Smarthome build from ground up

Hi OpenHAB community, I have been hired by friends of my family to create for them a Smarthome for the house they are building in Virgina, US. I am a CS major in school currently for a specialization in AI Development. However, this will be my first large scale project and the first time I will be tackling home automation. (Don’t get me wrong I’m not a complete novice here but never on this scale.)

After doing a lot of searching online OpenHAB looks to be the best solution over all for this project to allow them to not have to worry over ecosystems. This will also give them the benifit of selecting the best products for the price in the long run.

Pros of this project:

  • Nothing has been built yet except for the basement which will only be used for storage and a panic room.
  • No products have yet been bought and my suggestions will be the main ones looked at allowing for the best compatibility and use for price.

Cons of this project:

  • Information on whole home smarthome systems are limited unless it’s retrofits and/or ecosystems that limit consumer use.

Current Smarthome Project Plan

Currently the plan is to have a home server (named butler) running Linux as the entry point for the Internet into the home in the panic room. Run Cat5/6 through the whole home with the electrical lines (separated by 2 feet and in shielded conduit). Have a centralized WiFi router in the home. Use Raspberry Pi 2’s inside the walls of each room (called living room maid, kitchen maid, etc) running OpenHAB and attach a Arduino to each with a sensor array to monitor the stats of each room.

Now this is where I am coming up stuck. Can a Arduino have a Zigbee shield, Z-wave shield, and a sensor shield attached to one Arduino (note: not saying which Arduino as Idk which one could pull this off if any can). If this is not possible then can you attach 2 Arduino’s to a RPI2 and have one with Z-wave the other with Zigbee and the sensor shield with all breakaway sensors added on top to monitor a room?

Also on a separate question. Would a RPI2 have enough memory to run OpenHAB as well as be a Wifi access point if I was to use these “maids” to have Wifi HATs allowing each room to have its own access point. Each will be direct wired to the server “butler”.

End goal is to have each room with most protocols so any product they use can be controlled via the OpenHAB app.

Things I haven’t even gotten around to looking at is the:

  • Dedicated Audio System they want through the whole home.
  • Bluetooth smart locks
  • NVR System with outside cameras on the corners of the home.
  • Dedicated home NAS cloud.

Needless to say I bit off a bit more than I can chew alone at one time and any and all help would be greatly appreciated.

I would say you only want one openHAB install - on the main server, rather than lots of instances. You’ll only need/want one z-wave controller for the house, the rest can be sensors/switches etc and they all act as a mesh network.

I was wondering that, wasn’t sure it would work that way or not based on the videos I watched. Glad to hear that though as working it all will be far more easy with it centralized. As for 1 z-wave controller, what’s there range, also can’t only 70 items link max?

Keep in mind that z-wave is a mesh network. Not every device needs to be able to talk to the controller. It just needs to be close enough to a neighbor who is close enough to a neighbor (and so on and so on) who is close enough to the controller to talk. Of course there are plenty of practical limitations as you get further and further away but if you have a zwave device in every room your mesh will be thick enough I wouldn’t expect any problems.

The average range (depending on all the usual things that impact radio transmission) is around 300 ft. I have my controller on the top floor of my house (the high the antenna the farther the range usually) near the center of the house and all of my z-wave devices on the top floor, main floor, and basement can communicate directly with the controller. I have a 3200 sqft house.

233 devices is the number listed on the Z-Wave FAQ.. If you need more than that I believe you can add another controller and set up a second network. But that would be a question for @chris.

I’ve heard lots of good things and lots of bad things but you might consider Power of Ethernet as well. It might not be that big of a deal with the power being right there but I think it is pretty convenient to power stuff like Arduinos and RasPis.

Since you will have ethernet I recommend sticking to wired for your embedded devices instead of wifi. The RasPis will come with ethernet but you will need to get a dongle to support wifi. Also, with ethernet you never have to worry about interference or obsolescence (new WiFi technologies come along every five years or so).

