Considering openHAB - Startup and migration (from Home Assistant) questions

I currently use Home Assistant and there are a number of things I like about it, but I’ve run into some glitches where I have to rebuild my system, or parts of it, and I’m taking the chance to look into other options. I’m not trying to say HA is bad and oH is good - I’m trying to see of oH will meet my needs better than HA does. I have some general questions and some that are more specific to my situation, so if anyone can help by answering any of these questions, it’d be a big help! If I switch to oH, I’d be running it on a Pi4.

One issue that has come up is that I can handle Home Assistant, but some features (like scripts and automations) can be rather complex. While I hope to be around for a LONG time, I’m also thinking in terms of wanting to have a system that my wife can handle easily if I’m gone (or just not here for a short while). So I’m also thinking in terms of simplicity of use and possible Homekit integration.

  1. From what I can see, oH includes easy integration for Insteon and Z Wave. Just confirming that’s true.

  2. I’ve set up Broadlink IR remotes for 2 entertainment centers, but I haven’t finished all the work to add a panel from them on the iOS app. I find references to people using Broadlink, but I don’t see Broadlink mentioned on the page with all the trademarks for the different integrations for oH listed. What’s the situation with Broadlink and oH?

  3. I have two buildings, the house and the barn. We have a guest apartment in the barn along with a workshop for me and a studio for my wife. (Let’s just say it USED to be a pig barn, now it looks like a barn and doesn’t smell like critters!) House and barn are on the same LAN, but different wifi. (About 333’ between the two, through heavy woods.) Most of the devices in the barn are Z Wave. Currently I use ZWaveJS2MQTT (although, when things went glitchy, I lost that connection). If I use oH in my house, what is the best way to also control items in my barn? I’m thinking I’d rather have a 2nd oH instance there so if I add more than Z Wave, the 2nd instance of oH can use controllers for any system. Will that work? Is there a better way?

  4. The openHAB REST interface for Python looks pretty simple to deal with. Anyone have comments on that from experience?

  5. I have looked over the openHAB demo, but I wasn’t sure just where to go to set up automations or scripts to see how that goes. Are there screenshots somewhere to show what I’d have to do to, say, turn on lights at sunset?

  6. Any comments about integration with Homekit? Easy to do? Pain in the rear? Reliable?

  7. This isn’t openHAB specific, but a general question about Insteon and Z Wave. I’ve asked this in the HA community, but haven’t received an answer. I think I’ve read somewhere that when you pair devices in both these systems, they are pairing to the Insteon PLM or the Z Wave USB plugin controller, so if I take the controller out of one system (whether HA or oH or something else), and plug it in a new one, that the devices should remain paired to the same USB modem/controller as they were before. Any information on this would be deeply appreciated, since it tells me just how much of a pain a changeover would be!

I know that’s a lot of questions. I was originally just going to put in a new HA system, but when I started doing research, it looks like oH is simpler to handle. (I hand deal with complex configurations and writing my own software, I used to do that for a living. But now days I’m finding ease of use can be a major factor, especially if I want my wife to be able to do more than pushing buttons to turn things on and off.)

If inclusion works and your device is discovered properly it is indeed very easy.
Things get harder if you have new devices that are not in the db (yet) or for battery powered devices that sometimes behave strange during inclusion.

If you want to use Python with openHAB I really recommend that you take a look at HABApp.
It’s a rule engine that let’s you write your rules in Python 3.

When I first tried openhab I set up ZWave on my main PC. Once it was clear everything was working perfectly I set up a pi and just plugged the USB Stick into it. Worked without a problem.

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When you talk about writing rules, can I add other things into that? For instance, if I want to add things into my rules that aren’t normally a part of home automation, can I add extra logic into a rule in Python 3 with the HABApp?

(One item I’m thinking about is my thermostats. They have a minimum of a 3° range so if I want to keep the house at 70°, during the winter, I set the range as 70-73° and during the summer I set it at 67-70° and I want to write rules that will check the outside temp and forecast to determine whether I’ll be heating or cooling on that particular day and set the thermostat accordingly. That’s more complex than what I’ve seen in most rule setups.)

