63: Home Automation Wizardry and Nerd Out


Wow that was a fun one. Now I want to put motion sensors everywhere. :slight_smile:

  1. Is there a public beta for the new Home+?
  2. If I already have Hue & Trådfri hubs (as well as a Homey device) do I still need an additional hub for the vibration sensor @RosemaryOrchard mentioned on the show?

(I like the idea of getting a push notification when there’s new snail mail)

Great episode! @RosemaryOrchard talked about running a shortcut to check the status of her windows and show an alert for which are open. Any chance you can share this with us? I can only seem to get the status of one accessory at a time.

On my good night shortcut I’d love to be notified if certain doors or windows are open.

Sadly I’m checking each window separately and putting them together with Text.

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Aqara is a separate system so needs its own hub. There’s links in the show notes for the sensor, on that site you can find the two hubs Aqara has (one is built into a camera).

They’re so useful! :nerd_face:

That’s still better than remembering to check the home app. Thanks for the idea!

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It looks like the Homey might support the sensor without a Hub:

I probably won’t be able to update the firmware then, but for this particular sensor I might accept that.

Price seems to be around €20 in my country. Is that normal?

Mine were about half that. AliExpress is a great choice for the sensors - some of the sellers send the parcels really quickly which is great! (I find tech arrives fast, stationery arrives slow - but that’s probably different sellers).

I had a thought about my kitchen light today. After some experimenting I found the SwitchBot works perfectly to turn the light on if you angle the body slightly. So after questing around my house (seriously, I really need to finish unpacking!), I found a little metal clip and that seems to angle it perfectly!

Wow, that setup sounds pretty awesome. But I have to ask: @RosemaryOrchard How many Hubs or Base Stations for different systems do you now have in total? :sweat_smile:

At least 3?

  • Philips Hue
  • IKEA Trådfri
  • Aqara

The sad thing is that all three of those hubs are using the same protocol - ZigBee. In theory it should be standard, but in practice there’s enough differences in devices to make compatibility a challenge. There’s projects like Wink, SmartThings, Hubitat and the open-source ZigBee2MQTT that try to use a single hub for everything, but inevitably something doesn’t work.

Yes, 3! Just like @Jonatan said. I did have the Logitech Pop system too, but 3 of my 4 buttons didn’t want to pair again after moving so I gave up on it. Theoretically I could run it all through one system, but I’m happy leaving things with the default setup - if I have a problem it’s much easier to get it fixed!

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If you’re willing to go even deeper into the Homebridge ecosystem you can dispense with some or all of the hubs - with some caveats.

You can add the majority of the devices @RosemaryOrchard has to a deCONZ gateway (https://phoscon.de/en/conbee2/software) with a ConBee USB stick or RaspBee HAT for a Pi. I’ve done this in order to decommission my IKEA hub and to have all my Zigbee devices on the same Zigbee mesh network. I then integrated it all into Homebridge and HomeKit via the homebridge-hue plugin. This also allows you to add IKEA steering devices and motion sensors to HomeKit in most cases.

There are some compatibility issues with Aqara/Xioami sensors and what smart outlets you have, but as it turns out the IKEA outlets work very well in this combination (I have Aqara leak sensors and temp/humidity sensors running in this combination).

Its definitely way more “hacky” than using the hubs, but if you’re in the market to reduce the number of hubs its something to look at. Compatibility list here - https://phoscon.de/en/conbee2/compatible

Was about to order one, but then I got the bright idea to measure the flap of my letterbox first.

The “height” is about 3.4 cm, while the Aqara sensor is 3.6 cm x 3.6 cm according to specs.

So it won’t fit… :cry:

Okay, 3 still feels reasonable for the amount of stuff you are doing with it :smiley:

I went the Zigbee2Mqtt route with Node-Red, as I didn‘t want to have multiple hubs and also to be in control of everything and to be sure that my systems can continue to work even in the event of an internet outage. So far got Aqara, Sonoff and Tradfri devices all playing along nicely :grin:

Great episode!

I’m surprised that nobody has mentioned Home Assistant, which in my eyes is the best solution for us Automators.

Home Assistant is a popular open source project which basically turns a Raspberry Pi (or other computer) to the ultimate Home Automation hub.

  • Using the Conbee Stick mentioned above, Home Assistant can control all Zigbee devices (IKEA Trådfri, Philips Hue, etc).
  • ZWave support is added by using the Z-Stick or similar.
  • MQTT and other Wi-Fi based protocols are supported out of the box.
  • Supports Google Home and Alexa.

Home Assistant also integrates seamlessly with HomeKit, so any device in Home Assistant can be controlled in HomeKit, even ones that are not natively supported by HomeKit.

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I’m trialling that now - but it’s very early days for me!