Help me go over my first purchases? (Europe)

Hello guys!
This is my first time dipping my toes into home automation, and I’ve already made a few purchases.
Specifically, I picked up on sale 4 Xiaomi RGB Smart Bulbs (10€ Each) and 3 Google Home Minis (20€ Each). I haven’t found threads specifically about the Mi Bulbs, but they should be just rebranded Yeelights, so I think I’m going to be fine connecting them, or am I?

The next thing I’m concerned about is wether or not to purchase a RaspBerry Pi with for the next devices I’m getting, which are some motion and door sensors from Xiaomi, along, perhaps, with a smart button and temperature sensor, for which I don’t have a definitive use yet in mind.

While this would be the HA configuration:

(Please do tell me if these are not a good purchase / price, as they’re not yet set in stone)

The things I want to do with these sensors are the following:

  • Set up an Alarm for intruders when I’m away from home / during the night, using a mixture of the door and motion sensors in the former case and only the door sensors during the night.
    Said alarm should blare a siren across all Google Home minis, should flash the light bulbs red really rapidly and should send me a notification on my phone.
  • I’d like to have the lights turn on / off automatically based on the time of day (in relation to sunrise / sundawn) and detected motion.

And other than these features, ideally the Hub of my dreams would:

  • Have battery backup (I do have an UPS I could connect the Raspberry to, but I don’t think the Zigbee signal would reach across all the house then)
  • Be able to talk to my Arduino MKR1000 in case I ever manage to set it up as a smart thermostat.

I hope you can clarify wether or not all these devices work in the way I envisioned with Home Assistant because I’m still undecided wether to pick it up or not.
I thank you in advance for your assistance and humbly apologize for these simple questions.

P.s. I live in Europe, if that changes anything.

Hi Roberto, Welcome,

… link please … there’s many different kinds, are they wifi or zigbee (guessing wifi)?

I’m using a cc2531 that I got from a different thread

and I’m using it with zigbee2mqtt which has a lot of cheap supported devices. I’m very happy with that setup.

As for for Raspberry pi4, from what I read, I think it’s a good choice (I have a 3b+ and a little bit of extra speed would be good). I’d consider changing your sdcard for a “Samsung pro endurance” card, or some other card meant for continuous writing. Some people have USB-sata adapters and SSD instead of an SD card, I don’t have a raspberry pi4 to test and I hear there are some issues with USB mass storage on rpi4 because it’s new and booting from USB is complicated on rpi4.

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First of all, thanks for your assistance and Merry Xmas!

Secondly, here’s the bulbs I purchased

Is there an advantage to the cc2531 compared to the RaspBee?

Also, regarding the SD card, I made sure to pick one that had Application Class 2, should I still purchase the Samsung one you described instead?

Do you know if the automations presented in the OP are possible?

I would go for 32GB SD card and buy an external SSD, SD cards tend to die within 1-2 years when using a lot of file I/O, look around on the forum, many people have had corrupted SD cards. A pi4 cannot boot from USB yet but it should be supported in the future, until then just make sure everything is written to the ssd (this is what I am doing, the pi needs a sd card to be able to boot).

Very much possible, use an Android app such as Ariela for push notifications to your phone.

I’m using the sun integration’s elevation attribute to turn on/off some of my lights and open/close the roller shutters.

As above… save yourself a lot of headache in the long run and buy some cheap 32gb SSD (I bought a branded industrial grade one from ebay).

I’ve gone through so many SD cards over many months. I also had trouble with corruption if the power was interupted. This doesn’t happen with the SSD.

It’s also MUCH faster at booting, rebooting, installing updates etc.

Very much possible, use an Android app such as Ariela for push notifications to your phone.

Could you guide me through this? Integration with the phone / Google Assistant is actually one of the things I haven’t yet figured out. I read you need a subscription, is that only if you plan to control the house remotely or if you plan on giving it commands through Google Assistant at all? Is it required for you to do the opposite (send audio to play to Google Home Minis) too?

The 32 GB SD Card used for booting can be just about any SD Card right? Because in that case it would be pretty convenient, as I already have both a spare 32 GB MicroSD and an SSD I used for Hackintoshing that I plan to wipe, that I could use that with an external Sata to USB converter.

Also, would these be good purchases?

I guess these are my last questions apart from those still unanswered (would the bulbs I already have work / which is better between the cc2531 / raspbee) and wether or not these two things are possible:

  • Have battery backup (I do have an UPS I could connect the Raspberry to, but I don’t think the Zigbee signal would reach across all the house then)
  • Be able to talk to my Arduino MKR1000 in case I ever manage to set it up as a smart thermostat.