As @richbeals said, you only want one openHAB server, probably running on butler. If you have RasPis, why not wire your sensors and actuators to the RasPi instead of adding Arduinos? Plans to have a touchscreen attached to the RasPis with a UI for control? This could simplify your deployment.

I think you can stack shields but you don’t need to as your z-wave and zigbee (only supported in OH2 btw) would be connected to butler. The question is whether the Arduino has to power (processing and electrical) to handle more than one. Even so, as previously mentioned, you only need one controller connected to butler so the question is OBE.

Well, since the deployed RasPis won’t be running openHAB now there should be plenty of power to drive a screen and serve as a wireless extender. However, be careful that you don’t have too many wireless access points around the house. There are only so many channels and if you have two on the same channel they will interfear with each other. I’d recommend only enabling the AP for rooms that don’t get a clear signal from the main router or a neighboring room that has an AP enabled.

Finally, you can just plug in a good quality USB wifi dongle to the RasPi instead of a HAT if you run out of pins (e.g. you wire your sensors to the RasPis and forego the Arduinos.

Sonos is quite popular around here I’ve noticed.

You might consider z-wave. I don’t think openHAB supports any bluetooth locks (the BT Binding only really supports whether or not devices are present, though the OH2 BT Binding is supposed to support a lot more). Support for Schlage and Kwickset z-wave locks is currently being tested and should be released in OH 1.8.

Look at OwnCloud if you really want/need cloud services verses just network storage.

Some generic comments:

Before deciding on any device or technology (e.g. smart locks, audio video system) make sure they either have an OH binding or an open API (REST is best but you can also execute scripts using the EXEC binding or open a socket using the TCP/UDP Binding).

Depending on the timeline you might want to plan on using OH2 instead of OH1. I recommend you follow the OH2 discussion here and on github and download and start playing with it. It can take months to learn openHAB to the point of being competent. Better to start that process now then when you are under the gun. The demo is a good place to start and there are plenty of bindings that don’t require anything more than a network (NTP, Network Health, Weather, SNMP binding, Exec Binding, MQTT Binding, etc).

Get use cases from your “customers”. How do they want to use it. Don’t focus on the technology when getting this and focus on what they actually want to accomplish through HA. In my opinion, HA works best when it works without human intervention. And if it is something a human has to initiate I’ve found the traditional non-HA oriented approaches to be far better than whipping out a phone and yelling “Turn on the lights, damn it!”. Good automation is something that you don’t notice (until it doesn’t work).

Solicit advice on the /r/homeautomation subReddit and other generic HA forums as well. There are many professionals out there who will be willing to help.

Finally, you need to come up with a support plan and everything you build you need to do so with a little voice in the back of your head that says “how am I going to support this ten years from now and 1000 miles away.” Sorry to break this to you if you haven’t already realized it, but you are on the hook to support this thing from now on.

Things to consider:

  • backups of butler, all your raspis and arduinos, and cloud storage

  • battery backup in case of loss of power

  • consider using VMs or containers (e.g. Docker) to deploy all of your servers (openHAB, Mosquitto, OwnCloud, OpenVPN, etc). This lets you isolate them from each other, lets you upgrade and test things on your own equipment before pushing patches and updates to the production system, and since they are self contained they are easy to back up and roll-back when an error occurs. And you will never have to rebuild butler from the ground up (a scenario that keeps me up at night for my current setup).

  • beware of the RasPi SD corruption problem., Too may writes and your SD card will wear out. If you shunt your syslogs to a server on butler and keep servers that do a lot of writing either writing to a shared folder on your NAS or off the RasPis you should have no problems. Otherwise your RasPis will die one by one with corrupted and worn out SD cards.

  • Make sure you can access anything that gets embedded in the walls somehow. Hardware fails more often than you think.

  • Network monitoring will be important too. I’d recommend using SNMP to keep track of the health and status of butler, RasPis, router, and other networked devices. Software like Nagios or OpenNMS will help here, though the openHAB SNMP plugin can be used to monitor and send updates or post status on a sitemap.

