Thermostat installation with openhab

Hi guys,

I am an absolute beginner and new to the community. I am really trying to figure this out but I can not find anything because it is probably too basic.

Do I need an extra bridge for the thermostats or can I simulate the bridge with my raspberry pi (openhab)? Many lights and switches (for example shelly) can be used with the mqtt directly from openhab without any more hardware.

All of the thermostats (for example from bosch or tado…) have an extra bridge/hub and I probably need those to install them, right?
And if the answer is yes to that question, my next question would be “why?” Why can´t those products be used like any other or do the companys just want to make more money?

Thank you guys for your help, really appreciate it.

Well there are a lot of different technical solutions:

  • Z-Wave
  • Zigbee
  • DECT
  • Bluetooth

So (except bluetooth) you will always need some kind of bridge since the RasPI is not equipped to communicate over Z-Wave / Zigbee or DECT.

Companies offer bridges so you don’t have to take care about such deep technical stuff, especially when it comes to integrate some device in some system. Thos bridges often translate those protocols to “Network Data” which easily can be acessed with your smartphone, RasPI with openHAB, Alexa, …

So it’s not just about the money, but more about stability and comfort.

Shellies don’t need this since the have an integrated WebServer - which also “could” be done with a thermostat, but you probably don’t want to change batteries every month.

Hi Konstantin, and welcome to the community!

I wouldn’t say this is basic, but I suspect that you don’t know what you’re looking for, which makes it difficult to search.

Maybe. It depends on the thermostat you buy.

Again, it depends on the thermostat. Some have WiFi or Z-Wave built in, in which case there’s no hub. It’s up to the company. More importantly, thermostats differ by region, and could mean valves that control individual radiators or wall-mounted displays that control forced-air systems or electric baseboards.

You need to find out what’s available in your area and then search in the documentation/community to see if it works with openHAB.

Actually, a light or switch that uses WiFi still requires a hub: your WiFi access point. Whether it’s Bluetooth, NFC, ZigBee, Z-Wave, or something else, devices can only talk to other devices that speak the same language. The hubs you’re referring to are necessary to translate one language into another.

The advantage of the hub approach is that companies (e.g. Phillips and their Hue devices) can use wireless technology that consumes less energy, takes up less space, works with legacy devices, and/or costs less. It also cuts down WiFi traffic in your home.

The Matter standard that’s in development will hopefully improve upon this, enabing devices to use either WiFi or Thread radios to communicate with each other easily. It’s supposed to launch next year, but who knows how long it’ll take to impact the industry.

It’s also worth noting that some WiFi devices rely upon a company’s cloud, and many people don’t like that. I’m personally neutral on it, but I can see why others avoid it.

First of all, thank you for taking the time and helping me out! I understood the schematic with the different technologies and their different radiostandards.

I was reading about the Matter standard and I am looking forward to it. Since I am just starting with my devices I am trying to use only wifi because I read that it will be compatible with the Matter standard in the future.

The only thing I did not understand yet is whether my raspberry (with integrated wifi and bluetooth) is able to connect itself to the thermostat or not.

Right now I am trying it with the wifi radiator thermostat fom bosch.
Smart Radiator Thermostat | Bosch Smart Home

I did not have any success yet at all so I think I need the wifi bridge from Bosch too :smiley:

On the other hand the devices working with bluetooth should be able to be connected to the raspberry pi directly, because they do not need a specific bridge, right? I am trying to connect a simple hygrometer… (Except if they are working with a special cloud that you mentioned @rpwong )

Hello Konstantin,

it´s (not so) simple, you have sort of a chain that represents your connection.
Rought example, I try to give a basic understanding:

Thermostat - Wireless connection - Adaptor (E.g. ZWave-Stick, Bluetooth dongle, Hub…) - Connection to RPi (LAN,WLAN,USB…) - Operating System - OpenHab Binding / Core.

So depending on the Thermostat you have a wireless technology that is being used (Despite e.g. wired thermostats like knx ones). Through this the thermostat interfaces with its Hub/Bridge/Stick/Dongle.
The operating system provides basic drivers for the interface like USB drivers, Serial Port representations etc.
OpenHAB Bindings need to be available to bind them to the “main/core” openHAB system, which is dealing with abstrations like “Things”, “Devices”, “Items”, “Points” that you can later access in UI/Rules/Scripting…

The Binding needs to be chosen to fit the technology used by your thermostat / thermostat eco-system.
Without a binding that fits there is no way (except writing one on your own) to control you thermostats through OH.
So before you buy anything there are two basic questions that you need to answer upfront:

  1. Is there a binding that supports exactly the device I want to use ? If no: Choose a different device/ ecosystem
  2. Does the technology used by the device fit to my needs and monetary restrictions? E.g. some wireless technologies consume more energy than others, some have a much smaller operation range in houses with concrete walls, some (like ZWave) form a mesh to increase operation range, is it an open standard or not, …

To answer 1 + 2: Check out the forum posts before buying! You get an impression on how well certain things work with openHAB and which do not.

My personal impression is, that open standards and/or open APIs have better chances to work well with OH than bindings based on reverse engineering or vendor APIs. The more open the better your chances this will still work in the future.
So ZWave or ZigBee (Beware: Some speak an own ‘dialect’) is a good idea, especially as devices are available “cheap” from many vendors and much more than only thermostats are supported.
A ZWave stick and a thermostat (Get one that provides the room temperature through ZWave as well, depends an the Firmware used!) are a good and cheap way to start with.
I would not use WiFi thermostats as WiFi is very battery hungry.

Hope this is clear enough and provides a basis for your decision.

I can not stress this enough!
NEVER buy something so fundamental as heating devices, which rely on cloud services and have NO local API or local connections. Alphabet (aka google) is known for dumping old cloud-reliant hardware (e.g. Revolv as smarthome hub, Google home Max, …) or other cloud-reliant hardware is no longer supported by all kinds of vendors.

So, long story short: Always buy something, you alone have 100% control over and you decide when to replace the hardware (sometimes a couple hundred bucks only in hardware).

What I do:

  • Are there any devices, which I can use locally instead of using an cloud-API
  • I check this forum on recommendations or info on the device/kind of device
  • I decide to buy (mostly higher price for locally accesible devices)

I bought the Ring video doorbell as it was an startup. They promised a local API in six month time. I waited 12 month, nothing changed - and finally amazon bought the whole company.
So I ditched Ring (because of unreliable, buggy and slow cloud-API) and bought Doorbird; they have a local API and you can - if you want - subscribe for an cloud-based video service within the App. The App as is and the possible integration into openHAB come with the price of the doorbell.

Hey @shephard,

i checked your link. If this is the thermostat you have bought, the first thing i found in the technical detail is taht its operation frequency is abot 800MHz. This direct towards zwave or homematic in am not sure if homekit works on the same frquency. A second view in the manual said:

Do you hav a Bosch smarthome controller?

I would assume that you need the Bosch controller. This controller is connected to the internet and trough it to the Bosch Cloud. Your Thermostat is connected to the controller. The Bosch app ten connects to the cloud and back to the controller and is therfore able to control the Thermostat.

The idea of openhab is to connect to the controller and controll trough the controller the thermostat. So no need for the App and Cloud (Mostly not in total true, but for the moment it should word)

So you have to install the Bosch Binding in openhab and it should discover yopu thermostat and the you could create item like a setpoint to control teh temperature.

So back to one of the first questions. Yes you need to install some kind of bridge if your device requires a bridge. With the linked bosch thermostat you need to in stall the bosch bridge. Some system offer different options for bridges like zigbee or homematoc protokolls.

Hope this helped a little bit.


Sorry for the late reply, I had some other problems with a new openhab installation on my raspberry the last few days :smiley:

thank you all for your help!!

@Dibbler42 Of course I do not have the Bosch smarthome controller :smiley: It was very stupid from me to buy the product in the first place. It was advertized with “wifi” so I thought automatically perfect, that works for me… But apparently the only 2,4 Ghz is the connection between the bridge and the router.

But now I know I am looking for a thermostat that can directly be controlled via the wifi. No worries, I will search the forum for recommendations first :slight_smile:

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