Raspbian Jessie as OpenHAB + MQTT Server: Part 3: Add Websockets

Nowhere near completely usable, BUT, what IS working so far:

  • Websocket javascript with Paho library subscribes succesfully to the Websocket listener on Mosquitto
  • I can subscribe, and recieve all the published messages on the HAB
  • I am using the data received, to dynamically, and automatically, build up a device tree – it looks at the topic path (remember how a year a ago I wrote a post about why the topic name is important (; – here you see why – from the topic names i can deduce the entire hierarchy automatically)
  • Clicking any item in the tree brings ip a CONTROL interface – to be extended with sensorvalues, etc
  • The basic concept here is working great – by setting my devices to announce themselves, or response to a broadcast requesting them to announce themselves, I can cut a LOT of configuration out – theoretically I can have a new device connect to MQTT, send the page its name, location, connected devices, what those devices are (switch, dimmer, sensor, or actuator) and the javascript can automagically make a UI for it. This means you can mostly get away without a server, without a database.

Source being shared here: https://github.com/openhardwarecoza/ESP8266-Sketches/tree/master/htt-websocket-esp8266



Raspbian Jessie as OpenHAB + MQTT Server: Part 2: Add OpenHAB

I’ll be very brief on Part 2:  Since I already wrote extensively on the install and configuration:

sudo apt-get update
 sudo apt-get install oracle-java8-jdk
sudo update-java-alternatives -s jdk-8-oracle-arm-vfp-hflt
wget -qO - 'https://bintray.com/user/downloadSubjectPublicKey?username=openhab' | sudo apt-key add -
echo "deb http://dl.bintray.com/openhab/apt-repo stable main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/openhab.list
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install openhab-runtime
sudo service openhab status
sudo service openhab start

See https://openhardwarecoza.wordpress.com/2015/03/29/openhab-mqtt-arduino-and-esp8266-part-1-setting-up-your-environment/ for more details on configuring OpenHAB


Raspbian Jessie as OpenHAB + MQTT Server: Part 1: Add Websockets!

My home automation system has been running stable for well over a year, but the versions of the software in use have started to show age.   For that matter, the hardware too.   I have been using an old Cubieboard A10 board to run OpenHAB +Mosquitto on, and lately, its been needing a reboot every now and then to keep on working

The friendly folks at FabCreator.com donated a new Raspberry Pi 3 to the LaserWeb project, so with that upgrade, I now have a spare Raspberry Pi B+ available (no longer in use for LaserWeb development) so I decided to repurpose this old B+ into a new OpenHAB+Mosquitto server.  Also, in the year or so since my last install, Mosquitto now comes with WebSocket support.  This is something I REALLY want to play with – would help a lot for adding quick dashboards onto the HAB (Not HAB – as in Home Automation Bus…  not OpenHAB – with WebSockets I can choose to listen in on the MQTT layer, and either just display updates, or also send MQTT messages to the broker, and in turn to the devices or the OpenHAB server. )

So, here we go:

1.  I downloaded Rasbian Jessie from Raspberrypi.org

2.  I burned it to an SD card with Win32DiskImager and booted up the Raspberry Pi B+

3.  Next, I configured a static IP, and did some standard setup (expand filesystem, allocate memory for headless use, overclock to medium, etc)

Install Mosquitto with WebSocket Support

The version of Mosquitto in the RPi repos doesnt support Websockets, so first we need to add a Repo from mosquitto.org, then install Mosquitto

wget http://repo.mosquitto.org/debian/mosquitto-repo.gpg.key
sudo apt-key add mosquitto-repo.gpg.key
cd /etc/apt/sources.list.d/
sudo wget http://repo.mosquitto.org/debian/mosquitto-jessie.list
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install mosquitto mosquitto-clients

Note: At the time of writing this gave me  Mosquitto version 1.4.9 (build date Fri, 03 Jun 2016 09:02:12 +0100)

Enable Websocket Support

Open the Mosquitto config in your favourite editor

sudo nano /etc/mosquitto/mosquitto.conf

By default, mosquitto comes without any listeners.  We want to add two listeners:  one standard MQTT protocol listener on port 1883,    and a second listener on port 1884 (for the Websocket protocol)

Your config file should look something like this:  Once done, save and exit.