  • It is tempting to want to build a lot of stuff yourself (e.g. wire a bunch of sensors to your RasPis or arduinos) but do not forget the cost of your time. You will be supporting this thing from now on and it takes significantly more time to hand solder a multisensor to an Arduino than it costs to install a self contained z-wave multisensor. And when you buy ready made you can offload some of that support effort to the manufacturer instead of being on the hook for it yourself.

  • A lot of police and sheriff districts require an alarm system be registered with them before they will respond to any calls triggered by an alarm. And they tend to be pretty down on the DIY setups. Also, setting up a system that is secure and reliable is not easy to do. It’s probably better to have the alarm system professionally installed and configured. Just choose one that has an API that lets you get its status and its sensor’s status into openHAB.

  • Run lots of wire all over the place and run twice as much as you think you need. Want one ethernet per room? Run two. Make sure you have wires running to all the windows and doors (one pair per sensor should be enough though look at what each sensor need). Wired sensors are far more reliable and much much cheaper than wireless. You can get a wired reed switch for $5 but a z-wave wireless reed switch will run you $40. Consider sensors as well. You have reed switches (open/close status), vibration sensors, light sensors, etc. Do you want to have automated roller shutters/blinds? Run some wires for those as well. You have all the wires converge on the RasPi in the room, wire them up to the GPIO pins (put in some resistors so you don’t kill the Pi with too much voltage) and have the Pi report the status to openHAB via MQTT. The more wired devices you have the more reliable and cheaper the system will be. Also, don’t forget speakers and AV wiring if you don’t go with a wireless system like Sonos.

That is about all I can think of off the top of my head.


Didn’t know it was a independent mesh network that helps a lot. Also, the 300ft range is triple what i thought for that signal so that’s a huge relief.

Had thought of that prior, but yeah with the power lines so close I just need to hardwire a wall wart into the mains to power them so its no issue there.

As for the WiFi issue the Arduino’s and RPi’s were going to be in the hard lines to the server not on WiFi as you expected. I’m with you the the idea that wired trumps WiFi in every situation. The AP WiFi however was for their personal convenience of mobile tech. If there is a AP setup on both sides of the home it will give whole home coverage. Issue as you said is channel and android doesn’t like that style switching without a dedicated app to manage it while Apple does it natively (makes me wonder if that is do to there other products in routers and AP’s that they put it native in their smartphones?)
May still go with centrally placed router for mobile though just thought it would be nice if the RPi’s that are in use could eliminate that all together though using the kitchen as a AP alone may work instead of a router.

You actually nailed it on the head. The plan is to have them mounted in the wall in a box on a stud with the 5 point LCD touch screens faced out where the main light switch for each room would be surrounded by a face plate for ease of access with a main UI that displays settings for that individual room, but you can also then access the rest of the house controls as well on a side swipe over panel in the UI. Its also why I thought of using the arduino for a sensor hub for the room as (at the time) i thought it would have to have OpenHAB on it plus the touch screen and I really was questioning voltage and serial bus control with so much on one. So separating the sensors to the arduino and mounting it above the screen so the light sensor, sound sensor, IR sensor, and smoke sensor have access into the room seemed like a better answer at the time. However like you said far later a independent Z-wave sensor hub may be a better option all around on that end.

Even though this on my end is no longer needed I do want to say for anyone else needing to know that Arduino shields do stack as long as you get the clearance. You can use GUIO extenders to make that clearance if you need it. However the real question there was more about the serial bus. I don’t believe you can use a serial bus that’s in use by another shield (the Z Wave shield and Zigbee shield, I think, fight over it so idk if there was/is a way around that).

Like you said though, for me this question is redundant and useless now especially since they will be connected to the main home server.

Was reading that as well. Been looking into them i’ll keep you posted on that but side products like these i need to find everything from the cheapest fix to the best of the best and let them decide the rout on. More was wondering if they don’t go that route should I also run audio cables everywhere and back to the sever if they choose in wall recessed speekers? Totally lost here as A/V networks I’ve never even looked at and between the security cams and the possibility of a wired audio network its a bit of a scare XD. Hopefully though I can sell them on the Sonos as that end.

