Installing a Home Assistant Control Panel

I finally got around to installing the Android Point-Of-Sale tablet I bought at the start of 2023. It was a little trickier than I expected, but I’m thrilled with the result. My wife and kids love it.

The tablet itself is a 15" unit designed for point of sale use, so it’s got a touch screen and some lights along the sides. It doesn’t have a battery and can be powered by Power-over-Ethernet, which made it really appealing to me!

The only major downside is that it’s running Android 8, but that hasn’t presented any real issues for me yet. I’m conscious that there are no security patches, but it’s only using my local network and won’t be browsing the internet or anything, so I’m considering it a low risk.

To install it, I cut a rectangle out of the plasterboard wall in my kitchen. When I had the house rewired, I ensured there was an ethernet cable in place to carry networking and power to the tablet.

I then constructed a simple timber mechanism to hold the tablet in position. The mechanism means that if I need to remove the tablet for any reason, I can undo one screw at the top and the tablet can be lifted out.

Once in place, I made a simple timber picture frame to cover the rough edges.

Not the finest joinery in the world, but not bad for a first attempt!

I used Command Strips to mount the frame to the wall. These are the kind that are like velcro, so the frame can be removed with ease if I need access to the tablet.

I then sanded the frame and painted it black, to fit in with the colour scheme of the kitchen.

I then created a two column Lovelace dashboard to display basic information about heating, hot water and energy consumption. it also has a few buttons for some of the relevant lights and access to the Guest mode button I’ve been working on.

I installed the Fully Kiosk browser app to render the UI. I also created a new Home Assistant user that doesn’t have admin rights. This keeps the menu clear and prevents guest or people with small hands (my kids) from messing stuff up!

I’ve also used an Aqara FP2 to turn the display on when there are people in the kitchen and off when there are none. I’ve also experimented with Browser Mod to throw up a view of the front door and driveway cameras where the doorbell rings or motion is detected. This isn’t great as the camera feeds are slow to load, so I need to spend more time improving that.

The lights along the borders are also controllable using a Java library, which I’ve received from the vendor. I’d like to do something with those, but haven’t had any ideas yet. Maybe an indicator or grid usage or solar surplus?

I’ve made two YouTube videos on this tablet - the unboxing and review of the table and the install itself.

If you want to know more, please ask! If you have a tablet control centre like this, I’d love to hear about your dashboard layouts and any automations you’ve setup!

Unboxing the tablet: