Having a tough time starting out with Home Assistant

Hey folks,
Been playing around with home assistant for a few days, and frankly i am not getting very far… I have a few experimental devices starting out my IOT journey rather cautiously.
I bought a tuya smart plug, and a couple of shelly devices.
I attempted to bring these integrations into HA via the standard cloud based tooling. Sadly neither worked. Tuya device not showing and having a problem with auth I suspect. Shelly device shows up but some severe log messages suggest there is a problem.
So… a little disappointing. Not for the faint of heart I suspect.
I contributed issues to github on these integrations… but this stuff seems fairly basic to me… Should it not work out of the box ?
Curious as to how you use HA. Do you go straight for MQTT and ignore the more common integration pathway ?
My longer term plan is to separate from the internet, but wanted to do this in a couple of steps.

Looking for any feedback… would be appreciated.

Probably easier to write out the steps you did.

A couple of things to keep note of at the moment.

HA is alpha software, under constant development, things can be broken out the gate or break in the next release, or when the device manufacturer changes something on a server of update the firmware.

Shelly integration is actually VERY new and still in development, some devices work ok, some do not work at all. You can set up native integration and MQTT at the same time and just have 2 devices listed, and see if one works better than another. I am using both, and when HA updates I can see how the changes look, then maybe move a device from MQTT to native once it is “stable”

It is my opinion that a local integration be preferred over cloud unless there is no option, the entire point of many users preference in HA is to uncloud all the things. If you are starting from 0 with HA, that is generally pretty easy as you can choose devices with local access from the start, but some things only have cloud polling and many users start out with these.

I started out wth HA owning only dumb devices, working with computers/IT/servers for the last 30 years has given me a healthy and very warranted distrust of “the cloud”, so I had no connected devices but a very robust network capable of supporting a large connected infrastructure.

My advice? Use Shelly native local integration for their plugs and relays, use local MQTT for door/water/temp sensors. I am not using Tuya anything and probably never will.

richie, exactly the advice I was looking for… you are awesome.

some history…
I installed 3 x devices on an experimental basis, a medion (tuya) plug that controls a lamp, Shelly 1 for the garage door opener, and shelly 2.5 for my testbench (light attached).
I hooked up these into tuya-smart, and shelly-cloud. Worked a treat. Then hooked up into google home, and works great. I can open the garage door, 5 min before I arrive home. Good stuff.

But after 30 years in investment banking… i too am cloud shy, and want to do all the above but in my private cloud. I run HA on an unraid server in a VM. Attempting to duplicate what I have in Google Home but in my private cloud.

I fired up HA, and installed the two integrations thinking they would be popular and I would get similar functionality to what I have with google home. But alas no… the integrations did not work, which as a newbie, I found quite surprising (given the popularity of these devices). This was to be the first phase in any case.
Next phase is to fire up MQTT, set shelly to communicate via mqtt (cut the cloud), and control the shelly devices that way. I’m no stranger to pub/sub, but new to mosquito so am in the learning curve now.
Once basic mqtt is working, I’d like to learn how to do device discovery.
I’m also interested in getting mobile phone access to the HA server, so that I can trigger automations (garage door) from the car. So will need to configure HA behind my reverse proxy (letsencrypt at the moment).
Google home makes it much easier… I must admit… but the security implications are significant.
just my 2 cents… I am enjoying the journey but find it a little frustrating at times.
Another note, is that I’m a newbie with handling lighting circuits, and low voltage garage door devices. I am finding the hardware journey enjoyable. I fitted the shelly 1 to my garage door opener, and gave myself a huge pat on the back. That was really interesting to achieve. Perhaps a discussion for another time.

I am using a Wireguard tunnel from my phone to router to access my network, and thus can access HA. It does slow down internet speed on the phone a bit, but it can now use my internal DNS server with filtering, so many things load quicker due to less content being downloaded.

For garage door access I am using a 345Mhz encrypted keyfob as a toggle device (open or close), which activates a relay module connected to an alarm system. I am also using a 433Mhz device to send a signal which is read by HA as an “away” command.

The away automation will check the security system if it can be armed, warn me if it cannot, and if it can, will close any open garage doors, then arm the system and turn off the interior lights. The automation is actually extremely complex, but the range is well beyond the garage door opener or the keyfob, and there is no internet access required for any of it, it will even work (except for closing the door) during a power outage.

You may find that if you put enough time and money into it, home automation can be straight up awesome. Just that one action, which takes all of 2s to complete, saves so much time compared to the old or standard procedure, it actually adds up to over an HOUR per month

My doorbell system has an absurdly complex hardware design, I will make a project post about it sometime, since it has also been well worth the effort.

richie, I am smiling reading your post.
My wife is gonna brain me if do anything complex… she can barely deal with the htpc media center. So good luck with that.
I live in a safe area, and rarely lock the front door… so haven’t bothered with security cameras or alarms. My focus is more around lighting, and temperature control… whcih is sufficient for me.
I’m in australia, and interesting enough, you are NOT allowed to touch any of your internal wiring, unless done by a licensed electrician. Makes it difficult to learn about wiring because people won’t engage with you unless you are licensed. Strange but true.
I like your wireguard solution… seems simple enough. Where are you running wireguard ? On your router, server, ?
I stuck a shelly 1 inside the garage door opener, and it worked beyond expectations.