Restart mosquitto:

sudo service mosquitto restart

If you want to confirm that worked, run:

sudo netstat -nlp | grep mosquitto






As you can see in the screenshot above, both :1883 and :1884 are listening (:

Now, if you are anything like me, you’re probably anxious to test that newfound feature first right? Lets test that Websocket Connection!
But i’m also lazy, so lets test it without a single line of code (;

Head over to http://mitsuruog.github.io/what-mqtt/

Enter your local Websocket IP and connect. Subscribe and publish – see if it works (: – mine did! First try, this went easier than I expected


PIR sensor, ESP8266 and MQTT


Install MQTT and start a test subscribe:


sudo apt-get install mosquitto mosquitto-clients
mosquitto_sub -t outTopic

Arduino/ESP8266 Sketch


On the ESP8266:  Install the following sketch using Arduino ( Note I won’t go into detail on setting up Arduino for ESP8266, lots of articles on the Internet already explain that)

NB: Do make sue you install the MQTT library: https://github.com/knolleary/pubsubclient


 Basic ESP8266 MQTT example

 This sketch demonstrates the capabilities of the pubsub library in combination
 with the ESP8266 board/library.

 It connects to an MQTT server then:
  - publishes "hello world" to the topic "outTopic" every two seconds
  - subscribes to the topic "inTopic", printing out any messages
    it receives. NB - it assumes the received payloads are strings not binary
  - If the first character of the topic "inTopic" is an 1, switch ON the ESP Led,
    else switch it off

 It will reconnect to the server if the connection is lost using a blocking
 reconnect function. See the 'mqtt_reconnect_nonblocking' example for how to
 achieve the same result without blocking the main loop.

 To install the ESP8266 board, (using Arduino 1.6.4+):
  - Add the following 3rd party board manager under "File -> Preferences -> Additional Boards Manager URLs":
  - Open the "Tools -> Board -> Board Manager" and click install for the ESP8266"
  - Select your ESP8266 in "Tools -> Board"


#include <ESP8266WiFi.h>
#include <PubSubClient.h>

// Update these with values suitable for your network.

const char* ssid = "openhardwarecoza";
const char* password = "novell1234";
const char* mqtt_server = "";
int counter = 0;
int previousReading = LOW;

WiFiClient espClient;
PubSubClient client(espClient);
long lastMsg = 0;
char msg[50];
int value = 0;

void setup_wifi() {

  // We start by connecting to a WiFi network
  Serial.print("Connecting to ");

  WiFi.begin(ssid, password);

  while (WiFi.status() != WL_CONNECTED) {

  Serial.println("WiFi connected");
  Serial.println("IP address: ");

void callback(char* topic, byte* payload, unsigned int length) {
  Serial.print("Message arrived [");
  Serial.print("] ");
  for (int i = 0; i < length; i++) {

  // Switch on the LED if an 1 was received as first character
  if ((char)payload[0] == '1') {
    digitalWrite(BUILTIN_LED, LOW);   // Turn the LED on (Note that LOW is the voltage level
    // but actually the LED is on; this is because
    // it is acive low on the ESP-01)
  } else {
    digitalWrite(BUILTIN_LED, HIGH);  // Turn the LED off by making the voltage HIGH


void reconnect() {
  // Loop until we're reconnected
  while (!client.connected()) {
    Serial.print("Attempting MQTT connection...");
    // Attempt to connect
    if (client.connect("ESP8266Client")) {
      // Once connected, publish an announcement...
      client.publish("outTopic", "hello world");
      // ... and resubscribe
    } else {
      Serial.print("failed, rc=");
      Serial.println(" try again in 5 seconds");
      // Wait 5 seconds before retrying

void setup() {
  pinMode(BUILTIN_LED, OUTPUT);     // Initialize the BUILTIN_LED pin as an output
  client.setServer(mqtt_server, 1883);
  pinMode(12, INPUT);

void loop() {

  if (!client.connected()) {
  int reading = digitalRead(12);
  if (previousReading == LOW && reading == HIGH) {
    client.publish("outTopic", "Motion Detected");  
    Serial.print("Triggered ");
    Serial.print("x Times! ");

  previousReading = reading;



Connect VCC on the IR Sensor to 5v (NB it has an onboard 3.3v regulator, so the output voltage is 3.3v (safe for ESP) but it needs to be powered off 5v!)
Connect Signal to pin 12 on the ESP8266 (or change the Arduino code to the pin where you wired it to)
Connect GND to GND

Order PIR Sensors?

