Looking to switch automation controller software

  • So I am looking at the possibility of changing automation software. I have a wide range of hardware in my setup currently and would need something that is modular and flexible to the hardware that I have.

    My Hardware:

    • X10 for a lot of things, but may start to migrate away from that with MySensors.
    • OneWire for a number of temperature sensors I have around the house.
    • An RCS RS485 thermostat. I send outside temp data to this from my OneWire network.
    • Some direct input switches using the R-Pi's GPIO port for sensing my garage door state.

    A number of years ago I used to use a package called Open Source Automation (OSA) which is a windows based software and was VERY good. I ran this off of an old PC that I had laying around. It supported most of what I had for hardware and for what it didn't support, it had a good API to pretty easily create your own plugins. I did write a plugin for my RCS thermostat to work with this. One of the features about it that I liked a lot was it had a floorplan view. I could upload an image of my floorplan and place objects on the floorplan that I could control right from that view.

    I then acquired a Raspberry PI that I wanted to use to replace the PC to save energy, but that was linux based and couldn't run OSA. I then found the MisterHouse project which was based on Perl which could run on Linux or Windows. It too was able to support the hardware that I had. It had a fllorplan view, but I didn't care for it as much. I am not much of a Perl programmer, so though I have this working currently, I could see making a change.

    I would look to move to something that could integrate all of my current hardware into a good package with a nice web interface and hopefully something with a good floorplan view. It would also need to be something that is Raspberry Pi friendly. Most of the programming that I do these days is in PHP with HTML and javascript. I have programmed in Visual Basic and C#, but obviously this wouldn't work on the R-Pi. I am open to any suggestions that people may have.

    If you made it this far, thanks for reading.

    Dan B

  • Hero Member

    @dbemowsk you found the right spot. Welcome to MySensors.! There are many options for controllers and through MySensors you can interface with a lot of your hardware. Especially in facing with direct i/o (gpio) and one wire. 'anything' which can interface with arduino can talk through MySensors (C++ )

    A controller like Domoticz can also take most (if not all) other hardware you have.

    I suggest you read through the controller section and getting started on MySensors.

    Have fun and there are many around to assist in your learning.

  • I am wondering if it might be possible to even create a MySensors RS485 gateway for my RCS thermostat to control it as a MySensors Node. I like the fact that MySensors are wireless. Eliminates running wires all over the house. The nice thing is that a while back when I was getting myself started with Arduino, my thought was to make some kind of wireless sensors so I bought some nanos and s bunch of NRF24L01 modules. I had put them off to the side until I could figure out a decent way of doing the communication. GO FIGURE.....HERE IT IS....

  • Hi @dbemowsk , welcome to MySensors.

    I don't think anything is currently written for the RS485 in regards to thermostat control. A quick Google did reveal there are modules available for Arduino that make the RS485 communication possible, so i'm sure writing a MySensors sketch/Node would be more that possible. Check out this link for an example.

    As for Controller software. I suggest shopping around. The easiest to start with would be Domoticz as most of the configuration (if not all) is GUI based via the Web Interface. A very close second would be Home-Assistant as they literally support almost all popular sensors/hardware/home components. It's a little bit more programming based, having configuration files written with YAML, but can be more rewarding.

  • Thanks @drock1985 . It has been a number of years since I created my thermostat plugin for Open Source Automation. I will have to see if I still have my code around somewhere for that. Maybe I can adapt it to the arduino. The hard part in it may be how I would adapt it to MySensors code.

    RS485 modules for arduino are cheap:

  • Hi @dbemowsk

    I don't think it would be too hard to adapt the code over to MySensors. Check out the Library and Serial API pages to get an idea of how the messages can be constructed.

    As for making them talk to each other, there may already be someone doing this, or has done it in the past with an Arduino. it would be worth Googling for things like "Arduino thermostat (insert your brand/model here)" and see what comes up. If not, backwards engineering should be ok too (serial read maybe?)

    In any event good luck and have fun! If you ever get stuck, post in the forums and if you are new to Arduino in general, there are a lot of great tutorials on the internet/YouTube or my personal favourite, a course from a place like Udemy can be useful.

