Introduction: Installing OpenHAB on Raspberry Pi

Openhab is an open home automation bus system. It is a platform for components which are used for building automation. Manufacturer of a variety of different vendors and protocol can neutrally interconnect on a single platform. Openhab is an operating system which is independent and can be expanded by adding more bindings of additional technologies / protocols. Engineers designed OpenHAB under the Eclipse Public License and is partially open sourced . The user interfaces available are web browser , Android and Apple iOS app.

In this instructable we will be able to show you on how to install the OpenHAB on your Raspberry Pi and also how to autostart OpenHAB when you start/reboot your Raspberry Pi.

Step 1: Installing the OpenHAB Runtime Core in Raspberry Pi From Scratch

First of all access your Raspberry Pi using Putty(SSH), login to root by entering the command sudo –i. After you do this create a directory in /opt name it openhab .The following command will do the job

mkdir /opt/openhab

after that change the directory to openhab

cd /opt/openhab

Then use wget to download openhab runtime file and stores it in the current directory.


The above command will download the OpenHAB runtime. Sometimes if the above link doesn't work then click here which will lead you to the OpenHAB website as shown in image 1, in downloads right click with the mouse and copy the link location and paste it along with wget on the putty(ssh) terminal window of Pi.

In the image 2 you can see that the it shows the downloading process

Once the download is completed, you will see a terminal window as shown in image 3.This shows the download process is complete.

After the completion of download the following command should be entered


It will unzip the files in the folder /opt/openhab


The above command will delete the compressed file

The image 4 shows the snapshot of unzipping.

Step 2: Installing the OpenHAB Addons

Enter the following commands to create the directory with the name addons_repo

mkdir /opt/openhab/addons_repo

Enter the folder

cd /opt/openhab/addons_repo

this will points to the current directory, this can be seen in the image 2.

This command will point to the addons_repo directory and now enter the following command to download the addons,


The above command will download the OpenHAB addons. Sometimes if the above link doesn't work then click here to openHAB website as shown in image 1, in downloads right click with the mouse and copy the link location and paste.This can be seen in the image 2 and image 3 shows the downloading process.

After the downloading is complete, need to enter command to unzip


and after the unzip process delete the compressed file by entering the command


Enter this command

cd /opt/openhab

to move to the openhab directory. After entering, copy org.openhab.binding.mqtt-1.8.2.jar from addons_repo to the addons directory by typing the command.

cp addons_repo/org.openhab.binding.mqtt-1.8.2.jar addons/org.openhab.binding.mqtt-1.8.2.jar

Please note in our case we are using mqtt binding so we are doing this step ,any specific binding that you are going to use with openhab should be copied from addons_repo to addons folder .The advantage of having specific binding inside the addon folder instead of all bindings is that openhab will load faster.

The image 4 shows many addons binding files depending on the application user he has copy the files from addon_repo folder to addon folder for that specific application .

Step 3: General Configurations Needed for Openhab.cfg

Now type the commands

cp /opt/openhab/configurations/openhab_default.cfg /opt/openhab/configurations/openhab.cfg

The above command copies the file as shown in the image 1 where it shows the openhab.cfg file .All the default configurations are copied in openhab.cfg

Step 4: Step 4: Configuration of MQTT Broker Connections, MQTT Binding

RUN this command

nano /opt/openhab/configurations/openhab.cfg

The command open the openHab.cfg file in the nano editor.Scroll down this page till you see MQTT Transport section. Here we need to uncomment and modify the broker name. For instance in our case we are keeping the broker name as same i.e broker.

MQTT Binding configurations

modify #mqtt:<broker>.url=tcp://<host>:1883 change this to mqtt:broker.url=tcp://localhost:1883

Similarly change #mqtt:<broker>.clientId=<clientId> to mqtt:broker.clientId=openhab

Similarly change #mqtt:<broker>.retain= <retain> to mqtt:broker.retain=retain

*Note: Remove the #, otherwise openHab will treat it as comment.

After that press ctrl+X and press Y and enter to save the changes.

Step 5: Downloading OpenHAB Demo Project

To download the demo first go to the openhab folder using below command

cd /opt/openhab

then download the demo files by entering this command as shown in the image 1


The above command will download the OpenHAB demo files. Sometimes if the above link doesn't work then click here to open openHAB website as shown in image 2, in downloads right click with the mouse and copy the link location and paste.

Once it is downloaded unzip it .This will give you a prompt saying same name files exist and do you want to overwrite say yes.


after that delete the zip file by giving the command

Step 6: How to Run OpenHAB Demo Project

Now it’s time to finally run the OpenHAB.

Enter the command to run openhab .Please note it takes quite some time to start specially on Pi B+


It will show the message saying Launching the OpenHAB runtime as shown in the image 1. Wait for some time to complete the process.When it's running it will add a line every 2 seconds when it receives new temperature info. If all settings are good it should give the message that openHAB has started you can viewed it on the image 2.

Now you can open a web browser and enter this address (replace with your Pi's IP address) and now you will be able to see the screenshot shown in the image 3. The demo house project has started in that you will be able to see the frames such as First Floor, Ground Floor etc.

To start the openHAB there are two methods one is manually and another is autostart. In the manual case when the user reboots or restarts the raspberry pi, he needs to run the command to start the openHAB i.e; he needs to excute /opt/openhab/ command and wait for sometime, as we have mentioned this while running the demo project. To over come this we can actually autostart openHAB this procedure is describen in the next step.

Step 7: Autostarting OpenHAB on Raspberry Pi

Before starting this instructable let me thank Erich Styger, the information about autostart openHAB is taken from his blog.

As we have mentioned the disadvantage in the prvious step that every time we have to manually run the openhab by excuting the command whenever we restart the raspberry pi. This instructable tells you how to get started OpenHAB automatically started when we start/restart the Raspberry Pi.

Download the zip file with the autostart from Github.It contains two files: openhab and openhab.conf.

The script file of openhab looks like as shown in the image1.

Place the file openhab into the /etc/init.d/ directory.

Another script file with the name openhab.conf looks like as shown in image2.

Place this file openhab.conf into /etc/default/ directory.

Step 8: Follow the Following Commands for Autostart OpenHAB

Follow the following commands, execute them

Change current directory to the init.d folder by typing following command

cd /etc/init.d

Change the file attributes so it can be executed:

sudo chmod a+x openhab

Change the group and owner:

sudo chgrp root openhab

sudo chown root openhab

Verify with this command ls -al openhab

if the permissions look like this:

-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 1821 Sep 30 2014 openhab

Change to the directory where we have copied openhab.conf

cd /etc/default

Insert the script into the run level with:

sudo update-rc.d openhab defaults

This now starts openHAB at boot time.

To stop openhab type command

sudo /etc/init.d/openhab stop

To start openhab type command

sudo /etc/init.d/openhab start

If I ever want to undo this, openhab can be removed again from the autostart by running following command

sudo update-rc.d -f openhab remove

Step 9: Verifying Whether the OpenHAB Is Autostarting

Now after the previous step, restart your raspberry pi system, Now we have to verify whether the openHAB has started running in background, to check this type the following command

ls /var/run

If the OpenHAB is running in the background you will be able to see the process id of OpenHAB as shown in image1. At any moment you can stop or start the openHAB by running the command as mentioned in the previous step.

Some of our other instructable which may be helpful

Installing Mqtt on Raspberry Pi

Installing NOOBS on Raspberry Pi


Armtronix Team