My journey to Home Assistant

For those of you that liked my original post, thank you! I wanted to do one more post now that I am about a month of living without the ST Hub in my life. In addition, I want to expand on a couple points from my original post that I think are important and as I look back, probably the main reason I enjoy Home Assistant so much.

The big question…do I miss my SmartThing hub? No…simply put. But remember, outside of the Alexa integration and the other things around the house that were compatible with ST’s infrastructure, SmartThings was simply turning devices (mostly Zigbe and Zwave) on or off in ‘fancy’ ways (automations). As I reread my original post, the thing that impressed me the most with HA was NOT that aspect…it was the fact that I could now, from a single dashboard, see my washer/dryer (Non Samsung) my television (again, non Samsung), my IP cameras video streams (non SmartThings) and other things that that were NOT Zigbee and Zwave. Once I was fully in on HA, I could then use the simply on/off aspect to control a wider range of devices around the house (i.e. Turn a television off when the house lights are off and in ‘sleep’ mode). Yes, you CAN do that with SmartThings…if you happen to have a Samsung product. I think this is the biggest ‘sin’ of the ST infrastructure…the ‘easy’ integrations are wrapped around Samsung’s other products. I never even considered adding my LG washer and dryer to ST, but this was easy with HA and I found uses for it that I never dreamed (i.e. keeping track of the number of washes and alert when it is time to do a tub wash). When you start having ‘brand tie in’ you start to limit your options or freedom of choice. Now, is it theoretically possible to add LG (or other brands) to ST using the new Edge platform? As near as I can tell, yes…but you (as an end user) will have to wait for someone to do that, or you do it yourself. That same is true for HA, but many of these were tackled in the past few years, so going from ST to HA feels like a door opening up to a wide, open field.

And as we are taking about ‘open possibilities’, I discovered something in just the past few weeks that has me really excited. The ‘holy grail’ (IMO) of home automation is ROOM PRESENCE detection. I played with with when I was on ST, but it seemed overly complicated and not very precise. Enter the integration of ESP32 micro controllers in HA. These are little ($3-$4) WIFI and Bluetooth devices that sit in each room. Pairing this with Bluetooth Low Energy (i.e. Fitbits or cell phones) I carry around, I now have rather decent individual person room detection in my house…for less than $50.00 all in including the small cases and cables I bought to house these units! Now, it is NOT 100% perfect, but works MUCH better than multiple motion sensors in a room that become less important for room detection when you stop moving (like sitting watching TV or working in an office). No more waving my hands in the air to ‘remind’ the home automation system that I am still in the room. Again, not saying this isn’t possible with an MQTT integration to ST Edge, but this literally took less than one hour to set up and get working in HA. Nothing I ever did in ST ever seem to take less than an hour :slight_smile:

I will reenforce my recommendation/warning from my other post as to whether you should do the conversion to HA. This, again, is really up to you…but I reiterate the fact that you WILL have to put some time into HA. This is an ‘investment’…When I first got HA working and transferred my automations I spent a LOT of time plugging away in HA as the logic of automation is slightly different than ST with WebCore. However, now that everything is ‘tuned’ I spend about 90% less time ‘babysitting’ the platform as it hums away. I have had some (Zigbee) mesh issues and devices that seemed to stop working for no reason, but the recovery of these is easy (which is usually popping the battery and reinserting). And, to be clear, this has only happened twice and is NOT unique to HA (this happened in ST).

So, overall, a month in, I haven’t looked back…ST was great for me to learn the concepts of HA, but in my circumstance where I want a bit more control over the environment and don’t mind spending a bit more time ‘hand holding’ the system, it was right for me to switch.

Hope this is helpful. I won’t post any more about my journey as I think I have closed the door to ever come back to ST and I think ST folks are tired of hearing about how great the ‘other side’ is. It really depends on your needs, and I won’t play the game of “come over to the dark side, your side sucks”. Each to their own…


Before transitioning to HA, had you considered migrating to Hubitat as an alternative to ST? Personally, I’m 100% in with Webcore, so I envision the transition for me to be less intensive than rewriting everything in HA-speak.

I was 100% into WebCore as well and I did indeed consider Hubitat before I started my journey. However, since I already had the Pi I did OpenHAB first and then HA, and didn’t consider anything else after running HA. Yes, I had to re-write my automations, but I did that over a week as I transitioned certain devices, so it had dual purpose…let me migrate and learn the HA environment at the same time.

No knock on Hubitat, but even as I continued my research it felt like HA had a bit more integrations that I was looking for.

At the end of the day, I now have local control which is what I was looking for (outside of control over my specialized devices that always needed customer DTHs).


I’m curious how you got LG integrations as I thought LG is being brand centric with their “thinq” platform as they no longer link to IFTTT?

I seem to be the oddball, coming into the ST platform when others are considering leaving it or already have.

I’m a Hubitat user that was augmenting things with Home Assistant/zigbee2mqtt and a CC2652P coordinator to cover devices that are not, and will not be, supported by Hubitat on their current hub (and possibly future hubs).

