Green with envy of my cowardly Yellow decision - adopting Home Assistant

By Andrew Davidson
on March 2, 2024

Silly me! I'd been hoodwinked by another crowdsourced piece of technology that was (unfortunately, through no fault of their own) ruined by the pandemic and the supply chain issues.

In this case, I'd paid for the Home Assistant Yellow on Crowd Supply back in January 29, 2022. The Home Assistant Yellow was to be delivered with a Raspberry Pi CM4 as the brains of the unit. I am a huge fan of the Raspberry Pi, and was sold on this feature alone! In this case, I paid $208.44 after taxes and shipping, and it was expected to ship on July 31, 2022. At first, all the updates on the product seem good, and it was progressing.

Well, wouldn't you know, an update near the proposed shipping date detailed that they'd be delaying shipment. What a shocker; They now claim that my version will not ship before October 2022. Having been down the crowd funding road before, I was not in the least bit surprised.

As if on schedule, October 23, I get this email:

Thank you for your Home Assistant Yellow order. Unfortunately, we need to cancel and refund the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 (CM4) you ordered because there is simply no reliable way to stock these at the moment and we don't foresee that changing anytime soon. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Please reply to this email if you'd like to instead cancel your entire order, or if the bank account attached to the credit card you originally used to place the order is no longer active. (It's fine if the card is expired as long as the account it was attached to is still active.) If we don't hear from you by Wednesday, October 26, 2022 at 5 PM Pacific time, we will cancel only the CM4 line item(s) on your order and refund the difference to the credit card we have on file for the order.

As for when the remainder of your will ship, we are currently working on updating all Home Assistant Yellow delivery dates. Generally speaking, if you ordered a Yellow Kit with a US power supply, your order should ship this year, probably shortly after the CM4 is canceled from your order. If you ordered any other variant, your order is expected to ship in January 2023. Thank you for your patience!

Crowd Supply Support

Clearly a victim of supply-chain issues in the midst of the pandemic, I was disappointed at this result. If they can't get Raspberry Pi Compute Modules, neither can I!. I cancelled my order, as I didn't want to face getting a half-baked solution. Thankfully, the Crowd Supply folk worked quickly, and my money was returned within the week.

Imagine My Surprise!

ha_green Still intrigued by the opportunity of at-home automation (and more importantly, offline) using a dedicated Home Assistant, I came across Seeed Studio's Home Assistant Green; a slightly cheaper all-in-one Home Assistant unit. It didn't require any additional parts, and should just work right out the box. After dropping a mere $118.05, it was shipped direct from China.

Sure enough, on Sept 25, 2023, my new Home Assistant Green arrived. Thus begins my unboxing, seen in the column to the left.

I'm impressed with the heatsink bottom, and the overall solid workmanship for a single-purpose SBC. I plugged it into my network and was quickly reviewing all the devices the Home Assistant found on it own.


Configuring all of the local devices to do what I want was going to be another solid day of programming, and adding optional wireless networking was going to require the Home Assistant SkyConnect to connect Zigbee and Thread (Matter) devices. I placed an order for $37.41 shipped, and have added it to my unit - now I can use Ikea smart home devices which rely on Zigbee!

At this point, I can collect the years of random assorted home monitoring hardware (Sonos, Wyze, Aquara, TPLink) and see if it's compatible and functional with Home Assistant (it probably is, but I'll have to check security venerabilities of each item first). Then figure which I want to use, for what features, and see if it outweighs privacy issues.

Overall, the major benefit of going local is that my 'smart' home won't go dumb at the first dropped internet packet; It turns out my (not-so) reliable home internet tends to fail occasionally... My 'smart' devices tend to drop connections to their home services, and then they become useless until they're touched and re-added to the system. With a singular Home Assistant running the house, I can solve this problem once and for all!

No more Smart Home Vendor lock in!