After I played around with Hue starter kit a few years ago (which I ended up returning), I got really curious when our Scandinavian go-to store for cheap products, IKEA, announced in 2017 that it would enter the smart home market with the Trådfri product line.
I purchased the gateway and few E27 bulbs with the 5-button dimmer switches right after they were available. The quality was good, the setup was fairly easy and they worked quite well. And they were really affordable compared to Philips Hue. I ended up buying a bunch more of the bulbs and dimmers quite soon.
I also bought some Philips Hue gear on sale. Mainly because of the dimmers which I think are way better looking than IKEA’s. Plus they are better and more reliable in the user experience.
Gateways, gateways, gateways…
So now I had a couple of gateways in my house, which already seemed an overkill. One too many. And I had already set my eyes on some Xiaomi sensors, which would mean a third gateway. Not good. They are all based on the Zigbee protocol so it was kind of funny they had to have their own gateways. (Disclaimer: I know that the Trådfri bulbs go fairly well with Hue bridge now, but that wasn’t the case back then. I’m not sure they work together 100% now either.)
I had used these with Apple Homekit & Siri. After we moved to a new apartment, I decided I would move to Home Assistant. Home Assistant is an open source home automation platform, which has support for thousands of components. It is also Homekit compatible with the addition that it is able to work as a sort of a bridge between non-Homekit-compatible products and Homekit. I will probably cover Home Assistant a bit in my next post, but rest assured, it is really, really versatile.
Small Raspberry with so much to offer
I already had the (then) newest Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ laying around. I had used it with my Ruuvitag sensors through Homebridge which was running on the said RPi. After checking the options, I decided to install the Hass.io version of Home Assistant on it and did some quick initial configuration. I didn’t really get into any intensive configuration right away due to some other projects but the HA was running good (idling).
Home Assistant has built in support for Trådfri and Hue, which is really nice! However, a friend of mine had just purchased a Zigbee USB-stick called Conbee. It is manufactured by a German company called Dresden Elektronik. I purchased the stick and connected it to my Raspberry. With that I was able to remove the Hue & Trådfri gateways and pair all the lights, switches, sensors and outlets with the Conbee. Well, at first at least.. some slight difficulties have risen after that, which I’ll go over on a later post.
As the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ also has Bluetooth (and WiFi), I can pretty much connect all the necessary devices straight to it.
Z-wave is another popular protocol which also has a huge amount of compatible devices available. I don’t really see the point of having both (at least not yet), so I ended up with Zigbee due the fact that I already had the lights.
I’ll be going through a lot of different devices, Home Assistant configs, automations, DIY stuff and so on, so be sure to subscribe below to receive updates!