Ultimate Beginner says, "OpenHAB seems awesome... now what?"

Maybe it’s just me, but this “Beginners” section seems really daunting. No one is speaking my language, and I’m already feeling overwhelmed and discouraged. What’s a binding? What a zwave? What’s JSON? What’s a PIR? Most importantly, do I really need to know all these things just to get started? There are a million terms I don’t understand, and it will take me forever to sort out what I need to learn first. Can we make an “Ultimate Beginners” category? Or at least have an “Ultimate Beginners” sticky at the top of this category?

Here’s my bottom line:

OpenHAB, you’ve piqued my interest. I’m willing to lay down $40 on the pure chance that you are truly awesome, but I don’t know where to spend the money. I don’t have any goals… except to try something, ANYTHING, that you can do.

If you want me to pick a random example, I will. Show me how to track every time my front door opens. I have no equipment except a Windows-based laptop, home wifi, and an Android-based smartphone. From there, someone please tell me what to buy and what to do. But it better be as cheap as possible and as simple as possible, otherwise, you’ve lost me.

Then, if my meager investment was worth it, I’ll spend more… because I will know more. This is how I learn. Here a little, and there a little.

Here’s the best tutorial on the web that I’ve found. Even looking through the demo files to get the gist of things is a pretty daunting task, as I’ve just begun exploring openHAB too, and have almost zero programming/coding experience.

Hope this helps

Without trying to sound grumpy, those are all questions google can provide a lot of information about. I often have to use that myself, and almost every time, someone somewhere, has done a pretty good job at explaining what the different things are.

If you get any computer laying around, it can even be a rather low powered one, I would recommend starting to just try things on that, and save your money until you get an idea of what you want to do. :smile:

I actually wrote something about such a thing not long ago, it does require both openhab, mqtt, an esp8266, nodemcu and a bit of knowledge about how to flash and program those, but that cost just around $11 in hardware.

The learning curve can be quite steep at first, but if you start with one thing, and move on from there, without giving up as soon as you see something you don’t understand, you should be flying soon. :smiley:

Home automation is not a simple thing and a DIY system like openHAB is even more challenging. OpenHAB is a system that enables you to interact with over 120 different technologies. This is no small feat but because of this flexibility it requires a lot of work on your part to experiment, research, communicate, and problem solve things yourself. It also means that we expect you to have an existing set of skills (or be willing to learn), even as a beginner. Some systems administration, some networking, and some programming skills or the willingness to develop said skills are a must, even for beginners.

Have you read the wiki? Have you search Google for these terms? You don’t necessarily have to know all these terms to get started unless you want to use those technologies in which case yes you do need to know those terms to get started.

Well, this is a bit of a problem because without any goals or a real problem to solve home automation comes off as clunky and hokey. Home automation in general will never become “awesome” until you have a real problem that you can only solve with it.

So why don’t you save your $40, download the demo, and play around with that. It has most of the common home automation use cases in it but it doesn’t connect to anything other than the internet so you don’t have to fight with specific technologies. Play with the demo, make changes to see what happens. Get an idea of what you want to accomplish with openHAB. Then go out and figure out what technology you want to use and what you want to automate.

Honestly, unless you are willing to pick up a whole lot of skills which I’m guessing you don’t have (soldering, Arduino, coding, etc) $40 is not going to get you very far.