Arduino or raspberry pi

(Eddy) #1

Hi so im getting hooked on home automation.

I have learned alot these past few months and i am willing to go further.
I have a little programming knowledge and i am able to use most services/app out there namely:

  • Tasker and all the automation addons that comes with it
  • Core

I am willing to spend the time to learn new things (software and hardware)
So what would you guys recommend?

(Kevin) #2

Kind of depends what you want to do. Arduino/ESP8266/NodeMCU devices are perfect for a lot of SmartHome uses IMO:
-multiple sensors on one device :slight_smile:
-LED controllers
-mini web server to view sensors or enable relays

I don’t have a Pi but I think they are over-powered unless you are wanting to do:
-voice recognition
-connect to HDTV
-run a bigger web server

(Megan) #3

Pi or Arduino is not really a fair question is it like asking “Should I use a Hammer, or the table saw to tighten this bolt”. They do different things and can be combined to do cool things. It is all about what you want to do. Figure out where you want to go, then the tools you need become clear.

(Eddy) #4

Thanks for the feedback guys,
If im looking for mostly a ARDUINO, where should i start? is there a beginner kit that you guys recommend?

Ill need wifi and bluetooth

(Dan) #5

The following is where I’d begin, however I might just be a wee bit partial to this project as my son and I wrote it… :wink:

For WiFi, the easiest and lowest cost solution is a NodeMCU ESP8266 as an all-in-one solution for under $10 ( I have no experience with bluetooth, however.

(Eddy) #6


Theres 1 module im looking forward to use, perhaps you can shed some light on what to buy to begin with. Also i would like to have a starter kit to play around with

(Dan P Parker) #7

[quote=“kevin, post:2, topic:92639”]
I don’t have a Pi but I think they are over-powered unless you are wanting to do:
-voice recognition
-connect to HDTV
-run a bigger web server

Excess capability isn’t really a good argument against the Pi when you can get the Pi Zero for $5…or the Pi Zero W (w/integrated WiFi and BLE) for $10. I think the better reasons to prefer microcontrollers (like Arduinos) to Pis in some situations are the relative simplicity of MCs as well as the significantly lower power requirements (in most cases).

(Dan) #8


The microwave module you listed should work with ST_Anything as a reglular Motion Detector. It appears that it simply outputs a signal when motion is detected, the same as how a PIR based motion detector works. So, that is good news as hopefully you won;t really have to write much, if any, code to get it working with SmartThings.

As for a starter kit… You could grab the official starter kit from which comes with an Arduino UNO R3, breadboard, jumpers, devices, and a good tutorial to help bring you up to speed. It is designed for the beginner, and helps understand basic electrical circuits as well as teaches how to program using the Arduino IDE and C/C++.

You can also find numerous Arduino starter kits on

One thing to be wary of if whether your microcontroller uses 5v or 3.3v. The devices you attached need to be compatible voltage-wise. Often you can use a level-shifter to compensate, but be careful you don’t fry a 3.3v controller with a 5v sensor’s output.

(Eddy) #10

Thanks dan for the feedback, for wifi what would you recommend?
Ultimately im looking to use the arduino + wifi + that microwave module to send something to ifttt or st to trigger something

(Dan) #11

Personally, if WiFi is you primary communications method, I would strongly recommend simply using a NodeMCU ESP8266 board as you all-in-one solution. The WiFi stability on the NodeMCU ESP8266 boards is much better than anything I have tested on the Arduino platform.

I have tried the following combinations, but none are anywhere near as reliable over a long period of time as a single NodeMCU ESP8266 board.

  1. Arduino MEGA + ESP01 (for WiFi only)
  2. Arduino MEGA + ATWINC1500 (same as a Arduino WiFi101 shield)
  3. Arduino MKR1000 (has built in WiFi101)

All three of the above will eventually lock up, requiring a reboot to recover unless you write a lot of error handling/recovery code in you application. I have implemented as much of this error handling and recovery as I know how to in my ST_Anything/SmartThings Arduino libraries.

Since you can program the NodeMCU ESP8266 boards with the Arduino IDE, there really isn’t any reason to not use it for your application. Again, if necessary, just make sure you properly deal with the 3.3v versus 5v logic level shifting (simple voltage divider with resistors is all you need for digital inputs.) Plus, the NodeMCU ESP8266 can be had for <$9 on Amazon. The version linked below is breadboard friendly. Note: You will need to supply the microwave motion detector with 5v, if I recall correctly. The NodeMCU should probably not be used to try to power the microwave motion detector.

(Ron Talley) #12

Both are great little affordable devices that are very versatile. Most of my “pet” HA projects are pi related. Dabbled with a couple of 8266 projects and they are fun as well. As you get more into it, I am sure you could/will use both in your HA setup to accomplish different task.


I’m certainly not looking to hijack this thread as I was drawn to it recently learning about the ESP8266 possibilities. I’m looking to connect a maker module call Green Bean which speaks GE appliance language. This module plugs in to my water heater via an RJ45 Ethernet cord and has a micro USB on the other end. It presents itself as a HID and uses from what I read Node.js to communicate. Is this even remotely something the 8266 could do? I ordered a Raspberry Pi Zero W kit for this as I’ve seen a couple examples of it working on this platform. I feel that the RPi method was a bit overkill just to act as a always on intermediary to this device.