Some newb openhab2 questions

Hi all,

I started with my homeautomation addiction 2 months ago. Looking up all different options I decided to go for Openhab2 even though in beta still. I have to say I do not regret it, now my washing machine tells me by voice and mail once done, I got my hue lights, harmony hub control, homematic (keymatic, movement detection) all setup to make my home more smart. The documentation of openhab is still lacking where my biggest concern is that it seems to be spread over different places. With my basic programming knowledge it was possible to get it running but I felt like Sherlock Holmes figuring out how it all ties together some times. Anyhow I love it and I got some questions and there will be more in the future I am sure. Hopefully it is ok to get them placed here otherwise please redirect me where a good place for newb questions would be.

My setup:
Intel NUC (also used as media player with Kodi) running windows 10

My general openhab2 questions:

  1. Is the revision of openhab2 shown somewhere? I think I installed beta2 offline but I am not sure.
  2. What is the difference between offline and online distro beside having the files local? Is the benefit of the online distro to update bindings once they get released via paper UI?
  3. Is there a standardized way to update openhab2? I saw openhab2 beta 3 got released but I have no clue how to perform the update. Which files/folders need to be copied and which settings have to be redone?
  4. So far I did like everything with paper UI and Eclipse Smart Home Designer. I looked at but can’t figure out why I should use others like “rest api” (for debugging?), “habmin” (for graphical coding?), basic and classic UI (just other UI?). What are the use cases to use those?
  5. My internet provider is unity media and I just had to replace my good old modem since it was broken. I got a unity media modem/router which I can’t use as bridge and therefor I can’t get my vpn to my frixbox running anymore (also no vpn possible to this crappy unity media router). I saw that there is the option to use my.openhab but I also read it might get discontinued and I don’t know if openhab2 is supported. Having control over my home from everywhere is one of the key requirements in homeautomation but I somehow got stuck and don’t know which way to go there.

My binding questions:
6. Is there a openhab2 withings binding? If not how would I use the openhab1 withings binding (or any other openhab1 binding) in openhab2?
7. Is there a way to figure out what I can do with the channels in detected and installed “things”? e.g. I got the thing from homematic “keymatic” (the wireless door lock). There is a channel “open” and a channel “state”. But there is no closed state so I assume it can be done via the “open” channel. But how? And where to look it up?
8. Is there a way to read existing harmony hub activities? It seems like using the logitech harmony pc and iPad configuration apps are showing different names for activities.
9. Is there a way to use existing hue scenes or do I always have to manually “code” them (as I do atm)

Well and finally I would have a future request:
10. Since automated knowladge if you are at home or not is one of the key things to differentiate between comfort automation and security automation it would be nice to have some out of the box solutions within openhab already. I tried already the Fritzbox iPhone detection which would be nice beside the iPhone is turning off wlan while in sleep mode. I read solutions where with some third party apps a message could be sent before having the ping but thats sounded to me too much trouble and not really reliable. I tried geofencing but failed miserable to set it up with my double router layout. Near filed beacons sound interesting but I did not started that approach. So again having someone figuring out a solution which would work for many people already build in would be a great!

Sorry if I posted my questions at the wrong place and I don’t expect to get everything answered but some would be great already :slight_smile:


A couple of answers for you…

The offline distro contains copies of all of the latest revisions of the bindings, whereas if you install the online distro, this will only download the required bindings when requested via the Paper UI. Not sure what happens if a binding is updated. My preference is the offline distro (as storage is not an issue in my case) and I tend to do an update of the system to the latest snapshot about once a week.

Take a look at the following thread:

Thanks Mike!

I will try to update to beta 3 according to your link tomorrow :slight_smile: Sorry if I bring up a new question. “Nightly builds” are like releases between the official beta builds right? Where do I get them as windows user and what is your experience how stable they are? I would try them even if they are not that stable once I figured out how to easily update/downgrade :slight_smile:

No Techi

Following is the link to the distro site:

They are normally pretty stable, but be carefull with build #372, I downloaded #372 yesterday and it broke my system due to an issue (I think) with the openHAB 2 Addons. I am sure this will be fixed asap, but I will now check that the upstream projects are built correctly before I download the offline distro.

Fortunately I take a full backup before I do any updates. At present I am not using any persistance yet, so my backup process will need to change when I do.

Many thanks for the link and the warning Mike :slight_smile:

I am just playing with persistance atm so no big deal to loose something there.

Regarding your other questions, it might pay to separate some of those out to individual messages, particularly with respect to your binding questions. This should help get the attention of someone that can help.

Trying to answer almost the full bucket of questions… :wink:

openHAB2 documentation is work in progress, but take a look at which is the official one (growing fast now). For binding information, it might be worth to take a look at, too, because openHAB 1 and openHAB 2 are very different in some points, but on the other hand very similar in other points, e.g. if you have a working openHAB 1 it should be possible to take the whole configuration to an openHAB 2 installation and use it almost completely…

Revision of openHAB 2: I’m not aware of an online/offline info.

