Hello from a HomeSeer HS4 Refugee

Hello,

As the title says I’m a new Home Assistant user but a long time home automation enthusiast/addict. I’ve been using HomeSeer since 1999 when it was called AutoHome by Keware. I have a rather diverse, complex setup that I will be slowly transitioning from HS3 to Home Assistant. The mess that is called HS4 is enough to motivate me to undertake this task. Getting shelter-in-place orders from the California governor certainly gives me some time to get started. I’ve weathered many a storm over the years, wrote a lot of VB scripts to support my own setup, and even wrote a few plugins.

OK, enough with the past. Can anyone point me to newbie-land, where I can ask what I’m sure would be annoying questions for seasoned users? While I write Python for my day job, I’d rather not start off with digging into source code. I’m sure there are (or have been) others who have made similar transitions so getting some pointers from them would be much appreciated. I"m happy to document my efforts and compile a new user wiki as well.

Greetings from Northern California.
Ken

Welcome to the fun!

Coming from HS I have to ask what you plan to use for a z-wave controller? There’s a few options with Home Assistant and some have good luck with z-wave with HASS and other’s don’t.

Welcome

I made the same jump about 2 years ago

The way I did it was just find some todo and then read and ask heaps of question watch heaps of youtube

Yaml took and 2 months to get head around the bloody spaces (grrrrrr)

think this was my first one

do miss the VBscripting have written a couple of python bits

You’re already there. Either use the forum’s search function, to sift through years of questions and answers, or post a new question.

I recommend reading the documentation (follow the table of contents) and perusing the Cookbook.

Be advised that writing automations, or scripts, in Home Assistant, with YAML and Jinja2 templates, bears little resemblance to VBScript. I also used (an enhanced flavor of) VBScript for many years and this is something quite different (for better and worse).


BTW, what’s up with HS4?

Thanks @simplextech (recognized that username)

Yeah, that’s going to be a big wall to scale. For now, I’m going to keep z-wave on HS3 (which is very stable) and use a library called pyHS3 and a custom component that exposes the z-wave devices to HA. [https://github.com/marthoc/homeseer]. As a bridge, I’ll likely expand on that to "share’ info between HS3 and HA.

Since I’m using a Z-Net interface and I understand that it uses ser2net, I’m hoping to be able to utilize ‘socat’ and get that working. Time will tell. Hopefully, if I drag my toes long enough, someone else will get that done for me but I’m not afraid to go there if I have to.

Ken

Thanke @myle. That’s exactly what I’m doing now. I started with a list of sub-systems that can be moved from HS3 to HA with minimal impact to the rest of the household and I’m going to work through those first.

I’m somewhat comfortable with YAML after spending some time with Ansible in my day job. The key to YAML is to get a text editor that understands it and also bookmark [http://www.yamllint.com/]

Yes. I’m in a Search, Read, Test, Ask, Repeat loop at the moment. The Getting Started was not too good for me as I quickly wandered off course, but the Documentation and Cookbook have been much better, Once I got the whole device, entity, component, platform, integration stuff straight in my head, I’ve been able to pick up the pace.

I wish I knew. Similar situation from HS1.6 to HS2 and HS2 to HS3 but this time it seems to be even crazier. Also, I’m done with Windows hosts so I wanted a “native” *nix solution. Running under Mono is full of pitfalls. Funny thing is I’m now running in a virtualenv on macos and it was dead simple to set up.

Thanks again,
Ken

That’s a good plan for now. You can also use MQTT to access the devices back and forth. There’s a interesting project zwave2mqtt which is cool but not very mature yet. However once it matures some more I think will be very cool.

One remark from a “Vera” jumper. Stick to the plan!!! Do not get tempted by all other stuff. That makes HA slow and unstable sometimes (a lot) and makes you constantly doubt you choice.

Oh and 1 other… look at the node red plugin, that is awesome to automate!

Here also an Homeseer refugee. My advice would be to start with migrating the stuff that has integrations and components. Or the stuff you always wanted and couldnt have in HS3. Then the stuff that can be installed via the hacs (component store). Then the stuff you need to install more manual.

Creating a dashboard in YAML mode will help you understand YAML with quick visible results. Which helps keeping you motivated.

