Do I need openHAB?

Instinctively, I’d assume i do need it, because… well just because…, but more sensibly, I don’t have server which will run it properly, (my NAS is a bit rubbish like that) so I need to spend some money.

The thing is, my house is set up as follows.

Heating - nest
Lighting - lightwaverf (well some is, the rest will be eventually)
TV - harmony ultimate
music - sonos
Garden/decking lighting - homemade arduino control hosting a web page

I’ve recently got a couple of amazon echo dots which will control all but the sonos, and I believe a skill is coming out soon for that.

So my question is, what more can openHAB offer me? is it worth investing in a server for it?

I’m aware everyone on here is more likely to pursuade me to go for it than not, but I’d love to know what the capabilities are!

Capabilities are pretty much endless. Buikt to be hardware and software agnostic, so no proprietary stuff to worry about…I, like a lotbof people on here use a RaspberryPi 2/3, using openHABian. For $35, hard to beat the price, though pine64 does a good job as well for a similar price. Do you NEED openhab? No one needs it, but if you are wanting to automate, there is no other option which comes close to what is possible with it.

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@monkey_trumpet I second @Branden_Smale on Raspberry Pi 3 with openhabian - i just did the same to test openhab2 in my environment - works like a charm for very small money.

From unpacking the Pi to accessing the openhab UI in a webbrowser in under 40 minutes by just copying a file and plugging in the Pi!

But beware: Making your home smart(er) is addictive! :slight_smile:

@monkey_trumpet, you already have quite a lot of smart systems in your house, which don’t really need additional level of control - they are self-packaged, I would say. Adding OH here will give you not so much added value - just another redundant method of control - via Web or whatever, so do you really need it?
In my opinion OH brings maximum of added value to less smart systems - ideally stupid thermostats, smart Wi-Fi switches, Arduinos. In this case you will get plenty of nice features, like access from Web, Smartphones and tablets, significant degree of automation, like presence detection, IFFFT-like rules mechanism, sun/darkness and google based scheduling. The integration, provided by Openhab in this case will also greatly reduce the HW costs, as then you will need only one instance of each sensor and processing will have to be done just once.

But in your case many of these functions will be redundant to already existing ones in your systems. So because… well just because…is valid question in your case.

You have to understand what OpenHab really is. It’s a system that controls systems.

All these systems are out there (you listed the ones that you have) but many they don’t talk to each other. They are stand alone, controlled by their own separate apps. This is where OpenHab comes in, by use of bindings (conduits to connect to different systems) OpenHab can “link” all these systems together into one controllable package.

Using your case for example, you can set up a switch in Openhab that when you leave the house will do the following:

  1. Turn down your nest.
  2. Set lights to an “away” configuration
  3. Turn off your TV
  4. Stop your Sonos
    and more…
  5. Lock your door
    5a. Say your kids come home after school, OpenHab can send you a text message/email when they unlock the door based on their code entered into the lock.
  6. Arm motion detectors and notify you if any motion is sensed.

Now to irrigation. Many irrigation has sensors, but they seem to be flaky at best. OpenHab by connecting to multiple systems can at a certain time of day check the weather to determine if it rained yesterday and the probability of rain today and then activate or not activate your irrigation system and send you a notification as such.

Once you look at the bindings and understand how OpenHab connects all systems together you’ll realize the possibilities are almost endless.

Do you need OpenHab? No. But it makes the package complete. OpenHab is a system. The items you listed become components.

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Also remember OH will run on an old laptop or suchlike. Have a play with it - “Try before you buy Pi” ?

I have to disagree on that, it may seem that all those smart systems are an ecosystem on their own, but my understanding of the value of openHAB is to bring all those ‘island-systems’ together in one place and let them interact with each other.

yes, oh is a integration platform. able to integrate other systems under one platform.

@monkey_trumpet: you already spend some money (with sonos: big time money), so spending some more, like 100 euro more, shouldn´t hurt much - the afford is definitely worth it

Well that all sounds amazing, I hadn’t considered the r-pi solution, i had been blinkered into using a NAS as a server for some reason! Like many have said, the pi is very cheap, so I have ordered one!

Superb! I can’t wait to start playing with it! Thanks for the replies!

once you receive your pi, install via openhabian, you’ll be glad you did.

Yes, but why? Do those systems really need to interact with each other? Check this first, using case scenarios. You might find that many of those features can be realized by systems itself.

Because home automation does not equal remote controlling appliances. You can’t have a fully automated processes if systems can’t interact with each other (i.e. you can’t set mood lighting while you’re listening to music, if Sonos can’t interact with lightwaverf).

Best regards,


I’ll do that! I’ve been working away all week and the pi has been delivered home while I’ve been away. Home tomorrow for some playing! Can’t wait!

looks like they have an issue with cloudbees download. check the topic for openhabian yo see what the status is. id link to it, but dont know how on my phone.