ProtoHome HA

In 2017 I was seriously looking at a replacement for the aging JDS Time Commander+ home automation solution. I had already replaced the original board with an eBay version and really needed to move forward and off the X10 platform that had served me so well. Having looked at other platforms but not really willing to fork over the cash, I ran across the site and was interested. Easy enough to use an existing RPi I had on hand and free to boot so worth a try.

Initially it was kind of messy as I needed to build out some integration between my webserver that talked to the JDS system while migrating to newer switches and end points. It worked using the REST command and sensors available in Home Assistant so I could slowly phase out the old solution. What follows is our current “SmartHome” as they are now called. I’ll continue to update this page as new things are added, some replaced, or enhancements made.

Deployed Luftdaten / OpenSense Map Sensor

My SDS011, D1 Mini and BME280 in 3d Case

On 08/11/2019 I watched the famous (infamous?) Frenck ( live stream his work on a SDS011 Particulate Matter Sensor. I had already noticed the sensor in the ESPHome support list but Frenck was taking a different approach. He was live streaming getting the device working for the project of tracking air quality. Additionally the Luftdaten firmware can send data to the project as well. The firmware supports the BME280 for temperature, humidity and pressure readings as well. Frenck was giving Americans heck for not having hardly any sensors deployed in the USA so I figured what the heck, I’d build out one and get my data out there.

Deployed ESPHome 07/2019

I ran across ESPHome from some YouTube videos on Hassio and was curious as to what it could really do without requiring any coding. I had no problem coding my own WiFi switches using SonOff hardware and the Arduino platform as noted below. I still have as of 08/2019 many in wall switches running my own code. However when I saw how easy it was to deploy ESPHome and the large library of sensors and controls it supported it appeared to be a much easier way to push out and manage end points.

Indeed it was and as of 08/2019 I now have several regular modules deployed as well as home energy monitoring, expanded temperature and humidity monitoring, and HVAC system monitoring due to the ease of deployment without having to test and debug detailed code. Current plan is to slowly move all my old coded devices to ESPHome to keep things consistant.

Migration to VirtualBox VM 01/2019

Having had one SD card already die in the Hassio RPi and another acting weird I decided it was time to get off the Pi platform for the write intensive Hassio solution. Luckily You Tuber “The Hookup” ( had just completed a great video on how to migrate from a Pi to a VM. He did it on a windows machine and I am using a Ubuntu box but the general process was the same. He was right, great performance, easy to adjust, and easy to snapshot or backup the VM before making big changes.

Initial Home Assistant install 2017

ProtoHome Features

WiFi Endpoint controls via various methods. These include the Hassio web front end, Alexa integration, Siri integration. However, the primary interface for the system is my own PHP based web server that uses the REST API of Hassio to read and manipulate control devices.

ProtoHome Configuration

Home Assistant (Hassio) Running in a Oracle Virtual Box Session

  • Home Assistant (Hassio) Running in a Oracle Virtual Box Session
  • Various WiFi based end point switches and modules
    • SonOff Basic wall switches with custom MQTT firmware
    • SonOff based (S20, S31, etc) outlet switches
      • Running custom MQTT firmware or ESPHome configs