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

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Hello openHAB’ers!

I first started using openHAB over a year ago now 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 wanted. I eventually got to that place and thought it would be really helpful to automate the whole process for other openHAB users. S.A.R.A.H. is what eventually evolved into that solution.

S.A.R.A.H. is a free, opensource, openHAB companion app that gives you a fully configured, working openHAB instance on a raspberry pi in minutes. 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
  • 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

So, basically it gives you the ability to setup and run openHAB without having to configure it or write all the code up front. It gives you a starting place 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 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. And, of course… it’s free!

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
  • Raspberry Pi 4 support
  • 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 - https://rpi-ha.com/download/ to get the latest image.
- https://rpi-ha.com/getting-started/ for instructions.
- https://rpi-ha.com/sarah/ for the full description.

2 Likes

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.