Looking for recommendations, advice, and insights

  • Hey everyone,

    I have been tinkering with the MySensors platform on and off now for roughly 3 years but I have never been successful at getting a "full" implementation of the platform into my home automation system. So, I am wiping the slate clean and looking for recommendations from you all based on the following:

    • My first attempt at using MySensors was integrating it into OpenHab 2.4 running on a Raspbery Pi 3+. The configuration was also a nightmare for me and the documentation was never really accurate to my specific setup and was often too general to account for the nuance required to get MySensors working properly.

    • I built a serial gateway and was able to get a few sensors sending data to OpenHab via the MySensors binding but it was unstable and often left a lot to be desired. Even after meticulously building sensors, simple sensors even, OpenHab just didn't feel like it was working seamlessly with MySensors. There was no explicit way to force a sensor to do an update from within the various OpeHab UIs, configuring something as simple as a DHT-11 sensor was often far more work and experimentation than it needed to be, and on and on.

    • Using the serial gateway on the RPi limited my number of actual serial data lines on the hardware to zero. Creating software serial ports in Debian for other techologies like Heyu for x10 and a Zwave USB stick is nettlesome and tedious.

    • I am looking for a recommendation on that combination of a gateway, controller, and hardware that "just works", has a slightly more straight-forward implementation and configuration process than OpenHab, and is well-documented.

    I'm open to anything to lay it on me! Thank you all so much for all of your insight and help.

  • @iamtheghost I am running exactly what you tried. Started with OpenHAB 1.x and migrated to 2.x. The serial gateway was exchanged with MQTT due to "open standard". I struggled a lot with hardware issues for actuators with relays but besides it always worked very well and reliable.
    Just for sensor data, I cannot think of something better than MySensors.

  • Here is my recommendation:

    • Rfm69 radios or decent ebyte nrf24 modules (search the forum for the exact type)

    • Mqtt gateway (I use an Esp32)

    • Home assistant as controller

    • Node red to manage more complex automations

  • @electrik Thank you for the recommendation. I have around 30 NRF240l radios (good quality ones with the chipset, not the blob). Could I hang onto them and still pickup Rfm69 radios later?

  • @iamtheghost yes you can. With the latest development build you can even use the same gateway for both. I'm currently using two different ones, one for nrf24 and one for rfm69.
    I edited my post above, I forgot node red on the list. I prefer that for automations instead of home assistant.

  • My setup is very similar to @electrik's recommendation.

    I use NodeRED mainy to filter incoming messages and inject additional meta data before I store them in a time-series database (InfluxDB currently).

    Home Assistant is my "workhorse" in the background, which gives me an overview over my whole "smart home" setup, announces certain events over Alexa speakers, flicks switches, etc.

    The MySensors integration in Home Assistant is well documented and easy to set up. Using a MQTT gateway, you simply have to add the mqtt and mysensors components to the configuration.yaml, like this:

      broker: localhost
      port: 1883
      client_id: id
      username: your-user
      password: pwd-for-user
        - device: mqtt
          persistence_file: '/config/mysensors.json'
          topic_in_prefix: 'mysensors-out'
          topic_out_prefix: 'mysensors-in'
      optimistic: false
      persistence: true
      retain: true
      version: '2.3'

    It's important to specify the protocol version you intend to use (version: '2.3', usually the newest available), or else you can't use any features introduced with MySensors 1.5 or newer. A lot of people seem to leave it out and run into troubles later on. Have a look at MySensors Sensor for the supported sensor types and their version requirements.

    Here's a list of all available MySensors components in Home Assistant.

    Regarding the gateway, I was using MQTT on a NodeMCU (ESP8266 dev board) for the last 1 1/2 years (I'm now transitioning to a new NRF/RFM multi-gateway based on the current 2.4 development version) and it never failed me. The sketch is more or less identical to the GatewayESP8266MQTTclient.ino example. It uses a CDEbyte E01-ML01DP5 as the radio, a shielded NRF24 PA-LNA module and is wired as shown in the Connecting the Radio guide. If you build this, make sure to use a dedicated voltage regulator to get 3.3V for the radio and do not use the NodeMCU's output. You should also add a ~100 µF electrolytic capacitor close to the power pins of the NRF24.

  • @BearWithBeard

    Wow! Now that's some input! Thank you for that. I am very grateful. I think I am going to try your approach. I have a spare NodeMCU board.

    @parachutesj @electrik Thank you both for chiming in.

    I'm still interesting in seeing some other setups that others might say: "Just works". Thanks!!

  • @iamtheghost I'm using FHEM as controller software in combination with MySensors (serial/USB, now all RS485 protocol using CAN transceivers) along with ZWave (USB-Dongle), HomeMatic-BidCoS (old technology, not -IP version, several Gateways, one of them @USB), Zigbee (deconz, also using an USB dongle) and some other MQTT-speaking stuff. Server's x86 based running on Debian (I dislike SD cards), and using a Raspberry Pi shouldn't be an issue, it's the most common platform for FHEM.

    MySensors is as seamlessly integrated, as well as the other stuff is. But don't expect FHEM to be easily confgured. But when the learning curve flatens and you're familiar with it, it offers a lot of options to get whatever thing done...

  • @rejoe2 I have a similar setup with FHEM. My mysensor 3 phase smart enegery meter including solar panels and natural gass has been working flawlessly for years. Temperature, humidity, air presure you name it, it works great in FHEM. I just drew a PCB for a mysensor 8 relay actuator with led push buttons. Going to send it to a PCB manufacturer soon.

  • Home Assistant is the best choice IMO, but it requires some additional code for presentation in your sketch, keep that in mind and read HA manual carefully. It is very well documented and has lots of integrations, themes and different useful modules, also their forum contains answers for most of the questions you may ask, and if not, people there are happy to help newbies.
    As for hardware I am using Raspberry Pi gateway, radio is connected directly via SPI and native code is running as a separate application. It's probably the hardest way if you looking for ready to go option, but you may consider it if you will want to make some kind of integrated setup based on RPi.

  • Plugin Developer

    I'd have a look at Candle. Lots of people are building it, and it's based on MySensors.

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