Not seeing devices, only entities, using home-assistant-remote and two HA installs

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For some background, I’ve got a Synology NAS that’s running my Home Assistant install via a Docker container. It’s been a solid experience so far, but I wanted to use my Raspberry Pi to handle Zigbee/Z-wave connections and finally ditch all of my hubs (Hue and Aqara). I found @lukas-hetzenecker’s home-assistant-remote and after a bit of finagling was able to get the remote install (on the Raspberry Pi) to be seen by my main install. All of the entities are indeed coming over just fine.

However, I’m running into an issue where no devices are seen by the main install. Unfortunately that means I’m stuck at the moment with getting to where I want to go. Does anyone have any insight as to why this might be happening?

While I could also venture down the path of getting the USB stick to work with the Synology directly, I’d like to keep my options open here using the RPI so that it would be more easily locatable in a central spot in the house.

Thanks in advance!

Why do you think you have to have devices instead of just entities? Where is it preventing you from going?

I’m still new to Home Assistant, so maybe I’m not seeing it all clearly but here are a few of my current issues:

  • Room-based light groups that were automatically generated by HA (light.office) are not controlling the light entities within that room. Any device-based light is toggled by the light.office, but not the entity-based ones coming in from the remote install
  • Automations that start with device control, or result in actions controlling devices aren’t able to be configured as such
  • The HomeKit Bridge does not donate the remote devices to HomeKit at all This turned out to be incorrect.

The way home-assistant-remote works, the last time I looked at it anyway, it monitors call_service and state_changed events on the “remote” HASS and repeats them on the master HASS. Devices are not part of that because the device itself doesn’t have an entity to represent it (in most cases).

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I’m not sure what a “room based light group” is, but perhaps that’s some new HASS feature I don’t use yet? Regardless, if it’s based on “devices” or “areas” or anything other than an entity, it will not work THROUGH home-assistant-remote.

Right… you’ll need all of your automations to be entity based, at least for those wanting to control entities on the remote home assistant.

I don’t use the HomeKit bridge (or HomeKit at all, for that matter) but my understanding of it is that it is entity based. So, it is likely a configuration issue that just needs to be looked at more closely.

First, I really appreciate the responses.

So I’m not entirely sure where or how these get set up, but the default behavior of my install has been that any light devices that are added to an area seem to get added to a generic light.zone group. This makes automating all of the lights in a room extremely easy. I suppose it would be possible to replicate this functionality by setting up an explicit grouping, but it’s just a little annoying is all.

Right. And I’m still very much in the early days of learning how to do automations. Would anything that is possible in a device-centric way be possible in an entity-centric way?

Turns out I was just flat-out wrong here. Misplaced a handful of the entities in my HomeKit install and therefore thought they weren’t there at all.

Home Assistant, to my knowledge, does not do this automatically. Perhaps you use Philips Hue? I used to use it and it would create a light.room_name entity for every Room I had built in the Philips Hue app.

That being said, this is still doable by creating a Light Group manually for each “room”. The “area” concept, while great in theory, is not fully developed to my knowledge. So things like “turn off all lights in an area” are not built in (though, I would love to be corrected if I am wrong about this).

Largely, yes. I am a long time user and have some very advanced automations and I don’t use any of the device centric features. Some devices generate “device automations”. The only ones I own are MQTT based and there’s an entity-based alternative to using them. If you have a “device automation” that needs to be used because there is no alternative, you can create an automation on the remote HASS to fire a custom event when that device automation is seen and then use that event on the primary HASS. It sounds tedious, but it should work around the issue. Keep in mind, I believe you have to specifically indicate to home-assistant-remote that you want certain events to be subscribed to.

All-in-all, while home-assistant-remote does the best that it can with the tools Home Assistant makes available, it, unfortunately, can’t do everything. If at all possible, I’d advise staying away from using it as it unless there is no other way. Thankfully, most of the reasons for using TWO (or more) instances of Home Assistant can also be accomplished using MQTT and things like ZWave and Zigbee are easily done over MQTT.

:man_facepalming: Wow, you know that feeling when something is absolutely obvious after someone mentions it? That. That feeling right about now lol. Indeed, that makes sense as now the two device I “moved” to the remote instance are no longer a part of the Hue hub.

No biggie as I can recreate this experience with groups, as you say.

Good to know! I’ll dig in a little bit deeper and see what might be possible with what I’m trying to do.

There are some paths to directly adding the USB device directly to a Synology NAS, but unfortunately mine is just a bit too new and I can’t seem to find the correct driver support to make that possible. Maybe in the future when that happens I’ll port it on over so that it’s a simpler setup.

hehe. It happens to us all.

While I feel Home Assistant is easily the BEST software available for any kind of advanced home automation, there’s certainly a learning curve. And, because the integration for each different device type was possibly written by a different person, two devices don’t always work the same way.

I’ve heard of USB headaches with Synology NAS. Thankfully, I just use a bare docker host so most things work. I used home-assistant-remote for a short time because I needed two zigbee networks and ZHA didn’t support that. But, with ZIgbee2MQTT (which I use for Zigbee stuff now) I can have as many instances running as I need and still only run one instance of Home Assistant. So I’ve got my main zigbee network running on my primary docker host, and a second zigbee network being powered by a Raspberry Pi 4. About 3 months ago I also switched to the OpenZWave beta (which works over MQTT). I only need one ZWave network, but having it running in it’s own process (as opposed to being tied in to Home Assistant) makes restarting Home Assistant whenever needed (often!) much easier because the ZWave network doesn’t have to restart each time.