Tag Archives: raspberry pi

How to update Home Assistant Docker Container

Continuing from my previous guide on how to setup Home Assistant + Docker + Z-Wave + Raspberry Pi, this tutorial will show you how to update Home Assistant to the latest version. Updating Home Assistant to the latest version is critical to ensure you have the latest bug fixes, integrations, and security patches.

Note: during the update your devices will continue to work fine, but please note any automations or access to the application will not be available, so it’s recommended to do this during a time that you know no automations will be running.

Validate your current version

Navigate to the Developer Tools section of Home Assistant. Here you can validate the latest version you currently have deployed.

Get the current name of your container and version

sudo docker ps

In running this command, note the NAME of your container as well as the IMAGE.

Stop and delete the container

Replace the name of the container in the command below with the value you had.

sudo docker stop home-assistant
sudo docker rm home-assistant

Update packages

Some versions of HA require newer versions of Python, Docker, etc. I may consider updating to latest package versions first.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

Pull the latest container from Docker Hub

Replace the value below with your IMAGE value you documented in the previous steps.

sudo docker pull homeassistant/raspberrypi4-homeassistant:stable

Deploy the container

Make sure your replace the name and value of the image with the values in the previous step. In addition, ensure you specify the correct path to where you existing configuration files exist to have the container load your existing configurations.

sudo docker run --init -d --restart=always --name="home-assistant" -e "TZ=America/Chicago" --device=/dev/ttyACM0 -v /home/docker/home-assistant:/config --net=host homeassistant/raspberrypi4-homeassistant:stable

Note: If you are now using the Z-Wave JS docker container, you will not want to attach the Z-Wave stick to the Home-Assistant container. In this case, run the following command:

sudo docker run --init -d --restart=always --name="home-assistant" -e "TZ=America/Chicago" -v /home/docker/home-assistant:/config --net=host homeassistant/raspberrypi4-homeassistant:stable

Validate your version number

After a few minutes, navigate back to the Developers Tools page. Upon load, you should now be on the latest version of Home Assistant.


You can find the latest, stable, and development builds out on docker hub here: https://hub.docker.com/u/homeassistant

For example, for raspberrypi4 builds, here you can validate the versions of all the different containers offered: https://hub.docker.com/r/homeassistant/raspberrypi4-homeassistant/tags

Home Assistant + Docker + Z-Wave + Raspberry Pi

Notice: Home Assistant has released a new integration called Z-Wave JS. You should be using that integration vs the older Z-Wave integration that this article covers. I will be updating this guide soon.

A few years back I had a SmartThings Hub and for the most part it worked great. It was simple to setup, can be accessed anywhere, and for the most part automatically updated itself. Unfortunately, with the acquisition of it by Samsung, it seems to have turned into bloatware with poor responsiveness, the mobile application’s UI is horrific, and they have a less than desirable security/privacy policy.

Luckily, the open source community has thrown together Home Assistant, an open source home automation project backed by hundreds/thousands of individuals. Over the years, they have now brought native support for mobile devices, at time of writing this there are 1500+ integrations for dang near any device, and the software puts you in control of who has access to and where your data is accessible.

The one trade-off though is while Home Assistant works well and is very extensible, the documentation and usability of the application can be overwhelming to understand for someone new to home automation, unfamiliar with Linux/Open Source technologies, or new to debugging/command line interfaces.

In this case, I’ve tried to document a crash course in getting Home Assistant up and running as quickly as possible for those that want to get started with Z-Wave devices and Home Assistant.


You can leverage pretty much any hardware with Home Assistant, but here are the two items I used in my venture. Home Assistant has a full list of recommendations for what hardware to use for Home Assistant (https://www.home-assistant.io/getting-started/#suggested-hardware) as well as what Z-Wave controllers are supported (https://www.home-assistant.io/docs/z-wave/controllers/).

Update your Raspberry Pi

First things first, update your Raspberry Pi with the latest updates. Open up Terminal or SSH to your Raspberry Pi and execute the following command:

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade

Prepare your Z-Wave USB Stick

Plug in your Z-Wave USB stick. Once plugged in, we need to find the device path so that we can reference it for Home Assistant. Execute the lsusb command to find your device ID. In this case, you can see my device ID begins with 0658.