  • The opener can power peripherals at 24 vdc, and shelly was happy to accept that. So no power source needed.
  • The opener had some secret contacts that allowed me to trigger the door. Had to call the supplier to confirm
  • The shelly 1 is dry contacts, which is great because uses a different voltage to trigger the open door.
  • I ordered a reed switch from aliexpress, and will install so that shelly can know whether door is open/closed
  • Had to purchase a wire stripper… best purchase I could have made, as I’m a little clumsy with thin wires

I should mention, I started the journey by putting my iot devices on a separate vlan. But then collapsed it back into a single lan, due to networking issues. I will revisit that at a later time.

My wife is also extremely hesitant toward change, especially when it comes to lighting controls. Luckily I am in the US and am basically allowed to do whatever I want with the house wiring, but I am doing it all to code. Luckily AC wiring is way more simple than the stuff I usually do, just slightly more dangerous, and I have all the tools required.

The doorbell project was more of a black box to her, I told her I was doing something… complicated and time consuming, let her know when it would not be functional, and spent more than 2 weeks doing it, sometimes down in the basement for 8 hours straight. Then after it was all done, I finally explained it and how it would work in conjunction with the home automation… which was also a black box at this point. There came a point a week or 2 later when some jackass tried to ring the doorbell at like, 8pm well after the baby had gone to bed… and of course thanks to me, it didnt ring, since I wrote a “baby is sleeping” detection algorithm and a doorbell mute which took that as an input. All she got was a glowing light and a message on the tv that the doorbell rang, and is now quite pleased and impressed with the system.

Wireguard is running on the router itself, it is a Unifi Security Gateway and runs a specific version of Linux which is highly customizable. I am also running it on the server but that will not “extend” outward with internet access in its current config.

I am not using vlans at this point but may if a device raises a security concern. I am using static ip addresses across a wide subnet (4094 addresses), as well as internal DNS and NTP so there is minimal external traffic, making it easier to spot a device communicating with something it shouldnt be.

your wife is a keeper. I would hang on to her if I were you.


I use both Tuya and Shelly 1 on cloud and the integrations works well, particularly on the latest builds of HA . But had some early lessons…to share. One problems with connectivity occur as most home routers are not up to the challenge of many more devices than 10 nor allow for setting static IPs so for DHCP, consider using the DHCP plugin on HA as your DHCP server, and to set critical static IPs, such as VOIP, Shelly’s, Roku;s, Harmony Hub, :laughing:. I have a lot of things now hooked in to HA. Second poor signal strength of WiFi, will cause “unavailable” log entries. consider running a WiFi tool on your cell and walk to the devices, and if too low or interference consider a repeater or MESH routers. The garage can be far… and brick walls cause signal problems. I Original Shelly integration was REST… and I still like it as it is direct to the device. Much of the MQTT you will see out there is are for those whom replace firmwares with Tasmota and you probably do not want to go that way yet. I seem to remember if on the Shelly if you use MQTT you will likely disable other modes so pass on it for now. The MQTT messaging I use for some Temp/Humidity D1Mini devices and it works well for that. with the MQTT HA plugin. I am monitoring my sisters and my home… so the cloud makes more sense on my Single HA instance… Also as mentioned by others that while maturing, HA can break so make use of the Google Drive Backup plugin… as you may want to roll back. PS I like to wait for a few versions past a major release to ensure function, and breaking my working system. Tap into Dr. Zzz but be careful on Videos, because anything older than 1 year is likely too old, and will send you down a rabbit hole.

PSS - Ben - there are a lot of logged errors in HA, I had resolved to look but not worry about them all . It seems people have migrated to more robust platforms than RPi’s for some faster servers… but I like Pi.

thanks for the considered reply…
the tuya integration does not capture my device, and the shelly integration does not fully complete its flow after server bootup. issues were filed in github and being worked on…

I use mikrotik for my router… its really dense and complicated, but amazing what you can do with it.
I have over engineered my ubiquiti AP install, so wifi is very good all over the house and grounds.
I agree I am not into tasmota at this time… I should think the standard stuff should be sufficient without me getting out my soldering iron… ugh.
I started out with cloud, and now migrating to mqtt. I found a shelly python script that helps with shelly mqtt discovery which made all the difference. If you point your browser at the shelly device ip, it lets you configure mqtt, which will disconnect cloud… but it lets you stay local… whcih is good. In my HA dashboard I have an entity for the same shelly device, on 2 x different platforms e.g. shelly integration, and mqtt integration. They both work. Interesting.

Not sure about http or rest oriented integration at this time… I think mqtt is going to be a winner.
I will want remote integration to the server so I can raise the garage door while not yet at home… I have some other services on my server running remote via a reverse proxy, so going to see if I can get that to work for ha…
Also on the todo list is to see if I can integrate with google home/assist - I can see that its possible albeit a little clumsy to configure.
Id like to stay away from custom firmware at this stage… I think shelly’s are really good… and won’t be really necessary.

With regards to cloud… I prefer to work of my own personal cloud, rather than allow the big boys to abuse my privacy… I was annoyed to hear a couple of years ago, how samsung tv’s have huge vulnerabilities. Samsung never upgrade their tv firmware, and so i am a little gunshy.