Home Assistant

Articles and guides related to the open source Home Assistant smart home management system. Also includes ESPHome and sensor integration.

ESP-EYE Cheap Home Assistant ESPHome Camera Guide

ESP-EYE within Home Assistant

I recently covered the extremely cheap and popular ESP32-CAM here on the site. That is still a good choice but I wanted to evaluate some of the other camera options out there.

One of the camera modules I chose to try was the ESP-EYE. This is actually an official product by Espressif (the company who make the ESP modules). It comes as one solid piece unlike the ESP32-CAM. It also has beefier on-board specs than the ESP32-CAM.

In this guide I’ll show you how to set up a completely open-source Home Assistant camera view with the ESP-EYE using ESPHome. Let’s get started!

Cheap ESP32-CAM Home Assistant ESPHome Camera Guide

ESP32-CAM within Home Assistant

I’ve been integrating my entire home into Home Assistant using as much open-source software and hardware as possible. Recently I’ve wanted to add some additional cameras to my home such as a camera to monitor my HVAC / water heater.

Although I already have 6 Unifi cameras integrated into the home those are extremely expensive (and frankly availability is poor on them as well). I don’t need a camera that costs hundreds of dollars to watch my utilities area.

Fortunately there’s an extremely widely available and cheap solution called the ESP32-CAM! These have been around for years and are one of the most popular ESP32 products. Since it uses ESP32 we can use ESPHome and Home Assistant to add a super cheap camera anywhere you’d like.

In this guide I’ll show my ESP32-CAM setup and how to configure it within Home Assistant and ESPHome. Let’s get started!

Migrate Home Assistant to Orange Pi 5

Orange Pi 5 running Home Assistant

I’ve been running my Home Assistant instance on a very old Tinker Board S with a 16GB eMMC. This has been working fine for a month or two but I recently started getting notifications that my Home Assistant instance was out of drive space. Sure enough, even after removing all of my backups there is almost no space left.

I’ve already received reports from my readers about how much better of an experience Home Assistant is running on an Orange Pi 5. Not only is the CPU much more powerful than something like a Raspberry Pi 4 or Tinker Board S but it has a NVMe storage slot. These two things combined make it a great choice for running your Home Assistant instance.

My previous install is a core installation but I’m going to use supervised on the Orange Pi 5. In this guide I’ll show you how I migrated my instance step by step and evaluate the performance improvement at the end. Let’s get started!

Adafruit WiFi Action Key for Home Assistant / ESPHome

Adafruit One Key w/ RGB colors set

I’ve covered making a wireless Adafruit IoT button that can run any action within Home Assistant when you press the button using automations. These are great because they also have a RGB LED built in that you can use to show the status of something being controlled by the button.

For example if you used it to control your garage door you could make the button red when your garage door is open and green when it’s shut. This way just by looking at the button you know what the state of the garage door is.

Today I am going to cover something really similar: a single WiFi action key using gear from Adafruit as well as a RISC-V ESP32-C3 module. These also have individual RGB LEDs for each key just like the IoT button giving them the same advantages. Let’s begin!

Home Assistant / ESPHome Air Quality Monitor (No Soldering)

QT Py + Grove SEN54 - Deployment (Closeup)

I’ve previously covered creating a Home Assistant air quality monitor system using a XAIO ESP32-C3 module and ESPHome / Home Assistant to create a 7-in-1 air quality monitor sensor. My previous article though did require a little bit of soldering to get it going.

Today I’m going to show you my latest sensor build which has completely eliminated the soldering. It’s plug and play using ESPHome and Home Assistant. I did this using the Adafruit QT Py module which has a built-in connector for connecting to a I2C (Stemma QT) device like the Grove SEN54 environmental sensor. In addition to eliminating any soldering this also saved me money by not having to buy an expansion board.

Today I’ll show you the updated build for my air quality sensor setup I’ll be using throughout my home. Let’s get started!

Minoston Z-wave Smart Plugs w/ Home Assistant Review

Minoston Z-Wave Smart Plug - Installed

I’ve been covering integrating my entire home into Home Assistant here on the site. I want to have the capability to monitor everything going on in my home and control it with an open-source system such as Home Assistant.

Although I have a strong WiFi network in my home there are some areas where using a wireless technology that is more energy efficient (such as Z-wave and Zigbee) makes a lot more sense. These especially include devices that need to run on a battery or are in awkward areas with poor WiFi coverage.

I decided to try the Minoston Z-wave mini plug to see how it integrated with my Home Assistant setup as it was very commonly recommended online. In this review we’ll take a look at this device and see if it’s worth using. Let’s begin!

Zooz 700 Z-Wave Door/Window Sensors w/ Home Assistant

Zooz 700 series door/window sensor - Review

I’ve been upgrading all of the devices in my home to work with Home Assistant and eliminate subscriptions to proprietary services. One of the last remaining subscription services I have in my home is the Ring door and window sensors. The Ring ones have honestly been fine but the subscription is not free. Since I know these sensors will be installed in my home for 10+ years it will save me money to switch to something else that has no subscription.

