Get jump start on setting up and automating openHAB with SARAH - looking for testers

Hello openHAB’ers!

So, basically S.A.R.A.H. gives you the ability to setup and run openHAB without having to configure it or write all the code up front, but still allows you to customize it all you want. It gives you a starting place providing you a lot of the common functionality in minutes that you can extend and customize as your needs grow. It is the perfect starting place for the new openHAB user, saving you weeks or even months of work so you can focus on setting up the really cool stuff. If you already have openHAB setup, you can combine what you’ve already accomplished into S.A.R.A.H. and manage everything from the SCC. If you’re intersted in helping to test it out, let me know. Thanks!

Some background: I first started using openHAB in the Fall of 2018 and spent months learning the ‘ins and outs’ of openHAB, getting everything just so. I wanted to see what it could do and what it would take to do all the things I was looking to automate. I eventually got things running nicely and thought it would be helpful to automate the setup and maintenance process for other openHAB users. S.A.R.A.H. is what eventually evolved into that solution.

Here are some of the features currently available (more coming all the time):

  • Speech preconfigured
  • USB audio preconfigured and ready for speakers
  • A fully functioning alarm system patterned after ADT - w/email alerts
  • A tamper alarm to manage tamper alerts
  • Vacation mode to intelligently turn lights on and off when you're away
  • Pre-built and generated dashboards to help you manage the system
  • Weather and Astromincal data preconfigured
  • Streaming internet radio with channel presets
  • Maria DB fully configured for persisting weather and current state data
  • Raspberry Pi 3 & 4 support
  • The S.A.R.A.H. Command Center (SCC) web app to help you:
    • manage openHAB
    • create a home template that will generate all the openHAB config files (things, items, rules, sitemap, etc.) - comes with pre-built templates to get you started
    • manage all of S.A.R.A.H.'s settings
    • manage the Raspberry Pi (send commands directly from the SCC)
    • get S.A.R.A.H. updates with the push of a button

Some of the features coming up next:

  • Garage door controller - already working, just need to package it up
  • Remote access - also already working, just need to package it as well
  • Alexa integration
  • Some additional maintenance features, etc.

Bottom line, I’m looking for people to try it out and let me know what they think… all feedback is welcome!

Please visit - to get the latest image.
- for instructions.
- for the full description.


Hi seeLive. I am interested in home automation and through some google searches I came across openhab. Being open source and available for the raspberry pi I did a little research and it looked like the setup was a bit complicated. I eventually found this posting about Sarah and it sounded like it would make the setup much easier. I went to your site and downloaded Sarah and installed it. Installation was fairly straightforward but now I’m sure what to do next. What would you suggest?

Hey Rich, Welcome to the forum! Thanks, for your interest and giving Sarah a try. I would say go ahead and start a new thread for this conversation in the Setup, Configuration and Use -> Beginners forum, so others can offer you advice as well. I’ll keep an eye out for it and we can pick this up there…

Thanks for the advice. I will check out the beginners forum. Talk to you soon.

I recently received a question about whether or not installing sarah would overwrite your existing system… There are a couple of ways to approach this… You can either make a copy of your existing USB drive or you can use another one temporarily. One way or the other you must first secure your existing system - I can’t emphasize this strongly enough. And, no booting from USB shouldn’t matter.

Next, you will need to burn the image to your existing or a new USB storage device and boot up your pi - this will overwrite your existing storage device. From here, you can take a look at sarah see what’s what. I recommend you include a couple of devices like a motion sensor and light switch for testing purposes, so that it will be able to generate all the rules and config files. Without any Things included, you won’t be able to see the full capabilites.

Once you have that running, you can take your existing rules & code and integrate them into sarah’s rules & code, but I’ll save the specifics of that until you get to that place, as this will take some discussion, will be specific to your current system, and will depend on how complex your existing sytem is.

Keep in mind, you can always go back to your original system. You would just have to either copy your backup to your USB device or just swap out the temporary one for the one with your current system on it.

Hi all, I’m wondering if a few people would be willing to help test the latest version. I spent the last year gettting to a place of stability and am looking for some feedback, if anyone is willing. If you have a spare Pi or micro sd card, it only takes about half an hour to get it up and running and maybe another half hour playing around. Let me know if you’re interested and I can help get you started. You can use also the links in the OP. Thanks in advance!

I can try in a few days. Will it work with Raspi 4?

It is currently setup for Pi 3B+ and down. Pi 4 is coming next, although I don’t yet have a specific timeline… could be 2-3 weeks.

Hi @Johannes_Bauerstatte, I finally finished the rpi4 image. Sorry, for the delay, but you can download it here -, if you are still interesting in helping.

If anyone is interested in testing, please let me know. Thanks!

Hi, I am sorry. I switched to a VM.

No worries. Thanks, for your interest.

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I am right at the beginning of working out openHab. I have got it switching my lights in an off grid RV via a relay board. All 12 volts. I want to set up battery monitoring and PV. Having only scratched the surface I can barely get the system to do anything. The project you describe sounds perfect for me to pick up the basic principles. All the Things i deploy will be specialist roll your own components. I will have a look tomorow. Cheers !

Excellent. Just make sure you back up your existing install or use a different micro sd card and we can talk more after you get it up and running. Cheers, Mark!

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I downloaded it this morning but where i am the data is slow. The download failed. I will wait till i am near better 4G. Your website it very nicely laid out. You have clearly put a lot of thought and concern into your project.

Sorry, about the download. It should work better with a bigger pipe. And, thank you for that. I appreciate the feedback. I am still working on adding the new forum, which will probably be done early next year. It should make the forum much more robust than the current one.


I’m keen to explore all developments of openHAB2.

Are you planning on expanding support to other SBC platforms?

I use the ODroid C2, which works really well with DietPi (Debian) OS.

While setting up Velbus within openHAB2 is fairly straightforward, if your setup could streamline it further, I’m sure it would be welcomed.

Preloading the better JAR file would be nice, but I can always manage that.

Many thanks,


Great question. I’ve only thought about it passing up to now. I was thinking I might look into Ubuntu mate, at some point in the future, but don’t have any formal plans currently. I’m primarily focused on getting the right functionality and general stability, but if there is enough interest I will take a look at other platforms as well. Cheers

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Thanks :slight_smile:

Before you go to far down the Ubuntu road, take a look at DietPi.
It appears to be a really shaved down Debian OS.
I’ve got (as well as plenty of others) openHAB2 running on it really well.
I’d even go as far as to say that it’s more stable and much faster than Ubuntu on the Odroid C2.

Please give me a shout if I can help with any testing.

Good luck,


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Thanks, for the tip. I will definitely check it out. Hopefully, they have a Pi 4 image available now.

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I can’t see a ready made image, but there is this bloat-away script that you could run on a Debian setup???