Switching from FHEM to openHAB 2 - What to expect?

Hi all,

Right now I am using FHEM with a number of different protocols, such as Homematic, Z-Wave, Enocean, and 433Mhz CUL. I am reading about openHAB for some time now. With openHAB 2 now finally hit the stage with a stable version, I am wondering whether the time has come to switch over from FHEM to OH2? I am doing quite well with FHEM, but what I am really struggling with is a good user interface, something that I can put on a mounted wall tablet, whereby the rest of the family is also able to easily control the house. Well, in FHEM there’s something like TabletUI or smartVISU, however, this stuff seems like a lot of work to implement. I am curious if openHAB 2 fares better on this front.

However, in the first place I need to make sure that all my devices will be properly working with OH2. I would be really happy, if you guys can tell me if all my stuff will be working. In addition, maybe some hints to tutorials in order to get all the gateways connected would be highly appreciated. Now, here’s my list of devices which are running on a raspberry 3:

  1. Homematic: HM-CFG-LAN LAN
    10 rollershutter HM-LC-Bl1PBU-FM
    10 heating thermostats HM-CC-RT-DN

  2. Z-Wave: Aeotec Z-Stick Gen5
    8 Fibaro smoke sensors FGSD-002 (V3.3)
    1 Fibaro Dimmer 2 FGD-212 (V3.4)
    1 Fibaro Motion Sensor FGMS-001 (V3,2)
    1 Aeotec MultiSensor 6 ZW100-C Z-Wave Plus
    1 Strips by sensitive (invisible window and door sensor)

  3. EnOcean Pi 868 GPIO module gateway
    Eltako FT55-rw switch
    Hoppe SecuSignalFHFS-vw window handle

  4. 433MHz CUL from busware.de
    6 Intertechno power plugs
    3 Brennenstuhl power plugs

That’s it for the hardware. I also connected my router (FritzBox 6490 cable) in order to implement a call monitor. What is really important is the combination of my Z-Wave door sensors and EnOcean window handles with my Homematic thermostats. In FHEM I was able to peer those devices with the windowRec channel of the Homematic thermostats. Whenever, I open the door or window, the thermostat will shut down immediately. This is working without creating a rule. Is such a peering also possible in OH2? In addition, I used the built-in thermometers of my Fibaro smoke sensors in order to peer them with the Homematic thermostats, i.e. the thermostats are receiving the current temperature from the smoke sensors.
What else did I implement? Ah yeah, I connected to Yahoo weather in order to code different heating schemes according to the forecasted temperature. Furthermore, I extract the time of sunrise and sunset in order to control the Homematic rollershutter.

Oh man, it took me quite some time to bring FHEM up and running with all that stuff. Am I doing the right thing to switch over to OH2. Is it worth it?

As I mentioned at the beginning, I need some tutorials in order to get started. I already used openHABian in order to create a fresh SD card, but did nothing more so far. So, I am especially interested in tutorials regarding the setup of all my different gateways.

For Z-Wave I found the one from @DocFraggle quite interesting:Setting up openHAB2 from scratch

Are there any tutorials available for Homematic, EnOcean, and my 433Mhz CUL? Also, I love to read blogs about home automation with openHAB. Any suggestions on that one?

I am looking forward for your advices because I don’t think I’ll make the switch if I am not 100% sure that all my gateways and devices will be supported.

Thanks a lot.


Just brainstorming:

  • FHEM is a LOT faster than OH2, but you can get ok results with OH as well even on RaspberryPI’s
  • You will need homegear or another CCU emulation for Homematic. OH isn’t providing this, like FHEM does.
  • With FHEM you can write all Homematic paramSets. This isn’t possible with OH (you will need some homegear script or some other workaround)
  • You will find any info for setup of OH by searching the OH docs or Google. It will need not as much time to start as with FHEM. Google, http://docs.openhab.org/ and this forum will be your best friend when using OH
  • I think it’s not easy to get an info for specific device supported by OH. BUt with your setup you have a good chance anything is supported by OH

@KraxelHuber I switched from FHEM to OH2, it worked pretty well, but I do have only a couple of homematic devices and three HUE lamps. I am using a raspi 3 and a CUL v3 + a HUE hub.
I recommend you to get familiar with homegear first, it a kind of control center where you have to register your your homematic devices. If you have done this, your devices should be automatically recognised by OH2. OH2 is completely different to FHEM but I do not regret my decision to have switched to OH2.
At the moment I am running Home-Assistant parallel to OH2 just for curiosity.

@lopez1de Thanks for your ideas, that’s helpful!

What exactly does that mean? Is OH2 slow in executing commands? For example, if I send a command to my Z-Wave Fibaro dimmer, does it take longer than, let’s say, one second for the light to turn on or off? Or are you referring to the OH2 UIs?

That sounds a bit complicated. I have no experience with homegear. It sounds a bit like openHAB might not be the best solution when using a bunch of Homematic devices. Am I wrong? Maybe there are users out there who successfully use OH2 with Homematic. Let me know!

@Vertux What Homematic gateway are you using? Do you have to register it with homegear or with OH2? Can you say anything about the ‘issue’ of peering my Homematic thermostats with my door and window sensors?

Where do you see the main advantages of OH2 vs FHEM?

@KraxelHuber My gateway is a CUL stick v3. OH2 needs homegear to communicate with the CUL. a good starting point to setup homegear is here and here
You can find the config file for homematic/CUL (homematicbidcos.conf) under /etc/homegear/families
First you have to peer any device with homegear. Unfortunately I have no experience with thermostats and window sensors - I think you can steer them with rules in OH2:

Where do you see the main advantages of OH2 vs FHEM?

I like the well structured web interface, which is easy to use and with the HABPanel it is pretty easy to build a nice Dashboard. I like the addon system too. I am not afraid of configuration files, but I like it, if I can configure almost the whole system with a nice web interface.

If you come from FHEM I would not use Paper UI for creating any rule! Use the text files config. :wink: You will have more control and it’s much more “powerful”. Maybe I missed something, but I think that Paper UI Rules are just basic.

OH rules are slow compared to FHEM scripts. But if you setup and tweak it well, this isn’t a issue at all. Devices (and bindings) are pretty fast. Nothing to worry about. But if you have hughe calculations you might get in trouble with rules. Then you can try scripts in OH. Which are different to rules.

All “standard” parameters for homematic, you can set directly with OH. No problem. But for example the MASTER paramSet on Channel 0 is a bit tricky. For that you will need extra scripts. For most people this isn’t an issue.

I love OH2 for many reasons. Mostly because it’s UI’s, it’s Java’ish syntax and very good device support. (And I hate perl)

Can anybody confirm that this EnOcean gateway is compatible to OH2? Are there any experiences with this gateway, how to set it up, etc.?




It looks like somebody used it here. But the devices are not mentioned in the Enocean Binding doc. Google is your friend, as always. :wink:

A lot has already been said. I just want to share my personal experience with FHEM and openHAB.

I’ve started my home automation endeavors with FHEM and it was depressing. It was 2013 and FHEM seemed like a relic from a distant past. Horrible frontend, crippled scripting capabilities (perl? really?), and maybe more I’m not remembering right now. After around half a year I abandoned FHEM and used (out of frustration and lack of time) the CCU2 build in functionality.

When I turned to openHAB, It took me a few days to understand the basic concepts and everything just worked. A nice GUI, powerful rule engine, high levels of grouping and abstraction and the sheer amount of bindings gave me all the capabilities I needed. Since then I’ve been one of the early adopters to openHAB 2 and that has been official release in January.

Usage of bindings is self-explanatory and tools like homegear you will need additionally will be installed in just a few steps, nothing to worry there. Regarding Homematic in particular, I am using a RPi3 with a busware SCC PCB and homegear in a standard installation. openHAB works with homegear flawlessly. The need for paramSet settings never really ocured to me really. These are settings you (normally) configure once, you can just do that with the LAN Configuration Software (basically the CCU frontend for your desktop PC, connected to homegear).

In comparison I would recommend openHAB to everyone who’s thinking to switch from FHEM.


Two more additions.

