Help to get started

I am new to openHAB and are looking ad a bit of advice in the direction I should take. I have openHAB install on Ubuntu on my HP Mini Server. My first target is to monitor the temperature around the house but as cheap as possible.

I was thinking of going down the Arduino route; is that the best route ?

Can I use one Arduino for all upstairs and one down stairs, then run multiply temp sensors from each one ?

Can I then use a ethernet shield to communicate back to the openHAB server; is that best way ?

Thanks in Advance

If you feel confident enough to go down that route then yes, it if one of the cheapest way to do it.



Depends if you want ethernet cables all over your house

If you feel confident enough about going down the arduino route then I strongly recommend that you have a look at:

And this is the temperatures sensors that I use:

I have 8 around the house and they have lasted more than a year without changing the batteries yet

They report to one adruino uno with ethernet shield:

And I use the MQTT binding to get the values into openHAB


I recommend to install the MQTT Protokoll/Binding.
You will use MQTT to communicate between the devices.
Buy some ESP8266 an DHT22 sensors.
Wire it up (there are planty of instructions out there.

You can use MqttLight or similar apps/programs to simulate a sensor.

dont try the cheap as possible approach …

my two cents of wisdom…
try to find a multi sensor , you will have more functionality in one device

for me i am using broadling RM2 so i am getting TV\AC\AMP control and also temp

I would agree with @Gad_Ofir. Trying to do automation on the cheap is a disaster waiting to happen. It’s a false economy.

There are loads and loads of tried, tested and robust products to choose from. The great thing about openHAB is that it’s the middleware component and will interface with a good number of automation protocols. So your not bound by one manufacture or protocol.

I have a number of sensors around my house, I’m using the ST814 from Everspring. Not only do I get the ambient temperature, I also get the humidity level. These are Z-Wave devices and very configurable. They also have a display so that’s an added bonus, plus they look stylish to a degree.

Take a look.

Some people don’t have the means to do otherwise

Check out the DIY section for some ideas, and I’ll pitch my sensor design as an option (it also has temperature/humidity plus an OLED sreen for local display). I’m working on some improvements now to make it modular and accept more sensors (luminosity, motion, environmental, etc…)

I like distributed sensors, running on ESP8266 boards (cheap, WIFI enabled with a good # of GPIO pins for multiple sensors). Using ready-made firmware like ESP Easy or Tasmota also makes these devices super simple to set up. The protocol of choice for getting the data into openHAB is MQTT.

Arduinos are cool for prototyping and such, but to get a finished, wifi-enabled product, you need to put in more $ (an Arduino Uno + Ethernet Shield will cost a lot more than an ESP8266-based NodeMCU board).

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Having set up sensors both with Arduino and with ESP8266 I’ll recommend the ESP8266 approach, unless you really really want wired. They are cheap, especially if fast shipping isn’t a concern, and WiFi is built in. They also have a number of firmwares (Tasmota, ESP Easy) so you don’t even need to code them, just wire them up and configure them. In terms of cost and time, they are probably the best choice.

As with Arduino, there are several models to choose from. I’ll recommend the NodeMCU because:

  • the programmer is built in meaning you only need a micro USB to upload the firmware or your custom code
  • fully compatible with the Arduino IDE for custom code
  • lots of GPIO pins, including one analog pin
  • last time I ordered some I got them for less than $5 a piece
  • there are lots of stuff you can get or make around them like Bartus’s package

It depends on what you are trying to economize. There are plenty of reasons why DIY and cheap may be the better answer:

  • to learn and get started with DIY electronics and microcontrollers
  • the user has time but not money
  • wants to prototype something before spending more money
  • is solving a problem that doesn’t warrant spending the cost for a commercial device
  • commercial devices do not exist or are not affordable for the needed use case

Without knowing more about the OP’s situation and goals I don’t think it is fair to make such a blanket statement.

I do agree that if you are trying to get a solution up as fast as possible using as little amount of time as possible then choosing a commercial option would be the better choice. But that is not everyone’s goal.

Personally, I never would have gotten into home automation in the first place were it not for the need to build a DIY garage door controller. Had I purchased something off the shelf that would probably be the only thing I’d have automated to this day. But it was the DIY effort that lead me down the path to first Home Gini and then to openHAB.

Thanks for all the replies and advice.

I think I will try the ESP8266 and DHT22 sensors route; does anyone have any recommendations on were to get them in the UK ?


Ali alwys worked out for me , no matter where i have been in the world …

it shuld not cost more then 3$ for the ESP and the DHT is somthing like 0.70$

Ebay is the easiest

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0.70$ sounds more like a DHT11? (I pay 3-4$ each, but I prefere the DHT22 on a platine)
Like @vzorglub I also use ebay to get it.

Example: DHT22 at ebay

yes 22 is more

in ali 2.85 $