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HowTo: Raspberry Pi 3 UniFi Controller AC-AP PRO

As I was using a Miraki AP (MR12) and the license was about to end I started looking for a new AP. The Web GUI for Meraki is really nice, but the MR12 is slow and already 3 years old. Also the licenses are pretty expensive so I decided it is time to upgrade. When searching I found the Ubiquiti UniFi AC AP Pro as a good solution. I noticed there is a controller software required to configure the AP. Also I found some tutorials to add the Controller software to my RPi 3 running as a VPN server (OpenVPN) and local DNS server (Bind).

Well let’s install the Unifi software! This is how I did add / install the software.

Note: I did follow some steps from this tutorial but added some extra info to get it working on my home setup: http://www.lowefamily.com.au/2016/06/02/installing-ubiquiti-unifi-controller-5-on-raspberry-pi/3/

Let’s Start!

Update your RPi system

First of all make sure your Raspberry Pi is up-to-date.

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade -y

After the packages are updated also run the latest firmware for your RPi

sudo rpi-update

This can take some time so please wait and reboot your system after it is done (just run “reboot”)

Install Unifi Controller Software

Now let’s add the Unifi controller software. First we need to make sure to add the Repository to the RPi so we can use apt-get.

echo ‘deb http://www.ubnt.com/downloads/unifi/debian unifi5 ubiquiti’ | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list.d/ubnt.list > /dev/null
sudo apt-key adv –keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com –recv C0A52C50
sudo apt-get update

After we have added the Repository we can start the installation. Keep in mind we just updated apt-get already so running the install is sufficient. This will install the Unifi software including JAVA7. If you need / want JAVA8, i’m sorry out of scope here 🙂

sudo apt-get install unifi -y

Next reboot your system again 🙂

sudo reboot

When trying to reach http://rpi-hostname:8443 i was not able to get an webinterface, this was due to the fact i’m running IPtables on my RPi. So let’s add the TCP port to allow it. Also you have some other ports to allow like 8080 with the inform URL. See for port info: https://help.ubnt.com/hc/en-us/articles/218506997-UniFi-Ports-Used
Note:
Change eth0 to your interface nic where you are connecting to!

sudo iptables -A INPUT -i eth0 -p tcp –dport 8443 -j ACCEPT

sudo iptables -A INPUT -i eth0 -p tcp –dport 8080 -j ACCEPT

sudo iptables -A INPUT -i eth0 -p tcp –dport 8880 -j ACCEPT

sudo iptables -A INPUT -i eth0 -p tcp –dport 8843 -j ACCEPT

Don’t forget to save the rules 🙂

When done you can visit the webinterface to start configuring your Unifi AP. Browse to http://rpi-hostname:8443 and start configuring!

Configure Unifi Controller

Now we have a running Controller on our Raspberry Pi 3 it’s time to configure your AP.

The controller will detect your new AP and you can follow the On-Screen instructions to configure your AP.

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HowTo Homebridge on Raspberry Pi 3 for iOS and Smart Devices

In the Easter weekend I suffered some eye injury on both my left and right eye. My sight went fro 100% back to 5% on the left and right eye. From that day i knew it was going to be a long recovery with several surgery’s. As a tech guy i already have some Smart Devices and wanted to use them with my Apple Devices. Considering the HomeKit does not support mutch I did some research and found HomeBridge. My devices currently connected to my home network are:

  • Philips Hue lights
  • Kodi MediaCenter
  • NetAtmo Weather Station
  • IFTTT
  • Temp Sensors connected to my Pi

Let’s use Siri to talk with those devices and get information out of them! Too bad Apple does only support Hue, this is where HomeBridge comes in Handy. HomeBridge serves as an extra layer to control devices through plugins with Siri from your iOS device like iPad / iPhone.

I’m running a Raspberry Pi 3 already as a private DNS (to manage my devices by DNS instead of IP address (Kodi, Printer, Switches, Server(s), and so on..), this device can do a lot more.

Installing HomeBridge (Raspberry Pi 3)

First of all update your Raspbian installation

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get upgrade

This can take a while…

Next we start installing NodeJS and a prereq for HomeBridge

wget https://nodejs.org/dist/v4.0.0/node-v4.0.0-linux-armv6l.tar.gz

tar -xzf node-v4.0.0-linux-armv7l.tar.gz

cd node-v4.0.0-linux-armv7l

Now we have downloaded NodeJS and extracted it. Next step is to copy all the files to /usrlocal Use the following command:

sudo cp -R * /usr/local/

The -R stands for Recursive so we will copy all files in all directorys. After we have copied them we have nodejs installed. You can check your version with

node -v

Let’s continue with the installation of the PreReqs.

sudo apt-get install libavahi-compat-libdnssd-dev

Now we have the PreReq qe can install Homebridge

As we already installed NodeJS, we now have some new commands available. With these commands we can install the Homebridge server.

sudo npm install -g homebridge

This can take some time, on my RPi 3 it took about 5 to 10 minutes. When the installation is done we can start Homebridge by entering the following command:

homebridge

When you run this command it will try to start Homebridge, this will fail because we have no plugins installed and a valid config.json file with the homebridge configuration. You will see a similar error “No plugins found. See the README for information on installing plugins.”

