Home Assistant Yellow 

Overview

After getting fed up with HomeSeer, and how they locked out various manufacturers' products, and lack of bug fixing, I switched to Home Assistant.

I've been using it for some time on a virtual machine (HyperDrive) on my home windows server, but wanted to go from a virtual machine on my windows server to a dedicated device.

A group makes these and uses their own operating system. The first piece of hardware was the Home Assistant Blue, which was ok, but not really modular and not good with all interfaces. The successor is the Home Assistant Yellow (used to be call HA Amber).

It uses a new format of Raspberry Pi, called CM4, Compute Model 4, which has minimal on board peripherals and is intended to be expanded and customized.


 

overview

In the picture above you can see how all the expansion slots/devices are on the HA Yellow.


Sections in this article

Ordering

Installation

Maintenance

Configuration

Tricks


Ordering

This has it's own section, since everything is hard to get these days.

Getting a Yellow:

After ordering in July 2022 and promised in August, I got mine in November 2022.

This uses the new Raspberry PI CM4 which is a stripped down RPi but with bus connectors to expand ports, so you buy a CM4 and plug it into the HA Yellow.

With all the shortages, it took a while to find a CM4 module, mine is a CM4002016. This is a 2 gig ram, 16 gig eMMC unit without wifi.

Here's a datasheet on the CM4:  https://datasheets.raspberrypi.com/cm4/cm4-product-brief.pdf

the part number decodes major features: CM4xyyzzz

    •  x = 0 no wifi
    • x = 1 wifi on board
    •  yy = ram in gigs
    •  zzz = eMMC memory in gigs

The HA yellow has on board WiFi, so you don't want a CM4 with WiFi, it actually causes more configuration issues. Also while you can get a CM4 without eMMC, and boot from the HA yellow board, it's apparently a lot easier to have a CM4 with the onboard eMMC

You can buy various configurations of HA Yellow, a kit, the board without the CM4, and a full unit, assembled with a CM4. This last configuration ships with 2 gig ram and 16 GB eMMC, no wifi CM4. As of the end of 2022, the supply of the various "kits" seems to be loosening up.


Installation / getting started

OK, it arrived. I resisted installing the RPI and plugging it in.

Install the operating system (and the virtual machines / linux)

Starting to look for installation walkthroughs, here's what I found:

 

 

But the system never started to load from the USB memory stick, red and green LEDs on solid and never change.

Tried 2 different memory sticks, no change

 

https://yellow.home-assistant.io/power-supply/#installing-home-assistant-software-on-kit

 

https://yellow.home-assistant.io/support/

 

OK, next tried the serial console.... Putty finds the UART properly, but no response, means no os..

https://yellow.home-assistant.io/guides/use-serial-console-windows/

 

Next tried option 2 from the next site:

https://yellow.home-assistant.io/guides/reinstall-os/

using RPIboot

 

nothing, the pi is dead.... damn...

So ordered and got another CM4..... luckily...

did the HA install, used the imager, put on memory stick, powered up, and it seemed to load...

tried the default address: http://homeassistant.local:8123, nothing....

set up the console port, saw lots of good stuff, and got a login: prompt

was able to see that I was probably not waiting long enough to let it boot the first time, waited a bit and got in and right away forgot the password and had to reinstall and this time made a second admin user and password

 


Options to add Z-wave

You can use either a USB dongle, or use the nice header on the Yellow board, The Aeotec Z-Pi 7 fits this header:

This is where ordering the CM4 without WiFi and Bluetooth pays off, since apparently the port needed for the header is taken by any on board Bluetooth or WiFi

Z Pi 7 HG

Installing the Z-Pi 7

You connect it to the header, there is only one way to do it. After booting the Yellow you can add the Z-Wave integration.

Go to settings, devices and services, and click the"add integration" button

The integrations are alphabetical, so scroll to the end. There are 2 Z-Wave ones, you want the ones that just shows "Z-Wave"

You know you have the right one when it asks about the Z-Wave JS Supervisor, go ahead and load that too.

The address of the header on the board is the ttyAMA0 - /dev/ttyAMA0 unit

I left the security keys blank, to let the system auto generate (I guess you can set one to migrate an existing system over)

after this it should find the controller, mine said 700 Series-based Controller, ZST10-700 (Silicon Labs)

Update the firmware

Of course it neede a firmware update, it came with  7.11.0. HA indicates a bug that is fixed by 7.17.2: https://zwave-js.github.io/node-zwave-js/#/troubleshooting/otw-upgrade

so ok, get the link to do this via linux: https://github.com/kpine/zwave-js-server-docker/wiki/700-series-Controller-Firmware-Updates-(Linux)

looking under firmware downloads, you find version 7.18.1

you are also directed to how to update: https://aeotec.freshdesk.com/support/solutions/articles/6000252296-update-z-stick-7-with-windows

 which gives a link to how to do it via linux: https://aeotec.freshdesk.com/support/solutions/articles/6000252997-update-z-stick-7-through-raspian-os

 

so even though the HA messages say get 7.17.2, you will find references to 7.18.1, and ultimately 7.183

 

using the console port, you can get into linux (root with no password) or the HA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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