From Bellman
Jump to navigation Jump to search

I was originally looking at MQTT right now in the context of Presence Detection. It turned out that Home Assistant already had a good integration with UniFi so I stopped working on that. Now I am building an ESP8266 Arduino (WeMos D1) light strip controller.

My Mosquitto MQTT Server is in a docker container on Bellman. I can log into that container and run commands to learn more.

Listen for presence messages from anyone. QOS is set to 'at least once'. -d is for debug. -t defines what I listen to, where the "+" is a wildcard.

docker exec -it mosquitto mosquitto_sub -t 'sensors/+/presence' -q 1 -d
docker exec -it home-assistant_mosquitto_1 mosquitto_sub -t 'WEMOS/#' -q 1 -d

Send a message.

docker exec -it mosquitto mosquitto_pub -t 'sensors/unifi/presence' -q 1 -d -m 'Julie arrived'
docker exec -it home-assistant_mosquitto_1 mosquitto_pub -t HOME -q 1 -d -m "`date +%H:%M:%S`"

How should my messages look?

  • PUB Home Assistant will publish desired LED settings.
  • SUB The Arduino will subscribe and adjust the LEDs accordingly.
  • PUB After making changes the Arduino will send current settings. On power up the Arduino will restore the last state of the strip and send status.
  • SUB Home Assistant will subscribe and display the LED settings.

I should be able to mock both sides with a bit of Python.

Python for testing

conda create --name mqtt
conda activate mqtt
conda install -c conda-force paho-mqtt

Here's my very first program. It sends a 1 or a 0 to whatever wants to hear it.

import paho.mqtt.publish as publish
import time

HOST = ""
state = True
target = "blinker"

    publish.single(target, "1" if state else "0", hostname=HOST)
    state = not state

Home Assistant and Arduino

Now I need to make the WeMos D1 listen and respond. First I tried the Adafruit library and their sample code. It works, but the MQTT server is out there in the cloud and interfaces with a web page at Adafruit. I want to keep a lid on things.

Sensor (motion)

I have a device (WEMOS arduino) publishing.

All so complicated, then simple. I just ended up using an MQTT Trigger directly in Automations.

I just send via PUB a simple message WEMOS/Motion with a payload of 1. That's it. It also sends a zero when it goes off but I ignore that.

I looked at ESPHome. My first impression of ESPHome is the hood is bolted shut. I was wrong. It's cool. Go look ESPHome.

Controller (RGBW lights)

Per the article in the Resources section I am trying PubSubClient which can be installed from the Library Manager in the Arduino IDE.

I wrote my own little MQTT program that just communicated with RGBW numbers, like this: 0100 0100 0300 0400. It worked great and I was able to send commands from the MQTT console in the Developer section of Home Assistant. Then I found this:

I used the name mqtt-hallway and topics state: home/rgbw and command: home/rgbw/set.

Android MQTT clients

It looks like having multiple Android MQTT clients does not work. So from now on I am testing one at a time.

I want one that can display text messages. I'd also like it to make sounds. I still have not found an app that will display a series of text messages. They just display the most recent.

I avoid any that "contain ads" and most of the ones that cost $.

There are specialized clients, for example one to watch a doorbell and one to arm/disarm security systems. There is one for OBD2 called "Car IoT". Some free clients require using a cloud-based broker.

In evaluation...

  1. MyMQTT - will display a list of messages from the same topic!! ON TABLET
  2. Linear MQTT Dashboard - fancy charting, notifications are good; ON PHONE
  3. MQTT Dash - simple and works. Text display is weak.
  4. MQTT Snooper - runs in foreground only, contains ads


  1. MQTT IoT
  2. MQTT Terminal costs $.99
  3. MQTT Alert, 10 installs
  4. Lazy MQTT Free (ad supported) or Pro ($30)


  1. MQTT Chat (Remnum)
  2. MQTT Push Client (Helios) - uses a push notification services
  3. Wallpanel -- Google text-to-speech, face detection (-1), complex
  4. MQTIZER - chat style display; but appears to do nothing
  5. MQTT Notification - just shows a popup, does nothing else


Books - in Safari

  • Hands-on MQTT Programming With Python Gaston Hillar. Overview, not much python here
  • Getting Started with Python for the Internet of Things