Home temperature monitoring using openHAB on RaspberryPi, ESP8266 and HDC1000.

4 minute read

It’s been awhile since I’ve wanted to start making my home “smart”.

I figured I could put some of my past projects together to build something nice, so I installed openHAB, a very known and powerful home automation software, on my raspberryPi.

Installing OpenHAB

There are plenty of guides on how to do it, so I’m just telling you the basic commands:

mkdir /opt/openhab/
cd /opt/openhab/

#remember to get latest versions from openhab.org
sudo wget https://github.com/openhab/openhab/releases/download/v1.6.2/distribution-1.6.2-runtime.zip https://github.com/openhab/openhab/releases/download/v1.6.2/distribution-1.6.2-addons.zip
sudo unzip distribution-1.6.2-runtime.zip
sudo unzip distribution-1.6.2-demo-configuration.zip
cd addons_temp
sudo unzip /opt/openhab/distribution-1.6.2-addons.zip
cd ..

#we are moving only the addons we need
sudo mv addons_temp/org.openhab.binding.mqtt-1.6.2.jar addons/org.openhab.binding.mqtt-1.6.2.jar

Installing an MQTT broker

Install the latest mosquitto binaries:

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-wheezy.list #you may need to use 'jessie' instead of 'wheezy' depending on your OS version
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install mosquitto

Setting up OpenHAB

(code adapted from here)

Let’s copy the default config file:

cd /opt/openhab/configurations
sudo cp openhab_default.cfg openhab.cfg

Open it in your favorite text editor, scroll down to the MQTT transport section and add this line:


Create a sitemap file:

sudo nano /opt/openhab/configurations/sitemaps/default.sitemap
sitemap default label="Main Menu"
        Frame label="HDC1000" {
                Text item = Temp
                Text item = Humi

Now the items file:

sudo nano /opt/openhab/configurations/items/default.items
Group All
Group gAttic (All)

Group Balcony "Living Room" <video> (gAttic)

Number Temp "Temperature [%.2f F]" <temperature> (Balcony) {mqtt="<[mosquitto:home/temperature:state:default]"}
Number Humi "Humidity: [%.2f]%" <humidity> (Balcony) {mqtt="<[mosquitto:home/humidity:state:default]"}

OpenHAB is now configured to read the two values from the MQTT broker and is subscribed to the home/temperature and home/humidity; topics, which have been assigned to the two items.

The <humidity> icon does not exist but I googled one and uploaded it to /opt/openhab/www/webapps/images/. Neat!

Start openHAB by typing:

cd /opt/openhub
sudo ./start.sh

This will take a couple of minutes but this is how the interface looks like:

The openHAB interface.

NodeMCU Code

The NodeMCU MQTT code is bugged in 0.9.5 so you most likely need to update your ESP8266 with a newer release (click!). I flashed nodemcu_float_0.9.6-dev_20150331.bin because the latest version also had problems connecting to the MQTT server. Just remember to get the float version.

Let me make this clear, coding for NodeMCU is a pain in the ass. You are going to get LOTS of “out of memory” errors and watchdog timeouts as soon as you implement a program which is bigger than an example.

However, after a lot of trial-and-error, I’ve been able to make a working program.

To do this, we need to split the program into different files and compile them separately, then call the compiled files from the main program, in order to reduce memory usage.

(I really hope I’ve been doing this wrong and there is a better way. If you know any, please tell me.)

  1. Upload my NodeMCU module (named HDC1000.lua). Instructions here.
  2. Create a file called main.lua with the following content:

    HDC1000 = require("HDC1000")
    sda = 1
    scl = 2
    drdyn = 3
    HDC1000.init(sda, scl, drdyn)
  3. Now a connect.lua file, which handles the WiFi connection:

    SSID = "yourssid"
    password = "yourpassword"
    wifi.sta.config(SSID, password)
    cfg = {
  4. And last but not least, the main loop of our program, loop.lua

    ip = ""
    port = 1883
    seconds = 60
     tmr.alarm(0, 1000 * seconds, 1, function()
      m = mqtt.Client("1", 60)
           m:connect(ip, port, 3000, function()
                m:publish("home/humidity", HDC1000.getHumi(), 0, 0, function()
                     m:publish("home/temperature", HDC1000.getTemp(), 0, 0, function()

    This sends MQTT messages to home/humidity and home/temperature every 60 seconds.

  5. Now we need to compile all those files.

    Run these commands (press the Send to ESP button  instead of the Save to ESP):


    Ignore all the errors/reboots, they are “normal”.

  6. You can then test your program by doing:


And that’s it. If you want your program to start at boot, you need to rename your main.lua file to init.lua.

You should do this so that the program starts again if it crashes, but be sure your code works as you might get stuck into infinite loops.

You can monitor MQTT messages by running

mosquitto_sub -v -t 'yourtopic'

on your RaspberryPi.

Checking MQTT messages…

Now open your openHAB page: http://raspberrypi:8080/openhab.app

…Yay, it works!

Finally, everything works! I loved building this from the ground up: from the breakout board, to the NodeMCU library, to a fully working system!

Tomorrow I will place my ESP8266 and HDC1000 sensor outside and find a way power them (USB charger? Solar panel + LiPo?)

I hope to add more sensors and features (light and curtains control would be awesome) in the following weeks.

Note: I’m now learning how to program the ESP8266 in C. It may not be very straightforward or “Arduino-like” but will definitely save me some headaches and will allow me to take advantage of the full power of the chip.

Let me know what you think and if you have any questions or feedback!