Rohan and Phil break down the 2021.10 release, and announce the winner of their competition celebrating 100 episodes of the Home Assistant Podcast.

Home Assistant Amber

Home Assistant turned 8, and to celebrate Nabu Casa have announced a new hardware device to run Home Assistant, Home Assistant Amber. It’s currently up on Crowd Supply, and as we are recording this it’s already 147% funded. Home Assistant Amber is powered by the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4. This plugs into the Home Assistant Amber board and provides the brains. You can upgrade to a more powerful version of the Compute Module 4 at any time. It also comes with a Zigbee radio, which will be upgradeable to support the new Matter protocol. It also has an M.2 extension port. This allows you to easily plug in an NVMe SSD drive to extend the available space. There’s also a Power over Ethernet option available  


New Features

  • New Official Tuya Integration If you’ve been a long-time listener to the Podcast, you’ll know what Tuya is. Chances are if you’ve got a Wifi connected smart device, it’s probably powered by Tuya. If you ran the Tuya integration previously, you need to set it up from scratch, as the integration has been fully re-written and uses a different API. Covers are currently not supported, but coming in a future release
  • Z-wave JS now has support for Security S2 Allows Home Assistant to link with security devices using this new protocol. Might be used by devices like locks, sirens etc.
  • ESPHome has added encrypted communication ESPHome and the ESPHome integration now have support for communicating encrypted with each other. @OttoWinter has been working hard adding this layer of encryption to the ESPHome API, which utilizes the noise protocol. Besides this version of Home Assistant, you’ll need at least ESPHome 2021.9.0, and configure your ESPHome device to enable encrypted communications.
  New Integrations  
  • Amber Electric Amber is an Australian energy retailer which exposes an API with the current energy price. Using this integration, you can go a step further – setting up devices to automatically shift energy usage to cheaper and greener times, based on real-time electricity prices and forecasts. There is a binary sensor which tells you if there is a price spike in the current energy price or not, and a what percent of energy in the grid is from renewable energy.
  • Airthings Airthings are air quality sensors you can put around the home
  • Crownestone The Crownstone integration allows you to control your Crownstones either via the cloud or using a Crownstone USB dongle. Crownestones are either a smart plug or switch
  • Whirlpool Owners of Whirlpool 6th Sense Live appliances can now have those controlled in Home Assistant. Currently only climate devices are supported.

Other Noteworthy Changes

  • Renault integration gets device tracker support, and climate control You can now use your Renault electric car as a presence sensor for Home Assistant, and control the AC in the car using Home Assistant automations.
  • New is_number() template filter and function For those that like to use templates in Home Assistant, a is_number() function has been added. This will allow you to validate that a variable in your template is a number before doing any math operations against it.
  • Material Design Icons upgraded to v6 Brings a new bunch of icons, but some names may have changed slightly
  • New Statistics tab in Developer Tools Should allow you to see the statistics entries for devices

Breaking Changes

There’s more on the release notes!
  • Moon Entity For those that like to track the state of the moon with Home Assistant. The Moon entity would never have a primary moon phase state. So the state of the moon would go from Waxing gibbous directly to Waning gibbous, without being Full Moon in between. Now the Moon entity will correctly have the primary moon phases: New Moon, First Quarter, Full Moon and Third Quarter.
  • Honeywell Lyric The polling interval of the Honeywell Lyric integration has been decreased to 300 seconds to reduce chances of hitting API limit.
  • Trackr Has been removed as the API is no longer available. Trackr was a service similar to Tile that allows tracking of Bluetooth beacons
  • Tesla Has also been removed due to increased Tesla login security preventing third-parties to log in