[email protected]:/dev# lsusb
Bus 002 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0003 Linux Foundation 3.0 root hub
Bus 001 Device 003: ID 0658:0200 Sigma Designs, Inc. Aeotec Z-Stick Gen5 (ZW090) - UZB
Bus 001 Device 002: ID 2109:3431 VIA Labs, Inc. Hub
Bus 001 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub

Next, let’s find what the device path is for the USB stick. You can do this by executing the following command: dmesg | egrep ‘0658|acm’ Please note, if you purchased a difference device, 0658 may be a different number. In this case, you can see my device is presented on ttyACM0.

[email protected]:/dev# dmesg | egrep '0658|acm'
[    1.405327] usb 1-1.2: New USB device found, idVendor=0658, idProduct=0200, bcdDevice= 0.00
[    3.468875] cdc_acm 1-1.2:1.0: ttyACM0: USB ACM device
[    3.471348] usbcore: registered new interface driver cdc_acm
[    3.471359] cdc_acm: USB Abstract Control Model driver for USB modems and ISDN adapters

Install Docker

Home Assistant doesn’t require Docker, but by leveraging Docker you can easily copy/backup your configuration and simply redeploy the container if something goes wrong. As updates are made, you can simply remove your container and redeploy. To install Docker, execute the following command:

curl -sSL https://get.docker.com | sh

Deploy Home Assistant Docker Container

Once Docker is installed, you can deploy the container from Docker Hub. Docker Hub is a public repository that has tons of different prebuilt containers to deploy. Here you can find the official homeassistant containers: https://hub.docker.com/u/homeassistant

To deploy the container, execute the following line, replacing the following variables with your desired configuration:

  • –name=”the name of your container
  • -e “TM=YourTimezone
  • –device=/dev/ttyACM0
    • This allows the container to leverage the Z-Wave USB device. Make sure you specify the path to your device found in the previous step
  • -v /home/docker/home-assistant:/config
    • This is the path that the home assistant configuration files should be stored to. You can specify a fileshare or other path to place your configuration files.
  • –net=host homeassistant/raspberrypi4-homeassistant:stable
    • The first half of this is the container you wish to deploy and the second half is the version. You can find all of Home Assistant’s official containers here: https://hub.docker.com/u/homeassistant
sudo docker run --init -d --restart=always --name="home-assistant" -e "TZ=America/Chicago" --device=/dev/ttyACM0 -v /home/docker/home-assistant:/config --net=host homeassistant/raspberrypi4-homeassistant:stable

Setup Home Assistant

Give the container a few minutes to deploy and configure itself for the first time. After a few minutes, try opening your web browser and navigating to the IP address assigned to your machine, using port number 8123:

When the page loads, it should first ask for your Name, Username, and Password. This is the username and password you will use to login to Home Assistant.

Next, specify the location of where your Home Assistant deployment is located. Oddly enough, you cannot type in a location, but you can place the pin near your location by dragging the map around and clicking once to set the pin.

Once you click Next, Home Assistant may have already found a few devices connected to your network. You can add them now or skip and add them later.

Tell Home Assistant to use your Z-Wave USB Stick

Although we granted access to the container to use the Z-Wave USB Stick, you need to tell Home Assistant how to leverage the device. To do so, you will need to open up Terminal or SSH to your machine and edit the configuration.yaml file to point to the device. Before we get into modifying the configuration.yaml file, first execute the following command to generate a Z-Wave Security Key. This key may be required by Z-Wave security devices (Door Locks, Keypads, etc), as an extra layer of security. More information on this can be found here: https://www.home-assistant.io/docs/z-wave/adding#network-key

Execute the following command via Terminal or SSH:

cat /dev/urandom | tr -dc '0-9A-F' | fold -w 32 | head -n 1 | sed -e 's/\(..\)/0x\1, /g' -e 's/, $//'

Once you execute the command, it should give you a string of characters that look something like:

“0x01, 0x02, 0x03, 0x04, 0x05, 0x06, 0x07, 0x08, 0x09, 0x0A, 0x0B, 0x0C, 0x0D, 0x0E, 0x0F, 0x10”

Next, we need to edit the configuration.yaml file, which can be found in the path specified when the Docker container was deployed (using the -v parameter). For the purpose of this article, /home/docker/home-assistant/configuration.yaml is where the file is located. Using your favorite text editor, add the following lines of code:

  usb_path: /dev/ttyACM0
  network_key: "0x01, 0x02, 0x03, 0x04, 0x05, 0x06, 0x07, 0x08, 0x09, 0x0A, 0x0B, 0x0C, 0x0D, 0x0E, 0x0F, 0x10"
configuration.yaml file with Z-Wave configuration

Once saved, go back to Home Assistant and click the Gear icon and then select Server Controls

Select the Restart button to restart Home Assistant. Any time you make a change to the configuration.yaml file, you will need to restart Home Assistant to pickup the configuration changes.

Click OK to Restart

Upon restart, navigate back to the Gear icon and you should see a new entry in the Config portal for Z-Wave. If you do not see the “Z-Wave” section, scroll down to the troubleshooting step at the end of this article.

Add a Z-Wave device

Once you see that your Z-Wave network has started, adding a device is a piece of cake. First click the Add Node button. When you click the button, nothing will happen, but go ahead and put your device in inclusion mode. Once the device is in inclusion mode, Home Assistant should automatically add the device.

At this point, if you navigate back to Configuration (Gear icon) and select Devices

You should see your newly added Z-Wave device!

At this point, you can select the Device to give it a friendly name or start to work on building your own home automation actions.

Hope this helped! If you have any comments or suggestions on how to improve this guide, please drop it below.

Troubleshooting Missing Z-Wave Configuration

The first time I ran through this, I noticed I was missing the Z-Wave configuration tile after making changes to the configuration.yaml file. It turned out I specified the wrong device path in the configuration file. To verify, you can check the logs from your Docker container by executing the following command in your Terminal or via SSH. (Replace home-assistant with the name of your container if you specified something else)

sudo docker logs home-assistant

In my case, I had the following error:

2020-02-16 21:08:01 INFO (MainThread) [homeassistant.components.scene] Setting up scene.homeassistant
2020-02-16 21:08:02 INFO (MainThread) [homeassistant.components.zwave] Z-Wave USB path is /dev/ttyACM01
2020-02-16 21:08:02 ERROR (MainThread) [homeassistant.config_entries] Error setting up entry Z-Wave (import from configuration.yaml) for zwave
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "/usr/local/lib/python3.7/site-packages/openzwave/option.py", line 78, in __init__
    raise ZWaveException(u"Can't find device %s : %s" % (device, traceback.format_exception(*sys.exc_info())))
openzwave.object.ZWaveException: "Zwave Generic Exception : Can't find device /dev/ttyACM01 : ['NoneType: None\\n']"

During handling of the above exception, another exception occurred:

Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "/usr/src/homeassistant/homeassistant/config_entries.py", line 215, in async_setup
    hass, self
  File "/usr/src/homeassistant/homeassistant/components/zwave/__init__.py", line 369, in async_setup_entry
  File "/usr/local/lib/python3.7/site-packages/openzwave/option.py", line 81, in __init__
    raise ZWaveException(u"Error when retrieving device %s : %s" % (device, traceback.format_exception(*sys.exc_info())))
openzwave.object.ZWaveException: 'Zwave Generic Exception : Error when retrieving device /dev/ttyACM01 : [\'Traceback (most recent call last):\\n\', \'  File "/usr/local/lib/python3.7/site-packages/openzwave/option.py", line 78, in __init__\\n    raise ZWaveException(u"Can\\\'t find device %s : %s" % (device, traceback.format_exception(*sys.exc_info())))\\n\', \'openzwave.object.ZWaveException: "Zwave Generic Exception : Can\\\'t find device /dev/ttyACM01 : [\\\'NoneType: None\\\\\\\\n\\\']"\\n\']'

Here you can see I accidentally specified /dev/ttyACM01 vs /dev/ttyACM0. Simply updating the configuration.yaml file with the correct device path solved the issue.

How to install NodeJS on a Raspberry Pi

Installing NodeJS on a Raspberry Pi can be a bit tricky.  Over the years, the ARM based processor has gone through several versions (ARMv6, ARMv7, and ARMv8), in which there are different flavors of NodeJS to each of these architectures.

Depending on the version you have, you will need to manually install NodeJS vs grabbing the packages via a traditional apt-get install nodejs.

Step 1: Validate what version of the ARM chipset you have

First let’s find out what ARM version you have for your Raspberry Pi.  To do that, execute the following command:

uname -m

You should receive something like: armv61

Step 2: Find the latest package to download from nodeJS’s website

Navigate to https://nodejs.org/en/download/ and scroll down to the latest Linux Binaries for ARM that match your instance.  Right click and copy the address to the instance that matches your processor’s architecture.  For example, if you saw armv61, you’d copy the download for ARMv6

Step 3: Download and install nodeJS

Within your SSH/console session on the Raspberry Pi, change to your local home directory and execute the following command (substituting in the URL you copied in the previous step in what’s outlined in red below).  For example:

cd ~
wget https://nodejs.org/dist/v8.11.3/node-v8.11.3-linux-armv6l.tar.xz

Next, extract the tarball (substituting in the name of the tarball you downloaded in the previous step) and change the directory to the extracted files

tar -xvf node-v8.11.3-linux-armv6l.tar.xz
cd node-v8.11.3-linux-armv6l

Next, remove a few files that aren’t used and copy the files to /usr/local

cp -R * /usr/local/

Step 4: Validate the installation

You can validate that you have successfully installed NodeJS by running the following commands to return the version numbers for NodeJS and npm

node -v
npm -v

That’s it!  Have fun!


Setting up WeeWX with a Raspberry PI

This is a quick setup guide on how to configure the open source software WeeWX for a Personal Weather Station (PWS).  I highly recommend you check out the WeeWX User Guide as this information is very well documented.  Here is a reflection of how I was able to get WeeWX installed on a Raspberry PI with a brand new weather station.

  1. Setup your Raspberry PI
    1. How to setup your Raspberry PI: http://jackstromberg.com/2018/03/setting-up-a-new-raspberry-pi-via-ssh/
      1. Note: Raspbian is a distribution based upon Debian.  In this case, we will follow the Debian instructions for setting up WeeWX.
        1. http://weewx.com/docs/debian.htm
  2. (Optional) Configure the Raspberry PI to be localized to your environment
    1. sudo raspi-config
      1. Here you can arrow down to Localization Options and configure the timezone to match that of your console/weather sensor.  Keeping time is critical, so if possible, try to keep the date/time between your weather station and the Raspberry PI as close as possible.
  3. Configure Apt-Get to look for the WeeWX packages
    wget -qO - http://weewx.com/keys.html | sudo apt-key add -
    sudo wget -qO - https://weewx.com/apt/weewx-python3.list | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/weewx.list

    Note: Use https://weewx.com/apt/weewx-python3.list for Debian 10.X (latest version of raspbian as of 2021-07-23 will use this); otherwise use https://weewx.com/apt/weewx-python2.list for Debian 9.X.

  4. Update your Raspberry-PI to use the latest packages
    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get upgrade
  5. Before installation, ensure you have your console or device setup and connected to your Raspberry PI for WeeWX to pull the data
  6. Determine the interface the console is connected to (if using a directly attached data loggerm skip if using an IP based source)
    1. Execute the command dmesg and look for what interface the data logger is connected to
      1. In my example, you can see the data logger is connected to ttyUSB0
  7. Launch the installation wizard for weewx
    1. sudo apt-get install weewx
      1. Note: You will likely be prompted to install a few dependencies, type Y for yes to install them
  8. Installation
    1. Enter the location of your weather station: Santa’s Workshop, North Pole
    2. Enter in the latitude, longitude of your weather station
      1. Note: If you don’t have GPS, you can easily find this by using Bing Maps or Google Maps, navigating to your location, and right clicking.
        1. For Bing, it will just show you the lat/long values when you right click
        2. For Google, click on “What’s Here” and it will list these values
      2. Note: You can be more specific than 3 digits behind the decimal, so if you want to use a more specific set of coordinates like 40.689167, -74.044444, that is acceptable.
    3. Enter in your Altitude of where the weather station is
      1. You can use Google Earth to find the altitude or this tool here: https://www.freemaptools.com/elevation-finder.htm
    4. Set your preferred unit of measurement
      1. US (Imperial) or Metric
    5. Select your weather station type
      1. I.e. AcuRite, Vantage (if using Davis), etc.
    6. Select the interface the device is listening on
    7. For those using serial port, select the interface that the data logger is connected to.  You should have found this in step 4 above; if using ethernet, go ahead and type in the IP, Port, etc. of the data logger.
  9. At this point WeeWX is technically installed, however many individuals will want to present the WeeWX reports via webpage.  In this case, we’ll install nginx, which is a lightweight webserver
    1. sudo apt-get install nginx
      1. More details on this can be found here: http://www.weewx.com/docs/usersguide.htm#integrating_with_webserver
  10. Configure WeeWX to minimize disk IO
    1. Why do we need to do this?  Since Raspberry PI’s leverage SD cards, there is typically a finite number of reads/writes to the SD Card.  In this case, it is recommended to either leverage an external database/fileserver for WeeWX to write its reports.  Alternatively, we can also configure WeeWX to leverage ram to host the reports, which will prevent IO to the SD card (in this case, theoretically increasing the life of the drive)
      1. Three approaches are outlined here–in this guide I’ll reflect the GitHub page in saving reports to a temporary file system using tmpfs
        1. Add an entry to fstab
          1. echo "weewx_reports /var/weewx/reports tmpfs size=20M,noexec,nosuid,nodev 0 0" | sudo tee -a /etc/fstab
        2. Mount the new file system
          1. sudo mkdir -p /var/weewx/reports
          2. sudo mount -a
        3. Update weewx.config file to point to new directory
          1. sudo sed -i -e 's%HTML_ROOT =.*%HTML_ROOT = /var/weewx/reports%' /etc/weewx/weewx.conf
        4. Restart WeeWX service
          1. sudo service weewx restart
        5. Create symbolic link to point webserver to the reports
          1. sudo ln -s /var/weewx/reports /var/www/html/weewx
        6. Give the web server the ability to read from the directory
          1. sudo chmod -R 755 /var/www/html/weewx

At this point, go ahead and browse out to http://youripaddress/weewx/ to see your weather.


WeeWX updates the webpage every 30 minutes (1800 seconds) out of the box.  You can force a report update by executing wee_reports weewx.conf or you can modify the /etc/weewx/weewx.conf file by changing the archive_interval variable (in seconds) under the [StdArchive] section.

You can modify the Weewx configuration by editing: /etc/weewx/weewx.conf

You can validate if WeeWX is running by executing: service weewx status

You can look at diagnostics logs by following the guide here: http://www.weewx.com/docs/usersguide.htm#monitoring

Best practices guide on using WeeWX + Raspberry PI: https://github.com/weewx/weewx/wiki/Raspberry%20Pi

Setting up a new Raspberry Pi via SSH

This is my super subpar tutorial on how to quickly setup a new Raspberry Pi via SSH (no mouse/keyboard/monitor directly attached to the device).

  1. Download the latest copy of the operating system (I personally prefer Raspbian Stretch Lite for the most minimal setup): https://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads/raspbian/
  2. Extract the download so you have a copy of the ****-**-**-raspbian-stretch-lite.img file
  3. Download Etcher to burn the image to an SD Card: https://etcher.io/
  4. Download a copy of Putty if you don’t have a way to ssh: https://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/latest.html
  5. Open the SD card you just flashed and you should see the “boot” partition.  Create a file called ssh (no file extension or data needs to be written to the file)
    1. Note: ssh is disabled on all OS builds starting November 16 forward — see here: https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentation/remote-access/ssh/
  6. Default credentials:
    1. Username: pi
    2. Password: raspberry
  7. Quick commands
    1. Configure Raspberry PI specific settings: sudo raspi-config
    2. Proper Shutdown (-h) / Restart (-r): sudo shutdown -h now

Unlike most laptops/desktops, the Raspberry Pi doesn’t have a shutdown button, so always use the commands above to prevent SD Card corruption!