Home automation with OpenHAB and ZWave

Since I bought my own house I had the topic ‘home automation’ on my Todo list. There wasn’t much time during the year to tinker around, so I had to wait until now to do my first steps.


After some research I decided to go with the open source solution OpenHAB. The big advantage is that it runs on practically every hardware and connects to almost anything. The protocol I wanted to use was ZWave. This technology standard is supported by more than 200 companies with around 2000 products.


I ordered a Raspberry Pi 2 as a base to run OpenHAB on. The docs state that the combination of OpenHAB and ZWave on a Raspberry Pi is a bit tricky, but I did not have any problems so far. I guess the issues are more a problem on the RPi1 as it doesn’t provide enough performance. I’m using the Aeon Labs Aeotec Z-Stick, which was at first difficult to get running, but once configured correctly runs like a charm. It registers itself as a modem called /dev/ttyACM0 and is supported out of the box by Raspbian Jessie.

For a first approach I ordered a Devolo valve and a Fibaro wall plug. This allows me to test different usecases. As standalone components these are able to measure electricity or report and control the room temperature. In combination I can turn on the heat whenever my desktop PC runs. My plan was to test the system with these components and if everything runs as expected to buy some more and create a housewide system. Perhaps Santa has some of these in stock too 😉

With the OpenHAB Android application I can now control both components, the current configuration looks like the following:


I’ll post some more information about my setup and how it it set up shortly. There is a good amount of documentation, but having real examples on how to create everything is worth a lot. It’s not a solution that simply runs out of the box.


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