Good point. I forgot that I do have at least 1 device that’s an issue - the Insteon garage door opener (which I’ll probably replace with Z Wave at some point, since it’s not well behaved).

That sounds like what I’m hoping for. It did work on my Z Wave, when moving from one Home Assistant install to another, but it took time. When I first put it in the new HA install, devices showed up, but without ID info. A week later it would say if they were locks, lights, or whatever. I’m betting there’s a way to get that to update faster, like rebooting once it sees all the devices, or something like that.

Oh - always been a big fan of Spaceman Spiff!

Yes - you can execute arbitrary python code, even query web apis, etc.
HABApp makes complex code very easy (e.g. using the MultiModeItem which lets you overlay certain output states based on priority).

These are typically battery powered devices. They are asleep most of the time to conserve battery.
You have to wait one (or a few) wake up cycles to openhab gets all the required information.
So there is no way to speed up that process (except to set the wake up period to a shorter interval before the migration).

Great! Sounds like a good setup.

Ah - that makes sense, especially for the locks. (They’re the battery powered devices - the rest are switches or thermostats, which all have external power.) I can probably wake them by using them or something like that.The locks have had problems lately, so I may have to just reset them or something like that. (I’d rather not - adding devices can be a pain when you have to add several.)

They typically have some kind of button under a cover you can push to manually wake them up.
The device manual will gladly tell you how to wake the device. :wink:

Just a hint - I’d try openhab on your main machine so you get the hang of it and leave the working HA installation running. You can even shut HA down and switch the USB stick for testing and then switch the stick back and start HA again.
Once you are familiar and have at least some kind of working openHAB configuration you can think about switching. That way the migration is less painful and it’s easier to deal with non-working devices/rules/configuration during the day when you have time to spare (and not in the night).

The binding will find all the devices in your hub or plm’s database. You will have to configure the device type, location and other devices its linked with (3 and 4 way switches).

The binding should find the garage door opener, along with any battery operated device, as long as it’s currently linked with the hub or plm.

Some of the below is a repeat of what’s already said by others.

For various definitions of “easy”. But there are lots of users of both and most users do not run into trouble. No one can predict though if you will encounter problems so be sure to come ask for help if you do. I don’t use Insteon but I’ve never had problems with Z-Wave integration.

We have a Broadlink thermostat binding but I’ve not seen much talk about remote controllers. There are a lot of Broadlink threads on the forum. Definitely look through those to see if your device is supported, perhaps by a third party add-on.

Since they are on the same LAN this approach would work and you’d want to use the Remote openHAB add-on. That will connect the two OH instances.

I assume you mean HABApp? OH has a REST API. It’s used by lots of things, not just Python or Node Red.

On that note, you might consider looking at Node Red or Blockly for your rules if you want something simpler that perhaps your SO could understand at some point. Both are graphical in nature which makes the code much more intuitive for less technical folks (Blockly is based on Scratch which is used to teach children how to code).

See Getting Started - Introduction | openHAB. It walks you through all the parts of OH and how they work together. In OH, automation is called “Rules”. Very simple rules can be made in the UI pretty straight forwardly. More complex rules can be made in the UI using Blockly or third party integrations like Node Red. Or if you prefer writing actual code, you can do so either in the UI or in text files using a number of programming languages or with third party integrations like HABApp.

It’s definitely supported. HomeKit Add-on - System Integrations | openHAB It comes up on the forum often though so I cannot comment on how easy it is to implement. When things work, there’s no need to post for help so the more I see it the more problems that technology seems to have.

I can’t speak to Insteon but that seems to track with the little I know about that technology.

I can confirm that’s how it works with Zwave. Much of the information about the devices is on the USB stick. However, the binding needs to interrogate the device to get the rest of the information needed to use it. This can become troublesome when dealing with battery devices because you’ll have to wake them up (sometimes a number of times) to give the binding a chance to interrogate them.

I’ve you’ve securely included any devices you’ll need the network security key used to include the device. Otherwise you’ll need to exclude and reinclude those devices using a new key. There is a place to enter your own key on the Zwave Controller Thing (see the Concepts section of the docs and Getting Started for what “Thing” means).

I can’t speak to HA, but while OH has done its level best to simplify things, do not go into this thinking it’s going to be simple over all. This is a complicated domain and there isn’t that much that can be done to hide that.

OH has addressed this complexity by providing layers of abstraction and an event based system. At the lowest layer you have Bindings/Things/Channels which allow OH to communicate with APIs and technologies. Next we have Items which represent the actuators and sensors OH is connected to. Everything else in OH mostly operates only on Items. So your UI, Rules, and Persistence is going to operate on Items.

That’s totally something you can and should implement in your rules. HABApp can definitely handle that but pretty much any of the Rules languages can do that.

Look at the manual for the device. There will be some button to press or some interaction to do with the device (often the same thing you did during inclusion) to wake up the device, giving the binding an chance to ask it for more information.

One thing to note about locks and other devices that are securely included is that your controller will have a Network Security Key, and this must stay the same when you move the controller to a new device. If not, your securely included devices will fail since they don’t know the new key. I don’t know how HA implements secure inclusion, or if it’s possible to reuse a key that HA generates in OH.

Most discussion about Broadlink remotes is in this thread, and the releases are here on GitHub.

There’s been no work done on it in a long time, but I see that someone recently spoke to the developer about trying to merge it on their behalf.

I fully agree with Rich on this. I don’t recommend OH, HA, or any other complex software/hardware to anyone who doesn’t want to get deep into the weeds. Setting up and maintaining something like this is more of a hobby than a solution, and anyone who doesn’t see it that way will find it to be a huge hassle and not fun at all.

Note that this isn’t about technical expertise or capability. My dad could easily figure out openHAB, but he has no interest in doing so. He just uses simple WiFi switches that he controls through Google Assistant and HomeKit, and that’s good enough for him.

(This is why I’m optimistic about Matter/Thread. If it really does become easy for average consumers to add/remove/change devices on their Matter networks, then they’ll be able to give more thought to complex automation.)

I think the best Plan B is be able to control things manually in the event that the system fails. That’s valuable even if you’re the system administrator, because sometimes things break and you can’t fix them immediately.

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Yes, with Insteon everything is stored in the Insteon PLM or hub. All you need to do is configure the binding and it will download all the links stored on the device.

Thanks - different page than the one I found, which didn’t include screenshots of the UI for making rules. It sounded easy, but I wanted to see what the UI was like. That is a LOT simpler than on HA - which I think is needlessly complex for rules. (Well, they have scenes, automations, and scripts - they do a lot, but are needlessly complex.)

If it comes up often, then it’s either heavily used and people are working out how to do this or that, but, more likely, it means that there are a lot of issues with it. Most likely the latter.

I had completely forgotten about that issue! With a new “in progress” HA setup, the locks are there, but I haven’t tried using them through HA and they keycodes don’t work. I had completely forgotten the security code issue - so that will solve that issue whether I move to openHAB or not.

The frustrating part is in dealing with the devices that are inside the wall - not fully, but in wall boxes for switches or sconces and so on. We have a unique house, surrounded by woods, so we designed it to feel a bit like a fairytale house. While we don’t have them in yet, eventually we want to use pushbutton switches, as part of making the place look like it’s from an older time. I still have a number of devices to install, but I have most of them here. We decided NOT to go with the flatter and wider switch design, which a lot of the newer Z Wave switches are. So, from the start, it was part of the plan to put all the devices in wall boxes. Now, with the current issues, that’s more of a problem than I thought. It’s surmountable, just a pain. So whatever I can do without opening up wall boxes, even if it takes me a few extra days, is the preferred way to do things.

Thank you! I’ll be checking those links out.

Part of the issue is we live in the boonies. After 5 years here, we FINALLY have a mostly-reliable internet. Things may have changed now, but when I was looking over systems in 2017 and 2018, most commercial systems were persnickety over internet connections. I’ve had to take into account not always being able to count on an internet connection for home automation systems and other things. Now we have Starlink, which works most of the time, but not during heavy rain. (Before that, at one point, we had Viasat, which was so bad that, toward the end of our contract, we’d lose the signal every hour on the half hour for 2 to 20 minutes!) While avoiding privacy issues is a nice plus, I’ve also avoided commercial systems because we can’t count on the internet being up when we want to do something.

For a while I used an ISY994i, but I HATED that - for a commercial system, I remember I was amazed at what I could not do and how glitchy some parts of the UI were… What drove me away from it permanently was when I found I’d have to buy a new device for newer Z Wave devices and that’s when I just went for open source. I know it’s not going to be super-simple, but there’s something to be said for easier to use interfaces.

Just looked that up. I like it, but doesn’t look ready for what I want to do yet - and looks like it’s not supporting Z Wave or Insteon, which means I’d be replacing a lot of devices. I would do that IF I found a system that was worth it.

Generally, we can. The issue is some devices that are in wall boxes that can dim, but that we have only on/off switches. (I mentioned some of that above - it has to do with the style of the house and the look we’re going for.)

Cool!

Thank you, everyone, for all the help on this!

It would be unusual for those to be battery powered. You only need to wake up the battery powered devices. Mains powered devices are always listening and can immediately reply to the request for more information about itself.

It’s an alternative to Zwave/Insteon. But unlike these and other related technologies, Matter is not a walled garden that only works with itself and needs a bridge/hub to work with anything else. With any luck, it will largely.replace these technologies meaning a lot less work to support and broader selection of devices that just work.

If it does that, I’ll be looking closely at it, but I won’t be doing a major changeover unless I can reasonably believe that I wouldn’t be replacing everything in another few years.

It has the backing of the Apple, Amazon, Google, Silicon Labs (who owns both Zigbee and Zwave) along with some twenty other companies. It’s FOSS so no one company owns it and no one company can control it (though certification and continued development of the standard will be done through the CSA, not sure what the cost of certification would be).

As a result, devices that use Matter will work with Google Nest Hubs, Amazon Alexa, Apple’s Homekit, Samsung’s SmartThings and others out of the box. That will encourage device makers to support it since they can implement it once and support all the major commercial platforms.

The wireless is based on BTL, WiFi, and Thread which itself is built on Zigbee. This means that most of these hub devices already have support for the hardware aspect of the technology so most users already invested in these ecosystems won’t have to suddenly go buy a new hub.

Because it’s a FOSS standard and reference implementation, we should be able to make OH a hub itself (with support of a USB antenna similar to how Zwave works). This also means if a company folds (see the recent fun with Insteon) users won’t be completely out of luck.

For these reasons we here are optimistic about this technology and expect in the next few years or so to see a great rush by device makers to adopt it. It’s the first time that the big players in this space have seriously tried to address the fragmentation problem.

But that doesn’t mean anyone is advocating replacing stuff that already exists and already works, unless there is some new device that works better or does something else you want.

I had no idea both were owned by the same company.

One reason I used Z Wave is because I saw that a number of manufacturers were using it. While I didn’t check if it was an open standard, I did see that a lot of companies were using it. I remember dealing with a few people who told me that Insteon was great and had reasons like, “They make it all, so there are no compatibility issues.” I said, “And if that ONE company goes out of business, what happens?” Interesting I haven’t heard them talking about that issue now…

I also remember Sears having something they were trying to start. (Was it Sears? Pretty sure it was.) Lowe’s also had a system, but I never saw anything from the Lowe’s system for sale or advertised anywhere but Lowe’s, so there was no way I was going to go with that one. I also remember Google going with something else before Nest, don’t remember what it was, but then they bricked all those devices and moved on. While that happened after I made my decision to focus on Z Wave, it’s exactly what I was intentionally avoiding.

Open standards are, from my view, the best situation, since developers and users know it can’t be just erased or pulled from the market on a whim or in favor of a different system.

