Help, I'm ready to give up

So I got a raspberry pi 3, 16gb SD card and after 2 days finally got openhabian to install. It took me 2 more days to get the Smarthome Designer to recognize the config folder. now What?

I can’t find any tutorial or docs on what to do next. Can someone point me to a tutorial somewhere that is for openHAB2 on how to finish setting up openHAB?

This is seriously becoming quite frustrating…

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Try Openhab2 Documentations

Yes, I’ve read through that but it’s so incomplete it doesn’t help.

Did you ever setup the demo?

This would be very helpful to understand, how to configure items, sitemaps and the other stuff.
I would recommend to setup an extra entity of openHAB, you could do this with a virtual machine or even at your desktop, it’s only to try out things. Installation from .zip should last minutes, the only thing to take care of is, it’s not allowed to use space characters in runtime path, so do not use e.g. “c:\Program Files…”

It’s even helpful to setup openHAB1 demo, even if using openHAB2 later on, because the configuration concept is almost the same…

Considering it took me 4 days to get openhabian up and running, I’d rather not spend another week trying to get a demo running. I did get openHAB to recognize my Harmony hub and Hue Hub and it saw the 2 hue lights. but I can’t figure out how to actually make openHAB do anything with them.

After doing some more research I think I’m going to have to scrap openHAB. I started out with SmartThings, Phillips Hue, and Harmony. I have 2 Hue bulbs and 3 Cree Connected bulbs. SmartThings recognizes and controls all 5 bulbs, Hue only recognizes the hue bulbs. So since openHAB won’t work with SmartThings what’s the point? I don’t want to have to replace bulbs especially since openHAB seems impossible to non-programmer/Linux expert.

Yea. Its not the friendliest thing. If you can’t find a video that is specific to what you need, then you might want to consider getting a friend to help you get some very specific questions for the forums. If you ask a general question you won’t get as much assistance.

Got it, so basically bugger off, we don’t really want to help a newbie figure out this thing.

So here’s a specific question:

I finally figured out that the SmartHome Designer doesn’t let you create a new file but will allow you to edit an existing file. So after creating a blank home.sitemap and using the demo.sitemap I created the following. I rebooted the raspberry pi and went to the Paper UI and nothing showed up under the Control link. Checked the Basic UI and nothing showed up there.

sitemap home label=“Main Menu”
Frame {
Group item=gFF label=“First Floor” icon=“firstfloor”
Frame label=“Demo” {
Text item=CurrentDate
Text label=“Group Demo” icon=“firstfloor” {
Switch item=Lights mappings=[OFF=“All Off”]
Group item=Hall

	Text label="Widget Overview" icon="chart" {
		Frame label="Binary Widgets" {
			Switch item=hall_light_switch label="Hall Light" mappings=[ON="On"]
		Frame label="Discrete Widgets" {
			Selection item=Scene_General label="Scene Selection" mappings=[0=off, 1=TV, 2=Dinner, 3=Reading]
			Switch item=Scene_General label="Scene" mappings=[1=TV, 2=Dinner, 3=Reading]
		Frame label="Percent-based Widgets" {
			Slider item=DimmedLight switchSupport

// vim: syntax=Xtend syntax=openhab

Well, at least, one should have minimal skills in using software and hardware (I don’t want to be rude, pardon me).

I tried out openHAB ~ 2012 and I was able to setup the whole thing in about 5 minutes(!), including openHAB itself, the demo project (was a separate download) and the openHAB Designer.

As openhabian is more or less like a GNU/Linux distribution, it’s way bigger than the original zip from, and the prerequisites for that .zip are… current java jre. :wink:

I know it’s frustrating to learn much more things from scratch than necessary, but please don’t put the blame on openHAB for that…

I’m quite competent in using software and hardware. I am however, not a linux person but I am proficient enough I can get around in linux. I Followed what little documentation I could find on setting it up yet it doesn’t work the way the documentation says it should.