Over the last few months, I’ve had two occurrences where all of the zigbee devices that were tied to HA/z2m just fell off the network for no obvious reason.
Took about 10 hours combined effort to get everything back in working order.

That was definitely a hit to the WAF.

A YouTube channel I follow is really big on SmartThings are did a video about the Edge drivers.
I liked what I saw enough to buy yet another hub.
That’s how I ended up here.

The devices that were on HA/z2m are now running on an Aeotec V3 hub with Edge drivers to see how it works out. I’ve also moved some devices to ST from Hubitat as well.
So far we’re liking what we’re seeing/experiencing with the Edge drivers.

It’s not perfect automations-wise, but it’s usable.
My wife isn’t complaining that something stopped working, so that’s an added bonus.

I won’t connect HA and ST together since I’m not willing to pay Nabu Casa a monthly fee to access it, and I don’t feel like investing the time and effort to do that myself right now.

There’s no denying that HA is very powerful and you can spend a lot of time configuring, tinkering and learning.
It’s just not for us as our primary home automation device.

No idea where I’ll ultimately end up with all this automation stuff…

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By going to Home assistant I was also able to ditch IFTTT. The LG integration is part of the ‘community’ integration part of Home Assistant:

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Each to their own, but no subscription is needed to allow ST to integrate with HA. If you are familiar with SSL certs and port redirection on your router you can integrate it natively. That is how I ran for a few weeks and worked great. I was also one of my goals…no subscriptions.

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Curious, what specific brands/models of Zigbee devices ‘just fell off the network for no obvious reason’ ?

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They were all Tradfri devices with fresh batteries; motion sensor, on/off dimmers, 5-button remote, shortcut buttons.

Batteries were fine before and after the occurrences.

Ah yes, IKEA devices… IIRC, some of these don’t use the traditional Zigbee HA1.2 or 3.0 standards that are most popular amongst many of the Smart Home Hubs. I believe the IKEA Motion Sensor and Button devices use TouchLink, instead of traditional ZHA (somebody please correct me if I am wrong about this!) The IKEA devices seem to work most reliably when paired to an IKEA hub. The IKEA Bulbs and Outlets do seem to work well on most hubs, however their color bulbs don’t use the same color scheme as pretty much all other bulbs on the market.

BTW - there are numerous reports of battery life issues for the button controller when paired directly to a ST hub, for example

The other troublesome brand of Zigbee devices are the Xiaomi/Aqara devices. These are very challenging to keep connected to a standards-compliant Zigbee Home Automation (ZHA) controller (i.e. hub). They also perform best when paired to their own hub.


I use a number of Tradfri devices paired to their own gateway and then used with HomeKit and they have been very reliable for me. And I do the same thing with aqara devices with one of their camera hubs. Solid, reliable, well priced, but neither works well with smartthings for me. Or with other zigbee hubs, and I’ve tried several. :disappointed_relieved:

My hope is that once smartthings has Matter support it will be able to bring the IKEA and aqara gateways into the smartthings app with everything except the ST app running locally. So basically the same way the hue bridge works except with even more devices exposed to smartthings.

I can’t say for sure that that will happen, But I am mildly optimistic. And if it does happen, for people like me who don’t mind having an extra hub in the mix, I think it will be a very solid solution. But we will have to see. :thinking:

I should also say that given my own background as a network engineer, and my own life experiences as someone who is quadriparetic, my personal high priorities at this point are an easy to use voice accessible app, good voice control, and high reliability, preferably with an MFOP of six months. If I can get that, I don’t care how many brands or hubs it takes, because it doesn’t change my day-to-day experience.

But I know there are other people who just can’t stand the thought of needing multiple hubs, so as always, different things will work for different people.

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While I promised my last post would be my actual last post on this subject, I did want to share what happened tonight as the ‘other side of the coin’ discussion.

To ensure no radio interference from the Raspberry Pi, I mount the USB radios (zigbee/zwave) away from the Pi with a USB hub. You probably all know what I am going to say next…yep…the hub blew up. It was a cheap hub (blessing and curse) so I was able to cable up extension to both radios and get everything working within 1/2 hour, and then get a more reliable hub (and spare cables) ordered for delivery tomorrow.

So, obviously this goes to show that this is NOT an appliance and you have to have some troubleshooting ability (and spare parts) to ensure you don’t have a lot of downtime. On a more positive side, if my ST hub would have blown up I would probably be down for a week while I wait for a replacement, and then the task of re-pairing every device (100+) to it.

Again, if you ARE looking for an alternative, be sure to go in eyes wide open!

THIS should be my last post on this subject…thanks to everyone that found it useful.


Thanks, it was a helpful post. I have a vague idea of moving over to HA if/when Samsung decide to brick the V2 hubs like they did with the V1s.

I would be sad to leave ST behind as ive got everything ticking along very nicely, I just know I’d hate to be forced to upgrade by a planned obsolescence of my current hub


Well, promises broken again…someone asked me to post a ‘6-month’ report on how my Home Assistant implementation is going, including any major accomplishments or regrets along with way. Here we go:

Overall, I do NOT regret moving…my house has never been as stable as it has in the 6 months or so that I have had this installed. While I commented in my earlier posts that Home Assistant needs to be ‘watched or tweaked’ a bit more, I am finding that isn’t the case so much when you have everything ‘dialed in’. Automations just run, and when they don’t I typically investigate and it ends up being a ‘edge case’ my automation didn’t account for. In fact, I am going to admit that the LESS I look at it, the LESS problems I end up having. Even when I have had issues, I found I was the root cause and was ‘playing’ with the system instead of letting it run. The GREAT thing?!? Even when I toast the whole system, recovering from backup with a fresh install takes less than 1/2 hour with the automated backups I perform. My system is running so great that I have taken opportunities replace ‘questionable’ devices that have been flaky over the years. I always hesitated doing this in SmartThings as I was never sure of where the problem was…HA has great logging that I can now identify when a device is the root cause. And replacing a device does NOT trash your automations…simply name the device the same as what you had it before and 9 times out of 10 you won’t have to do a single thing in the interface.

Other positives (at least in my view) are these…constant updates. Last month I counted 8 updates to the core, OS and ‘supervisor’ that installed without a hitch. And, while there are downsides to multiple updates for community software (i.e. bugs), I will say that while they do happen, they ARE rare…The flip side to this is that each ‘module’ in HA has a owner that you can get bug reports to very quickly. I had an update last week that messed up Google Calendar integration (yes…this is as cool as it sounds as you can create automations with what is in your calendar). I immediately filled out an issue report in GitHub. The next day a few other users experienced the same thing, and within 48 hours the ‘owner’ of the code fixed it and put it in the second overall update of the month. There are STILL bugs in ST that I put in years ago that are not fixed. :slight_smile:

The negatives? Well, I am hard pressed think of any major ones. As mentioned above, the updates are a double-edged sword, but new features are ALWAYS coming out, so I can tolerate the minor bugs for those new features! Other than that, there are no ‘functional’ bugs I can speak to. There are interface items and other nuanced items, but nothing I can’t work around. When there is an issue (i.e. the device you are hosting this on fails) the failure is typically spectacular (in other words, you reboot and then it won’t come back). This is stressful, but as mentioned before, if you keep spare parts and good back ups, you can be up and running again VERY quickly.

The big picture message is that I don’t regret for one second the migration. I know Matter will be a part of HA seamlessly after it is released, so that is exciting. And as mentioned way back in my original post, I love being able to get a wider variety of devices into my ecosystem and simply having them work instead of writing my own DTHs for them.

As always, each to their own…I am not one to say that everyone needs to convert. There is a HUGE learning curve going to HA, but I spend most of my time now looking at the interface I created for my house for information instead in the ‘guts’ of the system troubleshooting.

In fact, it is time to move on completely from SmartThings…If there is anyone that wants to give me a fair price for my SmartThings hub (version 2), PM me…While I kept it around for sentimental reasons ( and to ensure I didn’t need it), I am ‘all in’ on HA and would love to find it a new home in the community.

I hope this helps those that are curious about how my migration ended up 6 months later!


Thanks for the update! I’m glad it’s working well for you!

As for this:

I’ve been following the matter discussions for home assistant pretty closely. Matter Support with a Thread radio has been announced for HA yellow, but that’s not in production yet. It’s due out later this year.

As for any other versions, I’m seeing “possible“ but definitely not “seamless.“

Is there something new in this regard? :thinking:

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I guess I should define this…easy isn’t always easy, but everything I have read is that the developers of HA are now part of the Matter working group. I have read this will help prep the platform for the release. It is my understanding that adding Matter will be a simple matter (pun) of adding a USB stick and the system will be Matter ready. When I say easy, I simply mean I don’t have to code it myself :wink:

“matter ready” and “works with matter” are two different things. Because it looks like most battery powered matter devices will use Thread instead of Bluetooth or Zigbee, you have to add a thread radio, which is what the USB stick is for. But that just allows you to physically send messages. You still need all the software to format the messages for those communications. And it’s not yet clear to me how home assistant is going to handle that, although I guess that’s what the session on the 15th is for. :sunglasses:

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The way it will work in HA @JDRoberts is HA itself won’t have to make any change to ‘support matter’ They (the grand abstract they) will create an ‘integration’ that manages Thread / Matter, and that integration will be responsible for reporting to HA in the same way that one of the ZWave or Zigbee or ESP32 integrations do. I have no doubt it will go from vapor ware (now) to fully baked within 9 months. They basically did that with the ZwaveJS integration that replaced OpenZwave (OZW) and the native ZWave integration. Unplug the old module (because the dev who was supporting it no longer was) and plug in the new integration.

Someone will make a Matter integration that uses a thread radio on a USB stick or one of the Zigbee integrations will pick up support for thread / Matter (or more likely, both, and the end user will have to choose which works best for them)


It may have been missed in my last post, but is anyone interested in my v2 Hub? Time to re-home it :frowning:

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You can list it in the following thread

Community member FS/WTB/WTT Thread

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