I do have Insteon devices. At the time Aeotec was working on a Z Wave fan controller, but didn’t have one. If I remember, they did release it later, but then took it off the market. At the time the only fan controllers that could do what I wanted were Insteon. (And a few years later, when I was about to install them, I called Insteon and found the original information I had been given - that one controller could handle 2 fans - was wrong. The guy I was talking to didn’t seem to care that I had been given misinformation and had planned out my system and now had to redo things because of that.)

Have you seen indications of anyone working on hubs for Z Wave or Insteon that would work with Matter/Thread? Or some kind of bridge to allow that?

Yes - one big thing I LOVE about FOSS!

I wasn’t surprised to see Insteon go under. I had problems getting information from them (as noted above) and found their attitude frustrating. It’s as if they weren’t aware there were other systems available and that anyone would need to do things they didn’t cover or that their system wasn’t a home automation panacea. I was not overly impressed by Insteon.

I was looking at Homekit as a possible option and when I searched, I saw there was an Insteon bridge for Homekit, and my search actually took me to the Insteon domain where they have a shop. I had been told the domain was out of service and they were 100% dead in the water. Any idea what happened after that? Are they selling off inventory as part of a bankruptcy process or something like that? (I’d love to be able to replace ALL Insteon devices, but that’s not always an option.)

It sounds like something good - and, as I mentioned, if there are bridges so I could use it with my current devices, that’d be wonderful.

It didn’t start that way. SI Labs acquired the Zigbee Alliance a few years ago, or maybe it was the other way around.

Unfortunately it’s not. The original OH binding had to be built through reverse engineering. They eventually published their API but there are some shenanigans going on with the latest version of Zwave and access to the API.

Lowes did indeed release a system and sold devices and hubs for a few years. I think it was called something like Iris.

Ikea has their Tradfri system (which is mostly Zigbee based) but Ikea is among the members of the CSA so I expect they too will move to Matter when the time comes.

There’s a varied history with Google. Technology wise Google had Wave which I think has largely been dropped (nothing but a few Google devices used it anyway) and Google actually developed Thread with the Zigbee Alliance which Matter will be based on. They bought Revolv (I think that was the name) but it seems clear it was always a purchase to obtain patents and technology, not to keep the product line going. So they shut it down and because it required Internet, it bricked all those devices.

It’s a lesson most of us have learned more than once. If it requires an Internet service to work, you don’t own the device.

Zwave isn’t a bad choice really. It’s usually quite a bit more expensive than alternatives but it’s a mature technology with a lot of choices and not dependency on the cloud. But, in the future I’m not sure I’d recommend it quite as strongly. The good thing about a system like OH (and HA for that matter) is you are not locked in. If you replace one of those Zwave switches with a Shelly 1 or Shelly 2 it’s no big deal. You are not stuck with Insteon and Zwave forever and you are not stuck with only those two technologies. You have the ability to choose what fits best, even if that means introducing a new technology.

That’s too bad. I’ve been half keeping my eye open for a good ceiling fan controller that works with OH.

Depends on what you mean by “hubs”. The big Amazon Alexa already supports Zwave I think (but then OH can’t really use them) as does SmartThings and others. I’d expect Hue to move to Matter at some point (it’s already Zigbee(ish) so it’s not a big lift).

But if you mean USB transceivers that OH would locally interact with, Sonoff looks like they are moving in that direction already (see ITead’s “Sonoff Zigbee 3.0 USB Dongle Plus” model “ZBDongle-E” based on Silicon Labs EFR32MG21 +20dBm radio MCU now sold for $19.99). I expect Aeotech and others will follow suit. But I’m not sure what sort of API these USB sticks will support. Will it be defined like Zwave so any controller from any manufacturer works, or does each vender have their own API similar to how Zigbee works today.

Ideally, we want OH to be the hub, or at least the software behind the hub so the USB dongle approach is what we would be looking for the most I think. But it’s the support of Google Hub, Alexa, and Homekit that will drive the industry at large to use Thread and create devices that use it.

Long story short, the company just shut off the lights and closed down without warning. The C level execs wiped Insteon from their LinkedIn profiles and everything. I think the company then went into receivership and a new group of investors either bought the company outright or bought the tech and resurrected the company. So there was a couple weeks of “no more Insteon” and now we have “back under new management”.

