Starting slowly building first Home asisstant project


sorry for newbies question but i don’t have user experience with Home automation. I have been a fan of Open source for years and was really glad to find such a great open source solution for home automation.

We just moved with kids to a new apartment and I decided that it would be really great to start building a Smart home with them. Probably it will help to build more interest for them in ”programming” and DIY.

Anyway now i’m trying to decide what hardware to use and it looks like the obvious choice is Raspberry Pi 4B.

Choosing the protocol that we will use is more difficult. I read a lot of discussion around Zigbee and Z-wave and now probably going with Zigbee as the main protocol. The only thing that stops me is that many commercial companies are strictly focused on Z-wave. For example I like a few sensors from AEotec but they are strictly Z-wave. I would really appreciate if that is not a problem and if i should just put 2 sticks mixing sensors from both protocols will not cause problems in long run.

Also please let me know what you think if it is better to stick to one sensor manufacturer. For example Sonoff or using sensors from different manufactures will not cause any problems.

Welcome to the universe of joy and sorrow. And you should beaware that home autiomation is addictive.

Unfortunately there is no easy answer. I would recommand that you start with one protocol. I think it does not matter which, but you should like the devices. Later you my add other protokolls but it is a good idea to have a solid foundation. Based on your location zwave or zigbee are good choices. In Germany i would suggest to have a look at Homematic IP.

You should ask yourself what are the areas of interest and what is your budget. If it is Light you could use Philips hue (expensive) or cheaper Ikea devices. If you like to start with heating ist is another question. And what should be achieved. Saving cost, creating comfort, …

Question we could not answer. Sorry for that.

Hi. I find Zwave quite limited. There is much more selection in the Zigbee world and prices are signicantly lower.

I have both running and both work and both can have their challenges. But after 3-4 years of Home Assistant I now have 117 Zigbee devices and 7 Zwave devices so I have no doubt.

But in addition to Zigbee - if you have the interest - it is really easy to get going making your own Wifi based devices using already assembled small ESP8266 or ESP32 modules and simple sensors and actuators. The ESPHome project and tons of online resources makes it easy to start. There are years of interesting projects you can play with. My toilet has a D1 mini (ESP8266) with a servo and a simple IR proximity sensor and with that I can flush the toilet without touching anything and because of Home Assistant making everything connected I can flush with Alexa and Google Home as well. “Alexa, flush the toilet”. That is cool, right? I have automated windows, curtains, venetian blinds, fans, elevator beds etc with these little things. There is a huge selection of Hue light bulbs and lamps. And Chinese Aqara makes super cheap Zigbee windows and door sensors. Ikea has all the Trådfri products which are all Zigbee. It is a fun hobby


Welcome! Good questions.

It’s possible to get one device (I use a HUSBZB-1) which supports both Zigbee and Z-Wave. I went with Zigbee and haven’t regretted it.

The Raspberry Pi is a great platform for HA, if you can find one. Apparently the worldwide chip shortage has impacted their availability. The other issue is if you want to do lots of memory- or processor-intensive stuff, like streaming video or audio, you may find the RPi limiting. I just do smart plugs and switches, plus lots of monitoring, and my RPi 3B+ barely uses the available processor and memory resources.


I have a Zigbee, a RF433 bridge and wifi devices (and some esphome devices too) so for me it’s flexible, i just choose any of them, normally the cheapest :yum:

I also have one Tuya (local) device, but in due time it will be replaced ( it was a mistake, device uses rf433, but it turns out it impossible to pair with HA.)

oh, and HA runs on VMware here (as my laptop runs 24/7 anyway serving other stuf as well…)

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Thank you for your suggestions. Will definitely look into Homematic IP. Price was one of main factors when i decided to make Zigbee as main protocol. Just wanted to be sure that the low price for the sensor will not affect overall sensor quality. But it looks like the price is lower because of the open nature of the Zigbee protocol which I really love.

Having 120 sensors looks like fantastic. For now i can’t imagine what all this sensors can do. But flushing toilet by voice command is fun idea. Have to add it to my todo list.

Just one more question. Can you suggest any sample project that describes good hardware setup and configuration of Home assistant and basic sensors?

Cheapest price looks most attractive for me :). Can you please let me know what wifi devices dio you use? I read that they are power hungry.

Thank you for great suggestion! Was looking for universal stick and this one looks great.

The thing about ha is that you can mix and match protocols. My zigbee remote switches turn on wifi light switches. My wifi motion sensor turns on a wifi floodlight, and some zigbee bulbs. My zigbee smart knob controls the volume on my ethernet wired media players. The weather report I get from the internet can control my wifi irrigation controller and my zigbee blinds and my ir controlled heatpumps… Choose the protocol that is best for the particular job.

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Same story here…everything controlling everything :star_struck:

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I have a couple of these MOES wifi dimmers
But that was when flashing with Tasmota was still easy.

Now I am very charmed by Shelly devices, a bit more expensive, but occasionally on sale :stuck_out_tongue:

A few more idle thoughts on getting started…

Start with your requirements. If you start with a solution and go looking for a problem, you’ll end up with a useless mess that’s a nightmare to maintain. What matters to you? For me, it was home monitoring. Some things (heating system failure in the wintertime, sump pump failure in a rainstorm, etc.) could really cost me a lot. Next came controlling things which save me money, like adjusting thermostats when not home, turning off lights or the lawn sprinkler remotely or automatically. Getting those things running in HA gave me immediate returns, as well as the experience to expand into fun stuff that couldn’t really be justified on its own, but becomes easy when you’ve already got HA up and running.

Along the same lines, stick with the fewest number of integrations you can. The home automation world is changing all the time. Changes introduce bugs. Products and even manufactures come and go. Long-term support is never guaranteed.

Which brings us to local vs. cloud. If at all possible, seek out solutions which are controlled locally by HA. This is not the norm, especially with WiFi devices. Most manufacturers want you to use their cloud (server-based) solution. Which is great as long as the internet connection is good, the manufacturer’s servers are on line, and they haven’t decided to shut down or charge for the service. Then, to tie these cloud solutions to HA, you need yet another integration, subject to the whims of the manufacturer’s API.

Zigbee and Z-Wave are by their nature local protocols, making them a much safer choice.

Plus 1 on HUSBZB. The dual radio in the HUSBZB works great. I have 37 ZigBee and 1 Z-Wave (plus about 40 WiFi) devices all playing nice with the help of HA.