Device Naming Scheme - Recommendations?

Just unpacking boxes first couple of days after moving into new, extensively renovated home. I am a complete newbie smart-home/HA user, but have read quite a bit, and am reasonably IT/programming competent. I envision a building gradually into fairly extensive implementation, integrating variety of protocols/devices/uses.

Starting out, I have installed several dozen switches and smart lights, and a dedicated Zigbee hub, all from vendor Terncy. There is an HA integration for this stuff available, but before integrating into HA all these devices must first be registered in the hub using the Terncy app.

I anticipate that the device names I assign in initial registration in the Terncy hub will be carried into HA, and would like to have a device naming scheme which facilitates ease of use in HA. Wondering if it is a good idea to create device names that help identify the device at a glance, reflecting perhaps such things as device type, room, wall (eg, N, E, S, W), wall location (left-to-right index numbering or similar).

Grateful for any advice from folks here if this is a good idea basically, and if so, what suggestions might people offer.

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I wouldn’t bother with which wall it’s on.
The way I have done it is that I name them by what they control, not what they are.
So my dimmer on the wall controls the ceiling light, it’s named living room ceiling light.
I find that easier. Perhaps not in all situations.
But I would advice you to name outdoor things outdoor, and think about naming if you plan on using sensors on doors and windows.
Either call all windows and front/back doors “outdoor”, or name them “shell/alarm sensor”. That way you can filter them easier in automations without them conflicting with bedroom door etc.

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I tend to go with:

  • Room
  • Optional function
  • Optional location

That gives things like:

  • light.living_room_corner
  • light.downstairs_hall
  • switch.living_room_table_left
  • binary_sensor.patio_window_left
  • binary_sensor.bathroom_flood

I tend to try and use names that are meaninful to others in the household who want to use voice control, more details in this thread …

thanks all. lots of idea, esp in the linked thread

i have decided preliminarily to just go ahead and setup the Terncy integration and bring in the devices, for now just using the random device names the installer first assigned. I want to first get a better picture of how it all works in HA.

After familiarizing myself a bit with how device names get used in HA, (newbie here) I will delete the integration and devices (assume this is simple enough). I will then rename devices in the Terncy app according to a more meaningful system. I also anticipate a bit of rewiring, as we have quite a few four-button ganged wall switches, and I may want to shuffle the circuit connections here and there. I will then redo the integration to begin developing our HA systems.

Hi guys, I was searching for information on naming schemes and bumped on this most recent topic about it. I could create a new one but my question (& answers) might contribute for future reference.

Since I’m adding devices to my network, the naming scheme that I chose is not that good because I was using abbreviations and used the default names that was given by the phoscon app.
For instance in the kitchen I have a motion sensor and LED strip.
Now I named them both ‘kitchen light’ in phoscon and by reloading the integration, HA updates this info.
But, in the automation I have 2 devices with the same name to select as a trigger.

What am I doing wrong?

You’re confusing yourself. Don’t do that.

Name one Kitchen Light Left (or something else) and the other Kitchen Light Right (or something else) so that you can tell which is which.

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Hi @Tinkerer, it’s a light and a motion sensor, not 2 lights.

From the naming scheme suggestions I used the same name for both since in HA the domain is added anyway and they serve the ‘same purpose’.
Not good?

Well, “not good” is on you

You need to name things in a way that works for you. Clearly calling them both Kitchen Light has confused you, so … name them different things?

This has only been an issue since the past 2-3 versions.
Previously we would see the entity names, meaning binary sensor kitchen light or light kitchen light.
There are a lot of voices saying the entity names should be visible instead of friendly name.

Could use some advise on this: what would be more logical for these 2 situations?

  • Kitchen

    • motion sensor
    • light (controlled by the the above mentioned motion sensor)
  • Hall

    • door sensor
    • motion sensor
    • light (controlled by motion and door sensor)

How about:

kitchen light
kitchen motion

hall light
hall motion
hall door

…or something that appeal to your fantacy


Thanks @boheme61!

I was confused with friendly name, phoscon/deconz name, entities, entity ID, domain, location, function and all the different suggestions in this and other topics.
For instance: a light used this as it’s domain and when using ‘light’ in it’s name you get ‘light’ twice in the entity id.

I have changed the kitchen devices as you suggested, now have to change the related automations.

Well i don’t use phoscon/deconz, and you can basically do as you want, as others above saying, some Controllers report the friendly name, if you gave them there, and obviously the domain get added to the entity-ids when the device pops up in HA, regardless of what your controller reports( id or friendly name), as they don’t have a HA domain in the controller … i bet you have something to think about if you get another HA controlled kitchen light, then you might have to consider “location” or “function” :wink: , i think someone suggested kitchen LED, kitchen ceiling, kitchen wall, note there is no “light” in these names, and im sure you don’t place a door “sensor” on the wall or ceiling, and “motion” is not a domain, yet :slight_smile: , but if it controls LED you could just call it kitchen_motion_l (l for LED ) … i.e i have 3 “lights” in my bedroom, and 3 “switches”, the 2 lights and 1 switch are activated by 3 motion.sensors, none has light.light or switch.switch in it’s entity-id, maybe i should add that i have 2 other bedrooms, so there is no “room” to be confused :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes: when naming
PS: Just have in mind that devices you also might want to, or could control with voice, you’d better give a “simple” Friendly name from beginning(that is not in “conflict” with similar names), so Google/Alexa don’t get confused

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Thanks again @boheme61 for elaborating. :+1:
I think I got it now and I’m slowly renaming - with the struggle of orphans etc - a few devices to see the effect.

Naming multi-gang multi-way light switches

I would like to expand this discussion to how to name multi-gang / multi-way wall light switches and smart plugs that operate lights in HA to work best with Alexa using a minimum of additional Alexa routines or HA scenes and automations.

It makes sense to name switches and smart plugs for what they operate and give them the appropriate device type / domain, i.e. ‘light’ not ‘switch’. That’s easy for a smart plug controlling a standard lamp, say, but wall switches with two or three gangs come by default as a switch device with two or three switch sub-devices / entities.

I have a number of two-way switching scenarios, i.e. a light that is controlled by two or more wall switches, for example at the top and bottom of the stairs. When any light switch is touched it should turn on not only the light (the main switch or plug) but any other switches controlling that light so that they are in the right state to turn the light off again (and vice versa). At the moment I do this in Smart Life with automations that make each switch going on or off turn each of the others on or off - so for two switches that is four automations.

For each light the main switch is classified as a light (so that’s the one Alexa uses) and the rest as switches (only operated by the Smart Life automations). All a bit clunky …

In HA:

  1. For multi-gang wall switches, should the whole device be made a “light” or should the entities be made “lights” individually and the device left as as switch? Alexa would see them all as ‘lights’.

  2. Could / should all the switch and smart plug entities for the same light be grouped, then have all of them turn the group on and off – they would turn themselves on and off too, but would that matter? Alexa would operate the group.

  3. Does Alexa automatically recognise an HA Area (room) as a group, or does this have to be explicitly mapped?