I’ve had a smart home with Alexa and SmartThings for over 4 years now and with over 75 devices connected (20 of them are WIFI, the rest is Zigbee), SmartThings is becoming slow to respond and some devices are losing connectivity. I recently bought a better router for the home.
I just ordered on Amazon the Beelink Mini PC and SONOFF Zigbee 3.0. It should arrive tomorrow. I am going to keep SmartThings running for most of my rooms and only work with two rooms, repairing devices for those rooms, just enough to where I can play with it, learn, and create routines. I will be connecting SmartThings to Home Assistant so I can begin recreating automations for the rest of the home, slowly moving rooms/devices/automations into Home Assistant.
I just joined this forum and I look forward to learning. Currently learning YAML and look forward to learning other things.
I guess I will be using the cloud as well so I can control my home while away so that is going to be something. Any recommendations on anything I should look out for? Any YouTube channels you think I should subscribe to? I watch a lot of popular channels, like a few from the UK, a Canadian, and a few U.S. guys. One in the UK, “ole’ to Zigbee!” I like him because he is annoyingly funny, I get a good laugh on his channel, LOL!
This is my first post on here. Looking forward to more discussions.
Welcome to HASS, and apologise on behalf of all Brittunculi for Paul Hibbert’s bad nylon wigs!
YAML was needed a few years ago, but today the automation GUI editor is good enough for most stuff.
There’s a load of stuff you could install, but frankly, start small and take your time.
Yes, the File Editor, Terminal, Log Viewer, Media Player, ESPhome, Tasmota+MQTT, WLED, and HACS all are wonderful, but start small.
There is a risk that YouTube content turns into a monthly deluge of people reading the same HASS release notes, so subscribe to the ‘Official’ HASS account and watch the 2h release party videos. They can be technical, but you almost always pick new something up from watching the core team do stuff.
The rest depends - LEDs = Quindor, The Hook Up Rob has shifted to mostly AV stuff, Smart Home Solver has useful ideas rather than code, ESH is Scottish (which is good),
If you’re in the UK, IKEA has decent cheap 13A Zigbee socket switches, but the wireless remotes have “issues”. Sonoff Zigbee kit is cheap and works.
Top tip: create Helpers for basic state variables (pinched from Smart Home Solver).
Example - Night Mode. Set to TRUE at night fall. Add conditions to all PIR motion automations, so one toggle can enable / disable ALL motion lights.
Example - Alarm Clock. At and run alarm clock stuff. One toggle can give you a lie in.
Oh, and back stuff up. Off the device. Really!
Useful to save automations.yaml so you can look for changes that broke a thing.
You made the right choice to jump RPI and get more power. As you I have a mix of wireless and zigbee. The difference is that I dont allopw any cloud contact. I use a router with built in VPN to connect to the system when I am away. I use an Android phone with the HA App.
I watch many YT, problem is that the development of HA goes so quickly now so much info get outdated quickly.
One thing I keep to 100% is to install updates the last week in every month. This way most bugs are sorted out.
Fair point - and worth mentioning that backups are just tar files gzip compressed (e.g. tgz), so when my /media folder killed a restore, it was simple to repack without all the audio files to get the restore working (*nix greybeard… ).
This can help if you’ve broken your automations.yaml - download a backup file, rename to add .tgz, extract just the one file and compare versions.
Since you will be using Zigbee, the Blakadder database is very helpful. Look up the Zigbee devices that you have or will have, and see which platforms they work in. Since you are starting new and using the Sonoff Zigbee dongle, I would suggest using either ZHA or Zigbee2MQTT, since these integrations are the most popular and support the most devices.
Thank you everyone. Good ideas and good advice.
I bookmarked the site Database of Zigbee devices compatible with ZHA, Tasmota, Zigbee2MQTT, deCONZ, ZiGate and ioBroker@DaveBoring and decided to go with Zigbee2MQTT. That is a useful resource to ensure I am buying compatible devices.
My shipment is coming today, according to Amazon, so we will see how it goes.
I will join the thread for Smartthings. I will continue to use Smartthings until I am more confident with Home Assistant. The devices that are on SmartLife and Smartthings will continue for a moment, moving a room at a time into the Home Assistant.
Thank you all again and looking forward to spending more time with this than my wife. Only joking. She will kill me.
One thing I’d recommend any new user is to remember the KISS principle.
