Please help my wife

My wife is actually very enthusiastic about the OpenHab setup I have gradually built up. As long as it works.
The problem arises when the system occasionally fails. Then she panics.
She has our home as her workplace. And when I’m not at the address, it causes problems.
To solve this problem, my plan now is to remove all IKEA devices from my Zigbee2MQTT setup and install them via IKEA’s own software and HUB - then she will be able to manually control the most vital devices via the IKEA app and she can easily be instructed to restart the IKEA HUB if that’s what’s failing - it’s not so easy to restart openhabian and Zigbee2MQTT if that’s what’s failing. When the system is running properly, I will still be able to run all the automation via Openhab and the IKEA binding at the same time.
The problem now is that I have over 50 IKEA devices connected and that’s more than the old IKEA hub can handle - it also has a number of other disadvantages.
So the question from my wife is now: When will there be a binding for the IKEA DIRIGERA?

Would’nt it be better to check, why the system fails ?

what eactly fails ? zigbee2mqtt ? openHAB ?
How do you notice that it fails ?
What happens or happened whet it fails ?
What do you do when it fails ?

Answering all those question might help to find the root cause of your problem and find a proper solution.

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Hi Hans-Jörg and thank you for your reply.
Of course you are absolutely right. It is always better to solve the problem than to remove the symptoms.
I have worked with OpenHab for several years and continuously developed my setup. And basically it runs very stable.
Problems can arise in connection with further development: new devices, new rules/scripts, new bindings, etc. It can also be updates, power failure, hardware failure - I have experienced crashes of SD cards several times.
I have set up an UPS and do regular backups.
Under normal circumstances, I will be able to quickly drive home or solve the problem via remote desktop if any problems.
There may be days when I am further away for several days and do not have the opportunity to do so.
With the IKEA-HUB solution my wife will be able to control the vital things manually with the IKEA app - perhaps a simple restart of the IKEA HUB is needed.
Unfortunately, it is not possible to call the local electrician and ask him to fix it, it is probably doubtful how much he knows about OpenHab, whereas there is probably a greater chance that he or others know about IKEA Trådfri.
And as I said, my wife works in our home with small children, so it is a problem if the light suddenly no longer turns on per automation when she is enters the different rooms.
So that’s why I think the IKEA-HUB solution is the best/most secure - I can still control all IKEA devices through OpenHab - I don’t want to give that up.
In fact, I already run my system with the old IKEA-HUB, but it has many disadvantages compared to the new IKEA-DIRIGERA - e.g. the number of devices and speed.
So my whole story is actually a coverup to find out when you expect a binding for the IKEA-DIRIGERA is ready.

Thank you for super good software, it makes me happy every day.


Reading this, I would say it is no good idea to “develop” or make changes on your produktive system while you are not on premise. Even having several remote access solutions, I never do this.
When away, I have a nearly identical dev environment where I can develop or test things.

In this case, before thinking of adding further complexity whith another ikea hub, why not thinking of moving to different server solution (Intel NUC e.g.) with SSD. Devices with enough power to drive openHAB and other things are not that expensive.

I have removed all IKEA stuff long time ago, same as Belkin Wemo, only use Wemo for maintaing the binding.

There is no reliable answer. It depends on when someone volunteers to make a contribution.

BTW, did you read this, it includes a temporary solution.

Why not use openHABian and SD mirroring then. Even your wife can exchange cards when in need.


If openHAB fails, does zigbee2mqtt still work? If it does you can use a mqtt client to control it. I use
Also you can set up the zigbee2mqtt frontend (web UI) and use that but I find it less user friendly

Thank you for your participation
Yes, when only Openhab has gone down and Zigbee2MQTT still works - then I can easily access Zigbee2MQTT via the frontend or other options - I can, but the problem is that unfortunately my wife can’t figure it out. The IKEA app, on the other hand, everyone knows how to use, even my wife.

