Smart Homes (or bedrooms) are a great conversation starters, that’s true only if you’re the one that controls them. When your guests aren’t able to use your smart home setup it ain’t fun for them. The solution-route I decided to take is the one that includes a Wall Mounted Panel.


Guide

To make this project you need:

Hardware

  • IKEA PLUTTS (0.99$) [LINK];
  • Wall Adapter (Free with the tablet);
  • El Cheapo Android Tablet (5$ from Subito.it, an italian Craiglist-like site).

Software (Raspberry Pi Side)

  • Home Assistant (check out the guide here).

Software (Android Tablet Side)

P.S.: You’ll need to root your Android Tablet if you want to hide the system bar.

Installation of AppDaemon

AppDaemon is a sandboxed environment for writing apps for Home Assistant.
You can find the documentation here.

Here’re the steps to install AppDaemon:

  • We first need to retrieve the “appdaemon” package. You can use pip3 to retrieve and install it.
    $ sudo pip3 install appdaemon
    
  • Now we need to create a file called appdaemon.yaml somewhere.
    I decided to put it in my Home Assistant Configuration directory.
    cd /path/to/homeassistant/dir
    mkdir appdaemon
    cd appdaemon
    touch appdaemon.yaml
    
  • Then we need to edit the appdaemon configuration file.
    nano appdaemon.yaml
    

    The minimal configuration is something like that:

    AppDaemon:
      disable_apps: 1
      threads: 10
    HASS:
      ha_key: YOUR_HOMEASSISTANT_PASSWORD
      ha_url: YOUR_HOMEASSISTANT_URL
    

    You can copy-paste it and change the values accordingly to your needs.

Now that we have AppDaemon installed we need to daemonize it.

To daemonize it you need to:

  • Create a new file inside /etc/systemd/system/.
    $ sudo touch /etc/systemd/system/appdaemon.service
    
  • Now we need to edit that file with the editor of our choice and describe our service.
    [Unit]
    Description=AppDaemon service for Home Assistant
    
    [Service]
    ExecStart=/usr/local/bin/appdaemon -c /path/to/homeassistant/dir
    
    [Install]
    WantedBy=multi-user.target
    
  • We’re almost done. We need to activate our service. To do so you’ve to type:
    $ sudo systemctl daemon-reload
    $ sudo systemctl enable appdaemon.service --now
    
  • We’re able to start the service now.
    $ sudo service appdaemon start
    

Installation of HADashboard

HADashboard will be the heart of our wall mounted panel.

To install it you need to:

  • Edit the appdaemon.yaml configuration file. Open it with the text editor of your choice.
    Now we need to append to that file the HADashboard configuration.
     HADashboard:
       dash_url: http://YOUR_HA_IP:5050
    
  • Now you’ve to create some folders inside the configuration directory.
    mkdir compiled
    mkdir compiled/css
    mkdir compiled/javascript
    mkdir compiled/html
    
  • Finally we have to make another folder to store our dashboards.
    mkdir dashboards
    
  • Now we’ve to relaunch the appdaemon service. We can do it by sending this command:
    $ sudo service appdaemon restart
    
  • Fire up your browser and try to load the dashboard url, you should see a warning page.

You’re all set! Now we have to build our dashboards. To learn how, follow this guide [LINK].

Creation of the wall mount

Ready To Rock

Here’re the last steps!

  • Snap your tablet in your tablet mount;
  • Launch Google Chrome and to to your dashboard URL;
  • Open the menu and click “add to homescreen”;
  • Close Chrome and launch Hide System Bar;
  • Click the “Hide System Bar” menu entry;
  • Close Hide System Bar;
  • Click on the dashboard shortcut.

You’re all set!
You’ve a great wall mounted house controller and your friends and family will love it!


I’ll surely post more guides like this one when I’ll get my hands on more awesome devices.


Let me know what you think of this dashboard and this article using the comments below or by hitting me up on Twitter.