Starter Parts List

Here is what I hope is a pretty easy question, and one that will help people just starting with OpenHAB.

I have set up my OpenHAB on a Raspberry Pi. I own no hardware right now, so I have to go out and buy some bulbs etc. The question is this:

For someone just starting what are some of the recommended hardware manufacturer’s devices that are nice not too too expensive (Not the cheapest, but not the top of the price range either) which at the same time are relatively easy to get linked in to OpenHAB with just your standard WiFi in the house.

The two things that I am looking at, and expect other beginners would be looking for first, are light bulbs and wall plug controllers.

I have looked at what is available locally (not a lot) and cross referencing it with what works. So far I have come up with ZERO items. So now I have to order them. Or no problem, start small learn how things work and expand. Here in lies the question, what should I order? Again does not have to be the best, just something to get my hooks into OpenHAB and see what I would really want it to do.

Any suggestions would be great. Maybe something in the manual / Wiki, “OpenHAB starter kits”

Gregory West

That is not an easy question. First of all does it depend on your location. There are different things to buy in germany compred to the us or other countries. Some other things are available everywhere.

Even without hardware you could start with openhab. Use weather services or similat services. Example: In germany there is a service called Tankerkönig that offers gas prices. so you could develop a solution that give you the cheapest prices.

If you want hardware check what do you want to automate lights, heating switches, pool, … and then start researching for hardware.

If you just want to play aroung buy some cheap wifi devices (switches, sensors, …), and play around with them.

I know this is maybe not the answer you expected, but this is my experience.

Your question is a little too broad to get you a reasonable answer… there’s 400+ systems and technologies that are compatible to choose from but neither openHAB nor its users on this forum can relieve you from your task of making a selection out of these.
That in turn depends on what you want to achieve with OH, what’s your situation and capabilities in terms of cabling and RF, what’s your preferences, home automation knowledge, budget etc etc.
If you’re looking for reasonable and reasonably priced Wi-Fi actuators, I’d check out the Shelly line of devices for a start.

The starter kit is openHABian running on a Raspberry Pi. As @Dibbler42 points out, that’s all you need to get OH up and running. The next question is, “what do you have already in your house that works with openHAB”? In my case, I came here with a collection of TP-LINK Kasas, looking to do lighting control. Then I discovered that I could tie in my Google Home and Chromecast devices, and my Logitech Harmony Hubs. So I very quickly broadened my perspective on what home automation could be.

I fully agree that you should start with simple and easy-to-configure devices, as I believe that having early success makes it a lot easier to grasp how the system works. Plus, it’s highly motivating.

If you live in Europe or North America and want WiFi devices that are really easy to get working in openHAB and inexpensive, I’d go with TP-LINK Kasas. I have about 20 of them: plugs, light switches, and a power strip that I just added last week. They rarely let me down, and OH controls them locally over WiFi, so you can deny them Internet access (if you’re concerned about that sort of thing).

Before buying light bulbs, consider if you should instead be buying light switches. The reason for this is that a light bulb requires the existing light switch to always be on (so that there’s power). So if you think you want to keep using your light switches (which is usually the case), smart bulbs are less useful.

Did not think about light switches. Are the switches generally single wire or do they need both live and earth/neutral? As for what equipment do I have now, nothing. Have a few IR bulbs but that is about it. One of the reasons for looking at bulbs is I have a few lights that used to be pull string on off (North America here) so there is no switch to change out.

What I was looking for was, is the broadest of terms, a short list of devices that are easy(?) to configure, some example configs and orderable from anywhere in the world. I understand that some places have things available and others don’t. I am in a ‘smaller’ center 750,000 to 1 million people in an area about twice the size of Great Brittan. Yea Canada, land of Lakes, Trees and Bears not so many people though.

I can get the GE stuff (C by GE) but I can not figure out from the documentation if these will work on OpenHAB. I can also get some stuff called Global Electronics. Again can not find if these work or don’t work. There is also something called BAZZ Smart Home, not sure if these are all over the place, or local to Canada. I have looked in the docs, but can not figure out if these would work or not.

