openHAB on Ubuntu PC ... what about radios?

I’ve got an htpc running Ubuntu and was wondering if using it to run openHAB was a good option. The only direct networking ability it has is wired ethernet (unless I were to broadcast through the router).

I’m a home automation noob and was wondering if I could pick up a card that would support zigbee, bluetooth, wifi, etc and allow me to start playing with the link, hue to start, then alarms, etc.

I would be interested in connecting sensors and I’ve read arduino is good an an interface for that.

Is there a (PCIe) card that allows zigbee? And is this the best way to get started?

One comment I can make is that Ubuntu is running a very old version of the Bluetooth stack and it won’t be compatible with OH bluetooth (until they upgrade of course, but given it’s a few years out of date, I don’t think I’d hold your breath :frowning:).

ZigBee, Z-Wave etc are normally USB sticks, so (generally) will be compatible.

I found a z-wave usb key here on amazon:

Is there anything that I should be looking for in particular? (The price starts to mount if you’re buying the wrong things)

And I didn’t see (on amazon) a straightforward zigbee usb stick. There were a couple items that looked like they might be for the ‘enthusiast’ … amongst whom I count myself, but only in intent and desire, not yet knowledge. Can anyone point to an appropriate zigbee stick?

If I were to buy a raspberry pi or one of the other options suggested in the getting started docs would I be getting usb sticks too? And do you need a usb stick for each protocol then?

If you want to interact with all of those protocols it might be cheaper to get a Vera and use the MiOS Binding. In this configuration the Vera communicates with your devices and OH communicates with the Vera. And in some cases the ONLY way to interact with them from OH is through an external hub, e.g. Hue.

Arduino is great if you want to build your own sensors and have them communicate with OH. Be sure to brush up on your soldering skills and learn Arduino programming. You will find limited support for custom Arduino devices on this forum.

However, if you don’t have these skills or are unwilling to learn these skills I would recommend sticking to commercial devices. Using the approach of copying a bunch of stuff from the internet and pasting it into your devices and expecting it to work has resulted in failure among several posters to this forum.

I’ll just add that right now there is no zigbee support in OH. Chris is working on an OH 2 binding but the last mention I saw of it was that it is a work in progress and far from done. Given how much Chris already has on his plate I’m not sure I would standardize on Zigbee unless I were willing to wait awhile for the support to be implemented.

That is the one I use but I think the general consensus is that the Aeon Labs Gen 5 USB stick is a better choice.

Yes, you would be getting USB sticks or devices that wire into the GPIO pins (e.g. RazBerry). And yes, you need a separate stick for each protocol.

I can confirm that BT on Ubuntu is a major pain. I’ve managed to get some functionality out of it though through an external script that communicates with OH through MQTT so BT device detection is not out of the realm of possibilities, you just have to do it without the BT binding.

I recommend coming up with ONE single thing you want to automate. For me I go started with putting two outlets on a timer. Get that working then expand and experiment with a bunch of the capabilities built into OH bindings that don’t require extra hardware (e.g. getting Weather info, location tracking on your phone, etc). That will build up your skills and as you progress you will discover additional things you will want to automate.

Grow it gradually. If you try to do it all at once you will likely become overwhelmed.

1 Like

Ha! I’m already overwhelmed!

However, treading water now and hopeful. I’ve seen references to rooting the wink hub and using OH to direct the functionality through it. I might give that a try.

But thanks for the recommendation on the Gen 5 stick. I’ll start shopping and check out what I can do with it before anything else.