Node red is very nice and makes the learning curve a bit less steep. You can easily migrate your events from HS3 with Node Red without needing to learn YAML

Hold on with z-wave. I use mqtt as a bridge between hs3 and HA for z-wave. This works pretty good. Almost no delay.

This way i kept HS3 running with HA for a few months side by side. Now HS3 only runs z-wave. Since i am waiting for the new z-wave implementation.

Enjoy the ride. Enjoy the beautiful dashboard, great integrations and awesome community. Almost no question is left unanswered.

Firstly I would love to hear your experience with using HomeSeer zwave with Home Assistant. I used HS3 for a while as it was some big advocates for that on the local forums here, where people used the argument Home Assistant was work, HomeSeer was “just working” - in my experience FAR from the truth. Just having to pay 20-30usd for each plugin and an UI that makes windows 3.1 feel modern made me give up after having to develop my own plugins in c# with a mess of documentation.

Home Assistant have matured a lot the last 12 months if you are careful about updates that can break things. I would always suggest to hold back a couple of updates even how tempting it is for a production system as something will break at one time or another, but as the system matures and standards get more adjusted the chance of seamless updates is higher.

As said, the only positive thing about HomeSeer is the superiour z-wave handling, and if you can overcome that its nothing, absolutely nothing you will miss about HS. Even writing an integration is so easy it will take you a couple of hours if you just need to integrate an api or something compared to days with the c# mess. Also remember HomeSeer now have sent people, including me shutdown orders on github for writing free plugins for HomeSeer

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@simplextech Thanks for the tip. I’ll keep my eye on that project.

@sender I appreciate the guidance and that is the plan. (pun intended). As I mentioned earlier, I tried to go through the Getting Started but I kept going off course because I want to figure out how to migrate my own setup, not create a new setup.

@phaeton Great advice. As a part of making the decision to move to HA, I made a list of all my subsystems (as I call them) and then searched through the integrations to see what was already supported and what could be migrated with little to no impact to my family. We all rely heavily on our automation, but my wife in particular. We have a rather large, multi-story home and wandering around the house before bed to make sure all the lights are off is not something she (nor I) would want to do.

I’ll have a look at node.red after I get a few things up and running. I definitely plan to get the dashboards into YAML mode, probably today, in fact. The good thing is that HS3 is still very stable so I don’t have to be in a huge rush to shut it down. It’s just that I’ve seen the future (HS4) and it makes me uneasy.

@aleksander.lyse The biggest hurdle with transitioning z-wave for me will be the fact that I’m using a Z-Net controller. Without a doubt, that will be the very last thing to move from HS3. As I said earlier, I hope to use pyHS3 and the homeseer component to expose my z-wave devices to HA which should, hopefully, keep things running smoothly. Please, don’t even get me started on the plugin mess. That’s in the past for me and I don’t want to relive that ever again.

Thanks all,
Ken

Depending on what direction you decide to go with z-wave integration that z-net can be recycled for use with HASS.

Count me in on that. Moving on…

I’m really hoping I can get the Z-Net working with HA, even if I have to spend some time RE’ing the protocol. We can all thank a gentleman by the name of Rick Tinker (aka “tink”) for how well Z-Wave is supported in HS3. Rick was CTO of HomeSeer Technologies for a number of years and is now Director of Technology for the Z-Wave Alliance. I’ll be picking his brain once I get to the Z-Wave part of this project.

BTW, I’ll never use a Pi as a primary home automation controller. I’ve been left to die too many times by bad/worn out SD cards. Just my experience and I know others who feel otherwise. The Z-Net seldom writes to the SD card so it’s not prone to the same issues.

Ken

I’ve had a few conversations with tink in the z-wave alliance forums. Nice guy.

There’s nothing magical about how HS uses the z-net and nothing to RE. The z-net connects back to the HS plugin using ser2net. The HS plugin literally connects to the z-net as if it’s a serial device locally attached. The only magic involved is making the ser2net connection on the HS server side which is done via the plugin.

One could use ser2net on a remote system to connect to the z-net and read the serial data. Very much in the same was as using socat on both sides to pass the serial data.

Or as I’m watching the zwave2mqtt project use the z-net as a remote z-wave interface pushing to mqtt.

There’s nothing special about the z-net or HS z-wave plugin that others haven’t been doing for a long time. The z-net and having remote controllers is not a new concept in pro level systems; HS just brought it to the DIY market.