The new owners seem to understand a bit better what they got and what it will take to keep it going.

That’s sort of the raison d’être of openHAB. openHAB is your bridge. It consolidates all the sensor readings and all the actuators so, based on any event (e.g. a temperature change) it can issue a command (e.g. turn off the AC). Once it’s connected to OH, it doesn’t matter if the thermometer is Insteon and the thermostat is Zwave.

Thread is an evolution of Zigbee, and I agree that it’s not ready (it’s not even officially released). The way I see it, there’s no need to replace existing devices, but my hope is that going forward it will present as the no-brainer option.

Matter will theoretically enable your existing devices to interconnect with less trouble, whether they’re old devices or newer WiFi/Thread devices. Some existing smart devices (e.g. Google’s Nest Hub v2) already have Thread radios and will be upgraded to serve as “border routers”.

I don’t know enough about the technical side, but I suspect it’ll become one of two things for OH/HA/etc.:

  1. Connect to a border router to get its devices and then issue commands through it.
  2. Get a Thread USB controller (if such a thing exists) and act as a border router.

These are just guesses, since I’m not capable of doing any of the development work.

Whatever the case, that’s the future, not the present.

Your flaky Internet is, in my opinion, the primary reason to avoid cloud-based systems. Privacy and security concerns vary for different people, but flaky Internet is flaky Internet.

I’ve settled on mostly using TP-Link Kasa WiFi switches, mostly because they’re cheap and also because OH can control them locally. However, they won’t work for you due to an aesthetic that is more more space-age than rustic. Of course, if you need an excuse to get a 3D printer, you could make your own covers for them. :wink:

And now you have two all consuming hobbies. :rofl:

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Yes, that was it!

If you’ve noticed, I couldn’t remember that name or Revolv - which I’m pretty sure is the one I read about that I linked with Google. When I look into something and rule it out for what I want, I tend to forget the details - at that point they’re not that relevant to me anymore. I get that Google wanted the Revolv patents, but, still, that whole thing of abandoning the customers is a red flag to me.

That’s one reason I am using HA now and trying to decide between HA and oH for the future.

Side note, I have a ZWaveJS2MQTT (I can never remember the full term for that one!) in our barn controlling only ZWave. Right now it’s alive, but not connected to my old, failing HA install or the new testing one. (And the old HA install on a Pi is weird - it’s still controlling Insteon devices, but it’s NOT on my LAN. I’ve checked DHCP leases and looked at the console on a monitor on that Pi - it’s not where it thinks it is and not where the DHCP server is supposed to assign it and not on any other IP address!) If it were possible for HA and oH to talk, it might make sense to set up oH in the barn for those devices. Both buildings are on the same LAN (different wifi nodes, but one LAN, connected with fiber optics from one building to the other), so I could actually use HA and oH and test oH out that way. I suppose there’s no way to make one system a secondary hub to the other, though. (This idea just occurred to me - so writing it here was part of thinking out what I could do.)

I’m not as worried about price as I am about performance. Not that I’ll throw money away, but I have found ZWave works. Why would you not recommend it as strongly in the future? Because you expect Matter to take over?

That’s one reason I like FOSS! I mentioned I had an ISY994i - still have two of them. Not going back because there were several things about it that were a pain to deal with and HA (and oH, from what I see) work better, overall. What I did like about the ISY originally was that I could use it for both Insteon and ZWave.

I think there were issues Aeotec was concerned about. I can’t remember if it was leading edge vs. trialing edge (I think thaw as more of a dimmer issue) or something about trying to handle an AC motor. I was disappointed when I looked at it months later and the beta version (or new version?) was gone. I think it was a variable device that could be used for dimmers or fans and wasn’t working for fans. I don’t remember the details.

Right now I have multiple Insteon fan controllers I’ll be using in my house. I bought them just after construction and still, after almost 5 years, haven’t had time to put them in. (I’ve been doing things like building a road to the barn, renovating the barn, and more - home automation is a priority, but not a “I have to do this before the permits expire” kind of thing.) I figure, since I don’t use Insteon’s services and just devices, it doesn’t matter if they’re bankrupt or resurrected or what.

