If you've never heard of Home Assistant, but you want to automate your home, or anything else, then you've been missing one of the most incredible and active Open Source projects out there.  Don't misunderstand, there are multiple home automation pojects, but Home Assistatn, from everything I can find, is the most supported from an available integrations standpoint today.

If you tried Home Assistant a year or more back, and thought,  "Ugh! I hate these dumb configuration files... why isn't this easier?"  Well, I'm right there with you, and the folks on the project heard you.  Home Assistant is now a much more user friendly system from setup, to configuration(s), and it becomes more friendly every time they put out another release.

In this episode, and article, we'll go through the initial install and setup of Home Assistant, as well as getting into a bit of the starter usage of it.  I have multiple episodes recorded already, and am busy getting them edited for a multi-part series on all of the great things you can do with Home Assistant.  All that, and we will barely scratch the surface of what a little knowledge and a bit of imagination can let you do with this incredible software.  

Llet me answer the "Can I run this on a Raspberry Pi?" question right now.  Yes you absolutely can.  In fact it runs quite well on a Pi, so get your 3B or 4 ready to do some setup.  

What you'll need / want

  1. Raspberry Pi 3B or 4
  2. Micro SD Card and a way to burn an image to it.
  3. Software to burn an image to the SD Card (I prefer Balena Etcher, but use what you like).
  4. The Home Assistant image for the Raspberry Pi (or O-Droid if you prefer).
  5. An ethernet cable (you can run wirelessly, but you should really try to run wired if possible).
  6. The power cable for your Pi or O-Droid
  7. A few Smart Devices the Pi can pick up on.

Installation

Download the Home Assistant image for your SBC of choice.  In my case I used a Raspberry PI 3B.  Once downloade, you'll want to burn the image to a Micro SD Card.  

A  Raspberry Pi system is a really great, inexpensive way to get started in home automation, and it functions quite well.

I use software like Balena etcher to burn the image to the SD Card, but feel free to use any software you prefer.

Once the Software is burned to the SD CArd, remove it from the cmoputer you used to burn it, and insert the card into your raspberry pi. Now, plugin the pi and give it a good bit to boot up.  

You can run the pi completely headless as Home Assitant creates a web-server and you access it through the Web user interface on your local network.

I'd give it at least 20 minutes to get fully setup, but you can check it after about 3 to 5 minutes and see if you can reach the screen that tells you it's getting ready.

Just navigate to http://homeassistant.local:8123 on your local network from any modern web browser.

If you aren't able to reach the home assistant install you can use a tool like Angry IP Scanner to help you find the IP address of the Pi on your network, and you can try to reach  the webserver via the Ip address and port 8123 (like http://192.168.1.x:8123 ).  Of cource, use the actual IP for your network and Pi, but this is a secondary way to do it.

If you are still unable to find the pi, wait a while longer and try each address again.  If you've waited more than 20 minutes and are still unable to resolve the address, then you may try to re-burn the image to your SD Card.

First Run and Setup

Create your first User, and fill out the information on the form.

Next, set your location as accurately as possible.  Home Assistant uses location (or can use location) for a lot of really great automations.

Next, you'll be presented with any devices that Home Assistant can find automatically.  Feel free to set them up from this screen by clicking on them and running through any necessary configuration.

Finally, move right into your initial Home Assistant dashboard.

Check out the video at the top for a full overview of your new Home Assistant installation, and make sure to watch for part 2, coming soon.