Wondering ... is OpenHAB the right tool for me?

Hello everybody,
I hope such a meta-question is not off-topic in the “beginners” forum.

I live in a house built 2010 in which I have been regularly (manually) recording various things like electricity / water / gas usage, inside and outside temperature and so on, mainly to optimize our resource costs and “because I wanna know”. :slight_smile:

Now I’m looking to automate this, and extend it. The main goal is still just recording data over time. I’m thinking to put some sensors (currently favoring Xiaomi Aqara because of the low prices) in every room to optimize heating, use some hacks to read our gas, water and electricity gauges, and store this data somehow.

Then I came across openHAB.
I like the idea. It But it doesn’t really seem suited for long term data archival and display of graphical data over time. You can add these things but the core idea is more automation and less data collection.


So, is openHAB the right tool for me? Or are there alternatives? If so, which ones?

Thanks for any thoughts.


Hi Jens

Im not the person to fully answer this question… there are better people. Though one question that springs to mind, is how many samples of this data do you want a day (every 1 minute, every 10, hour, 12 hours etc) and for how long do you want to be able to look back over that data… 1 month, 4 months, years etc?

Right, but many people use it for that purpose and OH can handle that well. You can make use of its capabilities to read sensors and can select from a number of databases to store in (rrd4j and InfluxDB just to name the most popular ones), then use OH’s builtin charting or an external tool such as Grafana to visualize. I suggest to get openHABian as it has options to install all of these.
And maybe that convinces you to dig deeper into automation because what’s the point in collecting this data if you cannot make use of it to enhance your heating ? I, too, have OH control mine, and implemented a number of comfort features such as to pre-heat rooms before arrival.

:wink: Thanks for the ideas. I’ve already ordered a Pi 4 with case and power supply and I’m planning to install openHABian on it. It’ll sit in our basement where the main meters/gauges are, and I will put an Aqara (probably) Zigbee gateway in the living room for the door/window/environment sensors.

I think my wife already fears I’m going to do automate away half of the house.

To answer @mstormi s Question as well, I keep my data for years. I have an Excel (ugh… on my phone) chart going back to 2010. Until last year I recorded electricity, gas and water usage daily in the morning, now it’s just once a week - but it gives us a good idea of when usage spikes occur and why.
I actually have a ton of ideas to automate. We have a controlled ventilation system, automatic remote controlled windowblinds in the top floor, etc etc … but I need data first.

I guess one of the challenges is to actually read the ones below. I’m hoping I can use the Raspberry’s GPIO ports to get data from our meters. However, the Raspberry will be >5m away from at least water and gas gauge, so this will mean a lot of cables at best, and too much voltage drop at worst.

Here are my primary devices:

  • Electricity: Iskra MT171 (it has an interface, I found this: github -> llagendijk/iskra-me162/issues/2)
  • EV Electricity: Eltako Eltako DSZ15D (it has a S0 interface, amazon -> dp/B0796D38K4, but I don’t yet know how to use it)
  • Gas: Komschröder BK4 (it seems to have a magnet, see eg. https://forum.fhem.de/index.php?topic=26798.0)
  • Water: purely mechanical, it has four red rotating arrows and a black plastic gear. I found https://homematic-forum.de/forum/viewtopic.php?t=23744, which seems like a LOT of manual work and tweaking. Are there other possibilities?

One further question: inside a house, what radio range can I expect a Zigbee controller like Xiaomis Aqara to have? Does it go one floor up and down easily, maybe two? Or do I need a hub/repeater somewhere in the house? If so, which one should I get, maybe a lightbulb?

Thank you all :slight_smile:

I ran into the same issue. :laughing: For switches, I use Shelly devices that are mounted behind the existing wall switch and allow the manual switch to still be used.

If you want to try the RPI’s gpio pins with that distance I suggest using ferrite beads to help with interference.

Another option is to use some cheap ESP8266 devices with something like Tasmota or EspEasy firmware that will communicate to OH via mqtt. These devices have gpio pins and can be placed near the meter (they will need a 5v power supply, something like a phone charger works great). I use several of these throughout my home to report things like when the garage door is open, garage light level (in case the light is left on) and temp/humidity readings from various locations.

Can’t comment on the controller but:

I have an Echo Plus that comes with Zigbee built-in and works well, it’s placed in the center of the home (4000sq ft).

If it’s that old EBus Vaillant and others use, too, you might want to use the Esara EBus interface.

Zigbee uses mesh routing so it depends on how densely you locate Zigbee (router) devices.

Please note that this forum is not on general Home Automation but only on openHAB so please get another resource to find answers to your questions which are of generic nature.

Hi Jens
Welcome to the OpenHAB community! Obviously we all love OpenHAB and are going to recommend it but a few things to consider. It is not a turn key solution, it has a bit of a learning curve. It will not just work out of the box, you will have to learn how to set up your own bespoke system. It sounds like you are possibly a techie guy anyhow and you may love it soon as well but… there will be things to learn.
Everything you wish to do is possible and more (so much more). Charting and visualization tools aren’t part of OpenHAB because OpenHAB is open source and maintained by volunteers and leverages existing technologies such as Grafana to do stuff like making pretty charts.That is the joy of OpenHAB, you can make it work with just about any technology! And there is a huge and vibrant community supporting so there is always somebody to lend a hand when you get stuck


Funny, I’m using the build-in charts on the built-in BasicUI.:thinking:

Whoops… duh
Jurgen is right, I’m a ninnie :crazy_face: