Actron Que and Home Assistant

Sheldon: “I’d love to, but I’m too busy falling back in love with Windows 98.”
Leonard: “Seriously? You haven’t used this desk in years. The second I want to get rid of it you’re up here working.”
Sheldon: “I can’t talk right now. I have several thousand updates to install.”

I’m very pleased to say that the add-on I created to enable the Actron Connect module to be accessed from Home Assistant has been getting quite a bit of use, not only by myself. However, Actron now have a new device available called the Actron Que. I’ve had a couple of queries now about having an add-on/integration for Que and Home Assistant, so I’ve decided to create a new add-on to interface between those systems.

I’m only just starting on it, so it will be in beta for a few weeks. I don’t have a Que at home, so am reliant on some kind souls temporarily giving me credentials to their Que system for a bit of testing. Please feel free to volunteer if you’d like to help.

I’ll update this page as the add-on progresses. At this stage, it looks like the add-on will simply be accessing the Que API on the cloud service, and registering an air conditioner entity with temperature, compressor state, fan speed, mode etc; a series of switches – one per zone; and potentially a series of temperature sensors – if you have a different temperature sensor per zone. As such, you’ll need to configure the add-on with the credentials for your Que account.

The add-on needs an MQTT broker to handle messaging to Home Assistant. The default configuration assumes you’re using the Mosquitto MQTT broker that comes with Home Assistant, but you could use any other product if you preferred – just ensure you have discovery enabled.

The add-on has been compiled for amd64, armhf, armv7, and i386, and tested on a Linux 64bit virtual machine, and a Raspberry Pi using a 32-bit Home Assistant image.

Installation

Add a new add-on repository to your Home Assistant deployment, and you should be able to access the compiled add-on.

Add On

The repository for the add-on is here: https://github.com/MikeJMcGuire/HASSAddons. It should install fairly quickly, the add-on is about 200mb.

Untitled

You need only configure a couple of settings to use it. If you leave the default MQTTBroker of ‘core-mosquitto,’ it will use the Mosquitto add-on of Home Assistant (core-mosquitto is the internal name of the Mosquitto add-on when hosted by Home Assistant). You could also put the IP address/host name of your broker if you host it elsewhere.

You will also need to specify:

  • Your Que username and password.

Development Update (23 Aug v0.18):

  1. Create authentication/token system – done.
  2. Retrieve current state of the AC – polling every X seconds, and display that data on a climate entity in Home Assistant – done.
  3. Retrieve current state of the zones – polling every X seconds, and display that data on switch entities in Home Assistant – done.
  4. Push changes from Home Assistant’s climate or zone switch entities back to the Que web service – done.
  5. Change from polling to an event based service – assuming the Que service provides an event feed, or HTTP long poll type capability so that the add-on reflects changes instantly without the constant polling – in progress.
  6. After submitting a change (i.e. on/off, temperature, zone), the add-on should pull new events from the cloud service at a much faster rate until the changes are acknowledged. This should shorten the time it takes to update HA – done.
  7. Provide an option for a per-zone climate entity in HA to enable the adjustment of the set temperature per zone – done.
  8. Provide an option for specifying the Que Serial number if you have multiple Que units on your account – done.
  9. Register all of the MQTT entities against a single device, so that the HA reflects them on the MQTT integration page – done.

The add-on has been compiled for all platforms and uploaded, so its available for testing. If you need to get in touch due to an issue with the add-on, leave a comment below and I’ll reach out.

Other notes:

  • It is currently polling for events/changes every 30 seconds, however this is now configurable. The add-on only asks for new events so its not downloading a full 20k status, but rather 600 or so bytes if there are no changes to report.
  • The add-on will now auto-discover the serial number of the Que unit, and auto-discover the zone count and zone names. If you were to add/remove a zone, simply restart the add-on to discover the zone changes.
  • You will need to set the PerZoneControls configuration option to true in order to see the per-zone climate entities.

~ Mike

55 thoughts on “Actron Que and Home Assistant

  1. Hi Mike,

    This is great news, happy to assist in anyway I can with testing.
    I have actron que with wireless temp sensors in each zone.

