Home Automation with OpenHAB

Home Automation is something that has always fascinated me. Just the thought of my house doing things to make my life a little better always seemed like “the future”. So about 7 years ago, I started seriously looking at my options. When I started off, I went with Z-Wave as an automation protocol and decided on Homeseer as my hub. Both of those decisions really worked out as I was able to run my house with some really great automations.

But I’ve always kept my eye on what other platforms are out there and when Homeseer released v4, I took that opportunity to look at Home Assistant and OpenHAB. Both of those platforms are FOSS vs the proprietary Homeseer software. The timing was perfect because the upgrade from HS3 to HS4 never worked and support wasn’t able to help me and I had just started a major renovation on my house which mean I’d be able to experiment with some different platforms.

While I know many people love Home Assistant, something just clicked with OpenHAB for me so that’s the direction I’ve gone in. I’ve only been back in my house for a couple of months so phase 1 of automation is really just getting every room wired up with Z-Wave switches. That will be done by the end of the year I think. The next phase will be to start including less easily integrated systems into my automation setup. I’m running some camel routes that help tie my SimpliSafe security system into the platform.

The other thing that’s been important has been to ensure that the whole system is stable. Homeseer ran on a Gigabyte Brix with a Celeron N2807 CPU. I’d been running OpenHAB on a RPi4 and while performance-wise, they’re very similar, I decided to migrate the whole system over to the Brix. I prefer developing against the x86-64 architecture (easier for me to try out things like containers in the future) and while the RPi4 is a GREAT device, RPi’s are known to corrupt their SD cards not infrequently. While I need to set up a nightly back up onto my NAS anyway, I didn’t want to have to deal with the whole system dying.

I always wanted to free the RPi up for other projects. It’s been impossible to buy any new ones all year and I have 2 spare RPi4s and 2 spare RPi3s to play with. If I can move some workloads over to the Brix, then I have other projects I can use the Pis to run! And I was able to get 8GB of RAM for about $20 for the Brix so that will be able to run my OpenHAB server for a long time.

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