Totally New to HA - Very Daunting Experience

Hi guys,

I just recently switched to try and get to know HA as we’re in the planning stage to build our new home so I wanted to see what my options were.

I like lots about HA, it seems really powerful but it’s so daunting, frustrating, difficult to find information, difficult to get help so I’m starting to think it might not be my best option.

I have over 20 years experience as a software developer so god knows how this would be possible for someone with no IT background, probably impossible.

The best help I’ve seen so far is from a few YouTube creators that have been great and only for their help I’d have gotten nowhere. I’ve a few posts in this forum but they’re getting no traction at all…

Don’t get me wrong, it has been enjoyable to finally get some parts working but it’s so manual and I the better half isn’t impressed so for with any automations I’ve been able to set up compared to my old basic Alexa routines etc…

I’m not just going to give up yet but I think I need to investigate other alternatives like Hubitat or similar less manual setups.

Anyone else finding this familiar and have any suggestions for alternatives or better to stick with this and suffer more pain for bigger gain in the long run?


Start small with HA. I’m not in IT, but technical. I don’t code, but can dabble in it. It starts making sense in baby steps. Each integration or device you add gets you more hooked.

Read the official integration pages. They’re your best starting point, then look here in the forum for examples.

You’ll find complexities in any system, with Hubitat having it’s own quirks. I came from SmartThings and Vera. Home Assistant is light years ahead of both in capabilities.

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Hi there,

Thanks for the reply.

My setup so far is very basic, in part mostly due to my lack of knowledge.

However, every device I had set up in Smart Life, Hue, Tado are now set up in HA, very basically.

But, maybe you are right, I am perhaps trying to run before I can walk.

I have been looking at every bit of official and unofficial documentation I can find for each integration, and to their credit they’ve got me to this point.

It’s the more technical aspects, interrogating devices to set values etc. that I can’t grasp yet.

I like the idea of Hubitat in that a lot of the donkey work is done for us but the overhead cost to get going is putting me off to try it if it may not be what I am looking for either… I’m not so keen on the likes of Smart Things or Home Kit, too tied down with supported devices. What I like with HA is that I can buy an odd ZigBee light switch or sensor from wherever and see how it works, how it looks, and most importantly, how the better half see it :rofl:

I will keep plugging away for another while and see what I can figure out and hopefully someone chips in here and there with a few answers.


I’m also not a coder and have very basic experience in some totally unrelated programming languages. However I have a passion for technology and read a lot.
I agree on the other post to start small, integration for integration and not run before you can walk. I’m using HA now for 5 years and it’s by far the best smart home solution out there.

One point I want ro mention regarding this:

Alexa/Google Home and the like are not smart home stuff in my opinion, they are just a voice remote control for your appliances, but nothing smart for me. For me a smart home is smart enough to do the stuff I want without me interfering. If I need to control something by voice or through a dashboard on a phone/tablet, my automations are not smart enough and I try to adapt them accordingly. These ways of control should be the last resort if everything else failed.

So many people here are so obsessed with their dashboard interfaces for the phone/tablet, but is it really a smart home if you need to take out your phone of your pocket or run to the next wall mounted tablet to turn off a light? For me a dashboard is more to get some information, monitoring and to feed my inner geek.

Some simple example, I have a motion sensor that turns on the lights and turns them off after 5 minutes of no motion. Sometimes I sit quite still when working from home, so suddenly the lights turn off during a call. So I added a condition to only turn off the lights if none of the computers in the office is currently running. That’s just a basic exanple, but I think you get the idea.

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Hi there,

Thanks for the reply.

I totally agree with you, but as I don’t really know what I’m doing in HA yet my automations are very basic but growing thankfully.

I purchased some Aqara motion and door sensors and also using my Hue sensors to turn on and off lights based on movement or doors opening or closing depending on time of day or amount of light…

The wife thinks I’ve lost it as every day something else is getting triggered when she moves around the house setting off automations :rofl:

I do however like to incorporate a voice assistant to trigger a sequence of events. Like, I’m going to bed, going to work etc. Each will turn off and on a group of devices to how I’d like them.

I wouldn’t want it automatically happen if I just walk into the home office or bedroom as they’d probably get triggered constantly in error.

Anyway, I agree with your approach :+1:t2:

Then you need to refine your automations, add more sensors.

E.g for going to bed, you could add a weight sensor or similar to your bed, add conditions to only run it if it’s after 10pm, only run it if your phone is charging, etc.

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