    I currently have my system functioning to a degree in node-red, I just can’t get my head around the switch node and having multiple zones setup at once plus I haven’t had the time….

  2. Just want to advertise the hell out of this Mike. You’ve done an awesome job with this and it’s been rock steady and reliable for me for the last few weeks. It’s so good Actron should officially support this as it makes the Que even better now it interacts with modern smart homes.

    Next step is per zone temperature controls but respect your time especially as you don’t have a Que yourself!

    Thanks again for all you’ve done.

    1. Much appreciated Shane. Last few weeks have been a little hectic at work! I got most of the way there with the per zone climate controls, but need to do some more testing before release. Will try get that out today.

  3. Looking on Github these all seem to be for hass.io. I’m not sure how familiar you are with vanilla Home Assistant and was curious if you had any appetite for making this into a customer component for Home Assistant as I’d love to by able to control my Actron QUE in HA

    1. Howdy, the github repo has a docker compose yaml file – you should be able to run the container anywhere. The only requirements really are for the options.json file to appear in a /data directory inside the container (included in the yaml fie), and for the container to connect to the MQTT used by HA. So you can run it quite happily outside of hass.io. Let me know how you go.

  4. This works fantastic, 100% better than using the terrible app !
    If you are looking for some testers, I’ll happily assist.

  5. Nice work! I just installed Home Automation on my workstation, MQTT and your add-on. It seems to be working – I can see new client connectted as hass-actronque in the MQTT logs, and various messages in the QUE log like “MQTT.SendMessage() hass-actronque/status”. But I cannot figure out how to display and/or control the actual device – mostly because it’s the first time I’ve used Home Automation. What should I do next?

    1. It’s all pretty automatic.

      When you setup the MQTT integration, you need to enable autodiscovery. Then the climate device that the add-on registers in MQTT will appear in HA to be controlled.

      Did you see in the logs for the add-on, when it starts, that it successfully authenticated to Que and discovered your AC?

  6. Wow

    Firstly Thank you for your hard work in creating this.. I love my Que AC but cant stand thier damn App…

    This is fantastic, i was completely unaware of this Home Assistant world 24hrs ago .. so after researching and installing hassio, MQTT and now your Q add on im having a ball.. All my lights and so are not setup and Your add on is working great.

    goodbye crappy Actron app/cloud 🙂

    Now to look into changing the UI.. im sure theres a way.. Newbie here..

    Thank again

  7. I started again, it does look like it’s working. Under Logbook I can see a bunch of events associated with “Entities” which are clearly from my QUE (Study Air Conditioner changed to heat). They also appear under Configuration / Entities.

    I suspect I just don’t know how to use Home Assistant yet but I don’t see a way of adding them to a dashboard.

    1. I’ve figured it out thanks! Also there’s a lot of other information available on the master controller such as outside temperature, compressor speed, zone damper %. Do you plan on adding this or it not available via the cloud?

  8. HI Mike
    Thanks for your fantastic work !
    I’m using it with Homekit and it’s working really well.
    The only issue is that restarting hass seems to lose all the Homekit customisations (so which room each zone is in, and some of the naming). Do you have any idea how to make this persist across restarts ?

    1. Hi Graeme, thanks for the feedback!

      That’s interesting about homekit. The add-on simple registers entities with HA. HA then makes the appropriate entities available to homekit with the homekit integration. I’ve only ever seen the issue once with apple/homekit forgetting the customisations, and it was a good year ago after a HA version upgrade – I’ve never seen it since. Any homekit customisation for any entity should be persisted. All I could suggest is turning on the homekit logging (the ha documentation for the integration will have that info) – and see if the homekit logging is reporting any integration issues.

      1. Thanks Mike

        I’ll take a look at HomeKit logging.

        From some googling it seems like I may need to add a delay in HA before firing up the HomeKit component, in order for your integration to fire up first.
        It appears that if HomeKit fires up before entities are registered, it will clear the bridge and then re initialise everything as they are added https://github.com/home-assistant/homebridge-homeassistant/issues/36

        I notice that in HA, the fan controls are exposed, but in HomeKit, the only modes are Off, Heat, Cool and Auto; is this a HomeKit limitation ?