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Set the “Default Sitemap” to “home” in Paper UI -> Configuration -> Services -> Basic UI -> Configure

Then, Basic UI should show your new sitemap

This is normal… The Control tab of Paper UI will display the “things” that you have defined (either via Paper UI discovery/inbox or via text files). If I am not wrong, you won’t see there any items. You should use sitemaps to control your stuff :slight_smile:

Thank you. No where in the documentation did it state that little tidbit.

So now the sitemap is loading in Basic UI. Let me see if I can get it to actually control a light.

Ah, yes, really dumb thing, but in fact only the Line in context menu is missing, you are able to generate new files pressing <crtl>+N. You even could copy an existing file and change the name, including the extension. Please be aware that Smarthome Designer is very beta…

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But why then using openhabian to evaluate? It would be more convenient to use the computer you are familiar with (Windows, Mac or even GNU/Linux).


As I was in the same boat a few days back I will try to help from a newbie perspective.

There are Things, which are the physical things that OH recognises, for instance the physical switches.
Then there are Items, which are Software-based items that can do certain things, for instance switch.
A Thing can have multiple items. For instance A sensor thing that shows both temperature and humidity. Or a multi-switch.

So if you log into Paper UI and OH2 recognised the thing it will show up in the “inbox” where you can add it quite easily. Under COnfiguration->Things you dhan have to add items to the thing you want to control.
If that seems to complicated OH2 can help. Go to Configuration -> System and set “Simple Mode” under the point “Item Linking” to enabled, then OH2 will create the Items for you when you add a new thing.
If you have already added the thing just delete it and go to inbox->find to re-find it.

The Items will show up under the point “Control” where you can then control them.
So far no config file touched. You will (only) need the config files as soon as you want to do slightly advanced things.

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Almost: actually the “Thing” has “Channels” available, to those channels you bind your items:

I must say I feel for the OP.
His issues are real. He’s not a computer illiterate. And still…

Several answers are in the form of “You need to do this also …” and the classical " you must understand it is a beta"

The big risk is that threads like this doesn’t escalate into problem records or issue to address the underlying causes for his frustration.

If this is not handled it will be the death of OH. Or it will never leave Beta phase.

When I’ve been looking for solutions to issues in my installations , I’ve seen plenty of answers like “Try this” or “Try that” but many of the underlying causes never gets addressed or escalated.

This year only, several people (including me) have reported issues where OH doesn’t start.
No real help on the issue, no roadmap/tips for fault analysis, nothing.
What I’ve seen is “I did a fresh install and now it works”. (And I’ll try the same)

( I still don’t know how to debug if karaf doesn’t start)

In my view , these issues are extremely dangerous for OH.


I understand your frustration and struggles. the community is working furiously to try to address the deficiencies in the documentation but it is slow going and OH itself is growing and changing so quickly that it is hard to keep up. That coupled with the sheer complexity of home automation in general presents a huge barrier that newcomers need to overcome.

I will admit I only scanned the rest of the replies in this thread and reading them more closely as I write this so this posting may be a bit disjoint.

It takes one change. Open services/addons.cfg from your config folder and change package to demo.

Wait a bit and all the bindings and configs that work with the demo will be downloaded and installed.

Now when you open your URL you should see a BasicUI, in addition to PaperUI. when you click on BasicUI you will see the demo sitemap. The file that defines that sitemap is located in sitemaps/demo.sitemap.

The rest of the config that makes that sitemap work are in the other config folders.

SmartThings does have a REST API that can be used to integrate OH with the SmartThings Hub. But there is no SmartThings binding at this time. Also, Zigbee support will be added to OH soon which should allow OH to control those other bulbs.

That is generally true. It is much easier to answer more specific questions than generic questions. Particularly when asking for help with something we generally need to know:

  • versions of OH and addons used
  • detailed description of the problem
  • Items, Rules, and other relevant config files
  • logs
  • what has already been tried to solve the problem.

“Help it doesn’t work” type questions often do not get much of a response because we don’t have enough information to help and it is no fun playing 20 questions trying to extract all the needed information to even begin to help.

However, in @tdsheppard77’s case, this is one of those generic questions that should be answered and I see several attempts at answers here. The fact the answers were not satisfying is a different thing entirely.

Its a pain and I think there is an issue for this. As @Udo_Hartmann described, click on the type on the tree in the left and press <crtl>n and the new dialog file will come up.