That is why I was excited to see that Zooz has released a new series of Z-Wave door and window sensors that are completely self-managed by either a Z-Wave hub or Home Assistant running as a Z-Wave hub. The advantage of Z-Wave and Zigbee devices is they use much less power than WiFi so it’s a much better suited technology for devices that run on battery power (such as wireless door and window sensors).

In this review I’ll cover the Zooz 700 Z-Wave door and window sensors and cover the upsides and downsides of the system. Let’s get started!

Genie Garage Door Opener Aladdin Smart Home Upgrade

Genie Aladdin Connect - Installed

I’ve been investigating ways to make my garage doors on my home “smart”. My overall goal is to implement them into Home Assistant. I’ve been investigating various options to do this including do-it-yourself with ESP modules (which I’ve used for a lot of other parts of my home automation).

My home is only about 3 years old and came preinstalled with a “dumb” Genie garage door system that does not have smart capabilities. I decided to investigate the official upgrade option offered by the company via their Aladdin smart home upgrade kit as it only cost about $60.

In this guide I’ll cover installing the upgrade kit for Genie garage doors and how well it performed. I’ll also cover implementing it within Home Assistant. Let’s get started!

Home Assistant Tiny WiFi Button Guide ft. Adafruit QT Py

Adafruit Tiny Home Assistant WiFi Button

I’ve been documenting my journey building out my smart home powered by Home Assistant here on the site. Home Assistant is an open-source system designed to let you easily manage and automate everything in your home.

That’s when I saw that Adafruit’s QT Py series of boards had a tiny IoT button available for it I immediately thought of Home Assistant. The button could be used to automate anything in your home you’d like. You could program it to turn off / turn on lights, open/close the garage door for you, turn on and off certain appliances or anything else you could imagine being able to do with a wireless-enabled button.

In this guide I’ll show you how to build and program a wireless button with Home Assistant. Let’s get started!

Home Assistant Grove All-in-one Environmental Sensor Guide

Home Assistant SEN54 via ESPHome

I’ve been building out various sensor arrays for use with Home Assistant in my home using ESP32 modules and ESPHome and it has been working really well. One challenge though is that you have a limited number of connections (even when using expansion boards). This can be dealt with a few different ways but buying a whole bunch of individual sensor boards one at a time and connecting them can get messy to say the least.

Fortunately Seeed Studios has a unit powered by Sensirion that has 7 environmental sensors all in one: the SEN54! This includes measurements for particles of PM1.0/2.5/4/10, temperature and humidity and VOC (volatile organic compounds). All in one unit with a single connection.

In this guide I’ll show what adding a sensor like this to Home Assistant looks like using ESPHome and a ESP32-C3 module. Let’s get started!

Using Kauf Smart Lights w/ ESPHome and Home Assistant

Kauf Smart Lights Web Interface

I’ve been integrating all of my smart home devices into Home Assistant to have everything managed by an open source system. I have a handful of Philips Hue lights but I had not upgraded the entire house to smart lighting yet. After some research I was delighted to find a set of smart bulbs that are able to be managed by ESPHome (the system that is controlling my smart sensors I’m placing around the house which I’ve covered here).

These are WiFi-based lights described as “made for Home Assistant” running a ESP32 chip. This worked well for my setup as my home has 6 Unifi access points all throughout the house/garage/etc. which is why I didn’t go with a Zigbee or Z-wave solution for the lighting (although I may for my window and door sensors, that’s still a work in progress).

In this guide I’ll show you what it looks like to set up and configure these to work with Home Assistant and ESPHome. Let’s get started!

Using Seeed’s XAIO ESP32C3 with Home Assistant / ESPHome

Home Assistant - ESPHome Sensors Installed

I’ve been working with the Grove series of sensors lately as I previously covered in my K1100 Grove Sensor prototyping kit article. The next step after getting my prototyping kit set up was to try some of the expansion shields for the Seeed Studios XAIO modules such as the ESP32-C3. This will allow me to connect a whole bunch of sensors to a single board.

We used LoRa in the last article to upload sensor data to the cloud. Today we’re going to take the complete opposite approach. We are going to use the open-source Home Assistant suite to upload data to a locally running Home Assistant server. Home Assistant already integrates nicely with everything in my home letting me access it all in one place.

In this article we’re going to take the next step after prototyping one sensor at a time and try using a XAIO Grove expansion shield to connect a whole bunch of sensors to a single board and then view all of their data within Home Assistant. Let’s get started!

Fix Home Assistant / HAOS Raspberry Pi USB/SSD Boot Freeze

Home Assistant / HAOS

There are few things I dislike more in this world than getting questions on my setup guides that I don’t know the answer to, but thanks to an investigation by Bill Schatzow we can strike one of those issues off the list!

We’ve had a few comments of people who have encountered this issue over the years. Given that at best only 1% of people who visit the site leave a comment I think it’s safe to say that this issue has plagued thousands of people over the past 10-12 months.

Let’s take a look!