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sultanoswing
798 posts

Ultimate Geek


  #2856750 26-Jan-2022 16:58
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Good point about possibly being able to install HACS alternatively, however the other benefits of a supervised install of HA would still lead me to favour that option where possible.


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Lizard1977

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  #2857038 27-Jan-2022 10:22
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Yesterday I bought  RPi4B and set that up as my HA server.  While further reading suggests I may have been able to get HACS running in Docker I felt like the RPi was worth it for the simplicity.  Plus, I can alway re-use the Pi in a PiStorm project for my Amiga 500 if I decide to go back to using Docker.  I like the idea of getting maximum value from my NAS, rather than just using it as a media server and backup service - but I'll stick with the RPi for now.  Though I have seen a very nice case for the Pi (Argon One m.2) from PB Tech that provides passive and active cooling, and adds an m.2 adaptor board to provide an SSD boot option for the Pi.  This is something I may invest in, especially as it sounds like the frequent writing to the microSD card could be an issue with HA.

 

With HassOS running on the Pi I was able to (eventually) get HACS installed, and then installed Local Tuya (after being baffled by an API ratelimit from GitHub which blocked use of HACS and Local Tuya for about an hour).  I was able to extract the local keys for all 6 tuya lights I have, and the difference is astonishing.  Whereas toggling the lights via HA would see a lag of around 4-5 seconds (sometimes more), the delay is now unobservable.  The key extraction process is "relatively" straightforward once you know what you're doing (I extracted them all into a spreadsheet for handy reference), but loading in the new devices presents you with a range of variables that you can configure about each device.  And it seems like you have to load each device individually into Local Tuya, which would be a headache if I was doing a whole house load of devices.  But it seems like you only have to do this once, though if the local key changes then presumably you need to do it all over again, and I'm not sure what would trigger a change of key.  In the end, I didn't change any of the variables for my lights.  For basic operation this is fine, but I've yet to find out whether that would have any implications for things like colour or warmth if I haven't configured the device correctly.

 

But the experiment was successful, and it gives me a bit of confidence to explore more and different Tuya devices.  At the moment I have only a few, all lights, and just a couple of Hue devices.  I guess the next thing would be to look at whether I can (or need to) make Hue local as well (though there has never been any lag with those devices - it's more about having local control without relying on external cloud services), and then to integrate other devices - my phone for presence detection, Alexa for voice control, and some switches and sensors.

 

I also realised that smart home/automation is a bit like the new "computing".  I first got into computing back in the late 80s, when they were still rare for most of the general population (i.e. no PCs, tablets, smartphones for every person with thumbs) and "being into computers" was a thing.  Then came the mid-90s, and everyone was using computers and the web - for work, in the home, on the move - and that geek badge of being a computer nerd kind of morphed into the IT stereotype.  But as I spent several hours last night dabbling in opaque systems and fumbling with API calls that I didn't really understand, I felt a little like I did when I first tried BASIC programming on a Commodore 64.  I knew that this was something almost no-one in my ordinary social circle would understand - just like when computers were a rare and mystical device.  Sure, there are many smart home kits out there for pretty much anyone to unbox and use straight away, but HA feels like a gateway back to a time when you had to work to get something running properly, and with it the satisfaction of having solved a problem rather than simply turning on a well-designed piece of kit.


Lizard1977

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  #2868496 15-Feb-2022 09:47
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I've got an electrician coming tomorrow to replace the existing recess lights in my lounge with the Deta 10W Smart LED downlights I purchased from Bunnings.  I've already configured them for local Tuya, and fingers crossed the install will be straightforward.  I've also got a couple of Deta smart switches for the sparky to install, really just to test out how well they work.

 

The next things I want to setup are voice control (probably Alexa) for my lights, and using my iPhone as a presence detector for some automations:

 

1. For using a voice assistant, it seems like I need to subscribe to Home Assistant Cloud (Nabu Casa) at $6.50USD/month.  Is anyone else doing this?  Is it worth the money, or is there a workaround that doesn't involve yet another subscription service?  I had assumed I just needed to enable a HA skill on Alexa, but it seems like that's not possible.  Voice control is not a deal breaker for me, but it would be nice.

 

2. Home Assistant has detected my iPhone as an entity, and I was able to create an automation to turn off all the lights when my iPhone leaves the designated zone.  However, it doesn't work.  I'm not sure whether I need to configure something to do with my iPhone entity in HA, or if it's to do with the zone (which I don't recall creating - I think it may have been automatically generated when I setup HA location settings).  Has anyone created this kind of automation and can share some steps for me to follow?




mattenz
141 posts

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  #2869184 15-Feb-2022 21:33
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I didn't think that you needed to subscribe to the cloud service to get voice control (not that I use it), where have you read that?

