Naming of devices ? Where to place device number?

Hi Team

Would like to hear your suggestions - how do you do you naming of devices ? so they are easy to recognise - both within HA but also when you stubble across a device in the house/garden… Using Areas will help with the guessing…

But also when you have lots of devices in the ‘thinkering box’ being tested with - or when reusing a device - or… I do fint it hard to ‘recognise’ the device. What do you do ?

Right now, I’m tempted to write a unique number at all my devices (#001, #002,…) and then have some kind of ‘device registry’. The perfect place would in HA, and somehow be able to display/assign within the device view.

I can see there is the Label function - guess it could be used, but do think that is ‘misusing’ the Label function - one label for each device ?

What do you do ?

/Joern

This…

Don’t overcomplicate your life.

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Since

  • I have many similar devices (like thermometers: have the same kind of function, but there are multiple brands)
  • I want to be able to too see a device and find it within HA

My solution right now is like this: TH2 Bedroom Couch Thermometer Zigbee Tuya Xyz 2137.

  • TH stands for thermometer. I also have CS (contact sensor), LB (lightbulb), etc.
  • 2 is the individual number of the device, unique to the “class” of above (so I can have TH4 and CS4 at the same time)
  • Bedroom designates the HA’s area
  • Couch is the specific place within the area (nested areas → why the hell not (yet)?!)
  • Zigbee Tuya Xyz 2137 is the brand/model.

I mark (physcially, with a marker) every device with just the TH7 part –> so I can look at the physical device and quickly find it within HA. It also helps when writing automations, etc. → I just type like sensor.th7 and it autocompletes the rest.

It also works the other way around: I can see the full name within HA → and it helps me to “find” the exact device in the physical world.

Problems:

  • renaming: TH6 part does not change, the brand part does not change → but the designation might (if I replace or move the the device → why the hell no pointers/aliases (yet)?!)
  • long names: do not fit well within the HA’s UI. I guess I may start skipping the brand part, although I believe it is useful to quickly see…

I’m not claming this is the best solution. Most people probably just name devices like Couch Thermometer and that’s it. But I want the extra advantages of a longer naming scheme, so that’s the best I came up to this day.

I prefer to name them after their IP address which is usually static on the device and also reserved on the DHCP server.
The DHCP/DNS server can be used for names then and reading a number like 13.230 makes it easy to add the network ID in front and have an IP address to connect to.

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My naming convention does not include the location or the use since this may change.

I only use the device type and the serial number because this things will never change.

Examples:

  • Door Window Sensor 12345678
  • Plug 8764421

Then I set an area for every device, so I know where to look for it.
Every further categorization can be done with the labeling system (light, heating, what corner of a room, …).

I do the exact opposite. I do not care about the brand of a device in an automation. And binary_sensor.aqara_motion_sensor_13 is not very helpful when reading an automation.

An automation is meant to do a certain thing in a certain place. So for the id’s of the entities involved I do use where it is and what is is, such as light.bedroom_main_lights, or light.bathroom_mirror. If I want to know the brand of the device, I look in its properties.

If I move the physical device to a different place for a different purpose, I rename the entity id. And if I by a new brand of device to put in the bedroom, I name the entity id to light.bedroom_main_lights so the old automation will act on those as it would on the previous device I used for it. If you don’t, and move a motion sensor, it will turn on the lights in the wrong room.

This is the whole reason why entity_ids can be changed, and a big part of why you should not use device ids in automations. Because if you move things around or devices break, you won’t need to change every automation, template, helper, lovelace card, etc. that used it.

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Labels is an option

Maybe, but not as easy in every place, such as triggers, dashboards, helpers, etc. And it requires a lookup. With hundreds of devices, thousands on entities, a lot of labeling and label searching needs to take place. That is nice if you target multiple devices, but not if you need just the one.

You can also label a device with its brand, if that is important to you. There are multiple devices with the same brand, great use of labels. There’s only one bathroom mirror light. Not so good for labels.

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Thanks for you comments. Do specially like the ‘number series’ - like THx, CSx and write that on the devices…

But still miss a place in HA to see the list… know that I can search it… and could be the anser…

/Jørn

Yes - does make sense, what you are writing, Specially when replacing stuff that breaks.

But I still think it would be beneficial to have some kind of unique number assigned to all HW devices. Do agree it would be best, that it should not be part of the device name / ID.

So, when I find something in the ‘thinker box’, I could se it is id ‘#034’, and se in HA, that is defined as xxx, and now I would rename it for the next project…

Or, when ‘Outlet-Power-Meters’ are being moved around the house to see power consumption of different things, would be nice with a ‘number’ on it (yes - could just write the device name/id on it, but then it might change function…)

Or, Zigbee repeaters, have then plugged in outlets around the house… sometimes the Wife unplugs them, and they end up in drawers, or on my desk… then it would be nice with a number, and be able to go into HA and find the device, and from the name - see that this is the zigbee repeater in… (yes , could just add physical label to the zigbee repeater …)

or,…

And of cause - as Mark points out - we have the Label function in HA… but I still feel that Labels (like tags) is for ‘grouping’ several devices/entities …

:wink:

That would be the unique id, but you can only control that for template entities. Maybe also for MQTT, I do not know.

For things in my tinker box, I usually delete them from HA. My biggest gripe with mqtt is that that is hard because you need to get rid of persistant autodiscovery topics. Reason for removal being, if I take something out of the tinkerbox, I do not want it to set off left over automations from earlier experiments. I also do not want HA to complain about it not being there or spend time looking for it. Those I don’t remove indeed get named by the device type/brand.

My Zigbee routers should indeed not be touched by family members. But I don’t consider them any different. I name them by where they are, because nearby devices rely on them, especially Aqara stuff that does not pick new routes.

I do have universal, always included tinker stuff. Most used for: Christmas lights. The solution I have for that is groups. I have a group living room Christmas lights. I have Sonoff mini usb switches with plain numbered entity ids 1, 2, 3. I build my automation around the group.

When the box of Christmas lights is pulled out of storage, I take a random sonoff switch, and put it in the group that corresponds to it’s use for this season. You could also use proxy template entities, but groups have a ui and are way easier to create.

Dashoards are conditional on the availability. So if the Christmas tree is unavailable, it is not in the UI. Needless to say I mainly use wifi stuff for that, because Zigbee and z-wave hate devices being away for months.

I must admit I built this a few years ago, in the labelless era. But I get the feeling that a responsive UI based on labels may take some thinking. I do not want empty cards and I want control over ordering.

I’m not sure what you’re looking for.

When I want to find a particular device (that I physically marked as CS4 for example) → then I just type CS4 into the devices/entities search and find in within HA.

Same when writing an automation/script/widget/helper/template → I just type sensor.cs4 and the rest is being autocompleted.

What about seeing all “contact sensors” (CS*) at once? I didn’t feel the need for that yet, but I’ve recently just upgraded to the latest HA → I might label all the CSx devices with CS label or something like that. Will see. Just searching for CS also lists me all “CS” devices/entities of course