That I will look into, though definitely going OH2 just as it has more protocol support over all. But yeah z wave locks would work as well just said Bluetooth as it was more common and you can find them cheaper usually at the same quality as price will reign supreme at the end of the day.

Lol that was the plan actually. Never planned to set them up on GDrive or anything like that it was either use OwnCloud or custom build a cloud back to the network storage.

Yeah, that I have been going through on the product search. Since this was suppose to be the system of systems but relatively new I knew not everything would work but more would than any ecosystem provided on the market.

Already on that. as for a time line its questionable as they asked me 2 months ago and still haven’t even sent the blueprints for me to really get started so i have been just doing side research, looking into products, and getting to know OpenHAB in coding and its libraries as best I can till then.

Tried that, the best i can get out of them so far is sadly all I have told you. Hopefully a full sit down on the matter will take place soon and I can get their full input as well as the blueprints and full budget. Until then its as you said “Good automation is something that you don’t notice (until it doesn’t work).” so its just blindly making it that wait without the customer feed in you would expect for someones house. I feel that issue is more that while they have a rough idea of what they asked of me and what they want, they themselves do not understand any of the way it works more how they want it to work in the end. I’ll be trying to tie some information for them together on it all and many suggestions on top so that we can get on the same page and find what it is they truly want. The network as a whole that we have listed so far is a need though for whatever they choose for it all to come together in the end.

Yeah that’s not a bad idea, I have been hitting up Reddit but mainly been doing direct google searches as i have been thinking out every step of the network and every way things will connect and what sensors will feed back what info and how to use it.

:’( Yeah, realized this about 2 weeks ago and started to plan for that. At first I thought about a direct remote assistant into the main server so i can patch into their system. Also have thought about having all the Config files on a Dropbox to remote access them. Idk yet full there, the ways I will take, the possibilities, I am running through them all but if the actual main server goes down then i’ll have to go back up there simply to do a reinstall of the server physically. Software fail however between all I am thinking of i’ll be able to fix that remotely. Like having a RAID 10 setup for the server for both its backups, archiving of data, the video feeds, really everything. That way, say a hard drive fails, at least then all I have to tell them is hot swap in a new one and the other hard drive in its array will back up what was there. Only issue there is it cuts the storage level in half or even to a 1/3rd if I go with 1,2,3 drives in each array. Not sure a home server will need that speed though so it will probably be only 2 drives in each of the 3 arrays. (sorry I am rambling at this point as I was thinking it out as I typed)

Read above at my ramblings XD

A PSU for the main server is in my plans however with the RPi’s need backup power since nothing else will be running? I Mean I guess I could have each with a Lithium batter back up just to display on the screens the remaining time before the PSU dies but other than that it seems pretty useless in a blackout situation. Unless its just so that everything has time to update one last time and safely shut down.

Yes!!! XD this I had planned out pretty much from the time i realized I got my self trapped in a life time service like I was saying above software wise I have been running through my options on controls, separations, and backups.

Curious, how is yours currently setup?

Well the plan was to shunt everything to the server, but I never knew about this issue??? Is it the read/write SD port they use on the RPi’s? Or is it just SD’s in general cant handle that?

What I hope I can do is mount a box to the stud to place each RPi and the screens and then have a wall plate over it holding the screen in place. My school has a few 3D printers and asked the engineer teacher to draft it up and print them as a lesson in his next class at the start of spring (already asked him this and he loved the idea XD). I’ll ask for one for each room after who ever designs the best one and see whoever made it if they want to post it to to help out other DIY projects.

This is supper helpful, thank you so much btw for all of this post, in weeks of research you have given me a repository to use. So again thank you!

I’m a college student :stuck_out_tongue: all I have is time lol beside I love all this. Most of this as well will go to helping me in job application. However, support wise you are spot on and if i can find a z-wave multi-sensor that can be reassessed into a wall I will go that rout.

