Lost without HA

Valuable lesson:

So, it all started many years ago, when I first modified an old timer plug to simply switch my lounge light off at a certain time. Fast forward a couple of years and a few fairly cheap wifi light switches, operated through ewelink and smartlife (tuya).

Now, for the last 5 months, I have been setting up HA on my old trusty rpi 2, integrating almost every light in the house, my pool pump and lights and even the water heater. HA has been doing just about everything and what is worse, is nothing can stick to a fixed schedule due to the LoadShedding that we experience in South Africa.

And tonight, it all stopped. My SD Card in the pi simply locked up, and here I am, typing this, because finding all the apps and remembering what needs to switch on or off when, is just too exhausting.

The lesson learnt is, MAKE A BACKUP.

To put it in perspective, HA was responsible for the following

Almost all lights, including timers etc
Ensuring hot water available when people are home
Running pool pump when there is grid electricity available
Controlling spotify and all the speakers in the house
Reminders via whatsapp about garbage removal, feeding the dogs and low mobile batteries
Notifications through whatsapp about family locations
Arming the security system at night

All of this, plus the added benefits of weather forecasts and todo lists.

Hope you all have an excellent night while I contemplate how I am going to get HA back up and running.

I’m impressed you go all that running on a Rpi2. Maybe take this as an opportunity to upgrade your hardware?

I whole heartedly agree, move up to PI4 or PI5 (yellow or green)!

Unfortunately Pi5 is still a work in progress I believe, but my Pi4 with external SSD hums along. Only issue is big ESPHome compiles.

Backups are good, but only if they are on a second physical storage!

Try to load the SDCard in a card reader and see if you can read it with some of the many recover programs. Sometimes you can get bits and piece out and just a directory tree and the a few files from the config directory will help immensely with the restoring.


And tested to make sure they can be used for recovery.

So true.
I took it for granted a few months back when I wanted to switch from Raspberry Pi4 to Intel NUC.
The Raspberry was repurposed for a smart clock, where it was pretty permanently mounted.
The Intel NUC was then installed and the backup was uploaded.
Turns out there was an issue with backing up the Influx DB, so it was hanging there and had so for the last many months. This also meant that it never reached the point of backing up the Home Assistant directory.
Luckily I had used another SD card for the clock, so I had the original installation still, but it was a manual recover, which is not something I want to do again. :wink:

Funny thing, we actually had a pretty much opposite experience over the last 7 days, which was quite eye opening for us. Last week we were hit by Ciaran, a hurricane strength storm over Western Europe. We were right in its path here in Western France. Basically the entire public power grid collapsed and over 1 million homes were left without power. We lived on our generator power for almost a week. Since the power was unstable and the UPS ended up behaving strangely, I shut down almost all sensitive electronics, including the home server, NAS, NVR, and my RPi with HA too.

I was surprised how little we missed the automations. The only two we really noticed as lacking were the yard lights on arrival and the heating control. Everything else was easy to work around (bathroom fan, etc) or even ended up less annoying without the automation (lights auto turn off if no motion, eventhough I already extended their delay quite a bit in the past). Now that we’re back to normal, I will probably remove pretty much all automations except the two we really noticed.

The one thing I really missed without HA was the monitoring, remote control and alert capabilities. Thinking of it, this is probably the only reason I still do this. Maybe I’m just losing interest in home automation in general.

One thing I did learn during this episode is the importance of a good high powered generator :slight_smile: