Changing gatway to openHAB - Couple of questions before i start


(sorry for the long post)

So i have about 60zwave units that mostly conists of fibaro motion sensors, smartplugs. fibaro dimmer 2’s. and heatit thermostats. A couple of sonos speakers and logitech harmony, hvac and a robot vaccum cleaner.

Now today i use a hub/gateway called Futurehome. Its very sleek and the app has high WAF. So it was a good middle ground. Now i have gotten the green light to try something else. I love futurehome but because of their small team, there logic is not that great.

I have som experience with coding so i think openhab will fit me. Other alternative is Homeseer, but the app they have is something out of a phone circa 2005. Anyways.

I have no experience with openHAB. But i spent the last 2 hours digging trough the manuals and documentation and read up. I have some questions though.

  1. My current gateway, has a nice “home” “away” “sleep” “vacation modes”. Where i easily can define what happens with all my lights, heating, etc pased on what mode the house is in. Is this easily doable in openhab?
  2. I need to change a couple of parameters, at least on fibaro sensors, for it not register movement from pets, but only people. I read people were having som issues with this, and that i need use HABadmin? Do i still add the device under things, but then use HABadmin to change parameters?
  3. How advanced can you make rules. For example can i make it so that if there is movement in the bathroom between 07:00 - 07:30 then play music on a sonos speaker in the bathroom. But if theres movement out of that timeframe dont play music.
  4. With Futurehome we used their IFTTT channel with something called Life360 which automaticly turns off lights, tv, lock the doors when we drive away from the house, same thing when we come, it opens the door, turns of a predefined set of ligths defined in “home” mode. Is this possible with openhab?
  5. With Futurehome i also loved using node-red to send TTS commands to google home (in norwegian, which is great because the voice is fluent, and norwegian isnt supported yet in google home) when a mode change. So for example, when i set the house to sleep. a TTS command was sent to Google Home, saying “Good night, i have lowered the tempetaure, locked the doors and turned off all inside lights”. Is this doable with openhab?
  6. I am used to the term room, and storing devices within a room. For example, i have a thermostat, that uses a mode called P, i think its effect regulator is the english word for it. Now i want this device to have an on status IF there is people home and the temp is lower then 22 degrees. If its over 22 degrees, turn device off. when it sleep time, i want to on if the the temp is lower then 19 degrees, off otherwise. Same with work hours.
    Is this possible. I have to make a rule based on presence, but i dont know how you can handle presence in openhab. I dont want to use network because we have a big house and something you can loose connection.
  7. Maybe i can use a quad mote from Aeotec and just trigger the modes trough those 4 buttons. So if i press one button, it activates “night mode” and a bunch of commands are sent to the gateway, lower heating, turn off lights etc. Open for options here.

Sorry for the wall of text. Im really just trying to find my new gateway solution. Thank you for taking the time to answer

  1. Yes, you would work rules for this sort of thing. I’d have a String Item to represent the state and in your lighting Rules, for example, check that Item and take the right code path based on the state.

  2. Yes, you add it as a Thing either through Habmin or PaperUI. You should be able to send the updated parameter through either UI but Habmin was developed by the zwave binding developer so it has more capability to administer zwave devices.

  3. Absolutely. Take a browse through the Design Pattern postings. There are a few areas where OH is weak, like repeating schedules that can be adjusted at runtime, but pretty much if you can think it you can code it (or someone on this forum can help you code it). Since you after a developer, you might want to take a look at JSR223. It let’s you coder Rules using Jython, JavaScript, or Groovy. Many developers become very frustrated with the Rules DSL because it lacks certain features like classes.

  4. OH has a channel in IFTTT where you can trigger apps (or what ever they call them these days) from OH or have an app send a command to OH.

  5. Many people use Node Red with OH. I believe Node Red has an OH module or plugin or what ever they call it. Others use MQTT. OH does support TTS but I don’t think it can send TTS to a Google Home yet. It can to Chromecast though.

  6. Presence detection is something hard mainly because everyone’s solution had to be unique. But whatever you choose to detect presence, you can represent it in OH using an Item(s) and you can trigger rules based on changes to that/those Items. If you can’t rely on networking for presence you may need to use something like reelyActive, or geolocation like OwnTracks, or motion sensors and the Wasp in the Box algorithm.

  7. That should work but better to use events and states (e.g. a Time of day item that guess to “NIGHT” at the right time and an Item representing presence and anything else you care about and roles that trigger on these changes and do the desired thing.

Pretty much anything is possible in OH but some things will be more work than others. All the behaviors you want will have to be written as rules. If you are used to checking a few boxes to control behavior you might be disappointed because in OH you are responsible for writing the coffee behind those check boxes.

It sounds like OH would be a good fit for you and there are many on this forum who will help you should you ever get stuck. This community is one if the biggest advantages OH has.