Did’t know they hated DIY people. This will be a issue since almost, if not all, security companies charge monthly rates while the goal is to keep them from a monthly bill in the long run besides electricity and internet. I’ll look more into that and if i can get them to a sit down then talk it out with them fully on what they want.

This is covered and planned for. Hit massive luck on this one that our mutual friend runs a demolition team for office buildings and banks and instead of scrapping the wire like he normally would he can get us all we want and any amount of lengths headed or unheaded as we like. Still need the blueprints before I can request the amounts I need but 2-3x the amount was what I was gonna go with since any left over I can use else where anyway. The greatest news about this is it is completely removed from budget cost from the plan to be used else where.

Scary that was “Just off the top of your head”, but I want to thank you again as that was amazingly helpful in so many ways. rlkoshak you are my hero right now :smiley:

I think the number is 232, and that likely includes the controller, so subtract 1…

Currently you can’t have more than one controller - this should be possible with the OH2 binding - if not immediately, it shouldn’t be difficult to change as the binding has been written to allow multiple controllers…

However, if you have 232 devices, that’s a big network - I’m not sure how it would work in practice - especially if you’ve got a lot of power sensors sending data every few seconds… Just keep in mind that even if the system might support it, it doesn’t mean it will necessarily work well (to be clear - I’m not saying it won’t work well, just that it might depend on what you’re really trying to do with it)…


Yeah I had got the 70 off a adafruit z-shield for the Arduino. Still though 70-232 devices is more than enough clearance for a whole home. I don’t think the number will ever go above 60 even if all lights locks and sensors in the home are on z-wave XD

My system has grown organically and really only as I encounter problem where I think “I know, I’ll use automation!” and not have to complete the borrowed and altered quote from Jamie Zawinski, (“Now I have two problems.”). As others will be able to tell from my postings. I’m not always successful (stupid garage door opener).

I have an old, yet powerful laptop with a busted screen (its probably just a loose cable connection that I could fix if I took the case apart but have never tried) running EVERYTHING. It’s my NAS. It’s a Timemachine server for my wife’s fruit computer, It’s my VPN server. It’s my Plex Media Server. It’s my Calibre server. It’s my MQTT broker. It’s my openHAB server. I’m sure I’m running one or two more services on this thing that I can’t even remember setting up right now (I’ll sure know it when they stop working though).

There isn’t much backup to speak of, though I do use git to source control my openHAB configs and miscellaneous scripts (I highly highly recommend doing some sort of source control on your configs). There is no RAID, just some drives shared separately over Samba. I’ve already lost one drive and along with it a bunch of really old backups and archived stuff. :frowning:

It has battery backup :slight_smile: but the router and drives don’t :frowning: so in the event of a power outage I have to go and manually unmount and remount all the drives.

But if the main HD on this machine dies I’ve got a long weekend ahead of me, especially since I can’t remember what I did to set up OpenVPN in the first place. :fearful:

I’m toying with the idea of Docker. I don’t necessarily want to run separate VMs for all of this. For my setup that seems overkill and I don’t want to rob Plex of any CPU/GPU cycles it needs when it needs to transcode a video. Docker (or one of the myriad other container technologies) seems like a happy medium. And then I can configuration control my Docker images and redeploy them lickety split should I need to rebuild the server.

Home automation wise I only use a handful of bindings and technologies.

  • three lights, two are lamps controlled by z-wave power outlets and one controlled by a z-wave light switch

  • A number of reed switches on all the external doors (including the garage doors) wired to one of two Raspberry Pis with a custom Python script I wrote to report the OPEN CLOSED status of the doors to openHAB over MQTT.

  • A dual relay wired to the RasPi in the garage to enable opening the garage door openers

  • Bluetooth dongles on all three machines and a module for that custom Python script to report whether my or my wife’s phone is near (presence detection). It stopped working on my new phone though. :frowning: I need to figure that out.

  • watou’s excellent Nest binding for controlling the HVAC. I don’t have an air conditioner but (it usually doesn’t get too hot at 7100 ft). I do have a basement that is 10 degrees cooler than the rest of the house in the summer so I use the binding to turn on the fan and recirculate some of the cooler air from the basement around the house when it gets hot. Probably my biggest “I’ll use automation!” success story.

