Home Assistant on a Pi Zero W in 30 minutes


Saw the announcement yesterday for HASSbian 1.21 and got super excited?

Today we’ll flash the latest HASSbian to a Raspberry Pi Zero W. With an added bonus that besides for an USB cable for power, there’s no need for any cables!

What you’ll need:

  • a Raspberry Pi Zero W (an amazing tiny computer with built-in wifi)
  • a microSD card
  • some source of USB power
  • Wifi
  • a desktop or laptop

Let’s get to it!

First, download the HASSbian 1.21 image from here.

Unzip it.

Flash it to the microSD card. If you need a flash tool, try Etcher

When the flashing finishes, remove it and plug it back in. You should see a drive called “boot”.

Right in there, not in any folders, create a file called wpa_supplicant.conf.

The contents of the configuration file should be something like this: (You may have to adjust for your configuration, hints here )


Next stick your SD card into the Raspberry Pi Zero W, and plug it in.

After about a minute, use your SSH client to connect to HASSbian (or hassbian.local from a Mac), with the username pi. The default password is raspberry.

It’s a good idea to change the password. To do so, use the passwd command.

Next, type the following two commands into the SSH console:

$ sudo systemctl enable install_homeassistant.service
$ sudo systemctl start install_homeassistant.service

Wait about 15-20 minutes and voilà you have your Home Assistant on your Raspberry Pi Zero W in 30 minutes.

To try it out, go to http://hassbian:8123 or http://hassbian.local:8123 if you’re using Mac.

For further details about HASSbian, take a look at the documentation.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://home-assistant.io/blog/2017/05/01/home-assistant-on-raspberry-pi-zero-in-30-minutes/

Just a minor point, but without it the Pi Zero won’t connect to your network. In the new file wpa_supplicant.conf a few extra lines are needed:

country=GB (or whichever your country is)
ctrl_interface=DIR=/var/run/wpa_supplicant GROUP=netdev


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After following your exact instructions to burn the image onto the 32G Micro SD card and created the wpa_supplicant.conf at the root level directory with my wifi network and password key. I can’t see it connect to my home wifi at all on my list of clients. I even included a couple parameter as suggested by other posters “papasierra” and modified the directory accordingly (i.e. at /) but still no luck. Could someone lead me in the right direction, please? THanks.


Is you network hidden? I found that adding scan_ssid to the wpa_supplicant file seemed to help. For reference, here is an example wpa_supplicant.conf file:

ctrl_interface=DIR=/var/run/wpa_supplicant GROUP=netdev


Just insert your country code in place of XX.

Hope that helps.

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One more thing to add. A Pi Zero W probably would not be my first choice to use to run Home Assistant. You might find yourself wanting something with a little more power later on.



Thank you for quick reply, my wifi is not hidden but I added the scan_ssid parameter per your suggestion anyway and the country code is US, still I get no luck at all. For now I just want to get a feel of it with Hassbian on my Pi Zero W but may upgrade to full size Rasberry Pi later.


About the parameter “ctrl_interface=DIR=/var/run/wpa_supplicant GROUP=netdev”
I don’t see such a directory structure in the SD card “boot” volume at all but just “/overlay”. Unless they are file systems that get mount later while the system is boot up .


That’s basically correct. There will be two partitions when you boot the card. There will be a fat partition and an ext4 partition. The fat partition is the one Windows can see. The ext4 will contain the files used by Linux including the wpa_supplicant file.

hello everyone i followed the instruction and got to connect my device to the network and i see the device online and write the commands in the shell and i go to the ip of my machine and nothing work i tried the url, the ip with port 8123 please help friend in need
thank you alot,

@omer, what step are you stuck on? The console commands take 15-20 minutes, so even though you have the prompt back, it is still installing in the background.

I waited for atleast hour and it did not got up and running

Unfortunately I’m not sure how long it was installing on my Pi Zero W, but when it completed, it looks like it automatically rebooted.

I run the command htop from the console window to see/view what is going on, and the top process was usually the homeassis user id, and in my case the last thing in the console window running was
/srv/homeassistant/bin/python -m pip install --quiet hass-nabucasa==0.13 --upgrade …

So I knew it was still installing. Hope that helps.

Did you installed the version mentioned in the tutorial or the latest?

I ran all the steps. When htop CPU indicated that installation was over I ran “sudo systemctl” and it displayed that [email protected] was loaded but failed. Any idea of where to look for clues on why? journalctl doesn’t give any clue.

[email protected]:~ $ systemctl -l status [email protected]
[email protected] - Home Assistant for homeassistant
Loaded: loaded (/etc/systemd/system/[email protected]; enabled)
Active: failed (Result: exit-code) since Tue 2020-11-17 16:30:41 UTC; 7min ago
Process: 919 ExecStart=/srv/homeassistant/bin/hass (code=exited, status=203/EXEC)
Main PID: 919 (code=exited, status=203/EXEC)

hassbian doesn’t exist any longer.

The Pi zero is NOT recommended for HA.

true, but you can use a Zero for some testing purpose… :smiley: I do some tests sometimes on a zero.

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Thank you for this topic. I want to install HomeAssistant on a “Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W” for testing. As Hassbian is no longer alive (R.I.P Hassbian - Home Assistant), what would be the best way to do similar thing nowadays?
I guess one way could be to install " Raspberry Pi OS Lite 32bit" and then do the trick by installing the following:

sudo systemctl enable install_homeassistant.service
sudo systemctl start install_homeassistant.service

Would this be the preferable method? Or is there an more elegant way?

Thank you very much in advance :slight_smile:

May I ask how this actually runs for people? That is not a lot of power. It might be interesting for HA in a car or something along those lines though.

I’m trying to do this on my Pi02W right now, using rpi3 64 bit image. I’m hoping it has enough juice to run raspbian desktop on top of Home assistant, I hope to use it in the car, just run home assistant app on android head unit and connect to the pi, I hope this turns out like a real fake dual os :slight_smile:

I didn’t think of this before but the Dietpi OS is a possibility. I ran HA using it long ago. Dietpi is lightweight Debian based OS and can be ran with or without a desktop GUI. It features lightweight versions of applications you can easily install.