Four years ago we started out on a project to rebuild a family house on a view lot. In the process, I wanted to implement home automation, but knew little to nothing about it. We moved into the project home and I began the search for the right solution. Through searches I came across OpenHAB and decided to give it a try. I had an Ubuntu server running for backups, SQL, and a media server, so I installed there. I followed the tutorial to install Network binding and play around with presence, and my journey was started.
I purchased a Z-Stick, a GE wall plug, and an Aeotec multi-sensor for testing while we designed the house. I figured this would help me learn common uses for switches and sensors, and I could scale up when the time came. I also already had an LG TV, a Harmony Hub, and a Nest thermostat for more testing. The next 2 years focused on designing the house, and I continued to test OpenHAB and learn.
Beginner’s tip: Come to this forum, click “Latest”, and bookmark it. You will see some intimidating stuff happening, but you will learn, and some posts will peak your curiosity and you can search for more details.
We moved out of the house for what would end up being a 12 month project, and I continued to play with my switch, sensor, and TV in our rental. I also began planning the automation resources I would need. I had visions of a tablet above every light switch in every room (after discovering HABPanel), and using Homekit to talk to our house. I began picking hardware and building my list.
Tip: Take the time to make your project as big as you want. List your hardware and create a budget. The $ will tell you if you have gone too far.
I decided I would stay with hardware that had existing bindings:
GE/Jasco switches, dimmers, and ceiling fan switches
I had a Denon receiver in storage
I made sure my contractor was putting in a MyQ garage door opener
My solar contractor recommended Enphase inverters, so that was good
I made sure blinds and awning worked with Somfy MyLink
I bought new Samsung TVs
Tip: My contractor already budgeted Lutron light switches and dimmers, which can run up to $25 each. I found six packs of GE Z-Wave dimmers, add on switches, and switches on Amazon for a bit more, but was credited by my contractor for the Lutron switches, so my additional spend was not prohibitive.
Fast forward and we a back in the house. I will spare all the details of the build. It went as expected, and I stayed close to the network wiring and hardware installation. Needless to say I did not end up with tablets in every room (just one in the garage). I’ve read somewhere in this forum, “you should automate because you should, not because you can.” Very wise words.
Here is my main interface. Lots of details in each accordion, but we don’t use most of them that often. Living Room and Kitchen are used most often, so they are at the top.
Also created a page for garage tablet.
Other stuff I have done:
- Got a new Zotac applicance PC when OH3 released. Slowly transitioned from OH2 (Remote OH Binding was a stroke of genius) on Ubuntu 20.04
- HTTP binding for Enphase, DirecTV receiver
- Mail binding for letting us now when clothes dryer cycle is complete (connected to a Fibaro wall plug/meter)
- HTTP binding to PiHole server
- OpenWeatherMap binding
- SleepIQ binding
- Astro binding
- 70 Things
- 188 Items
- 27 Rules
- 14 Pages
- 0 Scripts
On the last point, I deliberately chose to stick to UI for everything, and have found I am not experienced enough to mess with scripts. I technically have one script in a rule, but it’s a one liner to send an email. Some rule making has been clunky without scripts, but I haven’t found a task I can’t complete in UI rules (yet).
That’s my story in abbreviated form.