That is about it. I use some of the other bindings for things like sunset and sunrise events, current weather conditions (control the lights), network health to check up on the raspberry pis, a couple of z-wave outlet switches to reset the RasPis when they fall offline (happens a couple times a day for the garage RasPi, something to be cognizant of, not all RasPis are reliable, plan on needing spares and plan on really good power supplies, you can’t go wrong buying from Adafruit), etc. It is these bindings where I spend most of my time experimenting with what is possible and how to write clear and maintainable rules.

Over the months I’ve probably rewritten my rules three or four times, each time getting better and better. See this posting for a few good rules writing design patterns. If you use the Domain Specific Rules language and you find yourself starting to fight it, check out those examples for better ways to do things. I can say from experience, trying to code in an OO or Structural programming style will lead to frustration. On the other hand, if you would rather use Python or JavaScript, check out the JSR233 binding which lets you write your rules in either of those two languages.

SD cards in general have a limited number of writes they can support before they wear out. @watou has a link to a guide on how to set up the RasPis to all but run off of a USB drive which might be worth pursuing. Search the forum for him and and “USB Drive” and I’m sure you will find it. This is not as much of a problem with SD drives. A recent study found with constant writes most of those on the market should last a decade or more, far longer than the expected longevity of a traditional platter drive. Search Ars Technica for that article.

It would be worth contacting the local police department to determine what their policy is. There are security solutions that are DIY that include monitoring (e.g. SimpliSafe). I don’t know how well they play with openHAB. If their goal is to have a real security system, a professionally installed system may be the way to go. If they want a security system without someone besides them monitoring it you can probably build something on openHAB no problem. But with the exterior cameras and saferoom I’m thinking that won’t be good enough.

BTW, they don’t like DIY largely because of false alarms and incomplete information. For example, they wouldn’t know what to make of some automated text to speech call to them about a breakin at some house they don’t know about. They don’t like to waste their officer’s time investigating false alarms.

Score! Wish I had an uncle in demolition. In addition to just acquiring more wire than you think you need, actually run 2x more wire than you think you need to every location you run wire to. You want to try to avoid the regret of “if I only had one more wire over here I could do x”. Especially since the wire is free, but even if it wasn’t I’d recommend this. So overestimate how many wires you need at a given location, then double that. Better to have unused wires than need a wire that doesn’t exist.

Also get a really really good label maker designed for wires. These labels need to remain on the wires and legible for decades. Label both ends as soon as they are run. I made the mistake of using a cheap Brother label maker and a bunch of the labels fell off of the wires in my networking box after about five years.

In my old house I ran wires through the walls. All I really wanted was one coax on an exterior wall that didn’t have one so I could move the TV. But if I’m running one wire, why not two? If I’m running coax, why not Cat-5e too? By the end of the day I had three outlets each with two coax and two Cat-5e (one wired to phone, one to Ethernet) on three walls of the living room and all three bedrooms of the house plus one in the dining room (13 boxes total) all running to a box in the closet of one of the bedrooms. And I’m glad I did because eventually I had this home media server set up in the living room that was connected to the satellite dish and the antenna in the attic for local TV and an internal coax based video distribution network called CableCast (now defunct) so I could watch and control the home media server on any TV in the house. For early 2000s tech it was awesome! However, that meant I needed THREE separate coax in the living room, one for satellite, one for antenna, and one for CableCast. Boy was I glad I ran those extra wires.

Now-a-days wireless seems the way to go for audio/video. We have Roku’s, the Plex server, and Chromecast on our two TVs and that is it. For audio we have a couple of bluetooth speakers on the main floor (the one without a TV) and use Chromecast to send audio to the TVs and basically drive the audio from our phones (Google music is awesome!). So much simpler and no wires.


FYI @rlkoshak I run my RPis in read-only mode to save the SD card (logging to a RAM disk partition which does mean you lose the log on a reboot). But I have had a RPi in my garage running for 2-3 years with zero failures or reboots.