Thanks very much to all of you, your help is greatly appreciated!

Re lightbulbs I see a bunch of zigbee stuff in your other screenshot, might as well get some philips or ikea zigbee bulbs - they’re likely cheaper, you can probably get them more easily, they’ll function as zigbee routers relaying zigbee mesh data and extending your zigbee network. You don’t need their gateway/hub or switches if you don’t like them (pi can be your coordinator aka. hub aka. gateway). Useful zigbee range is a lot smaller than wifi

Re SD cards dying … yep. ssd is the way to go, 32G is generally enough for anything Home Assistant -ish. related. And yes MicroSD cards tend to die, but if you’re going to be using an SSD and won’t be storing sqlite history or influxdb data (databases) onto a card, the sd will probably be ok. I think they just tend to not have wear leveling or much ram and most are just not built for running an os off of them. It feels like the typical usecase people have for micro sd card is to fill them up with photos once or maybe 50 times, and then never use them again… I’ve had a previous Samsung Evo Plus card die on me after a few months… I had backups/snapshots uploaded to the cloud, so resetting everything from scratch was not really required, but it was still, hmm, uncomfortable. The Samsung Endurance Pro uses older / more reliable MLC flash, it’s not super fast, but it’s worked well for me for a while now. Most of Home Assistant functions will just run from ram anyway - so speed wise it’s fine. One thing I did was change the configuration to not let home assistant keep history (recorder module settings). I keep history inside of influxdb - it’s just much easier for me to use influxdb and grafana for plotting temperature graphs, etc… Point: even if you have basic old MicroSD card, you can probably use it for basic booting just fine as long as you use the SSD for actual data.

Re RaspBee vs cc2531 … I haven’t tried Raspbee, I can’t compare. I think the cc2531 might be more interesting to you, since you can flash them with a “router” firmware (where they’re just a zigbee network mesh relay, and not a coordinator). These cc2531 routers can then maybe just run off of a USB phone battery. This would help you extend the zigbee range to cover your window/door/motion sensors. Normally, people would use sockets and lightbulbs as their relays, but if your power is out… you lose relays.

Re automation rules in home assistant… yes you can pretty much do whatever you want via UI + yaml, and if you want to do something complicated, you can add a shell script or a python scripts as much as you want, … some folks use this Node-Red thing for easy gui automation, I haven’t needed it for any of my stuff.

Re integration with Google Assistant … so, I’ve only integrated with Google Home, I have some switches and lights and temperature sensors visible in my Google Home android app. I can ask the Google Assistant to do stuff for me, and she does it, or tells me current temperature in various rooms. … that whole setup is very ducttape-y, it requires you to pretend you’re a hardware developer and then use your Google Cloud account to run some shrink-wrapped pre-setup components that Home Assistant can then use to export things.

Re Arduino MKR1000 as a smart thermostat … there’s this thing called esphome you should look into. It’s a really easy way to build firmwares for esp8266 and esp32 that Home Assistant can then interface with over the network without too much coding or too much configuration. With it you’d specify what peripherals you have on which pin (sensors/relays/leds/…) or what you want to happen when, all through a simple yaml config. Behind the scenes this yaml gets transpiled into a gigantic main.cpp, compiled, and flashed over wifi at a push of a button in a web ui. The way I started with mine was to just order a couple of lolin d32 from their ali express store, they’re cool cause they also have a built in usb-serial adapter and a lithium battery charge controller. It might save you a lot of time to start with esphome instead of doing things on the MKR1000 from scratch.

Re shopping bag it’s good, be aware that most motion sensors are built to turn on/off things like bathroom lights and garden lights and keeping them on for a while. They’ll send a message when they see something, and they’ll send a message again e.g. 3 minutes in the case of that ikea sensor, or later if they can’t see any motion later. They’re good at noticing motion, they’re not good at letting you know there’s no motion anymore.

Happy holidays.

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Hello and welcome to the forum. I have currently installed HA on a RaspberryPi3. For automations you want to do that is completely sufficient, but if you want to display multiple camera streams, possibly even with motion detection see “MotionEye” then the RaspberryPi3 is overwhelmed, how it works with the RPi4 I do not know. I definitely recommend a good SD card (here in the forum there are already a few threads about it), a power supply with sufficient power, at least 3 amps! My HA is connected to Google Asssístant via the “Nora” addon in NodeRED, which works really well. The “Ariela app” is also very good and in constant use, highly recommended !!! For Android smartphones there is the “Tasker” app with a “Home Assistant plugin” is also a great thing … The ZigBee module also works with me, without problems very reliably! If you are a hobbyist take a look at “” (Thanks Otto Winter !!!), this is just awesome !!!
Have fun setting up, configuring and trying out Home Assistant. Feel free to post questions here in the forum, here are a lot of dedicated and smart people …

You need a Xiaomi gateway for the buttons etc so have a read on the integrations section as to which one you need. They are fantastic and the battery in all but the temp/humidity sensors last years (it lasted about a year).

