Home Assistant To Go

This project is not so much something that can be posted on Github, but a little repository of ideas and hopefully improvement suggestions from you :slight_smile:

Before most travel collapsed, I enjoyed taking trips here and there and after setting up my smart home with HA I discovered that no hotel, no matter how nice, could really compete with the tech creature comforts offered by my own home.

Thus, I decided to take my smart home with me from now on!

What I set up is a separate HA instance on a Raspberry Pi 4 8GB, with the following addons:

  • FLIRC case for the Pi, since the official case is little more than a tiny plastic oven (temp difference has been in the 20-25 degree range between the two, going from 70 Celsius to 45-50 in idle)

  • I decided to go WiFi-only for wireless addons, since definitely one thing I don’t want to do in a hotel room is look through ZWave logs and I didn’t feel like buying another Zigbee dongle

  • As a sensor I used the Broadlink A1, both because I already had it and because it offers temperature, humidity, light, noise & VOC air readings in one package

  • For aircon and/or entertainment system control I went for a Broadlink RM Mini 3, again because I had it already, but also because it can be used just as a conduit for command codes, unlike the Harmony Hub, which afaik needs to ‘know’ the devices you’re controlling

  • Cheap Vstarcam PTZ IP camera - because we have a little kid we’d like to make sure doesn’t fall out of bed while we’re watching something in the living room, it can be turned against the wall for privacy automagically with a HA script and it is ONVIF-compatible

  • Huawei LTE hotspot - the model I have also has an RJ45 connection for sweet, sweet wired LAN and I set it up with identical DHCP & WiFi settings as my home setup, so that when we’re in a hotel all the borrowed IP devices think they’re in their own home

  • WiFi power sockets & Yeelight WiFi color bulbs - between the sockets and the bulbs I can replace most of the room’s lighting 5 minutes after arriving and obtain voice control and colors :slight_smile:

  • Amazon Echo Tap - speaking of voice control, I love the dual-nature of this device, which can stay in its own dock most of the time, but can also offer seamless Spotify playlists right on the beach by setting up my phone as a WiFi hotspot with identical network settings

  • Samsung 10K mAH portable battery - very handy for all devices, including the Echo Tap, which if kept plugged into it offers handsfree Alexa right from one’s beach chair

  • Nvidia Shield w/controller & remote - I tried for quite a while to get the Pi 4 to run video & games well, but it is just no match for the Shield…Dreamcast emulation in Redream @ 1920x1440 & perfect 4K hardware acceleration for both Kodi & Plex are two things which are completely beyond the Pi at the moment

  • Microsoft All-in-One Media Keyboard connected to the Pi, which is running Ubuntu 20.04 64-bit desktop and thus provides a serviceable PC on hand at all times

  • 5-port Gigabit switch for the Pi & the Shield

  • APC power strip so that I don’t go crazy trying to find enough sockets for all this stuff

So, what do I get with this stuff? (which does all fit inside a very small bag, besides the power strip, which I really would need to replace with something more compact)

  1. Temperature control - if I want to make it nice and freezing right when coming back from the beach, I can :slight_smile:

  2. Kid monitoring at night

  3. Voice-controllable (and some colored) lights

  4. In-room and on-beach voice-controlled music system

  5. Virtual assistant for adding things to a shopping list, asking for outside temperature/weather, etc.

  6. Superb evening video entertainment and/or gaming via Redream, Plex or (if both 4G & WiFi are spotty) a 256GB micro USB stick-powered local Kodi instance

  7. A full desktop Linux PC on the Pi if needed

So, what do you think/what would you do differently?

I just figured that this is a pretty easy way to reuse existing hardware which would mostly be at home doing nothing anyway while we’re on vacation…I realize that I’m counting on the HDMI port on the TV to be available (and not locked behind a hotel UI) and the aircon to have IR, but this is usually visible in pictures of the hotel room when going over accommodation options and is also never an issue with Airbnb.


All that for the one night you spend in a hotel room ?

I agree that it wouldn’t be worth it for one night, but for 4-5 I think it’s not too bad :slight_smile:


This is insane. I love it!

I’ve been developing a travel router and Apple TV system for work travel. HA has been a thought on my old Pi.

:+1: :heart_eyes: Cool idea, crazy, but I love it.

Here are a couple of pics :slight_smile:

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I’m thinking of picking up one of these things, as it should be able to replace at least the Pi, the switch and the 4G router: https://www.seeedstudio.com/Odyssey-Blue-J4105-128GB-p-4668.html

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Just a side question… how did you get your “vstarcam” ptz to work through ha? I am using the regular onvif integration but the commands don’t seem to work… the camera feed itself works, just not the ptz commands

Ah, yes, that was a fun topic, I documented it: Fun had with Vstarcam C7837WIP

Next challenge, get it all in a little case.
Very cool!

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So, after a couple of trips I have some further thoughts on this:

  • Physical buttons of some kind would be nice to have, because while telling Alexa to turn off the lights works well, I do lose the option of simply pressing a button next to the bed…and since they too can trigger various scenes/automations, it would provide even more flexibility. I do need to find some that are WiFi or BT-compatible, though.

  • Climate control turned out to be trickier than I thought, as the hotels I wanted to stay in tended to have non-IR controllable air conditioners…Airbnb should still be fine, though.

  • I’d like to add an SSD to the Pi 4, as it seems that the SD card is a pretty weak spot speed-wise when you actually use it as a desktop PC

  • Remote access to the device was a bit trickier than I thought, as at home I use a custom domain name which obviously wouldn’t work and when I tried to make use of the Nabu Casa link for the new instance it messed up my Alexa cloud integration, showing only my few on-the-go devices in my main home instance as well.

  • Since I am re-using home hardware for this project, I was wondering about getting the Pi to run as a High-Availability HA instance, since even without ZWave and Zigbee support it could keep HA running when I am updating or tinkering with the main HA server

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