  • Admin

  • @dbemowsk did you mean setup like this? controller <- usb -> GW <- rf -> "gateway node" <- rs485 -> thermostat network. If so, I have done it with my heat pump. I have "gateway node" that translates modbus to mysensors to/from my heat pump.

  • Hero Member

    @pjr sounds interesting, can you share some details?

  • @pjr that is exactly what I am talking about. The only thing on my RS485 network is my thermostat. As I mentioned before, I had written a plugin for a project called Open Source Automation that I worked on a few years back and will be trying to find that code. Can't remember if I did that one in Visual Basic or C#. If I did it in VB, it may take a bit to port it to arduino, but if I did it in C#, porting it shouldn't be that hard at all. I just need to bridge that gap.

  • @AWI I'm kinda waiting that someone with more skills could implement this. Then I can finalize my functionality and a post project topic about it.
    If someone wants to have current version of the source just pm me!

    @dbemowsk what protocol your thermostat is "speaking"?

  • The protocol as far as I know is specific to RCS hardware. I have never compared it to modus or anything, but it may be similar.

  • @dbemowsk You can use NODE RED as a translator between your hardware and protokol and then send translated messages to Domoticz ( for example). I think NODE RED + any sw controller is very powerfull combination.

  • @kimot Does NODE RED have any kind of web interface for flows that are created? I am not seeing anything on their website.

  • Mod

  • @mfalkvidd I can see that being nice for the logic side, but what I was asking about when I mentioned a web interface was some nice easy way of looking up the status of devices from something like a floorplan or list view, and a way to control those devices manually if I see the need.

  • @dbemowsk

    Domoticz. Domoticz offers floorplan setup (just upload a .jpg of the plan) and has manual switches you can set up. As well, the automation uses blocky - an easy to use GUI way of automating. Or LUA; if you are feeling brave.

  • @dbemowsk I think, that for example Domoticz does not understood your RS485 thermostat. So you can recieve its message by serial node in NODE RED,
    decode message and send it via HTTP to the Domnoticz. Or you are not happy with Domoticz graph style end limitation only 7 days for detail teperature storage. So you can first recieve data from sensor by NODE RED, store them to the file or database and then send them to the Domoticz. I wrote that NODE RED is good for cooperation with other sw controllers, witch do visualisation measured data.

  • @kimot I see, you are only using NODE RED as a go between for Domoticz, not as the actual controller itself. Like a way to interface hardware that Domoticz doesn't normally recognize.

  • node-red-ui is currently switching to node-red-dashboard and maintained by the core team.

  • I don´t have noticed that.
    Here is the github link

  • So in the interest of keeping my current HA setup running while I get this set up and tested, I figured that this might be a place to use a new controller I got a while back. The controller is an Orange Pi. When a guy from work said he could get me one for $18 US, I couldn't say no. I have had it sitting around for a couple months now waiting to find a use for it. I think I found my use.

    The unit that I have is an Orange Pi PC which has a 1.6GHz quad coreprocessor with 1GB ram. A lot of choices for OS. Need to find me an 8GB class 10 MicroSD card (Might have one laying around). Then I want to find an automation software that is easy to install and use with this computer. Has anyone in here used an Orange Pi, and if so, what automation software have you used with it?

  • Admin


    As some of the other posts in this thread indicate, you can use node-red as a middleware, between domoticz (or any other controller frontends you like) and sensors.

    I'm using it here, between my mysensors GW and domoticz. I have one arduino on my utility meter, that isn't wireless, and doesn't use mysensors protocol. I have used node-red to change it's protocol into mysensors format, and are injecting that into the mysensors datastream into domoticz.

    At the same time, I have influxdb / grafana installed, and node-red publishes all sensor data into influxdb, so I can use that package as graphing solution.

    I have been running two controllers at the same time at one point in time, where node-red was feeding the two controllers the same mysensors datastream, and both controllers could send data to mysensors nodes.

    The possibilities are endless with node-red 🙂

  • @tbowmo

    Oh wow, going to have to look into this now. Any links to get a person started? Only ever heard of Node-Red so far.

  • Admin


    Search the forum, as there are some threads with setup hints etc.

    For installation of nodered, you should follow the guides at nodereds website.

  • Here is a package you can start without installing anything 😉

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