  1. Follow @lopez1de’s advice and go with rule text files. I’d actually go one step further and try to define everything in text files instead of using the Paper UI managed database. By defining things, items, rules, sitemaps and everything else in text files, you gain full control over your “smart home” you were probably looking for when you abandoned the shiny UI of your commercial products.
    Check out my homematic set up to get an understanding of how this will look like: https://github.com/ThomDietrich/openhab-config/blob/master/items/homematic-heating.items

  2. Look into using openHABian, it offers openHAB, Homegear and things like MQTT (Mosquitto) out of the box. (Disclaimer, I’m the developer of openHABian :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:)

Good luck with your switch, Happy Hacking

Just my 2 cents here:
I started with FHEM and I do like some things there, the “rules” (if, do, … there was a nice command(set) which was easy to understand for me and I got nice results.
What I didn’t like was the KNX-Daemon i had to run, cause FHEM couldn’t talk directly to KNX. Therefore (I have also some Homematicdevices) I need an external daemon for that, but that homegearpackage was much better then the KNX-daemon for FHEM.
Especially because the DMX-support was very limited in FHEM I tried out Openhab. And yes, compared to the FHEM installation Openhab looks like a big fat truck. And all the things were kind of different. But against the help I got in the FHEM-Forum the people here were very helpful and nice.
And the possibilites with OH1 where after the learningcurve I had to take much better and also the developement of OH2 was startet. So I had a nice interface for OH1 - even simple and working apps on the phone - and nice expectations for OH2.
FHEM has it’s advantages, but the project lacks a bit of innovation, when you need a dashboard or things you can spend much time. With OH2 now there is so much good going on and as I (just a little bit, but it was enough) watched some developments and decisions which were made in OH2 until the product was ready I saw that things were really made with looking to the future.
After good experience with OH1 I set up OH1 at my moms house with z-wave, in the first place to replace an old timer clock. So I can edit the times remotely. It was up and running quite fast and I gave my mom access to the switches through the iphone-app. Just for fun. You know what happened? She liked it. And is aksing for more…

My advice: go through the process, take the learningurve, take it that some things work really different, but if your basesystem is up and running you’ll have more fun to make it better und add some things in the future.

It’s just great that I hadn’t to do much after switching to OH2 to make my things availible through homekit. And some time later easily to Alexa.

Go for it :slight_smile:

(and damn, my mother ordered an Echo. I need to upgrade the installation there to OH2, too…)

1 Like

Thanks for sharing these links. I already came across the first and third one. What makes me a bit nervous about EnOcean and openHAB is the fact that some more relevant posts are already quite old (going back to 2014), and I am wondering whether they still have some validity regarding OH2. I guess there occurred many changes to OH during the last two to three years and setting up an EnOcean gateway may look different with OH2 these days. Please correct me if I am wrong!

Hi Thom,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I will definitely take a look at your Homematic setup.
Did you see the following blog entry (in German): http://onesmarthome.de/smart-home-openhab-2-homematic-ccu2-installation/
It explains how to use a Homematic CCU2 with OH2 without homegear. This should also work with my HM-CFG-LAN LAN. Just wondering if anybody already can confirm an apparently easy setup like this.

Would it be advisable to start setting up the devices using the PaperUI and then move to text files in order to do the fine tuning? Or should I ignore PaperUI completely and start setting things up using text files only?

Stick with text files for everything but zwave2 since it can’t be configured by text files yet.

That’s one of the main reasons I am thinking about switching. I need a good looking GUI in order to put it on some tablets that I am going to mount on the walls in my house. The results of TabletUI or smartVISU in FHEM may look good, but I think it’s quite a bit of work to set them up. I hope OH2 is easier on that front.

I’ll think I’ll give it a try the other day…

Am I then supposed to use PaperUI for Z-Wave?

Unless you use openHAB 1 zwave binding, the current openHAB 2 zwave binding is not configurable with text files.

BUt you mean the basic setup? You can then use Items as normal in the text file?

I know this article, nice page.

You can totally do that! Using a special device in combination with homegear is what I would call the next level :wink:

I’ve done it this way because I already had a big set of files from openHAB 1. If you start out fresh, it’s totally up to you. You should just know that both directions are possible. Choose the one you feel more comfortable with :wink:

Is it possible to request the inclusion of my EnOceanPi gateway as well as my other EnOcean devices into the EnOcean binding? On the EnOcean binding GitHub site (https://github.com/openhab/openhab1-addons/wiki/EnOcean-Binding), it is simply mentioned to add an issue for it at openhab. Whatever that means?