Difference online/offline: the online version will get the files needed online :wink: and I’m almost sure, the list of available bindings is online, too, so it should be up-to-date always.

Updates: If using linux as OS, you could simply use sudo apt update && sudo apt -y full-upgrade to do a full upgrade of the runnning system, including all installed software (would be kodi, Java and openHAB). For Windows I’m not aware of any update system, but you could install the new version straight over the old one, and no user-files should be touched this way (but please make always a backup…)

The REST API is useful for 3rd party software to give full control over openHAB 2, the installed one is
primarily online documentation. In question of HABmin, if using zwave, this will become very useful, as it allows to configure zwave (almost?) completely, but it also provides nice graphs (I haven’t tested HABmin 2 yet, though)
Basic and/or classic UI is “the common User Interface”, where Paper UI is for administration. You could also install CometVisu support, if you like this UI more.

Modem: There is no way to Port forwarding? So there is no way to get into your network (aside from hacking your modem, which should be easy for a hacker ;)). Glad not to be at unity media…

There is a openHAB 1 withings binding, which possibly will work under openHAB 2, too. See openHAB 2 documentation for how to test this.


many thanks for pointing me in the right directions!

I already knew the documentation but last time I checked it was still very limited. Knowing it is being worked on I will start my research there from now on :slight_smile:

Unity media router thing is really annoying (yes no port forwarding :frowning: ) … will be interesting to see what happens on 1st of August when the new law gets active that providers can’t force you to use their routers anymore…

I really like the basic UI and I am going to stick with it for now.

Many thanks again for your fast feedback and giving me more input for my new hobby … playing with homeauto/openhab feels a bit like “Fischer-Technik” for adults … oh that brings up an idea to integrate a bot into the whole system … or a iRobot … or … ok enough to play with for next years to come :wink:


Just a thought - does this unity modem support upnp? Gather it’s kind of similar to port forwarding. And then of course auth on openHAB and something like dyndns.

Hi Ben,

it’s the TC7200 and it does not support upnp. My only hope is to wait for 1st of August and that they will change the TC7200 so the bridge modus can be used (it’s implemented but disabled by unity media). I am just a bit worried since unity media is enforcing people to renew their contract. That would be still ok but I am worried that I might get switched to DSLite which I thank god don’t have yet.
I might as well try but have no clue if it will work and looking at the forum it seems it is not really reliable.

@Ben & Udo
Thanks I managed to update to the latest nigthly build today with your directions :slight_smile:


Ah yeh sounds like my.openhab (our changing your modem) is your only hope.not sure what my.openHAB is like on 2 but on 1.8 it works but is slow as molasses. Page loads usually take me about 15s+

I wrote some drastic request to unity media … and they are sending me something but the mail does not say what … hopefully it is a modem without router functionality :sweat:

Hi Frederik,

I am a very new openHAB user/explorer and I share your feelings about finding the right information to follow. I also decided to go for openHAB 2, but I find it difficult to apply information provided for openHAB 1 to my openHAB 2 installation (on Raspberry PI 3). I have one rule working with one thing I have installed. However, this thing was set up automatically, and so far I wasn’t able to find its corresponding configuration file… So, at this point I don’t have answers to your questions, but would like to extend your list of newb questions with the following:

  1. Where are all the configuration files of openHAB2? I see some disconnect between what I see in Paper UI and Eclipse SmartHome, e.g. I can’t find configuration files of my thing - Samsung TV and its controls

  2. What is the proper way of installing and configuring Mail Action? I installed it via Paper UI, but I can’t find its configuration file. In my rule I tried to set up sending a mail using SendMail command, but I am getting the following error:

[ERROR] [rg.openhab.action.mail.internal.Mail] - Cannot send e-mail because of missing configuration settings. The current settings are: Host: 'null', port 'null', from 'null', useTLS: false, username: 'null', password 'null'

I think getting through a few basic use cases will show me the way forward for the rest of bindings, actions etc. It would really be welcome if such tutorials exist for openHAB2.

UPDATE: All the sudden… it started working all by itself. I haven’t touched my configuration for a few days, but surprisingly, I got the first notification email today in the afternoon… and then every minute :slight_smile: Well… I just wish I knew what was the problem…


Most likely you figured it out already but just to share my limited knowledge to your first question. You need to create/edit the config files (a seperate one for each config file) under “services” in SmartHome for OH2. So for the mail action I got a mail.cfg within services in Smarthome.

Looks like we are in the same boat … figuring out things to work with openhab2 as newb is a challenge and fun at the same time … frustration most of the time is followed by successfeelings to have another little brick added to the homeautomation “wall” … even though not always knowing why its now working now :wink:

So far I am really happy with my setup and will work on my next small “bricks” whenever I feel like it :slight_smile: