Saturday, February 25, 2017

Updates in automating my life (HomeBridge,SmartThings, Sonarr, etc...)

I usually like to set up a new project, write a blog post about it, and then move on. But once in a while it is a good idea to go back and see if anything has changed or if anything newer/better has come along.

HomeBridge without SmartThings

It began with Siri no longer controlling my lightbulbs. It would say the light turned on, but nothing would happen. Looking into it, it turned out to be rate limits in SmartThings. The SmartApp JSON Complete API to interface HomeBridge with the SmartThings Hub was reaching this limit so nothing would work. Since I mostly use Siri to control the lights while using my Apple TV, I figured I should look into getting HomeBridge to talk directly to my Philips Hue bridge and WeMo light switch. This way I can eliminate the instability of the SmartThings hub.

I will continue to use Docker on my Synology DS916+ NAS to host automation software as I have found it convenient to use. Using the older version of HomeBridge from my previous guide was not working with the package homebridge-hue that I wanted to use. On my search for a new Docker container, I got marcoraddatz/homebridge:latest to work. I kept the folder and setup structure from my previous setup the same. For my file all I have is


npm install -g homebridge-synology
npm install -g homebridge-hue
npm install -g homebridge-platform-wemo

And for the config.json I added the Philips Hue setup. Following the directions on the page, I copied the users line by running the Docker container and opening the terminal tab to see the output. There is another package called homebridge-philipshue, but it is older and I could not get it to work.

"platforms": [
      "platform": "Hue",
      "name": "Hue",
      "host": "",
      "sensors": false,
      "groups": false,
      "group0": false,
      "rooms": false,
      "lights": true,
      "philipsLights": true,
      "users": {

The Philips Hue setup took me a while to get right. The most important part was to set the lights and philipsLights setting to true. By default everything is false and nothing shows up.

WeMo did not need anything in config.json to work.

[Hue] [39m homebridge-hue v0.2.4, node v6.7.0, homebridge v2.1
Load homebridge-platform-wemo.BelkinWeMo
[homebridge-platform-wemo.BelkinWeMo]  [39m Online: Dryer [94103E3DBB18]
[homebridge-platform-wemo.BelkinWeMo]  [39m Online: Kitchen Light [94103E4B36D4]
[Hue] [39m Philips hue: BSB001 bridge, api v1.16.0
[Hue] [39m Philips hue: 5 accessories
[Hue] [39m Initializing platform accessory 'Philips hue'...
[Hue] [39m Philips hue: 2 services
[Hue] [39m Initializing platform accessory 'Bedroom Light'...
[Hue] [39m Initializing platform accessory 'Living Room Light'...
[Hue] [39m Initializing platform accessory 'Bed Light'...
[Hue] [39m Initializing platform accessory 'TV Light'...

One running, everything automatically appeared in Apple's Home app and Siri was controlling my lights as normal again.

Using SmartThings' Smart Lights

I have a Hue lightbulb in my bedroom lamp which is controlled by either the Amazon Echo in my bedroom or an Amazon Dash button glued under my normal light switch. This setup was always fine for me, but there are times where I just quickly go into my room to get something and leave. The delay to switch the lights on and off was too much of a hassle sometimes so I wouldn't bother.

With a spare lightbulb and SmartThings motion sensor that was not being used, I decided to take a look at the SmartApp Smart Lights provided by SmartThings.

I placed the lightbulb under my bed to create more ambient lighting. I set the motion sensor under my bed facing the door, this way it could detect the moment I walk into my room. 

I set the routine to turn on the lamp and light under my bed for 5 minutes when motion is detected and it is between sunset and sunrise (no need for it to turn on during the day). So far it has worked really well and I love having the lights turn on immediately when I walk in the room and eventually off without me having to worry about it.

Docker containers for Sonarr, CouchPotato and Jackett on Synology

I am so disappointed in being late to the game when it comes to automating downloads. My old routine would be to use Synology's Download Station and wait for seeding to finish before moving the media to my Movies or TV Shows directory and deleting the leftover files. But of course there are ways of automating this!

I use Sonarr to cover automating the download and management of TV Shows, CouchPotato for movies and Jackett in order to interface with 

Sonarr is able to download the newest episodes of any TV shows you tell it to follow. Once downloaded, it can rename and move the file to any location you want. I used the linuxserver/docker-sonarr container for Docker and followed it's instructions, except instead of relying on the command line arguments I set it all up with the Synology Docker wizard. For all the Docker containers I set up, I made sure to set a resource limitation as they can blow up in memory usage when copying files.

Since Sonarr does not work directly with, I set up the Jackett Docker linuxserver/docker-jackett to be able to handle it. As with Sonarr, I just followed the configuration on the page but with the Wizard.

For Movies, I set up the linuxserver/docker-couchpotato Docker container. Luckily CouchPotato supports directly so it was a bit easier to set up. 

Both the latest versions of Sonarr and CouchPotato support interfacing with Download Station. I made sure that it has notification set up with Plex, which is my media server/client of choice across all my devices. Things are running smoothly so far.

That's all I have to update on for now!


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