Posts by Year

2023

WiFi sensor into device tracker

1 minute read

Something that makes for a great home/away tracker is the Android app’s connected WiFi sensor, or at least it would if it was a device tracker.

YAML sections

less than 1 minute read

NB: I’ve added this here as the knowledge has been removed from the official documentation.

Back to Top ↑

2022

Zigbee tips

5 minute read

There’s a number of things that come up regularly that folks new to Zigbee may not know, so here’s a handy set of notes and links.

Smart home or home automation

3 minute read

We often talk about the smart home and home automation as if those terms are interchangeable, but they’re (mostly) not.

Presence detection - here we go again?

15 minute read

The music won’t be as good, but here we go again. I’ve made a number of updates to this logic since I last wrote about it.

Blog migration (2022)

less than 1 minute read

If you’re reading this you’re looking at the new home of my blog. I’m moving off of Blogger and over to Jekyll, possibly on GitHub pages possibly on Cloudfla...

Traefik and a remote Home Assistant

2 minute read

I’ve been playing with Traefik lately, for remote access for various things in my Docker stack, and I decided to see if it was possible to also use it for Ho...

Frigate > MotionEye+Doods

1 minute read

As you may remember, I use MotionEye and Doods, along withsome crazy scripting, to do motion and object detection at the front of the house.

Back to Top ↑

2021

Why didn’t my automation run?

less than 1 minute read

It’s a common post on the HA Discord where people are confused as to why their automation isn’t running, they’ve got a trigger, and a few conditions, and … n...

Zigbee2MQTT - Native to Docker migration

1 minute read

 A long time ago I started using Zigbee2MQTT - somewhere around 1.2 or 1.3. Back then I thought that it was easiest to run Zigbee2MQTT with a manual install,...

Presence Detection Resurrection

17 minute read

Yes, another update. Until I start using Blueprints I think this’ll be the last one for a while. Probably. Oh, you may want to grab a cuppa before you dive ...

Back to Top ↑

2020

HA venv to Docker

1 minute read

Another year, another Python deprecation, another flood of posts asking how to upgrade a Python venv. 

Home Assistant, Docker, and using SSH

1 minute read

A common problem that comes up with people using one of the Supervisor based install methods, or Docker, is that when they try to use ssh it fails, yet when ...

YAML in automations and scripts

6 minute read

I see many people struggle with the formatting for automations (and scripts) because the official docs are structured in a manner that assumes you’re going t...

Moving from Wink to Home Assistant?

3 minute read

I suspect a number of people are looking at leaving Wink right now, in light of the recent announcement. Some of you will be looking at Home Assistant and wo...

Presence detection, one last time?

16 minute read

Well, it’s been a while, but I think that, finally, I’ve stopped changing things. It’s been a while since I needed to account for another edge case, so here ...

Back to Top ↑

2019

Zigbee (and Home Assistant)

7 minute read

So, you’re using Home Assistant and want to use Zigbee, but Home Assistant’s own documentation doesn’t really explain Zigbee, so you’re a bit confused. What ...

Presence detection, the final countdown?

2 minute read

The last time I said that I didn’t think there was more I could do. I was wrong. My use of monitor hasn’t changed, and I’ll leave the config for that below.

Messing with meshing

2 minute read

Back when I started with home automation, Z-Wave was the obvious choice for sensors, smart sockets. You could mix and match any brand of device, and controll...

The great migration - part two

1 minute read

Well, that was less exciting than I’d feared. The first stage is done. Z-Wave is running on the Pi, and everything else runs on the VM, communicating over M...

My great migration - part one

2 minute read

I’ve been running Home Assistant on my Pi3 since I started with HA, back in January 2017. I’d chosen a Z-Wave GPIO hat over a USB stick (amongst other things...

Breaking up automations/Room activity detection

2 minute read

I’m sure we’ve all been there, where we’ve written automations that have grown longer and more complicated as we’ve tried to make things more flexible. Then ...

Back to Top ↑

2018

Product comparison - smart displays

2 minute read

I bought a Google Home Hub recently, and then followed that up with a 10” Lenovo Smart Display for the living room. Having lived with both, and bought a thir...

