Physical Universal Remote for OpenHAB


I’m looking at options to use a physical remote with openHAB, I know that there is a binding for the Harmony remote. But as far as I can see the harmony remote is limited to only controlling RF devices?

But I’m looking for a more universal remote that I can use to control things rather than always having to use my phone app. Is this possible and do people have any recommended options?

Ideally I would like the remote to control as many things a possible. eg lights, music controls etc. Is it possible to use an ardino and mqtt???

Tablet on the wall Matt! That’s what I’m aiming for…

I guess you could setup an ugly looking arduino with a few manual buttons but you might be limited with the number if inputs?

Although you could get an IR receiver and wire that up to an arduino, then use a normal universal remote but capture each command and then you could map those to your own actions…

I’d still go for a tablet :slight_smile:

This will be less than helpful to you I’m sure so you can safely ignore it. But in my opinion, if you have to resort to a remote it is a home automation failure. Everything should work and resorting to a remote should be a special case activity, not an everyday activity. As an example, I really only have two devices that must be controlled from a remote, the garage door openers. The lights, HVAC, and everything else just does its thing. If I need to manually do something I use the good old traditional wall switch or whatever the native API happens to be.

The key is to get the signal from the remote into openHAB and let openHAB then send the commands out to the devices. So you just need to find some sort of device that works with openHAB. I think the Harmony Hub works and there might be some z-wave remotes that work as well.

The most flexible approach would be @TommySharp’s recommendation of mounting a tablet on the wall with the controller UI there.

@rlkoshak I agree I would like everything to be as automatic as possible. So I will work on automating things rather an worry too much about a remote control. Could you explain your lighting setup? I’ve been trying to figure out the best and most simple solution to switch lights on when I enter a room and its dark.

I’m waiting for PIR sensors to arrive, but I also only want lights on when its dark, so I’m assuming it’s possible to setup a rule to wait for motion and connect a light sensor too or use a combination of PIR and the astro binding.

Or is there a more simple solution?

@TommySharp Thanks for the suggestion, I think I’ll try and make things as automatic as possible first.

I’ve posted my lighting setup here.

I don’t have PIRs so I only use time of day and weather conditions to control my lights. However, the first posting on the above thread has bob_dickenson’s approach to manage that.

The tl;dr description is:

  • Some items and rules to to keep track of time of day driven by cron triggers and astro events
  • Put lights in groups and make rules that when triggered loop over the members of the group to turn on or off lights based on current conditions (time of day or weather). If a light is manually toggled it is marked as overridden and will keep changes because of changes to the weather conditions from switching a light.
  • bob-dickenson’s proxy design pattern where you create a proxy Item to control a light and rules that can handle PIR and other conditions to determine whether to actually turn on or off the light.

I’m working on a remote device kinda like a TV remote. There are 2 components. A receiver that receives a signal from a transmitter and send a rest API command to turn on an item. In my case lights. I just got it to turn on and off my media room zwave lights last night. I have the transmitter running on 2 AA batteries. So it goes into power down mode after 10 seconds of no activity. I still have some work to do but it looks promising. I think I’ll be able to have several buttons unless I can find a cheap low power touch screen on it.

How about a Z-Wave remote?

Or you could use LIRC and a Raspberry Pi… it would just be a little more work for this setup.

I plan on having more than just zwave devices.

You pair the zwave reomte with your controller and OH receives button press events from the remote which you use to control other types of devices. That is sort of the point of OH.

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