 

For the automation, I'm sure that someone will bustle in saying to use Node Red, but I've successfully implemented a similar one in HA. Whe you click the 'Run actions' button in the Automations list, does it actually run the actions?


eluSiveNZ
122 posts

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  #2869492 16-Feb-2022 10:56
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Lizard1977:

 

1. For using a voice assistant, it seems like I need to subscribe to Home Assistant Cloud (Nabu Casa) at $6.50USD/month.  Is anyone else doing this?  Is it worth the money, or is there a workaround that doesn't involve yet another subscription service?  I had assumed I just needed to enable a HA skill on Alexa, but it seems like that's not possible.  Voice control is not a deal breaker for me, but it would be nice.

 

2. Home Assistant has detected my iPhone as an entity, and I was able to create an automation to turn off all the lights when my iPhone leaves the designated zone.  However, it doesn't work.  I'm not sure whether I need to configure something to do with my iPhone entity in HA, or if it's to do with the zone (which I don't recall creating - I think it may have been automatically generated when I setup HA location settings).  Has anyone created this kind of automation and can share some steps for me to follow?

 

 

1. You can manually set this up but it takes a bit of time and effort to do so, the steps are listed here https://www.home-assistant.io/integrations/alexa/#manual-setup

 

2. If you edit your automation - there is a "Show Trace" link, this will show you the steps of what is/isnt triggering

 

I assume by zone you mean you are leaving your house ? It can take a while for the phone to actually update its GPS location so don't expect this to happen immediately.

 

 

 

 


sultanoswing
798 posts

Ultimate Geek


  #2869518 16-Feb-2022 11:26
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eluSiveNZ:

 

It can take a while for the phone to actually update its GPS location so don't expect this to happen immediately.

 

 

The delay is a bit of a pain. For me, it means things like the driveway gate opening reliably as we come up the street are variable.

 

The responsiveness with a helper app like Life360 was much improved, however that app has serious data mining / selling your info accusations, so I deleted it.


allio
770 posts

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  #2869527 16-Feb-2022 11:34
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eluSiveNZ:

 

1. You can manually set this up but it takes a bit of time and effort to do so, the steps are listed here https://www.home-assistant.io/integrations/alexa/#manual-setup

 

 

It's quite a daunting process but I recommend just grabbing a cup of tea, setting aside half an hour and slowly working through it. Mine worked on the first try after following the instructions exactly, despite me feeling very lost pretty much the whole way through and being sure I was making mistake after mistake.

 

Edit: oops, I did it with Google not Alexa. Assuming it's fairly similar...

 

More general advice - after lights the next thing I moved onto was smart plugs. These seem simple but are super powerful, can combine with an oil heater etc. to create a thermostat in HA. I can recommend the Sonoff S26 for about $15 each on Aliexpress. They're also technically flashable with Tasmota but I gather it's a pretty difficult process. Fortunately it's really not necessary because, unlike Tuya they have genuine local control built in using this addon and are absolutely rock solid. My first preference was to find something a) Zigbee and b) with power monitoring, but I just couldn't find anything affordable that met that requirement. I'm using six of them and am very happy.




Lizard1977

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  #2869531 16-Feb-2022 11:38
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mattenz:

 

I didn't think that you needed to subscribe to the cloud service to get voice control (not that I use it), where have you read that?

 

 

https://www.home-assistant.io/integrations/alexa/

 

It says that for automatic configuration you need Home Assistant Cloud, which requires a paid subscription.

 

I've taken another look at manual configuration, including a video on YT from Everything Smart Home where he walks through the process.  I reckon I should be able to do most of it, but one sticking point seems to be that I'm on 2Degrees so it's a CGNAT connection.  I could pay $10/month for a static IP, but that's more than the cost of the Home Assistant Cloud subscription so it begs the question why don't I just pony up for that instead?  Possibly a static IP could be useful for remote access to my Plex server, so that might swing the balance.  But I'm also wondering about a dynamic DNS service like No-IP.com as a way to have a fixed address to enable the remote access necessary for the manual setup of a voice assistant.  Gee, smart home automation is a real rabbit hole, isn't it? :)


Lizard1977

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  #2869538 16-Feb-2022 11:43
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eluSiveNZ:

 

Lizard1977:

 

1. For using a voice assistant, it seems like I need to subscribe to Home Assistant Cloud (Nabu Casa) at $6.50USD/month.  Is anyone else doing this?  Is it worth the money, or is there a workaround that doesn't involve yet another subscription service?  I had assumed I just needed to enable a HA skill on Alexa, but it seems like that's not possible.  Voice control is not a deal breaker for me, but it would be nice.