So I have integrated my Xiaomi sensors with the ZigBee module into HA as shown in the first post, a Xiaomi gateway is actually not necessary!
Have a look here in the link:


You don’t really need any zigbee hub for any zigbee device, the CC2531 works fine with all those Xiaomi sensors, I have such a set up running for almost a year now without any problems.

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might as well get some philips or ikea zigbee bulbs

Well, it’s too late for that. The Xiaomi bulbs are coming in the mail tomorrow, but I still think I made a good purchase because I paid only 10€ Each and they’re 800 Lumens and RGB. Moreover, Xiaomi sensors don’t play well with repeaters, they need to be Ikea or Xbee

won’t be storing sqlite history or influxdb data (databases) onto a card

Is there a wiki page you can point me to? But yeah, I agree, will do.

RaspBee vs cc2531

I contacted the guy that sells the cc2531 sticks. Frankly, I don’t see much of a reason to get those rather than a ConBee or RaspBee, which are actual products that can be returned / exchanged if they fail and so on. They cost about the same, too. I’ll have to look into this a bit more.

Regarding all your other tips, and the ships that others have shared too, thank you very much. I’m noting all the stuff you guys said about arduino, Google Assistant integration etc., it all seems very doable.

I’m also considering picking up IKEA Tradfri Motion Sensors instead, which cost about the same as the Xiaomi ones when factoring in the shipping cost, but they lack the sensor to tell how much light there is.

For the Xiaomi stuff though, I’m trying to decide wether or not to purchase from Aliexpress or GearBest, as the latter costs 15€ more without factoring in the cost of the shipping insurance, which I believe Aliexpress includes by default. I think I’ll go for the former.

Lastly, I was thinking something: I can’t use my light switches anymore! They’d turn off the bulb completely, which is not what I’d want I presume. How can I solve this? I mostly have a very simple setup because all the smart bulbs I’m installing are controlled by one switch only, but in two instances they’re close to other (non-smart) bulbs with switches such as this one:

Are there any switches that I could purchase? Perhaps some that don’t cut the current from the smart bulbs but allow to control the non-smart bulbs remotely.

Out of curiosity, do they ever drop out or misreport the status of doors and windows? Are you able to read their battery status?

Do you have Xiaomi or Aqara sensors?

Basically, you’d most likely want to replace your existing switch with a blank plate, and short circuit the lights to always on.

Then you’d be looking at one of these switches that I have bookmarked, or those small square ones from Ikea or those from Philips depending on which ones you like, and would stick them onto the blank plate. (they run off of cr2032 batteries)

Next time you go painting, remove the blank plate and repair the hole in the wall where the old switch used to be.

The non wireless versions from the link above are for situations where you have dumb lightbulbs that you want to control either via switch or wirelessly.

Aqara ones (the round-ish ones, not the newer squared cornered ones). Yes they report battery life, haven’t noticed any incorrect reportings.

I was thinking something that I could either replace (in the same socket) or augment the current switches with. Do you know anything of the sort?

Otherwise I’ll just pick these Xiaomi ones up, though they aren’t ideal (I’d need a three button one in a room).

Wait, can you send me a pic? All I can find are square Aqara ones and round Xiaomi ones.

Hmm I guess it’s Xiaomi Mija then, I’ve got the same than the ones in your screenshot. I always get confused about those namings.

Given that you can buy these CC2531 sticks with antenna for 7€ at alliexpress, he does charge a significant premium for the less than 1 minute work to flash them, and providing a 3D case.

Aqara is Xiaomi’s SmartHome brand. Mijia is Xiaomi’s lifestyle brand. … whichever.

Xiaomi make a bunch of switches, here’s a list and what type of “action” each switch can report:

If you have smart bulbs, you just don’t need to interact with mains level wiring on the switch. I don’t know what’s the width of your triple switch, if perhaps three of WXKG11LM side by side are the same width.

Ikea sells E1524/E1810 technically there’s 5 buttons there you can use for various things - maybe that one works better?

Just go through the supported devices page till you see a picture of something you like.