Most of my devices are controlled by automations. Lights come on depending on light levels and/or motion. They can be overridden with physical smart switches. They can be controlled by voice. Every now and then it’s handy to be able to see the status of a device or control it individually. It might be to adjust the brightness temporarily, it might be to check the status of batteries in the battery powered devices.
And, let’s face it, a nice dashboard looks really slick!
My weapon of choice on Home Assistant is HADashboard. This runs as an app under something call AppDaemon which is a powerful “subsystem to complement Home Assistant’s Automation and Scripting components”. I’m not even going to pretend to know what that actually means. Like I say, this site is for the average Joe who wants to make their home smarter, not for software developers who can really use this stuff.
One of the apps is HADashboard. This is a tool that allows you to create dashboards like the one in the image above. This is the one for my kitchen so I can see the temperature, see if there’s motion, control the audio and control the on/off state and brightness of the various lights.
In all honesty, it gets used once a week if that. The most useful thing for me is probably the view that shows me the charge state of any battery powered device I have integrated with Home Assistant.
This one has little gauges that turn from green to red depending on the value and also show the battery percentage.
I’ve tried a couple of the options out for Home Assistant and found HADashboard to be the nicest looking and easiest to set up. There is a bit of a learning curve. You have a file for each dashboard you want to display. I’ve mostly broken mine down by room. So the main screen shows all the rooms. Each room then has all the info and switches I need and a home button to get back to the main screen.
The hardest bit is getting your head round the syntax for the controls you want as it relies on you editing a load of code. This is the entry for one lamp in the lounge. This sits in the lounge dashboard file and is about 140 lines in total. My battery dashboard is about 300 lines in total.
patio_door_lamp_button: widget_type: light title: Patio Door entity: light.patio_door_lamp icon_on: "mdi-lamp orange" icon_off: "mdi-lamp"
It is a bit of a labour of love to add everything in but once it’s done it only takes 5 or 10 minutes to add new devices. The bits to watch are the indentation, and punctuation marks like the ‘:’ in the lines above. Get one thing out of place and you end up with blank buttons that don’t do anything.
My main ones are optimised for tablets. The image above is the Fire Tablet HD with the Show Dock. This sits on a shelf in our hall so it’s fairly central to everything.
I’ve also duplicated everything and rejigged it a bit for my phone. You can see the top part of my battery one here. Looks like the camera in the back garden needs charging!
I’d definitely recommend looking into the options for dashboards. I may cover this in more detail later.