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Home Assistant 2020.12 ships on an Odroid-N2+ bundle

Dec 16, 2020 — by Eric Brown — 1762 views

The Home Assistant project unleashed a major 2020.12 release featuring “blueprint” templates. The open source home automation software is available on a $140 to $160 Odroid-N2+ Home Assistant Blue bundle with enclosure.

The Linux- and Python-based, Home Assistant project has released a Home Assistant 2020.12 version with a blueprint feature designed to share configurations for typical home automation scenarios (see farther below). To celebrate the release, the project has joined with Hardkernel to offer a Home Assistant bundle built around the Odroid-N2-Plus (Odroid-N2+) SBC. BayLibre is joining in to set up the platform with long-life support with upstream Linux kernel merger for the enclosed Home Assistant Blue system.



Odroid-N2+ Home Assistant Blue with various Home Assistant supported automation devices (left) and spec sheet
(click images to enlarge)

The first round of $140 Odroid-N2+ Home Assistant Blue devices have sold out, but you can pre-order one for $159.95 from Ameridroid for an undefined future ship date. At this point, there are no plans to build more versions of the case, so the bundle would likely be the board with the software.

The Odroid-N2+ Home Assistant Blue bundle pre-loads Home Assistant 2020.12 with the maximum 4GB DDR4 and 128GB eMMC. This configuration would otherwise sell for $124 ($79 plus $45 for the eMMC).

Home Assistant Blue ships with an aluminum enclosure designed by Hahn Werke. The enclosure lets you orient the board in the case two ways: Zen mode exposes only the A/V jack while Dev mode exposes all the major ports.



Two configurations for Home Assistant Blue enclosure
(click image to enlarge)

The Odroid-N2-Plus is one of the fastest community-backed Arm board boards around. This recent upgrade to the Odroid-N2 advances to a faster RevC version of Amlogic’s hexa-core S922X. The SoC boosts the 2x -A53 cores to 2.0GHz and the 4x -A73 cores to 2.2GHz, with overclocking at up to 2.4GHz.

The 90 x 90 x 17mm Odroid-N2-Plus supports Android 9 Pie and Ubuntu 18.04 LTS with Linux 4.9.162 LTS. The SBC integrates a GbE port and optional USB WiFi adapter that fits into one of the 4x USB 3.0 host ports.



Odroid-N2-Plus with (left) and without optional $4 fan
(click images to enlarge)

Other features include micro-USB OTG, composite A/V, and an HDMI 2.0 port with [email protected] with HDR, CEC, and EDID. There is also an RPi-like 40-pin header and a 7.5-20V DC input plus RTC, IR, console, and options including SPDIF and a cooling fan.

Home Assistant Blue is not the first open source software bundle launched by Hardkernel. In 2019, the company released a Odroid-N2 CoreELEC Edition based on the earlier and very similar Odroid-N2. The bundle ships with CoreELEC, an Amlogic-optimized fork of LibreELEC.

 
Home Assistant 2020.12

The customizable Home Assistant stack enables private, cloud-free home automation networks. The open source software supports more than 1000 devices using multiple standards. Home Assistant offers scheduled services for lighting and other controls and supports Alex and Google Assistant voice services.



Home Assistant 2020.12
(click image to enlarge)

Along with the Java-driven OpenHAB, Home Assistant has been one of the most successful of many open source Linux home automation stacks. Both have found extensive adoption among Raspberry Pi owners.

The key new feature of Home Assistant 2020.12 (or Home Assistant Core 2020.12) is the blueprint, which is defined as a “pre-created automation with user-settable options.” Blueprint lets develops share reusable automation in a predefined file format, thereby expanding the user base to less technical users.

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By separating automation logic from specific inputs, blueprint also offers advantages to techie tinkerers and developers. The project cites an example of a blueprint for motion-triggered lighting in which you can configure which motion sensor to use as the trigger and the light that it will control. “It is now possible to create two automations that each have their own configuration for this blueprint and act completely independently, yet are based on the same automation configuration,” says the project.

Other blueprints might including mapping all buttons to a light for a specific Zigbee remote control, sending a notification when a battery has drained, and muting music when you pick up an Android phone. The project has created a Blueprint Exchange where users can share blueprints with the community.

Other Home Assistant 2020.12 features include new neural voices for the Naba Casa Home Assistant Cloud text-to-speech service. The new release now lets you temporarily disable devices and assign individual entities to Home Assistant “areas.” There are also new device integrations as well as improvements for existing integrations such as Apple TV, Shelly, Nest, and KNX. Starting with the 2020.12 release, the software has shifted to a year/month versioning scheme.

Earlier this year, zPoint Products went to Indiegogo to launch a BaHa Box smart hub with pre-loaded Home Assistant. Although the campaign was a failure, the company is pushing forward with the project, according to this November update. zPoint has plans to expand beyond the Allwinner H2+ and NXP i.MX6ULL models to offer versions with ST’s STM32MP, as well as NXP Layerscape and x86 processors.

 
Further information

$140 Odroid-N2+ Home Assistant Blue devices have sold out, but you can pre-order one for a future, unreleased ship date, although probably without the enclosure. The Odroid-N2+ Home Assistant Blue is listed as out of stock on this Hardkernel shopping page. Ameridroid is offering $159.95 pre-orders with no listed ship date. More information may be found on the Home Assistant project’s Home Assistant Blue product page.

Home Assistant 2020.12 is available for free download. More information may be found in the Home Assistant 2020.12 announcement.
 

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