Discovering openHAB

I was looking for a software I could use to build a neat remote control for home automation on iPhone and Android tablet.


I first found OpenRemote which is quite nice. I already used it to build a remote for my IP remote controlled power strip.

But OpenRemote it did not work really as I expected (may be a bit complex to use) and the OpenSource version seems not to be really active on the development side.


So I did look around to find an atlernative and finally discovered openHAB quite a while ago. When I first discovered this project, current version was 1.2.

Since then, the latest release is 1.4 and they have a very nice new website.And, most importantly, they build which allows managing your hosted HAB instance from the Web (currently in beta).

With openHAB, you can build simple interface for the Web, iPhone, iPad, or Android devices. It is probably not as powerfull as OpenRemote but then is quite a few “bindings” for many devices or protocols (http, tcp, ntp, Google calendar, EnOcean, KNX…) More than 50 are available today.

With a few lines of code, you can build a nice interface to your home automation systems…

… on iPhone


… or Android !



Nice !

IP remote controlled power strip

Before discovering Arduino’s world, I found a nice ethernet relay board from a french manufacturer : the IPX800 v2. It is a bit expensive (~125€) but works out of the box : no programmation needed. Power it, connect through a brower, and it works !

It comes with (not an exhautive list, see here for more details.)

  • 8 outputs relays (250V / 10A)
  • 4 digital inputs that can be associated to the output (i.e. you can open / close the relays)
  • an ethernet port
  • an embedded tcp and web servers for remote control

What I did with it is a powerstrip for my audio/video system so that I can individually switch things on and off when needed with my smartphone and not leave them in standby mode.

ipx800 01 643x473

I first used the build in web site (with a bit of customization for switch names) and the started using OpenRemote software to build a nicer interface for my smartphone. From there I can individually switch on and of the 8 outlets.


But remote control is not always as handy as physical button. If you don’t have your phone around, or have not battery left… it is usefull to have a way of manually switching you amp & projector on when you want to watch your film ! So I added 4 buttons connected to the 4 digital inputs available…

IPX800 04 722x386

… and then configured the IPX to toggle the relays.

2013-08-27 20_12_27-gce.electronics relay board

And here I go : I now have an IP remote controlled power strip !