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Smartphone-less Homey

zippozippo Member
I'm creating a new discussion here after superice mentioned that would be best. Here is were the initial questions (copied from Android app discussion topic):
zippo said:
I seem to understand devices can only be controlled via a smartphone, and the homey doesn't allow to be connected to a TV screen directly, and have people use the TV remote for instance to control devices with that (correct me if I'm wrong here !).
What if you don't have an android nor iOS smartphone, nor want to get one (as it's ultimately an expensive component, and breaks down after 3 years or so) ?
Can someone just install android on a raspberry pi, and use that instead (output screen can for example be a TV screen connected to the raspberry) ?
I think you might be able to do partly what you want by using a Chromecast and writing a custom app for Homey, but I don't think we're ever going to support a workflow without mobile Android and/or iOS devices playing a role in it, because ultimately there aren't that many people implementing a smart home without at least one of those devices.
zippo said:
Another question: is the homey software open-source, and if so, could someone say just adapt the software and simply modify the android software on a raspberry pi to make a "lightweight" version of the homey (which has far fewer connecting ports and is thus able to control far fewer devices, yet is still able to do some things -which may be sufficient for some-.

Is there a linux-based (so not android), 32-bit, x86 version of the homey software btw ? If so, the same could even be accomplished with a conventional, second hand PC.
No. We did release some parts as open source (mostly NodeJS modules) but most parts are proprietary. Ofcourse I can't and won't speak for everyone here at Athom, but other than the fear of someone creating a lightweight Homey with a Raspberry Pi (which is not that likely really), there is the support component: we don't have the resources to build a generic version of the Homey software running on all kinds of devices, let alone support people in setting up that software to tailor it to their specific situation. We struggle even to get it right on the specific Homey hardware, let alone on any device in the world. Personally I would like the idea of an open source Homey-like device, but with the limited resources the open app model is the best deal you're going to get. By the way, these are rather complicated questions, not necessarily related to the Android app. Creating a new topic would have probably been preferable


  • zippozippo Member
    Now some follow-up questions and ideas:
    Firstly, I was thinking on a way to replace the smartphone:
    Rather than this, how about having the Homey run a webserver all the time (and having the homey connected to the internet via CAT 5 or 6 cable, and thus give people to log into the homey to control devices from a distance. It will require another pc with internet connection, but that's still far preferable over a smartphone (most people have access to a pc -ie at work, ...-) Logging in can be done via browser, by typing in IP adress:port number

    In addition to this, the homey should be controllable at home directly as well. There are voice commands to do this, but can't homey be equipped with a remote as well, or just have it controllable via the TV remote. The screen to view the home control app can be the TV screen (so entirely similar to how game consoles do it).

    Another way to control the homey from a distance (that doesn't require logging into the webserver via browser) is by using 2 dumbphones with 1 dumbphone connected via serial cable to the homey (see also sms2boiler project; ). To be honest though, the webserver is probably way easier and sufficient for most.

    As a last suggestion: why haven't you guys also integrated media center capability into the Homey (again controllable via purpose-build remote or TV remote). How about you just put a boot loader (like GRUB) on the harddrive (or usb stick or whatever you use) of homey and put on Kodi ( ) or OpenELEC ( ). That way, people don't need to also buy a seperate device for that function, making homey more affordable in a way.
  • zippozippo Member
    One last idea I had was that the cost difference between homey and single board pc's like raspberry pi can be leveled out, simply by building the entire homey from the raspberry up. What I mean is this: rather than integrate in a CPU, ... to the homey circuit board, how about just making a simple circuit board with all communication equipment (like infrared ports, serial ports, wifi, zigbee, ...) on it, and then having people connect this part to any single board pc (raspberry pi, ...) or even console (playstation4, playstation3, xbox, xbox360, ...) they have lying around. The software can then be put unto the single board pc or console. Could make everything much more affordable, but to be honest, I don't know whether that's accomplishable really, and users will need to have a bit more technical skills to pull this off (meaning the all-in-one homey device will still need to be kept as well as the main option for users, and have this alternative, lightweight device as the 2nd option for the more tech-savvy.
  • bvdbosbvdbos Member
    @zippo : you don't have a Homey, do you? ;) It can do almost anything you describe.

    The smartphone-app is just something extra, the main controlling is done through the browser. Homey has a webserver running from which you can login without having to forward ports. Athom has much better mechanisms for that.

    You can control all your devices with any remote (except for RF 2,4 Ghz I think, but bluetooth will work). This is a matter of adding controllers and setting flows.

    I guess with an Arduino or a webbased sms-gateway someone could create an app with which you can control Homey. This is the case for any controller which you can connect to your Arduino or Rasperry-pi.

    Media-centre capatiilities: We have kodi and plex already, youtube and soundcloud work as well. Adding i.e. synology should be rather easy, someone has to write an app for this.
  • If you want a webbased application: I have made a very simple webpage that simply has a few buttons that give commands to Homey (via the HTTP-app) which in turns switches flows off/on.

    What you are describing is already here, albeit not very sophisticated :)
  • casedacaseda Member
    My first comment on your way of wanting everything:
    If you know it all so well, why don't you make your own "raspberry like" device.
    And release it to the public to buy.

    If you see that they are already busy with Software for over a year!
    and it still isn't done yet, for a long time.
    And this is for a "all in one solution"
    How long do you think it will take if you need to take into consideration that not are modules are present.
    And there are more hardware to think about when coding, every hardware is different in the way they work!