OK, some of us love tinkering, and maybe this doesn’t apply to you. But HA can become a full-time job pretty quickly. There are monthly .0 updates, and lots of minor updates after that, largely to fix all the bugs the .0 update introduced. The change notices are long and you really need to pay attention to every item in them to see whether or not it affects you. It’s not always clear, since of course the devs speak their own language which sometimes has little in common with the language you see on the HA pages.
TLDR: Minimize the number of add-ons, integrations and customizations you install. There’s a lot of really cool stuff out there, but the price for using it is more work on your part. HA is not a “set it and forget it” system.
It took me three hours to figure out Etcher. I figured it out and was able to get HAOS installed. Integrated OneDrive backup, added Smartthings to it, got the mobile app going, added Alexa and Google Home, and it is working now. I have not done anything else, but it is running fine. I’m going to take time off now and make sure my wife does not divorce me. I can tell this will take hours, so it is not in production mode. Still using Smartthings directly until I feel comfortable moving everything over to HA. Cheers all and thank you for all your advices. I will start hitting up the other forums here.
It has been a few months and I’m still tinkering with my setup, still learning. Yet, I still give my wife plenty of attention. I work from home, so I do minor stuff while at work. I spend two-three hours a day at Home Assistant. My wife does allow me time if something goes wrong and is understanding, in fact, she is involved most of the time. She loves the automations I’ve created, especially the bathroom lights and bedtime automations. All lights turn off in the home when we go to bed, which is awesome. Smartthings is great, but there are so many limitations, one of the limits being the number of devices it can handle, and I was not able to do more than thirty automations. I had Alexa routines working with Smartthings, it was too much to handle. I had over one hundred Alexa routines performing some routines. Now, Home Assistant has just under two hundred automations and scripts combined. I am down to ten routines in Alexa. Smartthings and Aqara hub removed completed. I only have YoLink connected now.
A lot of documentation assumes you already know what they are talking about. Manufacturers and development companies have tech-writers, which is responsible for turning tech data into plain fifth grade English. I do have tenth grade experience here and am still learning, but I have come a long way. I have over 105 Zigbee2MQTT devices, 10 Govee devices, 15 SmartLife devices using LocalTuya, two printers, eleven voice assistants from Google and Amazon throughout the house, 9 computers using HASS.Agent, 4 YoLink devices, and using Tasker to parse and store historical data from three different online databases. Home Assistant should be improperly named. The word “HOME” is what I mean. This setup can be used in offices, like Office Assistant, lol. In the real sense, Home Assistant is simply bad-**s.
There are a lot of ideas I wish to see implemented. I also wish the documentation were a little more fifth grade. But in all, this is open source, it is what it is. It just takes time, patience, and persistence.
Welcome! Glad to hear it’s working so well for you.
I totally get spending several hours each day on HA. That’s both a “pro” and a “con,” depending on how you look at it. Most of us love to tinker, but there are times it would be nice to forget HA for a couple of days.
Your comment about documentation often comes up around here. It’s hard to dispute. I like the idea of using fifth-grade language. In my experience, it’s very hard to get developers to think like that. We love acronyms and our base of assumed knowledge probably doesn’t line up well with the average person’s. Let alone a fifth grader. But, yeah, it’s a great product once you learn all the secret handshakes and get through all the initiation rituals.
Last month, I went two weeks without touching HA. It was so freeing. LOL.
I did notice a few hiccups here and there as things were working, but it was not something that totally stopped us from living in the house. Bathroom lights worked, the bathroom fan turned on when humid, kitchen and living room lights were working, ALAMO and Alexa Guard worked when we drove one mile away from the house, it just worked. There were little issues, like the timing of the transition of brightness, I wanted to adjust it better, from five seconds to three. Outside of that, nice. Once I jumped on HA, there were five updates in HACS and three updates in Integrations. Not bad, just updated and back to normal. Also fixed the transitions and a few automations.
Outside of that, nice.
On a serious note, since then, I have been in HA either every day or every other day. A few days ago, Alexa Media Player stopped working. I simply removed it and re-installed it, created a new 2FA code and it works again. All automations worked without issue, did not have to change anything. Well, one thing, the temperature sensor is no longer working on the newer Echo dots and pluses. I removed them from the dashboard. Not important, I have temp sensors from Sonoff in each room.
Going to keep plugging away at this thing, perfecting things as time goes on. Thanks to all in the Home Assistant community for your addons, integrations, designing, GUIing, and everything else.