Smart home – how to start one

Like many people I run my own smarthome; I always liked the tech you only saw in movies back in the day. Now, many years later I realized my “dream” and built myself a smart home.

So what is a smart home? In my opinion; it’s a home where basic actions save you time and make life easier. For example; When I enter a room when the light level is low, I want the lights to turn on. You can achieve this by turning on the light by the flick of a switch or it can be achieved automatically. I prefer the latter.

In my house, when I enter a room the light turns on automatically, but only when there is a low light level. When I am already present in the room and the tv is on, the lights also will turn on when it’s dark enough.
I also get notifications when certain actions occur.

  • Someone tries to enter my home when I’m not present;
  • I need to take the trash out;
  • There is a sudden change in temperature or humidity;
  • Leakage;

All these things will make your life easier and help you save time.

What to use

For all this smart home tech, you can use the apps provided with the pre-built hardware you bought. When you built something yourself it’s an issue… there is no app for that! Fortunately there is a system called Home assistant
Their slogan is: “Awaken your home”

Open source home automation that puts local control and privacy first. Powered by a worldwide community of tinkerers and DIY enthusiasts. Perfect to run on a Raspberry Pi or a local server.

as stated in the header of their website —

I myself am part of that community and am a mentor in the Facebook community.

Getting started

Raspberry pi

The easiest way to start is using the following suggested hardware list

  • Raspberry Pi 4 Model B (2GB) + Power Supply (at least 2.5A)
  • Micro SD Card. Ideally get one that is Application Class 2 as they handle small I/O much more consistently than cards not optimized to host applications. A 32 GB or bigger card is recommended.
  • SD Card reader. This is already part of most laptops, but you can purchase a standalone USB adapter if you don’t have one. The brand doesn’t matter, just pick the cheapest.
  • Ethernet cable. Home Assistant can work with Wi-Fi, but an Ethernet connection would be more reliable.

When you have all this in your house you can start;
First download Balena Etcher and the Home assistant image.
Flash the image to the SD card by opening etcher and browse the image.

Image from ether

After the image is done you can do two things:

  1. Use DHCP and stick the SD in the PI
  2. Go for a static IP

When you chose the static IP I would go for DHCP reservations. Call me lazy but we also do that at the company for all printers.
After the SD card is plugged in and the Pi is turned on, grab a coffee or tea and wait

Source; Getty images

This will take at least 20 minutes. Depending on your device, it could be faster but keep the 20 minutes in mind.
After that; open your browser and:

  • http://homeassistant.local:8123
  • http://<your IP>:8123

Virtual Machine

I have setup my virtual machine within proxmox.

Within your proxmox node go to shell and enter the following command:

bash -c "$(wget -qLO -"

The following screen will pop-up

Choose your desired storage
proxmox is downloaded and vm is getting prepped.
You need to change to your desired settings


When all went well you can start on-boarding. This is the next step in the process. Basically home-assistant lets you choose what settings you prefer. I won’t go into depth on this one because it’s a matter of following the steps.

Final thoughts

When you’d like to have a detailed tutorial on how to set-up home-assistant on your device other than a Pi or by using proxmox check this out

Thanks for reading, there is more on the way!


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