Another Home Assistant Update

Yesterday, after moving my GitLab instance, I noticed that the public clone of my Home Assistant configurations was a bit stale, so I decided that it was time to refresh.

In so doing, I also discovered that I was a few releases behind (three, to be exact), and that those intervening releases included several breaking changes. Fortunately, updating my configurations to support Home Assistant 0.57.3 also resolved several longstanding bugs. 🎉

As always, my configuration is available from https://git.ethitter.com/open-source/Home-Assistant-Config. With this update, I've also included the .HA_VERSION file, making it clear what is the latest tested version.

Now, about those bugs:

  • Adjusting the brightness of our Philips Hue bulbs from outside of Home Assistant, either through the Hue app or using one of their switches, would cause the group's brightness slider to become out of sync with the lights.
  • Similarly, if one light in a group was adjusted, all of the lights in the group would also match the first light's setting, even when that wasn't the intent. This was particularly annoying with one group that includes a single bulb used as a nightlight, as it would cause all three bulbs to turn on when only one was requested.
  • Also, lights within a group did not properly sync their brightness between themselves or with the group's brightness slider, leading to unexpected results when subsequently adjusting that group.
  • Lastly, a race condition was resolved in situations where lights were adjusted using Hue switches or the app. Previously, if a group of lights had their brightness adjusted several times in close succession, each light would respond independently and then attempt to update the other bulbs with a potentially-outdated brightness, causing a "pulsing" or "strobe" effect as each light struggled to reach the final brightness.

In addition to these bug fixes, I refined the custom scene selectors, removing a situation where an invalid scene was parsed; this had no impact on the Home Assistant UI, but the invalid scene did create a significant volume of warnings in the log.

Now that I'm running the latest Home Assistant, I can add some new integrations from recent releases. On my list to consider are:

  • Linode and Digital Ocean sensors, as another way to keep an eye on my network.
  • USPS sensor so that my husband can see what mail we're expecting; right now, the emails are only sent to me.
  • Todoist support so that I can automatically create a task when there's a new Home Assistant release.
  • Google Assistant to replace the Emulated Hue feature.

Lastly, I'd like to find a way to "preset" the Hue bulbs' color temperature based on the sun's position. When I last tried to do this, it was only possible to do so if the lights were on, which dissuaded me. With the recent improvements to Home Assistant's automation support, I believe that can more-easily overcome this limitation by capturing the previous brightness, turning the bulb on to a brightness of 1 and adjusting the color, then finally restoring the original brightness just before turning the bulb off. My hope is that the automations will execute quickly enough that the process won't be very noticeable. If successful, I can also curtail brightness as the day progresses.

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