If you created a new file outside of Designer, click on the folder and select your config file again and everything will be reloaded.

It is a pain. It shouldn’t be this way.

So here is one problem you will face that is partially caused by the fact that OH is in transition from version 1 to version 2 right now. Version 2 has a new architecture and a whole new way to write add-ons. But Version 2 has backwards compatibility with 1.x version add-ons. This results in two different ways that Things and Items need to be created and managed.

Version 2 stuff can all be created and managed within PaperUI. For those addons that have not yet been rewritten for OH 2 everything must be managed in the old OH 1.x way in the text files. Hue happens to be one such add-on.

For all 1.x verison addons you need to look at the OH 1.x wiki for documentation on how to configure and create Items bound to that Item.

Now that I have that out of the way, you will only see something in the Control Link on PaperUI for Things that come from 2.0 version bindings.

What is the name of this sitemap file and where is it located? When you start openHAB do you see anything in openhab.log? If you installed using apt-get (preferred) that is located in /var/log/openhab2/openhab.log I think.

Are there Items and Groups defined for all of the Items that appear in that Sitemap?

The fact that nothing came up in BasicUI indicates there is an error somewhere.


@tdsheppard77, @Daniel_Hermann1, @erland_lestander, being relatively new to OH, can you post here or PM me privately what you would have like to have seen in a New User Getting Started Tutorial?

The documentation team knows full well such a tutorial is sorely needed and some recommendations about what such a tutorial should contain and how it should be presented would be useful.

Has an Issue been filed on github yet?

As for debugging, the best I can offer is to look at what systemctl status openhab2 returns. The bottom will contain the last few lines that OH printed out before it died.

You can also look in /var/log/syslog (grep for lines that contain “openhab”) and see what it is printing out when it tries to come up.

Have you tried to start it by hand using the script?

I don’t want to kidnap the thread ( to much :slight_smile: )
this thread contains a similar issue to what I’ve seen; ( and it holds my systemctl response)

Yes, tried, sometimes the processes was there forever, sometimes they went away immediately, sometimes they was there for a few minutes. A few times some GUI showed up. But OH never worked.

I’ve seen atleast two threads with the same issue.

syslog says nothing:

pi@homeauto /var/log $ grep openhab syslog*
pi@homeauto /var/log $ grep -i openhab syslog*
pi@homeauto /var/log $

A fault that is so severe that you have to resort to reinstalling is pretty serious. And as we do that, all information needed to do an RCA goes out the window.
Reporting issues here is twofolded for me, yes I want them resolved. But first and foremost I want to make the product better. And I think that the process of moving from cases in this forum to code improvements could be strengthened.

As for your specific question on documentation:
I come from OH1 and I would like to throw the Paper UI as far as I can. Or provide an import utility to move all files into the database.
For instance, being a novice in the tools and trying to edit stuff when the UI doesn’t reflect the updates is a nightmare: Did I do something wrong or is the tool at fault, Should I try again? or something else?

If OH should make an impact on the IoT stage, the installation and admin must be rock solid, coherent and hazzle free. Not a lot of jumping between PaperUI, habmin and good old vi combined with guessing.

The documentation should provide one solid way for doing this.
And if needed, the GUI’s should adapt to that one seemless way of working.

my 2 cents.

FTR, I just started an openHAB2-setup-from-scratch tutorial here: Setting up openHAB2 from scratch
I’m not finished yet, but I hope it can help people to get started!


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I agree and sadly this is a case where PaperUI (nor is Habmin) fully capable. And it is a double problem as PaperUI can’t work with OH 1.9 bindings at all except to install them.

Massive changes are being made to PaperUI even as I type this and it is getting better and better. But for now, especially for people migrating from OH 1, I can’t recommend it as your primary tool. It is just too soon. Personally I currently only use PaperUI for auto-discovered Things and as a place to quickly find the ID of a Channel. I use text files for everything else.

As PaperUI matures I will likely move more over to it but probably not until all of the bindings I currently use have a 2.0 version.

I pretty much wrote the Migration tutorial with this approach in mind.