The Pi era

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I’ve been messing around with Pis for a while. The Hive project was probably the first “serious” thing I did. I’d messed around with them in the past. Security cameras, the Magic Mirror, etc, but not really anything where I could say that the Pi was doing a full time job.

Raspberry Pi with Conbee II USB stuck

The Pi is a magical piece of kit. Invented to provide computers to children in poorer areas it’s become one of the systems of choice for hobbyists everywhere. The image above shows mine with a Conbee II Zigbee controller (more on that later).

When I first started, it was with Home Assistant (HA). For the uninitiated, this is an open source platform for home automation. It’s hugely powerful. You can integrate cloud services if you have Wifi devices, you can control things locally with an endless range of methods. I’m not going to go into that for the moment.

My first try with HA used the Hive integration for the Hive devices I already had and the IKEA integration for the Tradfri devices that I was now collecting.

In the IKEA example, I had an IKEA hub talking to my Tradfri devices. In simple terms, you tell HA the IP address of your hub, the username and password, and off you go. All your devices are now controllable through HA. This opens a whole new world. A web accessible interface rather than only being able to use the IKEA app on phones that it’s installed on and an incredibly powerful system for creating automations rather than just being able to have a light come on at a certain time.

If I wasn’t hooked before, I was now.

But there was still a problem.

HA is community driven. It’s free. It’s not perfect. In my case, the problem was that my new IKEA devices didn’t always play nicely. They would switch on and off fine but the interface on HA wouldn’t update, lights would show as being off when they were on and vice versa.

I spent a bit of time trying to sort this as HA just looked so promising. In the end, it just wasn’t happening so it was back to the drawing board. Luckily, this experiment only cost me a bit of time. I had the Pi anyway so nothing lost.