It just works

I was talking with Markus tonight. (Does that surprise any of you?)
I was telling him that for the first time in 8 years I turned off the LED indicator light under the switch in our bedroom. Too bright for my taste in the middle of the night. So, after several months of reminding myself to turn it off … I… Did … It. I have a light switch that looks normal. But, what is normal? For me, normal is being able to enter a room and things happen with minimal effort. Time of day, light is on or off. Awake or in bed, certain things happen. How has normal gotten so automated? I look back on CORE and how it began and see what it’s become. Something that “just works”. I forgot that the house notifies me that a door/window is open until it reminded me while we were at my parents’ house for a quick visit.
Jeff: “When did you set that up?”
Me: “Huh … I dunno. But it works”
It just works. And it’s nice.
And now we can’t wait until shipping works again.

What is your normal?


A bit like you @april.brandt, lighting has certainly become normal for me and with my motion lighting playing up at the moment, you do quickly realise how used to it you become.

Yes, Jeff fondly refers to going to my parent’s “broken home” for a visit.

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Something going on with your motion lighting?

I can only suspect there was some “internal issue” with ML app I am using… Re-creating the rule seems to fix it. Now it’s just my time to spend re-creating them, which shouldn’t take long.

Ever thought of doing them in Node-RED?

I’m expecting I will dabble with that as part of testing Core. I’d like to test as many aspects of my setup as I can when we receive the Core hubs.

I do like the option that I have now on HE with the Community drivers that use the push notifications, i.e. where I can have my lights paired to the Hue bridge and have changes pushed to the HE hub. But that’s probably a discussion for another thread.


To expand on what I want / need to work, it would be motion lighting, notifications and monitoring of my Kasa smart plugs. Not to say they all have to work at the start, I’m thinking more the Kasa plugs there. That does rely on a Community driver on HE. I use the Kasa plugs to both turn a dehumidifier on / off based on a humidity reading in my garage, then send me a notification when the power drops low enough to indicate the water tank is full.

I’m taking


I’m trying to remember what other platform had it first, can’t remember if it was Home Assistant…

I think it was/is

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For me the motion lighting is the biggest thing. When going to our between our vacation home and primary home (primary doesn’t have whole-house automation) it is funny how many times you forget to turn lights off or fumble around to find the switch in pitch black even though we have lived here for over 20 years. One of my personal favorites is my TV automation, TV on = lights/motion detection off, TV off = motion detection on.


We have something similar. Tv on, lights stay on and dim. TV off, lights brighten and can turn off if no motion … UNLESS I’m in my office. Then they stay on. I can’t get enough of automating things. Now with the discovery of esp32 technology, I’m planning on expanding my automations further. Regardless, it’s not acceptable if it doesn’t “just work”. Things get more frustrating for me now when something doesn’t fire because I don’t have to tinker all the time with things. So, I’m like “Shoot … how did this automation go? And … what isn’t it working?” Forgetting how you set things up is a good problem to have.

With ESPHome/Tasomota it really opens a lot of doors, my favorite thing about those projects is that they should make it easier to convert cloud products (which by and large are still the majority and usually is the starting point for anyone that says they have a “smart home”) over to something that can actually last. My most recent project has been converting two Sonoff iFan04’s to replace my Hunter fan modules. The plan is to then control them via pico remotes (which is where the multi-tap thread came from) along with lights and/or curtains where applicable.

IMO, the biggest hurdle for getting stuff that “just works” (I really hate that term btw :upside_down_face:) is being able to accurately detect or predict what you are doing, which geofences, motion sensors, and contact sensors only can get you so far. I am hoping that that new CORE hardware device (I forget what it is called) will go a long way in helping that effort, namely through simplifying weight sensing. But once you have an accurate description of how the house is occupied then the sky is the limit to what you can automate. Another thing missing is true “occupancy” detection that is not just a guess from aggregate data from a lot of other sensors. AFAIK, the only thing these days that can achieve that is a camera with some sort of computer vision and object tracking, but that has a ton of security implications that most people would not be comfortable with, not to mention you cannot really do that on battery power.

Side note regarding my fan modules, do you see any reason to us Markus’ tastmota firmwares for HE or would you just use the most recent stable release or would you use ESPHome?

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Agreed. You can get close, though. There is tech out there that will give you great occupancy, but it comes at a cost. Markus tested an aqara occupancy sensor, but that one was expensive and aqara is only putting that one out for system integrators. Battery operated. In all, it’s not really available. In the end, it’s a whole lot about being creatures of habit and being able to use that as a benefit to home automation. Accuracy is never 100%, although my bed pressure sensor has been a game changer for mode. I’ve got it running on and esp32 at the moment and will move it to a Collective MPU once Markus is able to ship everything. I’m excited to fully test it myself. There are a few other projects that will be, again, based on habit that we’re working on. I’d really like to find a way to make window automation affordable and reliable. It seems both are mutually exclusive.

What kind of automation are you looking for? Hardware isn’t too expensive (around $50-$80 per window including a solar panel and a remote usually) and well the reliability just comes down to the protocol really. I have had good luck with Zemismart stuff. Also, these nodes are great for simplifying complex actions like limiting the sun into the room.

The problem I think most people run into, especially with sticker shock, is that most things in a smart home are about manipulating things that deal with the speed of light (whether that be computation or be literal light) but when you talk about window automation, you are having to do work on a real object that has some weight to it, which innately will drive the cost up due to build quality and quality of parts that need to last.

Those firmwares have not been updated for quite some time. If you have a device that is already running tasmota → don’t fix what’s not broken. However … there are a lot of improvements reported switching to ESPHome. I’m a fan of ESPHome because it’s much easier to program than tasmota. IMHO. And looking at beta, setting them up in ESPHome makes them easy to move.

(In discussing this with Markus who still has “what’s not broken” running on Tasmota he replies with “Switching to ESPHome is a good idea. I should follow my own advice.”) :grin:

Thats the case for me with my outdoor decoration switches.

Like performance improvements? Also what do you mean easier to program? Like flashing, creating the firmware to flash, or just easier to interface with something like NR?

One thing I will miss if I switch is that every device has a internal web server that can be very useful for troubleshooting or handling one-off changes. Or does ESPHome have a similar feature?

Yes, I go have a problem with sticker shock. I have a front window that is 6 windows. I’d like to automate with shades because it faces north, and I’d like to close the shades enough to keep the sun from blazing in and warming up the room. but $80 x6 is a little touch to stomach.


Yeah I get that, as far as I can tell that is just BOM for the most part, stepper motors are very expensive.

Looking online, they range from $10 at the very cheapest, to like $50 a pop, and those are Aliexpress prices. From reputable places they go from like $70 to $500.

Like take for instance a curtain motor and a switch. They share basically everything up until their interface with the world. Switches have a different input mechanism (buttons) and a different output mechanism (relays) both of which are pennies to manufacture and purchase. Now take a curtain motor, the radios are the same, the inputs are a wash (buttons on device or remotes) but the output is now an expensive and power hungry motor, which now needs a more robust battery system, etc.

I am just not sure there really is much room to make up with economies of scale when you have Lutron switches at $60 to $100 or ZigBee switches $30 to $60 for example. They share basically every component except the curtain has the cheap parts swapped out for expensive ones…

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