I’m a huge fan of home automation.
Not only is it a more innovative way to live, but it’s also a fantastic way to save money and improve the efficiency of your home.
But smart home technology is pretty expensive, right?
Well, not really. Not anymore!
Today, I will show you how to build a Raspberry Pi home automation system with Home Assistant to control your lights, thermostat, and more. It’s the perfect project for the DIY enthusiast on a budget!
Which Raspberry Pi for Home Assistant?
The first step in this process is choosing which type of Raspberry Pi to use. We looked at a number of the top options and compiled this guide below to help you make your decision.
Ultimately, it comes down to what you plan to do with your Pi and your budget. If you want to learn more, check out our complete guide here.
Best Raspberry Pi for Home Assistant In 2022
When choosing a specific Raspberry Pi module for your setup at home, you need to consider a few of these: the processing capabilities of your board.
Pi 4 Model B – Our Recommended Raspberry Pi for Home Assistant
The Raspberry Pi 4 Computer Model B is the latest edition of the best-selling computer in the world. With a more powerful CPU and GPU, twice the RAM, and gigabit ethernet, it’s capable of far more than its predecessors.
Including an onboard GPU means you can now connect a monitor or TV straight out of the box. With plenty of USB slots for keyboards and mice, micro SD card slots, and micro HDMI slots for monitors and TVs, it can be used with almost any screen.
Pi 3 Model B – If You Are On A Slighty Lower Budget
This handy tiny Home Assistant Raspberry Pi allows you to control and automate your home using the internet. It has a wireless LAN port for connecting directly to your router, a micro USB power input for charging the battery, an HDMI port for connecting to your TV, and 4 USB ports for connecting peripherals.
The 1. 2 GHz processor enables you to run apps and software that automate home tasks, allowing you to control your lights, music, heating, security, and much more.
Raspberry Pi Options That I Recommend Avoiding
While shopping for a Raspberry Pi, you will probably notice that the options below are also available. While these are also good products, I do not recommend purchasing them for this application. The main reason is that when you download the Home Assistant installer, there is no installer available for these:
- Raspberry Pi 2 Model B
- Raspberry Pi 400
- Raspberry Pi Zero, Zero 2, or Zero W
What Else Do You Need For This Setup?
Besides the Raspberry Pi, there are a few other things that you are going to need to set this configuration up:
- Raspberry Pi case – I would recommend this one.
- Raspberry Pi power supply – Here is my recommended option.
- Micro SD card – anything above 32 GB is good. I recommend going with a 64 GB just to ensure you have enough room for expanding devices later. This is a good option. Optionally, you could also use a solid-state SSD drive like this one.
- USB-C card reader – this is a good choice.
- A home computer – a computer will be needed to download and install the software to the Raspberry Pi.
How to Install Home Assistant On A Raspberry Pi 4
Once you have everything you need, you are ready to get through this Home Assistant Raspberry Pi tutorial. This will take you through the best way to install home assistant on Raspberry Pi and get it up and running as quickly and efficiently as possible.
- Download the required software.
There are two pieces of software you will need to download – The Home Assistant installer image file from home-assistant.io and Etcher from etcher.io. Home Assistant is obviously the Home Assistant software, and Etcher is the software used to load Home Assistant onto your SD card.
- Flash SD card.
Insert your SD card into your card reader and connect it to your PC. Open Etcher and find the Home Assistant image in your downloaded folder. Then click “Select Drive” to choose the SD card. Then click “Flash.” It will take a few minutes to Flash the card, and you may get messages that you need to reply “Yes” to.
- Install Home Assistant on your Raspberry Pi.
Take the SD card from the card reader and insert it into your Raspberry Pi. Connect the Pi to power and your network and boot it up. Over about the next 15-20 minutes, Home Assistant will install itself on your Pi. It will likely reboot itself once or twice during the process as well. Connecting a monitor to your Raspberry Pi can watch the progress by opening homeassistant.local:8123.
- Configure Home Assistant.
Once the installation is complete, you are prompted to create a username and password to create your account. After this is done, you will want to set things like your time zone, elevation, name, etc. After you do this, click the finish button to pull up your dashboard and start using it.
Some Add-Ons That I Would Recommend
After you have it up and running, there are some add-ons that you can quickly install to help with various things in your Home Assistant installation. To find the Add-ons section, click the Supervisor link on the bottom left of the dashboard screen. Then click the “Add-on store” tab link.
- Duck DNS – allows you to have a free dynamic DNS. Set it to start on boot. You will also need a Duck DNS account to get a token code – you add this token code and domain to the configuration section for the add-on. Be sure to click start after you have configured it.
- Let’s Encrypt – creates an SSL certificate to make your installation more secure. When you click install on this add-on, you will also see a Documentation link that gives you complete instructions on installing it properly.
- Samba Share – This allows you to access Home Assistant’s file system using your PC. When installing, you will need to define your host IP, user, and password in the configuration section.
Running Home Assistant on Raspberry Pi vs. PC
Running Home Assistant on a PC versus a Raspberry Pi is actually not much different. The only real difference is that with the PC version, you can have more processing power and memory to run more applications simultaneously than the Pi version.
Other than that, they are basically the same in terms of what you can do with them once you have them set up.
With that being said, there are some good reasons why using a Raspberry Pi instead of a PC is a good idea:
- Performance – a Raspberry Pi has plenty of performance for this application, and you would likely run most applications with it. It is also pretty cheap to get one of these compared to a PC as an alternative, which makes it easier to experiment without spending a lot of money on it.
- Portability – With a Pi, you can move it around from location to location pretty quickly if you want to do so.
- Dedicated platform – you are not tying up a full PC for your home automation setup, which is nice because you can use it for other purposes while doing your home automation setup.
- Low cost.
The number of devices you can control with a Raspberry Pi Home Assistant installation depends on how much processing power you have available in your setup and how complex you want things to be.
The more processing power you have and the more RAM you have available, the more devices you can control simultaneously without lag or slowdowns. That being said, even on a low-budget setup like the one I have here, I can handle about a half dozen devices and have some room to add more if I want.
Yes, Home Assistant can run on other pieces of hardware other than a Raspberry Pi. These include a PC, ODroid N2+, Intel NUC, etc.
I hope you found this tutorial helpful and that it gets you up and running with setting up your first Home Assistant home automation system using a low-cost device like a Raspberry PI. It is a fun project to start in home automation, and it opens things up quite a bit once you get it running and configure some add-ons for it.