Why is this so difficult?

I’m kind of a tech guy. I can usually figure out things by trial and error.

But I have to be honest here, I can’t figure all of this hassio / HA stuff out.

I read all the documents and try to follow along and I just get more confused.

It’s all very confusing with different types of HA running. If I use hassio then the non hassio threads don’t work for me.

I like the idea of the dockers and addons but configuring most of them is just to vague or doesn’t pertain to hassio.

Am I alone here? Am I just a dumb ass that should be able to figure all of this out?

Is there some other place where I can try to gather more information and/or get more help?

I promise I’m trying, I literally spend hours daily trying to get things working and feel like I’m no farther along then when I installed hassio months ago.

Thanks for any advice you can give!

Signed,
Dumbass

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No, you’re not alone.

I’m pretty techy and found the whole HASSbian vs HomeAssistant vs HASS.IO thing really confusing too, and I started from the beginning when HASS.IO wasn’t even in the picture yet. The confusion comes because HomeAssistant is always trying to make an easier version of itself to use, yet at its core is still a very complicated piece of software. This has led to multiple ways to install HomeAssistant.

I would recommend installing HASS.IO onto a blank SD card, for use with a Raspberry Pi, from the image located here. Win32DiskImager is a great program to use.

I personally would not have gotten very far with HomeAssistant if it hadn’t been for BRUH Automation’s YouTube channel. Check out his video on installing HASS.IO. There is a lot to take in and a pretty big learning curve, but HomeAssistant is such an awesome piece of software. And the community is great.

Best of luck on your new journey. Please feel free to ask us for help if you get stuck.

Best,
Another Dumbass (aka Wheezy)

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I feel your pain Corey. I am an I.T Professional (Network Engineer) so I consider myself pretty cluey about this kind of stuff, but I am not a coder. It took a lot of trawling through the forums and trial and error to find answers to simple questions. I found the documentation to be very light-on and doesn’t delve into detail what-so-ever. I spent days trying to get a shell_command sensor to work and ended up giving up… to this day I still don’t know if what I was trying to do is possible with hass.io.

If you want to do stuff like… turn on Lamp A at sunrise, set Lamp B to this brightness when I turn the TV on and it’s night time, then you should be able to with some pushing through the yaml and jinja2 syntax. But if you want to (for example) download an xml file with train departure times from an external website, parse the xml and present it as a sensor then hass.io (seems to…) have limitation on what you can do as the administrator of your system. To my best knowledge, these limitations/restrictions are not documented anywhere.

The thing we all have to understand is that HA is a complex beast, and your only limitations are, your imagination, time and money. It’s the time component that gets a lot of people unstuck. Learning how to use HA, for me, was like learning a programming language, it was not at all like learning how to use Mi Home or Homekit or Phillips Hue Bridge, which is very geared towards consumers.

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I love home assistant, but it is complex and seems to have a mind of it’s own.

I have tried hass.io but went back to hassbian as I prefer it.

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I think it’s tempting to dive in and get lots of things working all at once rather than start simple and build up gradually.

Best advice I would give myself now. Start small and build up. Don’t be tempted to make wholesale changes all at once otherwise you can’t track where the mistakes are.

Finally errors (in my case anyway) nearly always come down to a pesky indentation error or missing colon or something. This is impossible to check if you’ve changed a lot.

Config checker in hassio is you’re friend. I don’t however use the automation or script writer and do everything from scratch.

The conditions thing for automation I still find hard so that’s why I started without or very simple to start then add more complexity a bit at a time.

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Imho everything became more complicated when the devs tried to make things easier.

The moment hassio came out everything became very fragmented, and people can’t follow half of the old guides because they only work for an ‘old fashioned’ homeassistant install.

The moment the automation editor came out the forums were filled with messy automations that don’t work and can only be fixed by going ‘back to basics’ and changing the code the ‘old fashioned’ way.

Each of these things are getting better with time, but it makes it harder and harder for people to find what they’re looking for and get a fix when something doesn’t work.

Back in the ‘old fashioned’ days there was one set of instructions, a quick learning curve for the nuances of yaml, and off you went. If you couldn’t make it work, you came here and somebody could fix it without having to ask you several questions about install methods and/or trying to rearrange your code just to make head or tail out of it first.

It’s just the stage it’s at really.

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If you are a tech guy and want to have full control over your system, install it with Virualenv, as described here. I’ve first tried hass.io and hassbian, but as @BrendanMoran said, you soon arrive at their limitations.
I use Home Assistant primarily to control my lights, depending on different sensors, and to turn on and off my PCs.

If you want the easiest life and don’t want to do things HA isn’t intended to do go with Hass.io on a Pi3. It’s now at a point where you can do just about everything hassbian could and most people would ever want to through one-click installed and easily configured add-ons rather than having to mess about at the Pi’s system level.

Best advice though is start simple, this is where most people go wrong. Learn how to turn a light on and off, learn how to automate it etc etc and you’ll have a basic understanding how HA works which you can then apply to more complicated functions. When you want to do something new have a search for something similar that has already been done, nab the code and tweak it to suit your needs.

With no disrespect to yourself, it’s usually people who make posts starting something along the lines of “I’m an IT professional…” who have less of an idea what they’re doing than everyone else, I can only assume they are either overthinking it or assume it will work just like some completely unrelated system they’re used to. Take it at face value and you’ll have no issues or if you do someone who has been there and done that previously on here will point you in the right direction. It’s more about logic and common sense than specific knowledge.

