Home For Random Thoughts

Blown away by obscurity

Homebridge and Pi

Over the past couple years, Alexa has become an integral part of our home.  She turns our lights on and off, plays music and even keeps the kids entertained with her… flatulence.  We are also an Apple house, but don’t use Siri for obvious reasons.  Like most people, having this split brained setup, makes things a little challenging and there is clearly a race for our home technology.

Several years ago, we had bought the MyQ box from Home Depot so we can get that peace of mind that the garage door actually closed, but also open/ close it for family and friends that need to drop things off.  It has worked quite well, without issue, but there is yet another app.  I had often wished that I could ask Alexa to close the garage door at night, or open it when I see the poor UPS guy climbing our driveway with our daily Amazon delivery.

Enter Homebridge.  After listening to the Accidental Tech Podcast on Relay FM, they had started to talk about this and really piqued my interest.  I found this video here and followed it pretty easily.

Some basic steps for Homebridge, from beginning to end:

  1. Buy Raspberry PI.  Can’t help you here, but I’m sure you can figure something out.
  2. Using Etcher (I’m on Macs), I applied the raspian Stretch image and booted the PI
  3. In case you didn’t know it, the Pi no longer has SSH enabled by default and you’ll have to do that yourself.  I would also strongly recommend that you change the default password.
  4. Follow the video linked above

The next part is your plugins.  There are tons of them for most thing that you can imagine.  Since Alexa supported most of my major things (Nest Thermostats, Hue, etc.), my needs were tactical.

I ended up only installing a few plugins.

  • Homebridge-Alexa — this basically allows, whatever is configured for Homebridge, to work with Alexa.
  • Homebridge-Denon — I have a Denon receiver that has an ethernet port, and… why not? I’m must telling Alexa to turn her on and off.  Since the majority of things that we do involve the AppleTV, this saves me from grabbing another remote to just turn on the AVR.
  • Homebridge-Chamberlain — this was actually my main reason for going down this path and involved a few hacks.  I’m not someone who does this stuff, and are just speculating, but it seems the plugin is logging into the Chamerlain (or Liftmaster) website and initiating the open/ close from there.  Unfortunately, when Alexa picks up this device, it things that it’s a light switch with a basic on/ off.  You can setup routines in the Alexa app to basically do something like “Alexa, open the garage door” == “turn on Garage Door”

Here is a sample of my config with some basic stuff obfuscated out:

    "bridge": {
        "name": "Homebridge",
        "username": "AA:BB:CC:DD:EE:FF",
        "port": 51826,
        "pin": "111-11-111"
    "accessories": [
          "accessory": "DenonMarantzAVR",
          "name": "Stereo",
          "ip": "",
          "defaultInput": "DVD",
          "defaultVolume": 55,
          "minVolume": 10,
          "maxVolume": 75,
          "doPolling": true,
          "pollingInterval": 60
      "accessory": "Chamberlain",
      "name": "Garage Door1",
      "username": "MYEMAIL@YAHOO.COM",
      "password": "SUPERSECRETPASSWORD"
    "platforms": [

        "platform": "Alexa",
        "name": "Alexa",
        "username": "myusername",
        "password": "supersecretpassword1234"

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *