Archive for category: Technology

How to install Home Assistant on an Orange Pi Zero

If you’re here, you probably know what Home Assistant is. If not, you can take a look at my previous article about Home Assistant.
Probably the easiest way to start with Home Assistant is with a Raspberry Pi, but instead of using one of these I chose to install it on a different board, an Orange Pi Zero.

Why use an Orange Pi Zero for Home Assistant?

Well, compared to a Raspberry Pi 3, an Orange Pi Zero is a pretty capable board, powerful enough for running Home Assistant in a smaller footprint at a very reasonable price (links below).
The lack of an HDMI port in the Orange Pi Zero is absolutely no problem in this type of application. And the power consumption is slightly lower than on a Raspberry Pi 3.

In this post I will show you how to install Home Assistant in a Python virtual environment on an Orange Pi Zero running Armbian, however, these steps are likely to work on most boards running debian-based systems.
Using a virtual environment will prevent your Python installation and Home Assistant installation from impacting each other.
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How to install Armbian Debian on an Orange Pi Zero

For those who don’t know, Armbian is a Debian or Ubuntu based Operating System for ARM single board computers. It is supported on board such as Orange Pi One, Orange Pi Zero, NanoPi Neo, Rock64, Pine64, Tinker Board, Banana Pi and many others. It is like what Raspbian is to a Raspberry Pi and its installation is not much different. I’ll show you here the steps needed to install Armbian Debian on an Orange Pi Zero but it will be similar for any other board.
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Home Assistant, the missing piece I needed to get into home automation

For a long time I’ve watched the world of home automation with eager interest in the hope that one day I would be able to apply it in my own home.

Over the years I have read about various systems and protocols used in home automation such as the X10, Z-Wave, ZigBee or Insteon. Some of them use cables or the power line for signaling and control, while others communicate wirelessly via radio waves. Some of them proprietary and others open. But usually incompatible with each other.

Unfortunately, due to their high cost, the difficulty of acquiring the components at that time, their technical limitations, their complex installation or their bad UX from inside and/or outside the home made it impossible for me to implement them in my own home. Until now.
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Start using a VPN right now!

Maybe you’re not using a VPN yet. Perhaps you don’t even know what a VPN is. But it’s more likely you use a connected device such as a smartphone, a tablet or a PC everyday. If that is the case, I strongly suggest that you continue reading. It’ll be worth it.
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How to upgrade DD-WRT

Sooner or later after installing DD-WRT on your router you will need to upgrade it. Fortunately this task is easier than the initial installation.

First, you will need to download the appropriate file for your router. To do this, you can go to any of the following addresses and look for the model of your router:

ftp://ftp.dd-wrt.com/betas/

https://download1.dd-wrt.com/dd-wrtv2/downloads/betas/

https://dd-wrt.com/support/other-downloads/?path=betas

In my case, as I have a Linksys WRT1900ACS, I browsed up to this folder:

ftp://ftp.dd-wrt.com/betas/2018/07-28-2018-r36410/linksys-wrt1900acs/

In the corresponding folder you will find two files. The factory-to-ddwrt file is to flash the router from OEM to DD-WRT, which is the one we used in the first installation. The webflash file is to upgrade when already running DD-WRT and is the one we need now. In my case I downloaded:

https://download1.dd-wrt.com/dd-wrtv2/downloads/betas/2018/07-28-2018-r36410/linksys-wrt1900acs/ddwrt-linksys-wrt1900acs-webflash.bin

Next, access the router’s GUI (by default is at 192.168.1.1), go to the Administration tab and click the Firmware Upgrade tab.

Click the Browse… button and select the file you have previously downloaded.

Finally, click the Upgrade button and wait until the router restarts.

 


Some handy links

Wiki dd-wrt: Upgrading to a Newer Version of DD-WRT
How to install DD-WRT on the Linksys WRT1900ACS Wireless Router
Linksys WRT1900ACS product page [Amazon UK]