 

2. Home Assistant has detected my iPhone as an entity, and I was able to create an automation to turn off all the lights when my iPhone leaves the designated zone.  However, it doesn't work.  I'm not sure whether I need to configure something to do with my iPhone entity in HA, or if it's to do with the zone (which I don't recall creating - I think it may have been automatically generated when I setup HA location settings).  Has anyone created this kind of automation and can share some steps for me to follow?

 

 

2. If you edit your automation - there is a "Show Trace" link, this will show you the steps of what is/isnt triggering

 

I assume by zone you mean you are leaving your house ? It can take a while for the phone to actually update its GPS location so don't expect this to happen immediately.

 

 

My first attempt involved selecting my iPhone as the device and leaving the default zone (which was a pretty large area centred on my home address) as the trigger.  But despite me leaving with my phone many times it was never triggered.  Show trace didn't show anything.

 

I looked up some tutorials last night and found one that used States and the person entity (which is associated with my phone as the presence detector).  The tutorial was pretty clear about using "home" and "not_home" to set the trigger (I added a new zone called "home"), and it made logical sense.  I set up an automation for this and left my lights on when I left the house this morning.  When I get home tonight I'll check the logs to see if the automation was triggered (I have another automation to turn off the lights at 8.30am as a backup, so the lights aren't on all day - I left at 8am, though, so if the automation was going to run it should do so before 8.30am).  Fingers crossed.


Lizard1977

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  #2869541 16-Feb-2022 11:45
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allio:

 

eluSiveNZ:

 

1. You can manually set this up but it takes a bit of time and effort to do so, the steps are listed here https://www.home-assistant.io/integrations/alexa/#manual-setup

 

 

It's quite a daunting process but I recommend just grabbing a cup of tea, setting aside half an hour and slowly working through it. Mine worked on the first try after following the instructions exactly, despite me feeling very lost pretty much the whole way through and being sure I was making mistake after mistake.

 

Edit: oops, I did it with Google not Alexa. Assuming it's fairly similar...

 

 

Can I ask if you have a static IP or if you use a dynamic DNS service or something similar?  I read some comments on YT suggesting that the method falls over if you don't have remote access to HA, and that remote access is contingent on a fixed address.


allio
770 posts

Ultimate Geek


  #2869556 16-Feb-2022 12:04
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Lizard1977:

 

Can I ask if you have a static IP or if you use a dynamic DNS service or something similar?  I read some comments on YT suggesting that the method falls over if you don't have remote access to HA, and that remote access is contingent on a fixed address.

 

 

Ah, didn't see that you're on CG-NAT. I have a static IP with a domain name pointed at it but it's not the fact that it's static that makes it work, it's that it's public. With CG-NAT dynamic DNS won't be of any help, you'd need to use Tailscale or something to get around it and that's getting into a pretty convoluted setup (plus limits access only to your own devices, can't share with friends). For me personally a public IP is absolutely essential because I self-host a bunch of stuff as well as HA. However if you don't need a public IP for any other reason then I think it makes more sense to pay for Nabu Casa than it would for a public IP. Nabu Casa comes with other benefits over just the initial setup, e.g. you can use high quality text-to-speech instead of the rather wooden stuff built-in to HA.

 

Also: you currently can't access your HA from outside your home network. Am I missing something or is this the reason why your zone automation isn't working? How would your phone notify HA that you've left the zone if you've also dropped off the wifi? Try using something like this for presence detection instead (despite the name it works perfectly with any kind of phone) so the detection comes from within your network, not outside it.


sultanoswing
798 posts

Ultimate Geek


  #2869674 16-Feb-2022 14:53
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allio:

 

For me personally a public IP is absolutely essential because I self-host a bunch of stuff as well as HA.

 

 

Me too. A public fixed IP is necessary (or at least makes it much simpler) to run many online services. Combined with a decent domain name provider such as metaname and then through Cloudflare, you can arrange all sorts of clever, necessary items (https certs etc).

 

Thorugh my ISP (Bigpipe) it was a one-off cost of $45 to get a fixed IP - well worth it vs dyndns and other paid options. I gave up on freebie dynamic DNS services long ago...just not worth it. And don't get me started on the annoyances of CG-NAT....


