A brand new dawn

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So far, we’ve seen a few failed experiments. I’m not afraid of failing. Everything I’ve done has taught me something useful. Yeah, it’s cost me a few quid and that can get a bit boring when you’re selling kit on for a fraction of what you paid but that’s the way the cookie crumbles. Nothing I’ve written so far or will write in future hasn’t been said countless times. You might take some of what I’m writing and apply it to your own journey. Or you’ll ignore it. If the latter, please remember what you read here. I’ll never have the opportunity to say “Told you so!” but I really do hope that you’ll get to a point where you think “He was right!”.

After SmartThings, the goalposts moved. The priorities became local control (no reliance on the internet) and no lag.

Domoticz
I’m going to be honest and admit that I don’t remember too much about this. It was a short stop on my road. Something made me give up early. It might have been that it didn’t support everything I wanted it to. It might have been speed. It might have been a lack of responsiveness in the forums. Whatever it was, I played for a few days or so which is unlike me so something must have REALLY put me off.

OpenHAB
This lasted a bit longer, but not much. The problem with OpenHAB for me was lag. I had all my gear in the same room. I’d click a button in the interface, see the request on the log and wait. And wait. And wait. Somewhere between a couple of seconds and 30 seconds later the light would come on. I got involved on their forum. Lots of people tried to help but nothing solved my problem. In the end I was going round in circles with someone who eventually admitted he didn’t know what he was talking about. That’s the nature of community driven systems with community driven support. I’m not complaining. Yes, it’s frustrating but these people are giving their time for free. I just wish, a bit, that people wouldn’t get involved in things they know nothing about.

Time to move on again.

Home Assistant Take 2
I’d tried it once before. These platforms are constantly changing and improving. HA seemed the closest for a lot of reasons when I tried it before so I thought I’d revisit it.

By now, as a family, we were quite heavily invested in having things work when we needed them to and patience was running out from all quarters.

Installed HA and had 16 bulbs, 2 plugs and 4 sensors working within an hour. It then probably took me a weekend to add everything else and create a bunch of simple automations so that the house kind of worked again and my credibility was a little bit repaired with the rest of the household.

That ends this “History” section really. The 7 posts in this section bring us up to 19th May 2020. It’s now March 2021 – 10 months later – and a lot has happened. But rather than going sideways, it feels like I’m moving forward. I have a relatively stable system – Home Assistant – so the next section will describe that in more detail. If reading this has made you think that HA is a direction you’d like to take then I really hope you’ll read on and that I might be able to help you.