Is openHAB right for me?


I’m wondering whether to move from Vera to openHAB. I have about 10 zwave devices, three IP cameras, an alarm controlled over a USB/serial interface and a handful of other IP devices. The problem with Vera is that it’s very hacky, only works with the PLEG logic plugin, and always has the feeling of being about to fall over. Every few weeks it decides to randomly lose zwave devices, or create phantom new ones.

I understand it will take me a while to get the hang of openHAB - that doesn’t bother me. The question is: once I get it working, will it be stable, particularly when handling zwave devices? Will I end up thankful I dumped Vera? Also is now the right time? Or should I wait for openHAB 2 to develop?

Also - if I do start with openHAB, is an odroid C1 a good choice?

many thanks,


Don’t know about your hardware choice but the Z-Wave binding is very stable (thanks to @chris). I have about 30 devices on my network and they have never gotten lost or phantom devices added. I find the whole system very reliable.

As long as you have some hardware with enough grunt, you should find the whole thing pretty rock solid. It does of course depend on what bindings you are using - as these are effectively 3rd party plugins - but the architecture is such that a faulty binding should not really have any impact on any other bindings (as long as it doesn’t cripple the whole system!).

I have never used the Vera so can’t comment on the comparison, but I tell anyone who will listen to give openHAB a go. It is an extremely well thought out design and makes integrating all sorts of different devices/protocols/systems so incredibly easy.

My advice would be to take the plunge!

As for hardware with “enough grunt”, I also am running about 30 devices and using Openhab on a Raspberry Pi 2. OH hums right along on the Pi 2.

I moved from a Vera lite to openhab on a RPI2.
I kept the vera for all zwave stuff and moved my serial gateway for mysensors to the RPI. The vera is controlled from openhab.
When/if the vera dies I will get a zwave device for the RPI.
I like the chart support and use the android app for remote access.

About openhab, the learningcurve is very steep in the beginning.



I was thinking of an odroid C1 rather than a Pi because I’d seen reports of problems with zwave on the Pi (I was going to use the Aeon Labs gen 5 USB zwave stick).

Am I wrong on that?


openHAB is fairly slow on the original Raspberry Pi A/B/B+, but it is perfectly responsive on a Pi 2 Model B. If the odroid C1 has roughly similar or better specs, it should be fine.

I wrote Vera plugins starting in 2012 and was fairly pleased with their UI5, even though it appeared dated. Things went very strange with the UI6 and then UI7 releases, and the fact that it was becoming more of an impenetrable black box bothered me. So I wrote fresh bindings for openHAB and switched. I have a good collection of Z-Wave devices around the house and use a Z-Stick S2 connected to the RPi2, and all of it has been very solid. (Currently, Z-Wave locks aren’t supported in openHAB, but this is likely to change.) openHAB is a very different paradigm from Vera and requires more hands on and technical knowledge to get tuned to a basic state, but in the end there are fewer mysteries and a vibrant user and technical community. There is almost always a way to achieve what you want without hitting a proprietary brick wall. Also, the engineering and architecture of openHAB is much superior in my opinion.

One thing Vera did that you will want to accomplish yourself with openHAB, is to limit writes to flash memory. In a default openHAB setup, I can envision wearing out the microSD card with logging and database writes (I use MySQL to persist item changes). So I instead boot my RPi2 to an external USB disk and back up the bits that could get lost on a disk failure.

Overall I am quite pleased with switching to openHAB, but I could imagine that a person who is not familiar with the moving parts could become frustrated. If you’re knowledgeable or ready to learn, I say give it a try.

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Pi 2 works fine with either the Gen5 or 2E Aeon z-stick. For experimental work, a plus for the Gen 5 is that it has a pinhole reset switch on backside if you need or want to wipe the stick. With 2E you have to use something like Danfoss app to do a hard reset.

thank you all!

@watou, the ODroid is about 50% more CPU and has an onboard RTC, GigE, and the option of eMMC (I run with Debug logs). Apart from that, it’s about the same as a RPi 2 in terms of use, power draw (etc).

Yup, never a more true statement :wink:

Generally, for those using MiOS PLEG for Rules, I wouldn’t recommend the cutover since the Rule engine is significantly more tricky to learn (although, not as hard as learning Lua)

You may also want to read through this community post.

It has good coverage of the typical challenges that people run into when starting off with OH1.

They’re all readily solvable, but they require effort and will likely cause frustration along the way, particularly the Rule language… but it does get easier, and there are now a lot more working examples on the Wiki to help you out if you decide to go that route.

I am in the process of switching over my OpenHAB setup from an old power-hungry, slow and noisy laptop to a Raspberry PI 2 Model B. Since I have previousl read several posts on various challenges with using the PI (in combination with Z-Wave) I was glad to read your post, especially the part about “…and all of it has been very solid.” :smile:

It would be great if you could share some details about your setup, e.g. what Linux distro are you using, and whatever tweaks you have had to do (or preferred to do for whatever reason). I am planning to use an external USB HDD as you also seem to have done.


I use a straight Raspian image, latest, and then applied these steps to boot/run from external disk. I created an openhab user with sudo adduser openhab (openHAB install might do this anyway). I added the openhab user to the dialout group so it could access the USB Z-Stick with sudo usermod openhab -a -G dialout. I installed openHAB using apt-get method here. Installed addons using same apt-get method. Changed logging to events.log to WARN to stop that log from happening:

	<logger name="runtime.busevents" level="WARN" additivity="false">
		<appender-ref ref="EVENTFILE" />
		<appender-ref ref="STDOUT" />

That’s about it.


Pretty strightforwad, and nothing funny then. That was what I hoped for, :smile:
Thanks for a quick and clear response.

My dream is that OpenHAB gets to XBMC/Kodi level of user friendliness (Or at least somewhere close) !!! . I would love to migrate from Vera, but i dont have the time to be ‘frustrated’ and rebuilding my system for days again. I was always very appreciative that the super skilled such as @guessed spent their time improving Vera for everyone, but am very pleased they are now investing their time in improving OpenHAB in an open source sense.

You should checkout the Animus Heart, they have a campaign up on indiegogo at the moment

Checkout this demo of the device in use:

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