I did see some comments about building a database of devices that would work with OpenHAB and devices that currently are not supported. I would be interested in taking on maintaining something like this in the near future. It is a great idea for us novices who are getting started and would like so know what devices to start up with, that will work, that we could get help with. I do get that there are 400+ devices, which is an issue for the future, right now looking for maybe 5 - 10 devices that can be ordered/shipped world wide in the main categories; Bulbs, Light Switches, Plug controllers. This list should assume the novice has nothing already as having something makes this list a moot point.

Am I to assume the TP-LINK stuff works well? Anyone have any thoughts/feed back on YeeLight?


The Kasa light switches require neutral wires. Sounds like that might be an issue for you. There are some switches that don’t, but they’re hard to find. I feel like GE might have one, but as you say, I don’t know if it’s supported by OH.

Hmm. I’m guessing Winnipeg? I live in Victoria, and used to live in Kitchener-Waterloo.

Yeah, smart bulbs are perfect for those.

Some of those devices might be based on “Tuya” technology, which is discussed a lot around here. Basically, Tuya makes devices and then rebrands them for other labels. Tuya devices are indirectly supported by openHAB, but they’re not something I’d start with as there’s currently no binding. There are two different ways to connect them via MQTT, and both are more in the intermediate level.

I think we all agree that it would be nice to have, but it presupposes a lot of things about the new user and about device availability (including voltage and other regulations). More importantly, I think you may be underestimating how difficult of a task this is. Case in point: I suggested Kasa smart light switches, but I completely forgot about the neutral-wire requirement. Others would have concerns over any device that “phones home” to a cloud service. Others just don’t like WiFi devices (if you’re reading this Bruce, that one’s for you).

Firehosing that kind of information at someone who’s just getting started is very daunting, and leaving it out means that you’re not giving them all of the details they may need to make decisions. It’s very tricky to balance, which is why we’re happy to have conversations with people about their individual needs. For example, even though Z-Wave is harder to get started, it might make more sense for a person who has a lot of WiFi interference. And once Z-Wave works, it works extremely well.

Rather than a list, I’d want to make it clearer to new users that we welcome them asking questions. We just ask that they put in some effort and research on their own–some folks come here expecting that we’ll do their thinking for them.

In contrast, if someone starts a list and then stops maintaining it, we’ll have completely different issues. New users won’t know if they can trust it, so we’ll just get questions about the list. Others will trust it, buy something, and then be annoyed that it doesn’t work. They will rightfully be annoyed with us.

That being said, I don’t want to dissuade you if you’re interested in trying. I just want to make clear that what you think is a limited scope may not actually be as such. And if you do start such a list, you’ll need to really commit to owning and maintaining it. It wouldn’t be fair to start it and then expect others to do the upkeep. For this reason, I’d suggest waiting until you’re comfortable with OH as your home-automation platform. I think you’ll like OH, but it’s not for everyone.

If you’re asking me, then yes, TP-LINK Kasa devices work well. They have the same caveat as any other WiFi device, which is that you need a decent WiFi signal. Note that the TP-Link Tapo devices are slightly different, and there’s work being done on a binding for them (I haven’t used Tapos). I also don’t have any experience with YeeLight.

And just in case it comes up, I will never again pay money for a Belkin Wemo (based on six years of being mostly unhappy and often frustrated with them). Great hardware, horrible firmware.

Look at the zigbee device. They are relatively inexpensive, very easy to connect to the OpenHAB. For these devices to work, for example, you need to buy a zigbee stick, install the zigbee2mqtt service. Googled in more detail. Here is a list of hardware supported by this service.

Yup, I’m in Winnipeg. In a 3 story house built in 1915. Was build, then converted to knob & tube wiring. For those unfamiliar with that, all the wiring was exposed wire running under the main floor. lights were still kerosene, plugs all 2 prong, and located in the floor. No wires in the walls. So yup, having the neutral wire at switches is a pretty big deal, as well as having proper ground connections

Yes have great WiFi here, both 2.5 and 5GHz bands. Will start looking at the TP-Link Kass devices. Also want to look at getting the Astrisk PBX to broad cast information to Android devices, but that is a little ways off.

