Lightweight home automation scripts and programs, over MQTT


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#Lighthome - Lightweight Home Automation

This repository contains part of my home automation configuration.


Though I'm using Home Assistant on the central server at the heart of my home automation (configuration here), I have various Raspberry Pis and other devices that are an integral part my home automation system.

To keep things on the various devices as lightweight and as portable as possible, I wrote 'lighthome'. It consists of various shell scripts and some simple programs to read/write several sensors. Central in the communication between all devices is the MQTT broker.


  • scripts/common/include.sh - Defines common functions, including:
    • mqtt_receiver *[handlers]* - Subscribes to MQTT and registers one or more handler scripts, takes care of reconnect logic in case of failures, parallelisation, and runs asynchronously
    • mqtt_transmitter *[topic] [interval] [sender]* - Takes input and publishes it on MQTT, takes care of reconnect logic in case of failures, parallelisation, and runs asynchronously
    • mqttpub *[topic]* *[payload]*- Publish a single MQTT message
  • handler scripts (scripts/mqtthandlers/*) - Receives MQTT stream on standard input and should invoke scripts that perform the action by calling an action script.
    • These scripts are sourced and everything inside should be run asynchronously!
    • The script doesn't have to deal with MQTT itself, except if it wants to publish feedback (using mqttpub)
  • sender scripts (scripts/mqttsenders/*) - Monitors some device/sensor (preferably via an independent action script or program) and then translates its output for MQTT (standard output)
    • These scripts are run normally, either over and over at a specified interval or as a one-shot script that runs indefinitely by itself.
    • Standard output serves as payload for MQTT (the script doesn't have to deal with MQTT itself)
  • actions scripts and programs (scripts/, programs/) - Perform any action, completely MQTT unaware, can also be invoked independently from command line for low-level testing
  • setup-raspberry-pi.sh - Script to setup raspberry pi. For headless setup, first sudo touch /boot/ssh on the image, and add a /boot/userconf.txt with contents homeautomation:$encryptedpw where the password is encrypted with openssl passwd -6.

I decided on simple shell scripts to act as the glue between components and not opt for another layer in for example Python. In true UNIX-fashion each tool should have a well defined task, be efficient, communicate over standard input and output, and not add any unnecessary complexity. I also tried to separate the MQTT-logic from the logic addressing various sensors, so the latter can also be used independently.

The actual communication with MQTT is done via the excellent mosquitto CLI clients (mosquitto_sub and mosquitto_pub) communicating with the mosquitto daemon running on the main server.


#Raspberry Pi 1 (RaspiOS)

GPIO wiring schematic

#Raspberry Pi 2 (RaspiOS)

  • GPIO: 433.92Mhz Transmitter for lights
  • GPIO: Door/window sensors (wired, reed contacts)
  • GPIO: Neopixels LED (WS2812B) for ambilight in living room
  • GPIO: IR LED for remote control of TV/audio
  • GPIO: IR Receiver
  • USB: RFLink Transceiver, 433.92Mhz, based on Arduino Mega

GPIO wiring schematic

#Raspberry Pi 3 (RaspiOS)

#Raspberry Pi 4 (RaspiOS)

  • GPIO: Neopixels LED (WS2912B)

GPIO wiring schematic


Initially I ran Home Assistant on these devices as well, but due to their decision to remove GPIO support and the increased amount of unnecessary bloat which I don't need, I desired to go for a more lightweight approach and just write things from scratch.