Low cost beginner hardware with expandibility


I’ve been interested in home automation for a while and got a Hue Kit about a year ago. I’m trying to add things to make the lights more intelligent like outside light and motion sensors. Money is a bit tight right now (wife is in school), so I need to start small and expand. Ideally I’d like to get the system set up, then leave it alone until I add new hardware. I was considering a Raspberry Pi 3, but I read there are stability issues. I have a 256 (I think) MB M.2 drive I could throw into something NUC-ish (hopefully less money though, around $100 or less).

So are there still stability issues with the Pi? Should I consider something else? Win/Linux? What is compatible with the most HW for the various protocols? I moderately technical, at least enough to figure out most things with some nudging.

Any help would be appreciated.


I would venture to say the majority of users run on a Pi. They can be perfectly stable, especially if you go through steps like running off of an external drive. This will probably be the cheapest route.

Next cheapest would probably be finding a used machine somewhere. It doesn’t have to be powerful or have much space. I myself run on an old laptop with a busted screen.

Compatibility with hardware isn’t really a concern. I know of none that only work when OH is running on one type of OS or another. Either OH supports it with an add-on or it doesn’t, whether it is running on Windows, Ubuntu, OSX, or FreeBSD.

Most people run on Debian based Linux distros which is the only OS which OH “installs” to, which is highly recommended if you have a choice.

The only stability issues with the RPi I’ve heard of, are possible SD card corruptions. You can avoid this with using (as Rich already mentioned) an external device, preferably a small SSD connected via USB.

Your M2 drive is really only 256 MB of size? That would be a little to small for the OS, OH and the collective data.Or did you meant GB? If so, you only need a small case for the card with USB connection and are ready to go (in addition to the RPi3 with power supply and a case of course).

Of course, a NUC is also a nice device, but I don’t know if you will get this for 100 bucks or less.

What I like about the RPi3: Small, not much power consumption (remember: the device runs 24h7), stable and has a broad community here (and generally speaking). And for OH the rpi3 is more than powerful enough.

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Thanks guys. Yes, I was talking about the corruption problem and oops, I did mean GB, not MB. Sounds like the PI is ok, so I will give that a shot. Thanks again!