determined to get there. I’ve played with some .lua files in a flight simulator when it’s been explained what each thing is and I can see the logic and add my own elements to it. I think I’ll see how I get on with what I’ve got for now but the possibilities that I am seeing from using Home Assistant make my previous efforts at home automation with Alexa routines etc. seem really simple! I’m determined to get the calendar in though!

I think I’ve got the basic logic and processes right to automate entities and make scenes happen with automations I just need to know how to write it down in an editor. While I have the GUI I’m good :slight_smile:

@owenstillman I think the Raspberry Pi will be a purchase for after payday. I’ve had to fix the roof this month and that’s ruled out anything else! I won’t transfer over what I’ve done, I’ll start from scratch using what I have learnt and I’ll improve on it :slight_smile: I’m assuming it will all work in largely the same way using the Mac OS or iOS apps just connected to the Pi rather than running locally on the Mac.

That’s fair enough - just didn’t want you being caught out if say you were looking to upgrade a year from now.

Everything will work the same yes :slight_smile:

Raspberry Pi 4 will give you more options in installing including simple supervised or Debian Supervised which you can do it using my scripts for example if you would like to make it simple.

Another options is NUC or something similar and you can run Debian or Proxmox.

1 Like

That’s great! Thank you for your help guys!

Sorry,
I’m going through how to install third-party add-ons from this page, and it’s showing how to do it with the supervisor, which I don’t have access to at the moment. I’ve then followed how to install add-ons from the Command Line but I don’t know how to do this.

Is there a “Home Assistant for Dummies” guide out there anywhere? I don’t know how to pull add-ons or which files I should download from Github or what to do with them when I have downloaded them. At the moment I’d like to look at the Configuration.yaml but I don’t know how, but without adding a bit of code to it I can’t add the calendar. Everything seems to point back to the Supervisor section.

It looks like the Supervisor section makes things easier as there is an add-ons store.

I am not sure if you have seen this, but it might be helpful to understand the different installation methods:

Home Assistant Installation Methods - Community Guides - Home Assistant Community (home-assistant.io)

I am not sure what is possible on a Mac mini, but you may consider switching to using the Home Assistant OS or Supervised. There is no way to use add-ons if you don’t have one of those installations. If you installed using Docker, you can set up the equivalent containers yourself. There are several posts in the Community Guides section of the forum that explain how to install Home Assistant in various ways. You may wish to have a look through these and see what might be best for your hardware and level of experience.

Hi, thank you. I tried to set up Docker on my NAS but it didn’t seemt to allow me to do anything with it as it’s not a Synology it’s TerraMaster. I’ll have a read through the link and see what I can do to set it up differently :slight_smile:

I am running Proxmox on an older NUC, and have a VM running HA OS. It’s been flawless. I really like that I can back up the entire VM and restore it if need be (haven’t had to so far!) Before that I had a Supervised installation on Ubuntu, which isn’t officially supported anymore - it is supported on Debian, but when the criteria changed I decided to try Proxmox. And my original install was the HA OS image on a Raspberry Pi. There are lots of choices - I hope you can find something that will work well for you, whether you choose HA OS or something else.

1 Like

I think I’d like to get to HA OS, all the rest is kind of meaningless to me. I’ve heard of Ubuntu before but I’ve never used it, I’d not heard of Debian. The only reason I’d heard of Docker was because I’d seen it as a supported app for my NAS, but I’ve got no idea what to do with it. I’ve just watched their ‘how to’ video on their site but it’s not left me any the wiser about how to use it. So something pre-configured that can run updates without me having to have scripts etc. sounds great. I’ve seen the HA Blue and that sounds perfect, but I don’t know if they’re still being sold. Right now I’m very happy with what Home Assistant is allowing me to do but I am disappointed that there are so many ways in which to run it and get something to work…but at the same time I suppose that that is one of the strengths and allows it to be so customisable. It just doesn’t help someone like me so much who’d just like to be able to install it and work through it :slight_smile:

The HA Blue sounds perfect for you - not sure where you are located, but it looks like in the US a limited number will be available in mid-May. You could also consider a Raspberry Pi 4 with an SSD. I got my NUC from eBay for less than what the Blue costs - it’s an older model but plenty good enough for Home Assistant.

1 Like

Highly recommend installing Visual Studio Code on your desktop and installing the home assistant extension and if you have home assistant installed on a different pc than your daily driver, also install the ssh_fs extension.

Visual Studio Code has a bit of a learning curve but it’s very good and ssh_fs will allow you to connect to the terminal and access files as long as you have sshd installed on the Home Assistant pc.

1 Like

I’m in the UK. I think the Pi route is the most likely and I’ve just been selling the concept to my uncle and cousin so I think there will be another one joining soon! (they have far more idea about scripting though!)

Thanks for all your help though. I’ll keep tinkering with what I have for now and see if I can get a Pi next month and see how much I can manage while also trying to find time to learn to code!

1 Like

Is anyone able to tell me how I get to the Configuration.yaml file on tha Mac? I need to get into it to add a couple of things but I just can’t see it anywhere. I know it’s all installed on a ‘virtual machine’ but I can’t see that anywhere either so I don’t know quite how I am meant to access anything.

Hi all,
I’ve worked out Docker on my NAS and managed to get HA running there. I can now access things like the Configuration.YAML file, which is good news. Unfortunately, I still seem to be running the same version and don’t seem to have access to Supervisor or the Add-on store, but I’m slowly getting there! The more I tinker with stuff the more I am learning. Sill really enjoying it, and I know all I’ve done is very basic to most people but there is still a sense of achievement :slight_smile: If I can work out how to get to the Supervisor I think I’ll be very happy!