In my previous post on the limitations of Wifi Lightbulbs, I talked about working towards an automated house on a budget.

Two of the key criteria I had were that the centralised management system should be free (and ideally OpenSource) and that I should be able to start off cheaply and build up the platform, adding components as I went.

After looking at a number of solutions available, I finally settled on OpenHAB as it not only met both of those criteria, but would also run on a Raspberry Pi computer allowing me to use existing hardware to control my house.

OpenHAB is fully open-source and Java-based, as well as having packages for Debian-based Linux Distributions including Ubuntu and (thankfully!) Raspbian for the Raspberry Pi.

My day job involves automating software installation and configuration, so I’ve written and published an Ansible role to install openhab onto a Linux computer and easily configure the various items, sitemaps and rules.

OpenHAB supports a huge number of platforms for Home Automation including everything from custom MQTT Brokers through to Honeywell’s EvoHome, LightwaveRF and even the Nest Thermostat, allowing users to start with a cheap lighting control and work their way up to whole-house automation.

I’ll be posting some more articles on using OpenHAB in the coming weeks, including how to get it to talk to Plex media server so the lights fade on or off depending on whether your media is playing or not!

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