Hi @Henrik_Roksvaag ! Welcome to openHAB :slight_smile:

Everything you asked for is certainly possible with OH, as it really just acts as a gateway, and as long as a binding implements a functionality, it’s available for you to access/modify with one of the many openHAB administrative/client UIs, rules, etc…

I can give you some basic pointers and ideas for most of the questions you asked, and I’m sure there will be others who can provide more in-depth information on each topic. You certainly seem to already have great HA experience, so it should be fairly easy for you to bring everything over, as soon as you get familiar with the many ways to configure or do things in openHAB.

  1. The best way I can think of handling state-based actions is storage items, and making your own scenes based on the currently selected “mode”. I wrote up/made a video about this: 3 different methods to use scenes with Google Home & openHAB

  2. Correct, HABmin is the best tool I know of to make ZWave configuration changes. Add all devices as Things using PaperUI, then open HABmin.

  3. You can make rules as advanced as you want, and there are probably hundreds of different ways to do this. One I can think of quickly would be a cron-based rule that fires at 0700, and sets an item state (e.g. MorningTime) to ON. On the item definition, use the expire binding to set it back OFF after 30 minutes. Of course, you don’t need to do it that way, you can also check the current time in the rule you fire when the motion sensor goes off. BTW, this is a great idea (playing music on motion in the bathroom only at certain time) - I’m stealing it :slight_smile:

  4. You could probably implement this the same way you have it done in FutureHome, or implement some presence-based rule.

  5. I’m not too familiar/don’t use TTS at this point, but I know TTS with Google Home is available, so it should absolutely be doable in openHAB.

  6. For presence detection, you could use your phone/connection to Wifi (check out this blog post)

  7. Definitely lots of options as you said. You can implement them all if you implement my scenes/routines setup I linked to above (i.e. fire the scene switch using Google Home, or an external pushbutton, or the UI, or based on a time-based rule)…

As I said above, the options are endless and I’m sure you’ll find that as you implement things one way, a new way will become visible (and like all of us, you’ll end up refining your setup as you go)…

Once again, welcome to the forum, and good luck!

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Thanks @rlkoshak for your detailed answer. And yes im fully aware that i need to most of the heavy lifting behind the toggles, but thats what i like, the tinkering. And while my setup now is very user friendly its a “fit all” approach, whilte that is good sometimes, i cant tweak it to my liking, at least not that much.

going to pick up a zstick tomorrow after work and start tinkering with some of my z-wave devices and spend the week learning. Thanks again for taking the time to answer all my questions.

@bartus this is quite funny i just wrote a comment on off your videos like 1 hour ago. How awesome is that. You were the reason i have chosen openhab as my next gateway. Thats pretty cool. I watched that video, first one is not an option for me because routines is missing in norway even though i have google home setup as english usa language and region. Go figure. But i will look into it. I think its important to tackle one problem at the start, because if i want to tackle all of this at the same time my head will spin. I will start with scenes/modes as that is what my girlfriend is used to using. And if she is happy, everything is good :wink:

Thank you also for your other answers. It looks like openHAB can do what i want, and expand my system further. Can’t wait to start tinkering next week. Thanks again @bartus

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Assuming wify/gf always wakes up at different time and doesn’t hate your music. Otherwise, there is a chance that sonof gets smashed. :wink: Need additional ensurance here, maybe activate that rule only if you are not near your phone.

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Good point, there needs to be more conditions in place. I also just thought about firing off an Alexa applet or what they are called, like the news segment. There is a norwegian one called NRK News or maybe just collect from rss or something.

There is also needs to be big window without motion, so it doesnt retrigger just because i went out of the room to get some pants. The logic needs improvement. Just something i thought about on the top of my head

Henrik, by the way, welcome to the wonderland!! You made the right choice.

As far as scripting goes, as Rich suggested you can experiment with Xtend and JSR223 depending on complexity of your use cases. There is more modernness to come, Kotlin. I am developer, I will be supporting that integration. By the way, Kotlin is also being adopted by Google Android community as their preferred modern language (we all hate Java by now).

Thanks for that diyha

This already feels like a great community. That’s good. Can’t wait for whats in store.From what I have read about openhab, there has been substantial updates/upgrades in the years.

Which I think is good for people who don’t want to sit in a code editor all day. Hopefully the transition goes well for me. And I will have sorted all the basic functionality within a week. Need to do something about the misses though or find and excuse to sit in the den the next couple of days after work

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I get the feeling you’re gonna like OH. I’ve used it for about a year now and it’s a lot to learn and it needs a lot of fiddling about but you can do EVERYTHING. If you just have an idea of how you want it done and have some hardware supporting it, it will be possible. And if you don’t understand how do write the rules, @rlkoshak is never more than 30 centimeters away :smile:

Regarding changing Z-Wave properties, I would advice not doing anything of that using PaperUI, it tends to break things. Always use HABmin for the more advanced Z-Wave stuff and you’ll be fine.

Regarding presence detection I can recommend the setup I’m using. I’m running DD-WRT on my router and have put a little script on it (there’s a thread somewhere around here describing it) that calls the OH REST API whenever a phone belonging to a family member comes in or out of wifi range. Works perfect and instantaneous.