Setting up Raspberry Pi with RaZberry

In my previous post, DIY Home Automation: The basics, I explained my motivations to build my own DIY Home Automation system and what my requirements were, leading to my purchase of a Raspberry Pi with RaZberry. In this post, I’d like to detail the setup process of the hard- and software needed to start working with RaZberry. If you missed the last post, I encourage you to quickly go through it. We’ll be using a Raspberry Pi Model B+, clear case and RaZberry daughter card in this article.

Raspberry Pi with RaZberry daughter card

Assembling the hardware

Once you get the RaZberry, first thing you need to do is connect it to your Raspberry Pi. When I received my RaZberry, there was an error in the documentation leading to some confusion about where it should be connected to the Raspberry Pi. Thankfully, the forum support for RaZberry is very good and I got an answer within a day that cleared up the confusion and two days later there was a statement added to the thread that the error in the documentation would be removed. The Quick Start Manual found on the website now also shows the correct information: the RaZberry daughter card needs to be connected to GPIO pins 1-10 on the Raspberry Pi, as the picture above shows. As mentioned above, I also got a clear case for the Raspberry Pi, but I’m going to be bold here and assume you will figure out how to assemble it.

Installing the Z-Way software

The next thing you’ll want to do is to get the actual software running on the device. There’s two options here: either you have a completely new set-up (like myself) where you don’t have anything running on your Raspberry Pi yet, or you already have an existing Linux distribution running on the Raspberry Pi and want to add Z-Way (the software that powers the RaZberry platform) to it. As I’ve only had to go the first route, I’ll explain that here, but feel free to read the simple instructions on the RaZberry download site on how to install Z-Way to your existing up-and-running Raspberry Pi.

If you go to the RaZberry download page, you will see a link to a pre-configured RaZberry image that will hold the OS (Raspbian/Debian Wheezy) and the Z-Way software. At the time of writing, the image is versioned at 1.7.1 and the latest firmware available is 2.0.0, so we’ll have some updating to do. For now, download the image and follow the image installation guide on Raspberrypi.org for instructions on how to get it onto an SD-card (4GB or larger). Once you’ve inserted the SD-card into the Raspberry Pi and it’s booted up, you can navigate to http://find.z-wave.me/ to find out its IP address. Click on the IP address below the login prompt to be forwarded to the configuration interface. Note that the configuration interface can always be accessed on port 8084 of the RaZberry IP.

Z-Way Configuration Interface

Take note of the Z-Way Remote Access ID listed on this page if you want to use the built-in functionality of accessing the device from http://find.z-wave.me/ in the future. You’ll also need a password for this, which you can set on the same page. As I want to eliminate as many third party services I cannot control from my home automation equation, I opted to disable this Remote Access capability from the “Advanced” tab of the configuration dialog. In the next post of the series I’ll explain how to make the RaZberry accessible over the internet, secured by SSL and a username and password of your own choice without relying on this third party service. Navigate to “IP Network Setup” under the “Advanced” tab to set a manual static IP address for the device. Finally, navigate to the “Firmware” tab to automatically update the device to the latest (2.0.0 at the time of writing) firmware, simply by clicking the “Update” button.

In summary:

  1. Download the pre-configured image and install it to an SD-card of 4GB+
  2. Go to http://find.z-wave.me/ to find your RaZberry’s IP address and access the configuration interface on port 8084
  3. Set up a password for remote access or disable remote access on the “Advanced -> Remote Access” tab
  4. Set up a static IP address for the RaZberry on the “Advanced -> IP Network Setup” tab
  5. Update to the latest firmware by clicking on the “Update” button on the “Advanced -> Firmware” tab

Adding your first switch

Assuming you’ve also purchased at least one Z-Wave powered device, you’ll want to add it to the system to control it. As an example, I’ll describe how to add a simple power switch, but the procedure is very similar for almost any sensor or device. If you navigate to port 8083 at the IP address of your RaZberry, you will get to the Z-Way UI selection screen. Feel free to play around with the different interfaces, but to add the device we’ll be using the “Expert UI”, which is the topmost option. I’m going to assume you’re running 2.0.0 for these steps.

Z-Way Expert UI

Once you get to the Expert UI, you’ll land at an overview page (as seen above) showing you how many devices are connected, whether they are mains or battery powered and whether they are FLIRS (Frequently Listening Devices), meaning they are battery powered devices that will turn on at least once a second to receive a command or send data. This page will also list any “health” issues, when batteries are low or devices cannot be reached/read. Refer to the RaZberry Expert UI Documentation for a detailed look at all the functionality in the Expert UI.

For now, you will probably have 0 connected devices, so navigate to “Network -> Control” from the top menu. From here you can do various things, with one of them being “Start Inclusion”. Inclusion is the mechanism that is used to tie your Z-Wave sensor or device to the RaZberry (or other gateway). The manual of your devices will list the inclusion procedure, but often it consists of the following steps:

  1. Press the “Start Inclusion” button on the “Control” screen to begin inclusion of the sensor/device
  2. Locate the mechanism on your sensor/device to include it, more often than not a button that can be pushed on the sensor/device
  3. Upon successful inclusion, the UI will mention the type of device that has been added and the name it assigned it

Once the device is included, you can navigate to “Configuration” from the top menu and select the device you’ve added in the dropdown. This is a fairly advanced screen, listing all the different commands the device can receive and some additional data that is read from the device through an “Interview”. Here you can also rename the device to something that might make a bit more sense, e.g. “Living room light”. If you now navigate to “Control -> Switch” from the top menu, you can see the switch that was added, its current state and the buttons to turn it on and off.

Congratulations, you’re now the proud owner of a (partially) smart home! As mentioned, in the next post, I’ll go into how to make the RaZberry accessible over the internet in a secure manner by installing and configuring a reverse proxy (nginx) and enabling SSL and Basic Authentication. Feel free to comment below or reach me on Twitter for any questions, suggestions or feedback!

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