Thanks for all the suggestions
I’ve previously used an Intel NUC - I’ve considered doing that again, then you’re also out of the SD card problem.
You can protect yourself in all sorts of ways, but banal things can happen and e.g. can the NUC also crash - then my point is that it will be much easier for my wife or someone else ignorant to use the IKEA app and possibly restart the IKEA-HUB than having to troubleshoot in OpenHab.
It would also be a bit of a nightmare if my wife could find out how to use OpenHab, then she would undoubtedly change some of the brilliant things I have done :wink:
It sounds a bit like using the IKAE binding (even for the old IKEA HUB) is a bad solution - is that understood correctly?
I have read about the temporary solution - I don’t quite know if my skills are up to it - I could of course test it on a test setup (NUC maybe) as you suggest.

I have a rule in my house: even though OpenHab tends to be the primary “manager” all my devices maintain their original command devices. For example, Ikea lamps are binded to their respective commands. Z2M supports it and wife is happy.

Normally a OH upgrade takes less than 30m. I do that when wife is sleeping (or not at home) and I can always go back to the previous version if needed. The only upgrade that took longer than 30m was from OH3 to OH4 due to UoM (I had to modify several things, items and rules because I’m not using a “standard” OH environment).

Having an UPS is also very convenient. Not only you can shut down OH gracefully, but also you can detect short power breaks where devices have gone off but your OH server did not shut down (Ikea lamps tend to go ON after a power break and you can easily shut them OFF).

To get rid of the SD card problem you can use a miniPC, for example this one (sometimes they are in promo)

Or moving zigbee2mqtt to another machine so resetting that part is as simple as restarting that machine.

Tasker also has an MQTT plugin which could be used to build a simple phone app relatively easily if IoT MQTT Panel doesn’t fit your needs.

The point with IoT MQTT Panel and Tasker is that you build a nice interface for your wife that is simple to use. No one is expecting her to bring up MQTT Explorer, find the right topic and type in the message to turn on the light.

For example, I created and exported a nice little Tasker app for my wife which automatically raises a simple dialog when it detects she is driving and entered the home GeoFence with two buttons, one to open the garage door and the second one to cancel. Obviously that’s more complicated than you’d need but the idea is the same. You can create a simple user interface, export that to an apk and load that onto another phone.

I don’t have as much experience with IoT MQTT Panel but expect it’s the same overall approach. You’d create and export a simple UI app for your wife to interact with zigbee2mqtt devices (and others?).

This is similar to my rule. I like the Mitch Hedberg joke.

You should never seen an escalator out of order sign. Escalator temporarily stairs. Sorry for the convenience.

The point is when an elevator breaks it’s no longer fit for purpose. However, if an escalator breaks it can still be used to get to a different level (I’m ignoring safety issues, it’s a metaphor, not real life). So as you design your home automation, shoot for building escalators. When OH or some other home automation system breaks, the device is still usable, just in a less convenient way.

In general this means building in backups (e.g. an alternative simple UI to zigbee2mqtt or keeping the Ikea Hub) and pushing some smarts out to the edge instead of centralizing them in openHAB.

If it’s only just a minor inconvenience for OH to be down, the pressure to get it back up is greatly reduced, allowing you to take your time and everyone stays happier.

I am total with @moody_blue: Try to have ALWAYS a second way of doing it. And I think, that is, what @TBM tries to reach.
For that reason, I have two raspi parallel, running SSD instead of a SD-Card, have a UPS a.s.o. But believe me, even then it happens sometimes, that there is no fallback :wink:

That’s my major rule too. Making my home smart is a nice to have thing, but everything needs to be controllable the old fashioned way.
My complete lightning is based on Shelly devices, hidden behingd the old wall switches. If openHAB would break, I can still switch my lights. If a shelly breaks, is just like a bulb dying. Go and by a new one in the shops and replace it, or just open the drawer and pick a spare one :wink:
Reconfiguring openHAB to a new shelly will then be something wich has no absolute priority, as I still can switch the light.
I would never use anything here which could lead to a situation where critical things could not be controlled without openHAB/network/ internet. This is a absolute no-go.
My Hue lights I am using therefore are just nice to have things, but it is not necessary to have them. I still can watch TV without a nice decend light behind my sofa :wink:
Just my 2 cents….


