Getting started looking for orientation

Hi… I’m just getting started with home automation.
I’ve got a few lights and plugs setup from different sources. TP link, a CASA device or two, and a few different multicolor light strips. Each has it’s own smartphone app. I need to get them under one app to control them all. HA looks like one of the better options. It seems securable and open, so less likely to be obsoleted or pwnd in the near future. I’m dipping a pinky toe or two in, one at a time. I want to keep my house, in my house to keep things simple. I have a few raspi’s around, but never had to time to really dig deep.

I have a hacking background. I’m usually a Yak Shaver and start from scratch. It’s my nature. I want to try something completely different… integrate and not start from scratch. It’s easy to go down a rabbit hole and suck up all my copious free time, so I’m asking for some help, which is a novel thing for me.

I have a few smart plugs, 2 govees, a tp-link and a few kasa/tapo switches. … and a bathroom scale, that I want to keep off line. I have a wireless 2.4g router, a few smart phones, and a few laptops.

I know from looking at my router, that I have some unknown devices online. One in particular that I’m pretty sure is a smart plug. How do I talk to it and see what it’s doing manually. Like from a command line. I’m looking for resources, documentation and references.
Is there a place I can lookup where this stuff is in one place?
where I can get answers to questions such as:
What Protocols does it use?
What commands does it understand?
What ‘language’ does it speak?
What’s happening between the time I press the button and it starts flashing and the time that it’s app says it’s installed?
I can see other devices via my phone Bluetooth config page. I have a few bluetooth scanner apps that are so so.
How do I talk/listen to these devices?
What commnds do they understand?
What are the best discovery apps to use this?
Where do I go from here?

This is a tall order, really any help or pointers would be appreciated. TIA.


I’m not that far into HA, I’m mostly a newbie, but before starting you need to search online if there are already integrations (read HA “plugins”) that translate HA read/write commands to your devices lingo.

Search the web also for API/BUS that are exposed/used by your devices, many standard protocols are already “embedded” in HA (modbus, ZigBee etc etc)

You may need a gateway for some of your devices (eg ZigBee) to translate IP messages to the correct radio protocol.

Once you have a clear picture of what is available you can plan to start installing and integrating devices.
Pay attention that some technology/integration/mods render unusable the native cloud application of some devices.

In some cases you may need to flash your devices with custom/opensource firmware to be able to integrate them, ditto you’ll loose native cloud app.

I run some thing via HA (solar and battery data, HVAC equipment, some lights) I made sure that everything must be usable manually, even if HA is down because it can happens following an upgrade

HA can be installed on RPi using these installation instructions:

You can search for supported devices here.

So, as an example, an integration exists for TP-Link Smart Home. You would add this integration into Home Assistant and configure it which would provide all the necessary status and control entities (see glossary) of your TP-Link devices.

Note that each integration page has links to the GitHub source code and Known Issues so that you can get more detailed information.

Also see
Integrations, add-ons and custom integrations.

There is also a Home Assistant Community Store for integrations that are not integrated into Home Assistant:

Smart phones are typically handled using the Companion App.

These forums have a wealth of information too. Here are some tips on searching for stuff here:

Tips on Searching for Answers & Duplicate Topics in the Forum.

Finally, there is The Home Assistant Cookbook - Index - a great starting point for all things Home Assistant.

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