Brussels / 3 & 4 February 2018


Turning On the Lights with Home Assistant and MQTT

In this presentation you will learn the exact steps for using MQTT JSON Light component of the open source home automation platform Home Assistant for controlling lights through the machine-to-machine protocol MQTT. Practical examples for low cost devices combining together open source hardware with free and open source software will be revealed. The presentation will provide general overview of Home Assistant, details about the software integration of new devices to it through the MQTT protocol and open source MQTT brokers such as Mosquitto. We will do a code review of an open source Linux daemon application for Raspberry Pi, written in the C programming language and based on the Paho library for MQTT client and the piGPIO library used for pulse-width modulation (PWM) control of a RGB LED strip. We will compare it to an implementation of the same features for the microcontroller with WiFi ESP8266 written as a sketch for the Arduino environment. Furthermore, the presentation will include details about reading data from various sensors and their setup in Home Assistant.

Home Assistant is a popular open source home automation platform written in Python 3 and perfect to run on a Raspberry Pi. Out of the box is supports popular mass market Internet of Things such as IKEA Trådfri, Philips Hue, Google Assistant, Alexa / Amazon Echo, Nest, KODI and many more. Furthermore Home Assistant provides components for easy integration of Internet of Things through the machine-to-machine protocol MQTT. This presentation will focus on practical examples for using the MQTT JSON Light component for integrating two type of devices controlling 12V RGB LED strips: Raspberry Pi with the open source hardware add-on board ANAVI Light pHAT and the another open source hardware devices with ESP8266 - the cheap WiFi microcontroller compatible with the Arduino IDE. The printed circuit boards (PCB) of both hardware devices used in the examples are designed with free and open source software KiCAD that runs on GNU/Linux distributions. The focus of the presentation will be on the open source software that implements an MQTT client, connects to an open source MQTT broker such as Mosquitto and controls the lights of RGB LED strip through PWM. The exact steps for the integration of new devices in Home Assistant using MQTT will be revealed in details. The presentation is appropriate for open source enthusiasts interested in home automation, engineers, students and even beginners. No previous knowledges about Home Assistant or MQTT is required.


Photo of Leon Anavi Leon Anavi