Maybe a bit off topic, my solution was to buy zigbee lights that turn on after power loss. So if openHAB (or Google) is on strike she can just use the old school wall switch. Turn it of and on and the light will shine. Turn it if off and the light is off.

I once used to have an OH server outage with a bright zwave light in my bedroom on that has no switch. At 2 a.m. Not clever. Had to use the breakers because I was too tired to fix it right away.

Depending on what the devices are but you can bind devices in zigbee2mqtt. From my understanding the devices then work without the need for OpenHab or z2m

Just want to add Torben, no one here is suggesting your current plan isn’t a good one. Every situation is different, sounds like for your situation, your plan is sound.

But… you did ask for help so… and we are openHAB enthusiasts… (we can’t help ourselves)

Nothing really to add to what has already been said in this thread but I’m glad the illustrious Rich Koshak added his favorite Mitch Hedberg quote. ‘Escalator temporarily stairs’

Endeavour to build escalators not elevators. Never let anything mission critical be totally reliant on openHAB (and yes, especially with kids in the house, being able to turn on the lights is mission critical) Make it so if openHAB goes down, for whatever reason, you can still flick the old school wall switch to turn on the lights.

You said you have a battery backup on the host machine. Perfect, power goes out, fact of life. Work on making sure the host gracefully shuts down after an extended outage runs the battery down. Make sure the host restart automatically when power is restored. And test it to make sure it works. (example threads on this forum)

Maybe create an easy to use button to (properly) restart openHAB when it gets sideways

Marcus’ mirroring suggestion is a good one. Hans-Jörg’s suggestion to set up a development environment to ‘play with’ instead of dorking your production setup is also a great idea

Home automation should be a pleasant convenience when everything is working right but life is to unpredictable to bet the farm on it. A guy came in here a few months back asking what would happen if he died!!! :scream_cat: Make sure every system has a manual way of operating without it.

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Just to share my experience and outlook.

I started out totally focused on budget and maximum functionality. I searched Ali Express and Banggood for the cheapest devices I could find that delivered maximum “bang for my buck”

I have since evolved to reliability first and foremost, followed by graceful fallback. Everything MUST “just work”… and I’m still not yet there. A graceful fallback means that I can still operate all of my home automation devices the old fashioned way. I no longer shop for the cheapest devices on Ali Express or Banggood. ALL lights are controlled by smart switches, which are as easily accessible as the dumb switches that they replace, and are operable in the same manner. No Smart bulbs.

Be careful about what is commonly referred to as “WAF” (Wife Acceptance Factor). ANYBODY may not be as enthused about our home automation hobby as we are and will not tolerate not being able to run the household the way they have always run it. It can build resentment and antagonism toward automation, which if you value your partner, may prevent a workable home automation from being implemented.

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Maybe not everyone’s solution but maybe it’s helping. I recognise the problem when creating something new and then destroying something as lighting because you forget since dependencies e.g.

So what I did was setup another raspberry pi (was laying around doing nothing) with Openhab and some simple basic functionality for lighting and other simple stuff. They share some items via mqtt. The “slave” just checks if it is receiving updates from the “master” if not, it’s running his code. For lights the slave also enables lights in some rooms in every situation in our toilet, it has no window, so being in the dark is really dark.

At this moment the slave even synchronizes some rule files with the master, those rule files have checks if it’s running on slave or master and if master is active or not.

So even when I’m compiling the rules or reboot the master, the lights just work. Normally when I’m compiling and my wife is walking through our home, the light don’t react because of the workload from compiling the rules files. But with the extra slave that’s (almost :wink:) never the case.

Many thanks to all participants for their input.
Yes, I can see many ways to increase the reliability of OpenHab.
There are definitely elements I will introduce in my system.