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Can I ask what addons you are struggling with? I actually require very few addons to get hassio home assistant to do what I want. The main ones I use are duck dns and mqtt.

I agree that it takes a bit of getting your head around and I had no clue about json so had to read up on that and then work out how to put what was required into the right format. But once I understood that bit it made it easier to start working out what to put in the requested sections.

Some bits turned out to be so easy I was clearly overthinking it all - and I think thats where some of the documentation and you tube videos are misleading. Because they pertain to other installations you expect it to be complex and involve lots of command line work but it really is a simple as putting in your username and password into the config box and starting the service. The logs also give a great clue.

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For me the yaml part was the hardest, especially the formatting and learning python venv.
So after reading this excellent article from @CCOSTAN. about his move to docker i thought i would go that route. https://github.com/CCOSTAN/Home-AssistantConfig#-home-assistant-config-by-ccostan

There will be no going back for me, upgrading/downgrading is a piece of cake, add node-red into the mix and i have ported all my automation’s from yaml to node-red

There are literally containers for most things i need or want to play with.
my advice - ditch the pi. run up a PC with a Linux distro, install docker. learn about docker compose and be prepared for a simpler life

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Or keep it even simpler by not having to learn how to set up linux, learn python venv or docker compose at all :rofl:

Seriously though, the Pi is the starting point for all this and as a platform has by far the greatest support. Hass.io now means you don’t even need to do anything to the OS bar put your wifi credentials in if you’re daft enough not to hard wire it. Once running they’re all much the same.

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Thanks for the replies all!

I’ve basically run Hassio on a pi3. It works well and doesn’t tie up a computer.

I haven’t tried anything too complex yet so that’s where the frustration come into play.

My main goal of running hassio is to have some of my devices that don’t normally run in HomeKit to work.

Using Homebridge has been awesome and once working it’s been a pretty solid system.

Right now I’m using Wemo & Harmony Hub to intergtate into my Apple ecosystem. I absolutely love that I can do that. Almost everything else runs perfectly fine through my iPhone in my native home app.

I’m sure the biggest issue I currently have is the UI doesn’t show all my connected devices, scripts or automations. I’m not sure why but their just not there. So in order to see if things work I have to constantly restart HA and see if they pop up in my HomeKit home app.

Otherwise I’m not sure if it even worked.

I have tried even simple things like Duckdns & Mqtt but haven’t been successful.

My biggest goals right now are to get Mopidy to run announcements to a speaker that is connected directly to the pi using a AUX jack. (Should be easy, but so far so bad)

And too get iOS devices to be tracked and run automations based on where they are located.

I agree Hassio and Home Assistant is very powerful and the devs have done a fantastic job, I’m amazed at their knowledge and I’m grateful for all that that share to us so please know that I appreciate their efforts on this platform.

I certainly won’t give up because I love all of this stuff it is just frustrating trying to wrap my head all around it.

Thanks again guys, I’m glad I’m not totally alone in my journey!

My advice is give the announcements a miss for a while, become a bit more proficient in how HA works doing some other stuff then revisit, this way you don’t lose heart in HA and then with the experience gained by doing other things in HA you may find the announcement thing will come easy.

good luck

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Curious what this means.

If you are looking at COMPONENTS, then it applies to ALL instances of Home Assistant, no matter how you install and run it.

If you are looking at ADDONS, then it applies ONLY to HASSIO at this time.

What, specifically do you mean that “non-hassio” threads are of no use?

When you say they are not in UI do you mean they don’t appear in the entities list in states or just not on the cards or tabs in the front end?

you have to add some entities to the groups yaml for it to show in the front end. Only auto discovered devices show up automatically

I to am fairly high tech, I am a network engineer at a major university. But, I am not a coder. I find that yaml is simple to pick up, but the finer points are a bear! Templating kills me, the format and sometimes the reason to use it just escapes me. I really need to understand it to advance, I know so many things I have done could be easier and cleaner with it.

Just keep at it, there are good folks here who will help… some will get tired of what they perceive as basic questions… but that happens.

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Ooo, I can give you some examples because, for one reason or another, almost everything I’ve contributed in these forums won’t work in hass.io.

  • My collection of command_line sensors to parse weather forecast info out of BoM feeds don’t work because hass.io doesn’t include xmllint - basically the exact same situation @BrendanMoran described.
  • Bluetooth beyond basic presence detection seems to be an absolute bear. My custom component to interface with a Divoom Timebox doesn’t work because Alpine doesn’t build python with AF_BLUETOOTH support. And the base hassio image doesn’t include bluez headers, so installing pybluez won’t work either. (aside, I’m 99% certain any sort of Bluetooth component will fail on the official Home Assistant docker images for the same reasons)
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Excellent examples. Thank you.

Thanks for all the replies guys!

I’m working today so I’ll try to answer everything tonight when I finally make it home!
(I’m in pest management, so it’s very busy this time of year!)

Yes EGO01- I have discovery on. My devices were in the UI at the beginning.

Like my Wemo switches, but now their gone. And anything I have added since other then Scripts for my harmony hub isn’t showing up.

So I can’t really test anything unless it shows up in my HomeKit.

That’s why. Discovery will auto add them to the UI.

Once you start manually configuring things you have to add them to groups to get them to show up. They don’t show up in the UI automatically.