This will hopefully be a short series on migrating away from my ancient ISY994.
- Replacing ISY with Home Assistant – Part 1 – Preparation (this post)
- Replacing ISY with Home Assistant – Part 1a – Transition Planning
- Replacing ISY with Home Assistant – Part 2 – Making the Switch
- Replacing ISY with Home Assistant – Part 3 – Movin’ In!
They killed it!
I have had an ISY994 since early 2018, and it has served me well. It is the core communicator with my Insteon and Z-Wave devices. However, Universal Devices is killing it in favor of their eisy device.
Now, I have to be very clear: as a software engineer, I absolutely understand their decision. Innovating software while having to support old hardware is a painful process. However, the cost to move is making me look elsewhere.
When I originally purchased the ISY, I paid about $400 for the unit and the Serial PowerLinc Modem (PLM). Considering it has been running for 5 years, $80 a year is not bad at all. But to move to the eisy, I need to buy:
- eisy – $290
- Serial Adapter for my PLM – $26
- Z-Matter USB – $126
So I am looking at about $450 for an upgrade. But some more “recent” developments make me wonder if I can do it better.
Enter Home Assistant
I do not have an exact date, but I have been running Home Assistant for a few years, and I prefer it over the ISY. The interface is newer, and the open source nature makes it a bit more reactive to new technology. Now, Home Assistant has an integration with the ISY, but the ISY’s APIs are, well, flaky. I find myself having to remove/re-add the ISY to Home Assistant, reboot the Home Assistant, and/or reboot the ISY to get it back.
With the ISY being retired, can I just replace it with the Home Assistant? Well, that’s what the prep work is about.
Like any good project, I started by outlining some basic requirements:
- Insteon Support -> I have a lot of Insteon devices, mostly hardwired switches. Supporting those is non-negotiable. I have a Serial PLM, it would be nice to re-use that for communication with my Insteon devices.
- Z-Wave Support -> I have a few Z-Wave devices, mostly some plug-in outlets and a relay. These are currently supported via my ISY, but the antenna is weak and therefore the Z-Wave is less reliable.
- Standalone -> I am running Home Assistant as a Kubernetes node in my production cluster. Sure, it works, and it makes upgrades easier. Having a critical system in lab components makes me nervous, so I want to move Home Assistant to its own hardware.
Right now, I am in experimentation mode. I have ordered some parts to connect my PLM directly to a Raspberry Pi, and have started the process of installing Home Assistant on the Pi. I am also shopping Z-Wave dongles.
The next few weekends will involve some experimentation. I’m sure everyone in the house will be thrilled when Alexa no longer controls the lights…