AliExpress.com Product – 1pcs High Quality HC-SR501 Infrared PIR Motion Sensor Module For Arduino Raspberry pi

AliExpress.com Product – New HC-SR501 Adjust IR Pyroelectric Infrared PIR Motion Sensor Detector Module SG039-SZ


Wifi 3D printing / CNC / Laser with ESP8266 / Bluetooth with HC06

A friend of mine (or am I being too forward?) suggested in the comment thread on Google Plus that adding Wifi/Bluetooth to SmoothieBrainz would be a good idea:

So I added it:

Two-in-one footprint allows you to solder on either a HC-05 bluetooth module, or an ESP12 Wifi module.

For the Wifi module, preprogram it with ESPLINK firmware:





OpenHAB and MiLight – Smart LED bulbs at a price even you can afford!

Recently I discovered that OpenHAB comes with a Binding to support cheap chinese Milight Smart LED bulbs:


You need:

Bulbs + Wifi Bridge:  AliExpress.com 4pcs/lot LED RGBW bulb 6W E27 base Milight AC85-265V & Four Zone Remote & WiFi Controller


4x 2.4G Wireless MiLight RGBW Warm White E27 9W LED Bulb Smart Light + Milight WiFi Controller iOS/Android

and the MiLight Binding from https://github.com/openhab/openhab/wiki/Milight-Binding

Here’s some Youtube videos I found of other people playing with MiLight:

Can’t wait for get some!  If you want to support the work I do consider donating me a set?

Have a good one!

OpenHAB and HTTP Toggle Buttons

Yesterday, one of my readers contacted me to ask:

do you have en example of a switch calling a url? failing quite badly at getting it to work

So, herewith I oblige:   Here’s how I would set it up:

 sudo vi /opt/openhab/configurations/items/dolphin.items

In my Items file, I add an item:

Switch Toggle "Toggle" (all) { autoupdate="true" }

Next, I add this item to my Sitemap:

sudo vi /opt/openhab/configurations/sitemaps/dolphin.sitemap

and add it like:

 Switch item=Toggle label="Toggle"

Next, we need to create a rule to manage this toggling action into HTTP requests:

sudo vi /opt/openhab/configurations/rules/httpreq.rules

and inside this file I add two rules, one to catch the ON and one to catch the OFF:

rule updateToggleOn
 Item Toggle received command ON
rule updateToggleOff
 Item Toggle received command OFF

Now, in this case the device I am controlling is a simple ESP8266 WebApp from https://github.com/nodemcu/nodemcuirmware/blob/master/lua_examples/webap_toggle_pin.lua to demonstrate the idea to Michael.  Since its this simple sketch, you can expect a cosmetic error to popup in openhab.log:

05:37:12.169 ERROR o.openhab.io.net.http.HttpUtil[:230]- Fatal protocol violation: org.apache.commons.httpclient.ProtocolException: The server failed to respond with a valid HTTP response

05:37:12.169 ERROR o.openhab.io.net.http.HttpUtil[:230]- Fatal protocol violation: org.apache.commons.httpclient.ProtocolException: The server failed to respond with a valid HTTP response

The ESP8266 sketch doesnt return a valid HTTP header. No worries though, ignore the error – it still works!

So, the above example takes care of a device needing an “on” and “off” …

But what about a a “toggle” or “momentary” button (Garage door opener for example?)

Easy:  One simple change in the Items file and one less rule:

Switch Toggle "Toggle" (all) { autoupdate="false" }

Setting Autoupdate to False it will automatically revert to the OFF position after clicking the switch…

and in the rules:

rule updateToggleOn
 Item Toggle received command ON

We only need the first rule, the On state – handle the on as your toggle command…