Presence detection - update 3

1 minute read

Last time I said that I was probably going to go with the Bayesian sensor for presence detection, but I’ve changed my mind. Why, because of an occasional ed...

Upgrading from 0.75 to 0.80

1 minute read

Today I finally upgraded from 0.75.3 to one of the versions with the new auth, 0.80.0 in this case. I’d delayed the upgrade because I expected some challenge...

Accessing the inaccessible

4 minute read

Updated January 2022 to include details on Cloudflare’s tunnel service, and Oracle’s free VM offering.

Home Assistant cloud goes paid

1 minute read

The Home Assistant developers have just announced that the cloud services will shortly require payment. If you’re currently using the cloud services during ...

Presence detection updated

1 minute read

A while back I covered how I was doing presence detection, and thought that since I’ve changed a few things I should update.

Turbulence ahead - fasten your seatbelt

1 minute read

With 0.77 it looks like the new Home Assistant authentication platform will be mandatory. For almost everybody it’ll be a meh moment - ensure the legacy auth...

Sensative strips (guard) review

2 minute read

I’ve had one Sensative strips guard installed since January 2017, and two more since October 2017, and thought it’s long past time I wrote a little about wha...

The XY Problem

2 minute read

I talked about the people who try (and usually fail) to make things work by banging the rocks together, but there’s another, more common, group. These are th...

It’s not about the brand

2 minute read

A question that comes up regularly with people new to HA seems to be what brand of kit should I buy to use with Home Assistant. That’s the wrong question to ...

Home Assistant, avoiding insecurity

4 minute read

So, you’re running Home Assistant, you’ve opened it up to the Internet, and you’re worried about security?  You’re not alone, so read on and see what you can...

Home Assistant and (basic) Presence Detection

3 minute read

Reliable presence detection is a challenge for many people. In part this is because modern smartphones put WiFi (and apps) to sleep when they’re idle.

Remote access via PiVPN

2 minute read

I’ve already talked about setting up remote access, and configuring SSL certificates for Home Assistant. What though if you’re not using cloud services, and ...

Why Home Assistant?

2 minute read

I said a while back that I use Home Assistant, but I didn’t really say why.

RFC1918

1 minute read

RFC 1918 defines a set of 3 IP ranges that are not routed across the Internet and can only be used on local networks. You will sometimes see these used on IS...

NGINX and Home Assistant

2 minute read

I’m going to assume that you’ve already got Let’s Encrypt or your chosen SSL provider configured, and that you’ve forwarded the port your using.

Back to Top ↑

2017

Home Assistant Cloud

2 minute read

Today something rather interesting was announced - the new cloud component for Home Assistant.

Upgrading the Python Virtual Environment

4 minute read

Unless you’re running local other software directly from the venv, consider switching to Docker. It’ll save you from ever needing to upgrade Python and rebui...

Which Home Assistant install is right for me?

1 minute read

There are many, many ways of installing Home Assistant, and the choice can be confusing. Here’s my very short take on what you’d want to use, and why:

LetsEncrypt with Home Assistant

1 minute read

Many people want to have remote access to their Home Assistant system, whether for an API (eg Google Assistant), or simply to be able to check on their home ...

Backing up Hass.io

less than 1 minute read

Note: When originally written there was no native backup for Home Assistant OS (Hass.io as it was then). Things have come a long way since and there are b...

Choosing a platform

2 minute read

I’ll open with noting that I use Home Assistant, but that doesn’t mean you should. Here are some of the things you should be considering when choosing the he...

Backing up Home Assistant

5 minute read

It was suggested on the Home Assistant Discord channel that I write a simple step by step for backing up your Home Assistant configuration.

What’s the point?

1 minute read

So many people I come across who’re exploring home automation seem to be wanting to build big complex dashboards that they can use to control things from. Cl...

Putting the cart before the horse

2 minute read

You’re thinking of getting into home automation, so you’ve gone and bought a bunch of smart devices. Now you’re looking for help in doing something with it a...

Back it up

1 minute read

I was going to write something else for the introductory article here, but in light of a few posts on forums lately, I thought I’d start with something more ...

Back to Top ↑