Configuring – The Home Assistant Learning Curve

The Home Assistant page we just looked at would be considered the front end. This is the part you interact with. Currently, Home Assistant does not have a built-in way to configure the files from the front end.

  • In order to configure you devices, you will have to connect to Home Assistant as a server to access the files stored inside. This can look scary if you’re unfamiliar with the process, but makes sense pretty quickly.
  • This does not require programming or coding skills. It uses what I’ve seen referred to as a “compiling language”. This simply means you need to follow specific rules in setting up devices or the computer can’t read it. It looks rough, but gets much easier with a little practice.
  • Before we start, you’ll need to download a program that can edit the files Home Assistant uses. I use Visual Studio Code which is available for Windows, Mac, and Lunix.

Get the Raspberry Pi Ready

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  • Go back to the Add-ons tab and click on the bag icon in the top-right corner. This will take you to a list of add-ons that are included with Hass.io.
  • Click Samba share and install it. This will allow you to access the Raspberry Pi over the network.
  • *This will make it accessible to anybody on your network.*

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  • Change the settings here as necessary. If running on Ethernet, it should look similar to this.

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  • If using WiFi, enter your credentials like this.

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  • Don’t forget to save and press “START!” Samba should now be up and running.
  • You can confirm by going from the Hass.io tab.
    • Click Samba share, which should now show under “Installed Add-ons.”
    • Scroll to the bottom of the log and see if it says “Samba name server HASSIO is now a local master browser for workgroup WORKGROUP IPADDRESS.”

Navigate the Server

  • Open Finder on your Mac.
  • In the menu bar, open the “Go” drop down menu and select “Connect to Server,” fill out the address as smb://hassio and connect.

Screen Shot 2017-09-09 at 4.17.39 PM

  • When connected, select the “config” file.

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  • That should put one of these on your desktop, you can also navigate to it through a Finder window.
  • Inside you’ll find the files we will be working with to configure Home Assistant.
  • The .yaml files are the ones you’re going to edit in Visual Studio Code.

Editing YAML Files

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  • Open the configuration.yaml file.

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This is where the magic happens. It can be a little intimidating at first, but it is very organized and gets easier to understand as you spend time in the environment.

  • All of these blue words are connected to a component inside Home Assistant.
  • The discovery: component is what found my Roku.
  • The component “introduction:” installs this card into the front end.
  • Read through this file and you’ll get a pretty good idea of what each component does.

Screen Shot 2017-09-09 at 4.44.01 PM

group: !include groups.yaml

automation: !include automations.yaml

script: !include scripts.yaml
  • Notice these three lines on the bottom of the file.
  • Using “!include” and a filename will force the computer to look for related files in the configuration file.
  • These three files can be found in the configuration folder.
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  • After making changes to any of the configuration files, check if the configuration is valid.
  • Go back to the Configuration tab on the Front End.
  • Click on the General tab then click the Check Config button.
  • If everything is is good, you’ll get a page like this.
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  • You can now restart Home Assistant. Any changes you made to the configuration will now take effect. If you get any errors, odds are something is simply typed in wrong or not formatted correctly.
  • Definitely go slowly when setting up your system to avoid messing up your configuration files. At first, it can be hard to type things in properly and to format the files correctly. Try not to let it discourage you. You will quickly adapt.
  • My preferred method of restarting Home Assistant is through the Hass.io tab menu. I seem to have fewer issues when I restart that way.
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This less-than-ideal way of editing the files is the backbone of setting up your Smart-Home. Now that you have your configuration file opened up, you can add in any smart devices you may have. I recommend starting with a BroadLink RM Pro. Its the best bang for your buck when getting started with Smart-Home technology on the cheap.

If these guides have been helpful to you , please share them! If you have any questions, please reach out to me in the comments. Thanks for visiting!

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