Good to know. Something I can take off my “todo” list. :slight_smile:

Thought I’d provide a progress report of what I’ve accomplished today. I started off with a few simple things. Well, at least I thought they would be simple.

Philips Hue - Went off without a hitch except for needing to figure out how to make the UI look more like I want. Since HA is just another client to the Hue bridge, this can co-exist with HS3 as I slowly move events from HS3 to HA automations.

Roomba - This one was a little trickier. I thought I could just add the Roomba details and credentials to a YAML file but couldn’t get HA to connect to it. “Connection Refused” along with “Unable to connect to Roomba at xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx”. Grrrr. Finally discovered that the MQTT server on the Roomba can only accept one connection at a time. Disconnected the Roomba plugin from HS3, restarted HA to be safe, and MAGIC. the Roomba was found and configured.

Pushover - This one was easy as well since I just created another application definition and API ID for HA and configured the simple YAML. Both HS3 and HA can work with the same user key but unique api keys.

Logitech Harmony Hub - Yet again, this can co-exist with HS3 since the HS3 plugin and this integration can both communicate with the same hub. I’m holding off on adding the other two hubs in the house until I can experiment with this one in my office/sandbox.

In general, I also was able to create “split configuration” files for each of the integrations I added as well as put api keys, passwords, etc. into secrets.yaml.

Tomorrow, I tackle automations and possibly some UI customization.

Time for a beer.
Ken

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Nice to read @kenm. What you told is before confirms i did the right thing moving from hs3 to HA. I was doubting to buy hs4 beside ha. I will not go that path anymore.

@simplextech i didnt know that Rick move over to the z-wave alliance. He did a good job on the hs3 z-wave part. If I recall correctly he was always very annoyed by manufacturers who implemented z-wave in their own ‘special’ (non-compliant) way. I hope his move will make z-wave more standardized.

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Hi Harry (@phaeton),

If you don’t use Z-Wave and don’t already own HS3, I don’t see a reason to spin up HS4 just for that. I actually did purchase the HS4 upgrade, but mainly because they offered me a 80% discount on the upgrade.

Also, Rick was part of the Z-Wave Alliance even when he was CTO at HST. He was in charge of product certification and interop and then later stepped down from HST to become Dir. of Technology for the Z-Wave Alliance.

Ken

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Seems that HS4 is bumping up the HA user base a little. I also made the move because of HS4 and in spite of having purchased the upgrade. One thing I would say to fellow HS3 veterans is to not give it too much credit in the Z-Wave department. My Z-Wave network was running like hell when I made the move. I was also running a Z-NET controller, which is now collecting dust, and I also had a Z-Stick+ right on the machine running HS3. I’m dong just fine now with a single Zooz USB stick controlling just over 70 nodes. I started off on a RPi4, but the whole sdcard thing, even using a “high endurance” SanDisk, made me uneasy. I wound up migrating over to an Odroid N2. I’ve shutdown HS3 completely, but I’ve left the installation available for the sole purpose of accessing some information from JowieHue or the remote possibility that I would have the need to use Z-Flash for upgrading a node firmware.

So more than a couple people probably think I’ve lost my mind running such a large Z-Wave network. And I’d largely agree. I was an early adopter and believer just like I had been with Bluetooth. And just like with Bluetooth, I’m not nearly as smitten as I once was. The forthcoming Z-Wave+ V2 doesn’t have me hopeful either. It’s a nice quick solution when running wire isn’t feasible, but it’s never going to be mission critical capable. Anyway, my experience so far with OZW under HA is largely a positive one. Sure, there’s a few rough edges, but for me… it’s proven to be reliable enough.

Hi Dave,

Thanks for the feedback. Do you mean not to give too much credit to z-wave in HS3 or in HA? For now, I’m leaving z-wave on my HS3 system. It’s rock solid (knock on wood) and has been for more than a year.

How big is your house? I have 72 nodes in a ~3500 sf two-story with a three car garage and workshop under it. The Z-Net is in the middle of the house and I seldom get an error.

What Zooz stick are you using? I’ll need to get something for HA to start testing. Right now I’m using a custom component called “homeseer” along with a library called “pyhs3’”. It uses the ascii status interface as well as the JSON control interface.

I’m really hoping someone gets the Z-Net working with HA by the time I’m ready to move my z-wave network over.

Ken