It’s in fact a question being regularly raised by newbies, and has been discussed various times.
But it isn’t a good idea at all because for a number of reasons, it just isn’t feasible to create let alone maintain such a list (any unmaintained list is useless) so it isn’t going to happen.
As Russ and I suggested, start with some Wi-Fi plugs. Then take your time to think about what you want to do in home automation, and get yourself some more informed about HA technology such as ZWave and ZigBee.

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I use devices I can put third party firmware on (tasmota)

Here is a list

You can get 1 wire like the shelly 2 dimmer however they work best with incandescent bulbs. The put power though the load (globe) all of the time so a cheap led may flicker. Its a limitation if you by the switch type.

If your house it loop at the light you can install them at the light point and use the same switch to control like your pull switches.


You can also retrofit a lamp if you have them.

Do you want to start there?

You can buy a BroadLink IR blaster or similar to mimic your remote controls. Like bulb’s TV or Air-conditioned

I was leaning more and more toward Tasmota-flashed Tuya devices, but then Tuya made changes to their hardware so that you can’t easily flash newer models over WiFi with Tuya-convert. I attempted to flash a Tuya light fixture via serial connection, but I couldn’t get it to work and don’t enjoy playing with electronics enough to keep trying.

So, I’ve gone back toward Kasas since they’re regularly as cheap or cheaper than Tuya devices and are guaranteed to have ETL Certification.

Gotta love Tasmota, though.

That now, while frequent not just among newbies, is a very basic fail in understanding technology and has not really anything to do with OH or smart home in general in the first place.
LEDs (or LED drivers in fact) you mustn’t power with conventional (leading or trailing edge) dimmers but as you say use incandescant bulbs. Most bulbs which are sold to be drop-in replacements for incandescants today are in fact LED with some extra electronics to ‘behave’ like those they are to replace, that still will not work to most people’s satisfaction.
Electrically speaking, it’s an idiotic hack. I know there is sometimes no alternative due to the wiring situation - even I have some of these - but when you have the chance to, better get a LED actuator
(= dimmer + LED driver) instead that does PWM dimming.

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Could you please share some links to Kasa devices that you’ve tried/liked?

I have HS200 light switches, HS220 dimmer switches, HS103/105 smart plugs, and a KP303 power strip.

The only issue I have is that the physical switch on one has started to register double presses unless you slap at it really quickly. However, it’s a first-gen model, it was in the bathroom, and it was used more frequently than any other switch in the house. I suspect that I just need to take it apart and clean the contacts, but I just swapped it for a dimmer and moved it to another room that I use less often.

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Wow, @rpwong, thank you for pointing me towards this. I didn’t know there’s a whole range of products that can be controlled locally, via wifi, plus it has an openhab binding, which I presume you’re using: TP-Link Smart Home - Bindings | openHAB - are there any others?

Their smart plugs are available in Australia too. Unfortunately their in-wall switches aren’t available in Australia, but hopefully one day they will be. Also unfortunately they don’t have a 2-gang, 3, or 4-gang switch, and they don’t support multiple taps (like Tasmota). Not ideal, but this is one step closer.

For now, I’m still sticking with Tasmota, and I have one device that connects to Tuya cloud, but I can control locally with tuya-mqtt.

I might give their smart plug a try though. Thanks again!

Yep, I’m using the TP-Link binding. There’s a separate one being developed for TP-Link’s Tapo devices, which are different since TP-Link bought the company/platform, but I’m not aware of anything else.

It’s surprising to me that no one has come out with a 2-gang device that uses one radio to serve two switches (and would thus be easier to fit in the electrical box). I’m guessing that might be related to building codes.

I don’t think any WiFi device can beat Tasmota’s functionality, but I find it hard to recommend them as starter devices since there’s so much to figure out with flashing and MQTT. If someone just wants to turn a desk fan on/off using openHAB, it’s hard to beat a Kasa.

You could use a Shelly 2.5 or a Sonoff Mini as a 2-gang switch (both can be used with OpenHAB although I think you would need to flash the Sonoff Mini).

There is also a Sonoff 4CH which would work as a 4-gang.

Thanks, but I’m not personally asking for an alternative solution. I’m just saying that it’s surprising no manufacturer has done this. Most consumers wouldn’t want to mess around with Shellys or Sonoffs.