    And to answer some of your questions:
    Why only smartphone.
    This is incorrect, everything i can do with the smartphone i can already do with my computer, I,E, the "devices page" at the moment has all the "mobile cards" that are on the smartphone.
    They are already thinking about making an GUI based control somewhere in the future, but this will not be build until homey is more done, ie all/most things implemented.
    And you have gotten the wrong idea of "only controllable by smartphone", you can start ANY flow with for example a KaKu remote, so i can control my homey with just 1 remote.
    And i presume this can also be done in the future with any IR remote when ir has been enhanced.

    Coming back at the GUI part/home server... i'm busy with creating one that is fully functional with homey.! 
    And have come pretty far already with this,
    I can control everything, with my Web Server Controller.
    Even though it is not very user friendly to be released to other people to make there own, if i can do it, then other people can do it too!

    Why no media center compatibility..
    1. this would take too much resources of homey too be able to do anything else.
    2. There already is a media controller (http://HOMEYIP/manager/media/) for every other media playable device to control.
    Like Sonos (when implemented), any bluetooth speaker (when implemented) any other wifi proprietary device that can play audio, you can already control Kodi, even though you need your own device, if you have a pc, you can already have kodi, you will only need an HDMI cable to hook it up to your TV.
    The only thing homey needs, is an app for the said devices.
  • zippozippo Member
    edited June 2016
    @BasVanDenBosch : no I don't have a Homey (and I guess I'll never get one myself neither, since too costly and I actually don't like domotics neither -since I don't like the idea of others theoretically being able to control devices in my house, in case of a hack, and like to do things at home manually really-). Perhaps a bit weird why I come to make suggestions here then, but I do like the tech behind it Also, there may be some things that are nonetheless best automated like for instance changing the tilt of your solar panels at certain moments during the year (see ). Doing this manually would mean you'd need to climb up unto your roof to change this, which is hazardous. Something like this could be done with a oil-filled piston for instance (I never seen any commercial device like this really, but possible in theory). The piston could be used to just reduce/increase the height of the PV panel (or solar thermal collector for that matter). If the PV panel is mounted on a better platform (which has electric motors able to change both the horizontal and the vertical position (like this design ), then the efficiency gain can be even higher. Not only can it then follow the sun perfectly using an averaged out trajectory (for every day of the entire year), but it can even use a different trajectory for every day (so use one of 365 trajectories), so executing the following of the sun just plain perfect. The reason why an averaged out trajectory is a bit worse than a trajectory for that period of the year is because the sun path (see wiki: sun path) changes every single day a tiny bit (exact location where the sun rises in the east and sets in the west changes every day). You'll notice that the design linked has a PCB, but the PCB's used would generally use an averaged out trajectory; with the Homey though, making and using a wide range of trajectories wouldn't be a problem at all.

    Could also be useful to start combined heat and power systems (ie engines on pure plant oil) and supply it to the mains energy grid during peak-hours, and for instance recharge your off-grid batteries (or refill the pond of for your pumped-hydro system) during off-peak hours. Also, besides simply using more power during off-peak hours, and supply back produced power during peak hours, devices (like washing machines) can be switched on during off-peak hours. My intitial idea years ago was to just use a time-switch for that (see here ) but really the Homey can do this as well, and probably even do it better as it would even allow using dynamic peak/off-peak metering and use (at present, such timetables don't yet exist -as the power supply companies aren't yet fully ready for it-, but they're experimenting with it all ready.

    Besides that, it's also useful to constantly measure all the power used in your house (and display all active appliances), at any given time. That's useful for energy stacking purposes. Energy stacking is of great importance for houses that are completely off the grid (so not semi-off grid buildings -which have energy storage, but are still connected to the mains electricity grid too-, but true off grid buildings).

    I don't "know it all so well"; I'm certainly not mister know-it-all. Is there something wrong though with trying to make positive suggestions/feedback, so the guys here can possibly improve things even more ?

    Regardless, most issues were hence not present at all. The reason I didn't know this is because there isn't any good online information available on the Homey. So instead, this needs to be corrected, and little else.

  • zippo said:
    The reason I didn't know this is because there isn't any good online information available on the Homey. So instead, this needs to be corrected, and little else.

    Fully agreed
  • PandaPanda Member
    What do you mean with "there is no info" check out this page wich will help you set up a Homey, even if you don't own a Homey you get a good idea how thinks work.

    You say you aren't interested in using domotica or getting a Homey, what is the point of your post then?

    Your post sounds a little bit like going to a car manufacturer and telling them that you don't want to drive a car and they should make a bike instead.

  • zippozippo Member
    it doesn't have a homey hardware specs page
    it also doesn't explicitly mention anywhere on the FAQ that the homey software is proprietary (not open-source) or that it can be downloaded (entire software, so the one running on the homey, not the control app), and so can't be run on a different single-board computer (even if modifications were to be done)

    regarding the reason why I posted at all:
    I mentioned that I do support some functions which could be implemented (but for which there are not yet apps, read my post), perhaps that if the Homey gets more functional later-on, I might buy it.

    regarding your comparison:
    that's not a correct comparison I think; here at the forum there's a suggestions section in the forum for instance; car distributors don't have something like that and making suggestions to them is hence just a waste of time; not so here ! I'd never suggest something that radical btw; if car manufacturers would be open to suggestions, I'd tell them they should install a PPO conversion kit on all the diesel cars they sell, and give the control unit of the ECU the ability to allow the user to switch to ethanol as well ;)
  • PandaPanda Member
    There is a spec page

    Athom is a company and not an open source organization and will probally never will, if you are looking for an open source domotica system take a look at those guys are open source, and you are able to run in on a different board.

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