What Automation Are You Using Raspberry Pi For?

I’ll set the ball rolling here - with two practical use cases for one of my Raspberry Pi’s:

  • I’ve attached a touch screen to it and am using it as a kind of StreamDeck - controlling my Mac. (I’ve not tried to get it to control iOS or iPad OS.
  • I’ve made GitHub post a URL for each new issue in my projects to Apache / PHP. This converts the JSON GitHub sends into a format suitable for PushCut. PushCut in turn runs a shortcut that creates a new Omnifocus task, with the issue number and title as the task title and with the URL to the issue on GitHub as a note.

I’m curious as to what others have done with their Pi’s to automate either Mac OS or iOS / iPad OS.

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On a Raspberry Pi Model 3B+:

  • Homebridge
  • MQTT broker
  • automatically renewing Let’s Encrypt certificates
  • my homebrew IFTTT replacement (converting RSS entries to tasks)
  • fetching/manipulating large COVID-19 datasets (to use them in Scriptable widgets on iOS)

On a Raspberry Pi Zero W:

  • Get usage/production data from my smart meter and transfer that to my Homey
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I have 2 raspberry pi’s running at all times.

1 is for my MagicMirror setup displaying weather, calendar, football scores and snow information for ski resorts (sailing weather forecast in the summer)
I display this info on 2 old iPads fixed to walls around the house, in the web browser.

My other one runs my homebridge setup.
Going to look into having that one renew let’s encrypt certificates. Thanks @rob

And @rob, about this one:

Get usage/production data from my smart meter and transfer that to my Homey

How do you do that?

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I’m picking out from this the “roll-your-own” IFTTT item. You have one; I have one. That seems very fruitful.

I wonder if there is value in a “reference implementation” or two. What’s yours written in, @rob?

While I wouldn’t suggest anyone abandon their code I could see a a PHP sample / skeleton. Likewise a node.js one.

I have an Omnifocus task to write my Apache/PHP one up. I just won’t get to it for a few days.

I’m not sure I have a spare iPad. (Dr Packer might adopt this original 12.9" iPad Pro when I get the (hypothetical) new one Real Soon Now. But let’s assume that’s a solved problem.

How are you getting the data displayed? Web server on the Pi and Safari running on the iPad?

If that’s he case then a “household web server” might be an interesting concept in general.

BTW I see we’re all acquiring multiple Pi’s of various flavours… :slight_smile:

MagicMirror is a platform that takes care of that.

details at https://magicmirror.builders or

My iPads are using the kiosk app to only display the screen from the pi when activated
(found here: ‎Kiosk Mode for iPad in de App Store)

If you have a smart TV that can display a web page this can also display the information.
It’s just a web-page with some interactive elements that are refreshed at a pre-determined interval (you can determine the refresh btw)

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It’s rather limited (but does everything I used IFTTT for):

  • fetching feeds via FeedSub
  • filtering
  • creating tasks in Remember The Milk via rtm-js
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I’m actually thinking node.js could be lighter weight than Apache / PHP. But I’m not sure I have time to switch. (And, yes, I have written web server code that also acts as a web client - on Pi.)

My most common one is an all-in-one notify webhook on my Pi using Node-RED. I used it to send notifications and data to various services - Pushcut, IFTTT, Telegram, Slack, SMS (via Twilio) and even on the Macbook Touchbar.

Another use I have of Node-RED is that I use it as a bridge between Google Sheets and my Home Assistant setup to display financial information.

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I have a Pi Zero W arriving this week which will be running the Home Assistant OS. On my Pi 4b I’m running HomeBridge, PiHole, and I’m considering what else to use it for. I also have a 3b with a touch screen I intend to set up with a Magic Mirror like screen at some point!

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I haven’t run HASSIO for a while now, but latest builds look to be for RPi4 and 3 only according to the install page you linked to. Do you have a plan to get it ready for a Pi0?

Several people in the forum seem to have it running on one with no problem, and I can always put it in the 3b instead if I need to! I’ll just have to attach the Zero W to the screen instead, fortunately I just purchased a soldering iron…

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The past week, I’ve jumped into Home Assistant and I’m very impressed with the massive number of integrations. I’ve even scaled back my Homebridge usage since Home Assistant has built-in Homekit support (and supports my ISY994 even better than the Homebridge plugin did). It’s a remarkable tool that allows all my devices to speak the same language!

I’ve gone the container route and run this with Docker. Also in my docker-compose.yml:


Well you already know I think you should use that touch screen as yet-another-Streamdeck-alike. :slight_smile:

Node-RED is something I really should get into:

  • It’s shipped as part of Raspbian.
  • I happen to know the (fellow IBMer) authors - so even loyalty should induce me to try it.
  • I’m pretty sure it runs on Mac as well.

You can call me lame :slight_smile: but I’m always buying my kit with pins attached. As you get older it gets more difficult to solder small things. :frowning:

And this from someone who had a summer job in 1980 soldering electronics in a small factory where the boss and us took breaks to watch the Moscow Olympics together. :slight_smile:

I usually do that, because laziness is just another form of automation :wink:
That said, I have several Pis around with the pins soldered on already, so I’m sure at least one can be pressed into service attached to the screen. And the soldering iron is for another home automation related project, but I decided it would be a useful tool to have!


Please be careful!

(I just read a tweet from you about super glue and fingers…)


Node-RED is great. I have my smart home system centered around it.
Home Assistant wasn‘t for me so I roll my own with Node-RED.
It has a web interface, HomeKit integration, a Telegram bot and some logging functionality and it‘s been easy to use and rock solid!

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