Homebridge Config.json

Now we have installed Homebridge we need a configuration for Homebridge. Also if we install any plugin we have to add it in the config file.

cd /home/pi/.homebridge
nano config.json

Paste the following code


{
"bridge": {
"name": "Homebridge",
"username": "CC:22:3D:E3:CE:30",
"port": 51826,
"pin": "031-45-154"
},

“description”: “This is my Homebridge Config file”,

“accessories”: [

],

“platforms”: [

]
}

Now we have the default config ready, but we still need a plugin to make it work properly. I did setup my NetAtmo weather station, you can use the following commands to setup your NetAtmo plugin, or download any other NPM plugin and follow the this guide as a how to. Make sure to download the right config example from the NPM website and replace the NetAtmo config with your plugin config file. This config is provided on the NPM Plugin website.

Configure Netatmo

Search for the Homebridge-netatmo NPM website and you will get information on how to install the plugin. This is also outlined below. First we have to install the plugin, and next we have to modify the config file. Let’s start by installing the plugin.

sudo npm install -g homebridge-netatmo

This will take a few seconds to install, after this is done we only have to configure this. On the website you will see an example config. You can use this one and modify it for you NetAtmo setup. Enter your Username and Password, and create an Application through the NetAtmo dev website so you can allow homebridge to connect to the NetAtmo API.

The config will look like the config below:

{
"bridge": {
"name": "Homebridge",
"username": "CC:22:3D:E3:CE:30",
"port": 51826,
"pin": "031-45-154"
},

“description”: “This is my Homebridge Config file”,

“accessories”: [

],

“platforms”: [
{
“platform”: “netatmo”,
“name”: “netatmo weather”,
“ttl”: 5,
“auth”: {
“client_id”: “CREATE ID AT https://dev.netatmo.com/”,
“client_secret”: “CREATE SECRET AT https://dev.netatmo.com/”,
“username”: “your netatmo username”,
“password”: “your netatmo password”
}
}

]
}

If we now start Homebridge we will see there is a NetAtmo Weather Station plugin loaded. Now you can start your Apple iOS application to connect to HomeBridge.

I’m using Insteon+ add a new device and it will find your Homebridge. Connect to Homebridge and enter the pin code in the config or check your SSH session to your RPi. Now you can start configuring the Siri Commands and create your Home with Rooms / Scenes and so on.

Autostart / start Homebridge

The final thing we need to do is to create an init.d script to start Homebridge. We use the following commands to create a script and add it to the defaults so it will start with a reboot from your RPi.

sudo nano /etc/init.d/homebridge

Paste the following code into this file and chmod it to 755 so we can execute it.

#!/bin/sh
### BEGIN INIT INFO
# Provides: homebridge
# Required-Start: $network $remote_fs $syslog
# Required-Stop: $remote_fs $syslog
# Default-Start: 2 3 4 5
# Default-Stop: 0 1 6
# Short-Description: Start daemon at boot time
# Description: Enable service provided by daemon.
### END INIT INFO

dir=”/home/pi”
cmd=”DEBUG=* /usr/local/bin/homebridge”
user=”pi”

name=`basename $0`
pid_file=”/var/run/$name.pid”
stdout_log=”/var/log/$name.log”
stderr_log=”/var/log/$name.err”

get_pid() {
cat “$pid_file”
}

is_running() {
[ -f “$pid_file” ] && ps `get_pid` > /dev/null 2>&1
}

case “$1” in
start)
if is_running; then
echo “Already started”
else
echo “Starting $name”
cd “$dir”
if [ -z “$user” ]; then
sudo $cmd >> “$stdout_log” 2>> “$stderr_log” &
else
sudo -u “$user” $cmd >> “$stdout_log” 2>> “$stderr_log” &
fi
echo $! > “$pid_file”
if ! is_running; then
echo “Unable to start, see $stdout_log and $stderr_log”
exit 1
fi
fi
;;
stop)
if is_running; then
echo -n “Stopping $name..”
kill `get_pid`
for i in {1..10}
do
if ! is_running; then
break
fi

echo -n “.”
sleep 1
done
echo

if is_running; then
echo “Not stopped; may still be shutting down or shutdown may have failed”
exit 1
else
echo “Stopped”
if [ -f “$pid_file” ]; then
rm “$pid_file”
fi
fi
else
echo “Not running”
fi
;;
restart)
$0 stop
if is_running; then
echo “Unable to stop, will not attempt to start”
exit 1
fi
$0 start
;;
status)
if is_running; then
echo “Running”
else
echo “Stopped”
exit 1
fi
;;
*)
echo “Usage: $0 {start|stop|restart|status}”
exit 1
;;
esac

exit 0

chmod with the following command:

sudo chmod 755 /etc/init.d/homebridge

Next we have to tell the OS to start it at boot, we can do this with the following command

sudo update-rc.d homebridge defaults

Enjoy your Homebridge setup on your RPi 3!

 

EDIT 12-27-2016

For some reason my homebridge got killed after some hours, or some days or even after some minutes. I’m not sure why and was not in the mood to do research. I made a cronjob to check every hour if my homebridge is running (with the status), and if it was not running to just start it. You could set it to more ofter check for the status, like every 15 or even 5 minutes, but as i’m not checking every 5 minutes my iPhone or Apple Device for the Temps on my NetAtmo every hour was sufficient for me 🙂

You could also just run the /etc/init.d/homebridge restart command to make sure it gets restarted or started. Script i made is a bit buggy so not posting it here 🙂