Lizard1977

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  #2869943 16-Feb-2022 21:36
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I'll come back to my current questions in due course - thanks for those replies already.  I've just had my LED downlights fitted and the smart switches installed.  I spent the evening checking configuration, sorting out local tuya access, and have a few questions/thoughts.

 

Because I was installing smart LED downlights, I figured it would make sense to replace the old switch with the Grid Connect smart switch.  I expected that it would allow me to control lights either through Home Assistant/Homekit or by using the smart switch on the wall.  However, I discovered that when I use the wall switch it still cuts the power, meaning the app control no longer works.  This made no sense to me at first, until I discovered on the Grid Connect support page where they (apparently) explicitly recommend against this particular setup.  In hindsight, I suppose I get it - you use a smart switch with dumb lights, or use dumb switch with smart lights.  But I haven't been able to easily locate a switch that works at the wall without messing up the app controls (apart from my hacky Hue dimmer switch approach).  Then I remembered about the Shelly relays that were mentioned at the beginning of this thread.

 

I think I now finally get it.  If I had an ordinary wall switch wired up with something like a Shelley 1L, would that let the ordinary wall switch turn the lights on/off (toggle effectively) without cutting power for the lights to be controlled by the app?  If so, that seems to be the way to go.  I think it should be straightforward enough to wire, as it seems like the 1L doesn't need a neutral wire, which I think might be the case in at least some of my switches.

 

If that's the case, then the two smart switches I already have could be relegated to other rooms where I wasn't planning to put smart lights, and thereby give them basic smart functionality.  And in place of those smart switches I could put a basic wall switch with a Shelly 1L behind them to provide continuity of functionality whether controlled at the wall or via the app/Home Assistant.  Which gives me what I was aiming for in my lounge - smart lights with colour/temp controls and access via apps and the wall without one causing problems for the other.

 

Have I got that right, or am I still muddled up?


eluSiveNZ
122 posts

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  #2870099 17-Feb-2022 09:32
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Lizard1977:

 

I think I now finally get it.  If I had an ordinary wall switch wired up with something like a Shelley 1L, would that let the ordinary wall switch turn the lights on/off (toggle effectively) without cutting power for the lights to be controlled by the app?  If so, that seems to be the way to go.  I think it should be straightforward enough to wire, as it seems like the 1L doesn't need a neutral wire, which I think might be the case in at least some of my switches.

 

If that's the case, then the two smart switches I already have could be relegated to other rooms where I wasn't planning to put smart lights, and thereby give them basic smart functionality.  And in place of those smart switches I could put a basic wall switch with a Shelly 1L behind them to provide continuity of functionality whether controlled at the wall or via the app/Home Assistant.  Which gives me what I was aiming for in my lounge - smart lights with colour/temp controls and access via apps and the wall without one causing problems for the other.

 

Have I got that right, or am I still muddled up?

 

 

Yes, this is probably your best solution, the Shelly can operate in a "Detached switch" mode, this does what it says, the switch and the relay will operate independently, you would keep the relay powered so your smart lights are always powered and the switch performs an action. You would now raise an event when the switch is pushed for home assistant to operate the smart light. This blog post covers most of where you are at Troy Hunt: Controlling Smart Lights Using Dumb Switches with Shelly and Home Assistant

 

Also note doing this you will enable using double/triple/long clicks on the light switch which can all be used to perform different actions etc.

 

The other option you could have made, is to flash the Deta switches with Tasmota firmware and activated the detached switch for these as well, but the newer models may not be compatible anymore.

 

 


Lizard1977

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  #2870119 17-Feb-2022 10:01
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Thanks for that.  In my specific case I bought a double gang touch switch to replace the existing double gang which controlled the lounge lights and the kitchen lights.  But because the kitchen lights were also controlled by a second switch in the hallway (which I was replacing with a single gang touch switch, just for consistency), the sparky ran into a problem where if the kitchen lights were turned off by the lounge switch, then they couldn't be turned on by hallway switch.  Each switch worked on its own, but not in tandem.  So we decided to disconnect the strap wire in the lounge switch (wasn't really needed for the kitchen lights), and just have them controlled from the hallway switch.  But this meant that the second button on the lounge switch was free.  I added the lounge switch in Home Assistant as two entities, and because the second button wasn't connected to any lights I was able to create an automation where it acted as a light toggle.  Possibly that's similar to the detached switch idea you describe.  In this case it's a bit of a hack, but it will do until I can get around to trying out the Shelly relay option.  I'll probably deploy these smart switches to other parts of my house where I wasn't planning on putting in smart lights, or may just put them up for sale.


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