100 Episodes of the Home Assistant Podcast

This was a toughy, didn’t know whether to go for most extravagant or most useful etc so decided to go for my most ‘check this out’ . My recliner has 2 little touch studs for up and down and they started to play up, only working sometimes and also working sometimes when you did t want them to. I decides to stick a dual relay with and esp running tasmota on to the motor instead of the buttons. I then wrote an appdaemon app for controlling them. This was cool but was a bit of a faff having to open my phone to move the recliner so I created some set positions and added input booleans for those positions and using the harmony integration, programmed some buttons on my harmony remote to control my recliner. So now when turning on the shield when it’s after kids bedtime, the lights all dim and the recliner reclines. Comfy. – John G – UK   “I have type 1 diabetes and often ill forget to reorder supplies for my insulin pump and glucose sensor until I‚Äôm out, resulting in a delay up to a week to get new supplies. My favorite automation is tied to when I change my supplies I’ll scan an NFC tag in my bathroom which will keep a running tally of my supply inventory and send me a push notification when it is time to reorder.    Recently I started tracking the length of time each infusion set lasts and with my recent interest in Grafana I started graphing averages and trends and put it on my site which keeps a running tally of my supplies and other statistics on my diabetes.” – Joe A – USA   “I have automated my cat. Well, not exactly. Here’s the deal: we have 5 cats, a number of which were dumped here as tiny kittens. The most recently added cat is terribly abused by a couple of the early cats. So we keep them isolated from each other, with the newest cat living on the second floor of the house and the two disagreeable cats not allowed up there.  Our home was built around 1830-1840, and old farm house. It has a door to the stairs to the second floor, and we keep that closed most of the time to partition the cat domains. Peace and harmony then ensue.  When the two two agreeable cats are outside, we’ll open the door to the second floor to allow the cat that’s normally up there a chance to prowl around, especially in the basement for some mouse hunting and other activities. That door gets left open when the “”upstairs cat”” is catting around on the first floor.  Here’s where the automation comes in. I have a cheap wireless 433MHz RF door sensor on the door to the stairs. It talks to a Sonoff RF bridge with Tasmota and uses MQTT to push the state of the door into Home Assistant.  When either my wife or I come home, the Wi-Fi device tracker sniffs our arrival. In addition to turning on the outside lights, it will send a notification with Pushover using a “”siren”” sound if the door to stairs is open (thus the upstairs cat has been freed.) This is our cue to ensure that we don’t allow the disagreeable cats to follow us in through the front door as we enter, thus assuring continued peace and harmony and  no screaming balls of fur running all over the house. Life continues to be good. This is how I automated one of my 5 cats.” Louis M – USA   “The automation that I am most proud of presented itself two weeks ago, but I did not know that that was the most important one in our life. It even never fired once.  Long story short: We almost had a fire, wasn’t it for my automation to warn us on time. An electric bicycle battery was charging overnight and something inside must have failed as it started smoking really bad.  Luckily my smart Smoke Detector detected the smoke and started my automation.  The alarm sounded, all the light turned on and my smart speakers were announcing what was going on and more important, where the fire was.  Thanks to the automation I could react fast and accurate and it never came to a fire. I ran downstairs, unplugged the battery and took it outside in the garden and hosed it down. The battery felt hot to the touch, but no sign of melting from the outside.  I think that if it wasn’t for my automation to warns us, It would have took too long to figure out where the fire was and god knows what would have happened then. We would have been woken up by the alarm screaming, but then it would still be pitch black as it was in the middle of the night (why do these things always happen in the middle of the night?) and we would not know yet where the danger was. Now I am thinking about how I can improve this automation. And what if the power went out because of a short circuit… UPS comes to mind, but still figuring out how to implement it.  Maybe a good discussion point for the next podcast!” – Roy V – The Netherlands   “I have twins, which makes life… complicated. I’ve tried to make their room and schedules less complicated by making it “”more complicated””! Out of this I have created a whole suite of automations: But I guess my favourite by far, and most helpful to not only myself but also visiting grandparents doing nap/bedtime routine is the activation of the camera on our TV.  I have a “”nap mode”” boolean that is toggled by Xiaomi Zigbee button just by the door to the nursery. This triggers a great many things along with the noted favourite:  – Turns off the lights in the room. – Sets my doorbell ESP to not ring but push notification instead – Sets fans/humidifiers/white noise on  But for the favourite part of it it does the following:  – Waits for my Android TV box to be available and not sleeping on wifi – Turns the android TV box one, which in turn uses CEC to power on the TV. – Pushes the android ABD commands to launch VLC with a specific RTSP stream to my Unifi Camera I have setup in the nursery. – Sets the TV volume to 0, since we have a portable audio monitor we just leave on all the time, no need for the delayed sound “”echo””   The reverse also happens when nap mode is turned off via the button:  – Exit VLC via ADB commands  – Power off the android TV box, which turns off the TV via CEC.  This is most helpful so that we don’t need another baby monitor camera device, it is all automatic and hands off (minus a button push to set “”nap time””). Any visitors or babysitters don’t need to learn any complicated sequence to get the stream working, just need to know to push one button. No having to teach everyone how to get the stream up and running on the TV! Heck, if the remote is buried in the couch somewhere nobody has to even try and dig it out.” Mike O – Canada  

The Winner

My automated toilet flush, made with a D1 mini and a car central locking motor. It has a magnetic read switch to know when the lid is open and can auto lock the bathroom door, then the flush can be activated via voice, or touch the existing flush manual push button has a touch sensor connected to the metal coating, or by closing the lid, all are HA automations that can be turned on or off. This is an important automation for me as I have arthritis and pressing the flush button did hurt my fingers. – Philip B – England

Sponsored By

Home Assistant Cloud by Nabu Casa

Easily connect to Google and Amazon voice assistants for a small monthly fee that also supports the Home Assistant project. Configuration is via the User Interface so no fiddling with router settings, dynamic DNS or YAML.


Hosted By

Phil Hawthorne

Phil is a Melbourne based web developer who lives and breathes technology. When he's not at his day job, he’s in his home office attempting to simplify his life through complicated tech.

Website Smart Home Products Buy a Coffee

Rohan Karamandi

Rohan from Toronto, Canada works in the Technology sector as an architect designing network and datacenter solutions for his customers. His passion for technology stems from there and extends to IoT and home automation

Website Smart Home Products Buy a Coffee



Special episodes focused on various aspects of Home Assistant and Home Automation.