I’m not eager to give Amazon that much power over my home. First, I suspect it’ll need a continually working internet connection, and, second, I’m just waiting for them to start charging monthly for something like that. I’m not paranoid about every big company, but there are ways I trust some companies and not others. Before the Revolv thing, I would have considered Google and Nest. Now I might look more into Homekit, since there are ways I can use that with various systems.

I think best to break my question down in 2 parts - I was not clear. My bad!

  1. If I started using Matter (when it’s released), would I be able to use it to control my ZWave and insteon devices? Maybe through the USB dongles or some other way?

  2. Would it be possible to do what that (in #1) by having using an oH system that controls my Insteon and ZWave devices and then have that oH system controlled by Matter? (I’m figuring this is all still hypothetical at this point.)

Okay, that clarification helped. I did know about the execs wiping it from their profiles and it just vanishing, so I was surprised when I saw the domain was still there. I wish the new investors well - especially if they improve a few things. (I’ve had problems, for instance, with my garage door opener. I have an Insteon modem/relay plugged into an AC outlet 4’ from the USB PLM. The garage door opener is on the other side of a normal stud wall with drywall and about 15-20’ out from the wall. The PLM frequently loses contact with that device. I had other problems with poor wireless transmission with Insteon, with it not able to control devices in the same room as the PLM.)

That brings up something I’m looking into - I’ve asked on the Home Assistant forum about it (still no answer) and I’ll probably post a question about it here. I have an Insteon Dimmer Micro Module. It goes in a wall box and hooks up to the wall switch and light circuit. When I flip the switch, it turns the light on and off. With oH, can I use that flip of the switch as a trigger for a rule? And are there ways to store variables from other rules? (So, for instance, I can set Night_Flag to True at 15 minutes before sunset and false at 15 minutes after sunrise. Then when that switch is flipped, if Night_Flag == True, the light would only go on 30%, otherwise it’d go on to 100%.)

If that’s better as a separate thread, I can post it as another question.

That would be nice. I’m sure I’m only one of many, many people that would like that!

It’s better now than what we’ve had. It’s predictable. Storms can sometimes block it, but on the other hand, for rural internet, we FINALLY have no data caps or bandwidth issues. Last month was the first time since we moved here (and I dumped satellite TV) I could watch the entire Tour de France through streaming and not even care about bandwidth!

But, even with that experience, living here has taught me to never count on the internet always being there. Privacy - there are some companies I trust more than others.

Also one other point: We have a standby generator, so it’s quite possible we would have the entire house and barn with AC power and NOT have internet for the duration of a storm or because there’s a problem providing power to the dish (which is 900’ from the house!). That’s another reason I’ve learned not to count on internet. Even if we got a wired connection, it could be out when we’re using the generator.

I’ll look into those. The interesting thing about buying a 3D printer is that it doesn’t take long before you start finding tons of things you can print to fix things or make them work better. For instance, I bought two small elbow lamps for my workshop, one to keep a light on the printers (so I can watch them with OctoPrint) when the shop lights are off. The design was stupid - half the light bulb sticks out below their small shades. I was thinking, “Have to send them back - no, wait…Yes. I can print extension lampshades for them.” And I did. I’m getting used to that.

(By the way, the printers, CNC, and laser on the CNC, are all for a new business, so it’s not just fun!)

Yes absolutely. The rule / scripting / automation capabilities you get with openhab is virtually unlimited - no different to a stand alone program that you could create.

An easier way that I do this is using the sun elevation. I have an item that tracks the current sun elevation (it’s measured in degrees above the horizon - so after sunset the sun elevation is negative), and in my rule, example pseudocode:

if Sun_Elevation < 10 then
  Set Light_Dimmer to 30%
else 
  Set Light_Dimmer to 100%
end

If you want this 10 threshold to be configurable and global across your entire system, just use a “virtual item” that holds it, e.g. Sun_Elevation_Threshold. Set it to 10 on startup and use its value for your comparisons in all your rules.