Home Automation

It started in 2013 with 3 Philips Hue Lightbulbs, and a Hue Hub. Suddenly I was able to control my light from my Phone – Yay!

Next thing I got was device to control my stereo over Infrared, another App on the phone. My receiver (with LAN access) another App! So I was on the lookout for something I could combine all the devices from one place (and one App if possible). And then I found “Home Assistant“. In the meantime there is a huge community around it and hardly any device which cannot be controlled over it.

In this Link-List I will put together references which directly relate to Home Automation Software and Devices. Everything related to the Microcontrollers running all this stuff will be in the “Microcontroller” Link-List.

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My favorite home automation software

Home Assistant

The best software around to integrate different Home Automation systems in one place. Easy to install an a great community to ask questions when you have any troubles. How to get started: Check on YouTube for beginner videos, you will find plenty of advice.

My tools for home automation development

Insomnia

As soon as you start automating your home, you will have to use some Web Service API’s from your gadgets. Insomnia is THE tool to check out the behaviour of REST Web Services. I usually check new API’s with Insomnia before I integrate them into Home Assistant or Node Red. Great free tool!

Jsonata

Talking about REST API’s. Sometimes the JSON results you get from a service is quite overwhelming. JSONATA is a node library which helps you to dive in to those results, break them down or reformat them. The best part is, JSOANAT is implemented in Node-Red, there you can use the expressions to format the output from nodes. Check out the documentation and play around with your REST results.

Jupyter Notebooks

Since I’m pretty new to the Python world, sometimes I need a playground to test some Python script or modules. With Jupyter Notebook I get exactly this. Easy to install on a PC, Mac or Linux box. There are also Online Services around where you can play with Python without installing anything. Check out Microsofts Azure Notebooks.

MQTT Explorer

Working with several devices in your Home Automation setup, chances are that some devices communicate over the MQTT protocoll. Sometimes quite tricky to debug. Thomas Nordquist made a open source and absolutely stunning tool to visualize and debug all those MQTT messages swirling around in your network. Check it out. Available for Windows, Mac an Linux!

Best Home Assistant Add-ons

Node-Red

Creating automations for your Home Assistant setup is sometimes difficult even with the newly added tools there. A perfect addition and my choice to automate my actors driven by sensors is Node-Red. Since a couple of month Node-Red is now a Add-on inside Home-Assistant and therefore very easy to install. There is a special node to access Home Assistant entities to create stunning automations.

Look around for tutorials on the web to get started with Node-Red, it’s definitely worth it.