See here for details, You just have to re-mount as writable anytime you want to make a config change, but that is rare enough to be minimal hassle, and the up-side is you have a very reliable and stable node - YMMV.

* writable
mount / -o remount,rw

* read-only
mount / -o remount,ro

* Edit /etc/fstab and replace with;

proc            /proc           proc    defaults          0       0
/dev/mmcblk0p1  /boot           vfat    ro                0       2
/dev/mmcblk0p2  /               ext4    ro                0       1
tmpfs           /tmp            tmpfs   defaults,noatime,mode=1777      0       0
tmpfs           /var/log        tmpfs   defaults,noatime,mode=0755      0       0
tmpfs           /var/lock       tmpfs   defaults,noatime,mode=0755      0       0

You can see /tmp, /var/log and /var/lock are all mounted to temp filesystems - since their contents change and need to be r/w. Everything else is readonly and thus there is I/O to the SD card.


It is nice to see someone actually post the config for a read only deployment.

If I had my Pi’s in a box in a wall somewhere I would probably want to save the logs off somewhere rather than writing them to a RAM disk but you can do that with a syslog server and some config to push the logs to that server rather than writing locally. Then if you NFS mount a folder mounted to /var/log you will have permanent storage for the logs and the read only Pi.

The RasPi in my garage is one of the first manufacturing runs of the first generation Raspberry Pi B. I shouldn’t be surprised that it has failures and it shouldn’t be compared with any of the newer models. But I should say that ALL of the failures I have are network related. It just falls off the network periodically and since it is headless the only way to get it back is to ON/OFF the sucker. It does this both with a wifi dongle and I went so far as to set up a DD-WRT bridge to direct wire the Ethernet to something with the same results. I’ve tried various things like getting a good power supply (and hooking up a meter to verify it generates the needed output), some network config in raspiconfig I can’t remember but I read somewhere was supposed to help, different wifi adapters, wired ethernet, and more.

My caution about the RasPis was mainly that if he has one per room there will likely be close to a dozen Pis and the likelihood of one of them being flakey is higher so planning for extras would be a good thing.

What I really need to do is just give up and get a new RasPi to drive it, or move the sensors and actuators to an Arduino (which is what I probably should have used in the first place). But other problems are higher priority right now.

I only have my Pis running a custom script which only generates a single log statement when it detects a change in a sensor or receives a command. So we are talking about just a handful of writes a day, on a busy day. So I haven’t really worried about the SD card corruption problem. And even if I do end up with a corrupted SD card, all I need to do is image a new one, set the static IP, and check out my script from git. I even wrote an install script so it isn’t that big of a problem if it does die. The server on the other hand…

Ah yes, I should have probably mentioned mine is hardwired to my LAN. And the only alive status I monitor is the MQTT LWT on my central broker (since all commands/updates are sent via MQTT).

I do have a Pi camera onboard as well, and run a local version of motion which stores motion detection images/videos to an NFS share and notifies openHAB of these events via the REST API.

But yes, a WIFI network connection would no doubt cause more issues.

BTW - thanks for the tips re. logging - mine doesn’t really log anything of significance so it is not a problem, but I guess if it started failing that would quickly change!

I highly recommend DSC alarm products. When I bought my house it had an old alarm panel and the three exterior doors wire already, but that was it. I changed out the old panel with a DSC1832 and added a slew of motion sensors, a couple glass break sensors, and a smoke sensor. I added the Envisalink module in with it and now it communicates with openHAB AND I pay $9.99 a month for UL listed monitoring. I think after my homeowners insurance discounts for a monitored alarm service I am really only paying $3.99 a month.

If it is new construction running the alarm cables wouldn’t be hard at all, or you could pay someone to install it.

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My tip is before you go into detail in the technology you plan to use, focus on the function you want. Start with the individual room and put down on paper exactly the function in every room.

If the house is not built yet, would I recommend you to take the opportunity to use cable instead of wireless solution.

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