        Thanks again for your hard work – its a fantastic plugin and so much reliable than Actron’s app !

    2. Graeme – I had the exact same issue. I added a Homekit startup delay to mine and I’ve not had the issue since.

      I’ve now moved all of my aircon automations and schedules to Homekit, and now zones turn on and off if people are home or not. I also use the temperature sensors in each room for some also. The Home+ (paid app) is very good for advanced automations in homekit.

      I’ve setup presence “switches” using homebridge for each person (turned on when that person arrives home, off when they leave) and this allows me to do Homekit automatons based on if a specific person is actually home when I run the automation (Homekit seems to mostly just present arrive or depart to use).

      Only issue I have now is when the Que API takes a senior moment – which happened earlier this week. That’s the only negative of a cloud API vs local control… not much we can do about that.

      Shane.

      1. Shane
        I believe there’s a couple of poorly labeled Ethernet ports on the fancoil unit (near where the cat 5 cables from each zone are terminated). Have you tried connecting a patch cable from there to your switch ?
        Mike – in your blog you said you’d tried this with your older Connect system and discovered this was a dummy port ! If I was to try on my Que, what would you suggest I use to probe ?
        I’m assuming it would not be a simple DHCP setup where it would get an address from the router – I’m guessing that occurs at the control panel ?

      2. Graeme,

        Without the ability to send commands directly to the unit locally (I don’t think Mike’s add-on can talk to or command the Que system directly), only thing wiring into ethernet for me would be a more stable local connection vs WiFi. The controller still needs to talk to cloud for it’s advanced features.

        I’m pretty happy with my system at the moment. Just hope Actron stays in business long-term otherwise all this advanced stuff goes away if the cloud platform and API get shut down 🙂

      3. Shane
        My guess re the Ethernet ports is that they might allow us to control the system locally – given that each zone damper is connected to the fancoil via Ethernet, it must be using IP to turn them on and off.
        Would be much better than sending each command via the cloud (as we all discovered earlier this week!)
        I think that’s what Mike tried with his system but the port wasn’t active. I’m wondering whether they are active on our Ques

      4. Hard to say Graeme. It doesn’t make a lot of commercial sense to add an ethernet port that’s fully capable of being used instead of WiFi as most people will generally not have an ethernet cable in the roof cavity. Not to say they haven’t – but you’d think there’d be a lot more advertising/info in the manual about it if it were. To Shane’s point though, it would only be substituting the WiFi connection, not providing a more direct manner of control.

        The reason we could intercept the Actron Connect traffic and control it directly was the fact that the original comms from that device were not encrypted. The Que traffic is encrypted however.

        Are you having any particular issues with it using the original Que API?

        To your other point – the zone controls etc might be using a cable with an rj45 connector, but it doesnt mean they’re talking ethernet/ip. Most likely a serial connection.

      5. Hi Mike
        Fair enough re serial connection; the Velux controller for my skylights uses SLIP through its Ethernet port. At least they have published their IP !
        I do wonder how the master controller communicates with the fancoil if it’s set up wirelessly (which I believe is possible) – this must be IP. If we could intercept traffic between the controller and fancoil…
        The API works well, but their server does go down at times.
        My alarm system (Paradox) is similar – has a cloud server and app. But there’s also a documented windows program for installers to set it up via its Ethernet port. Some clever people have reverse engineered this communication, and we can now control everything locally via HA. It’s so much more reliable than the company’s cloud
        That would be my dream Que setup 🙂

  9. Yep good point – the integration needs that automation in place to start. I’m pretty sure the integration doco on the HA website has the configuration of that as well.

    Yeah the homekit climate object doesn’t have a fan speed option unfortunately. I’ve actually myself started using the HA mobile app more than the apple one for many of those reasons.

      1. No, it isn’t necessary. The add-on immediately registers the entities via MQTT upon startup – i.e. it’s not waiting to hear from the air conditioner. Once HA has connected to MQTT – it will refresh those entities. Putting a 10 second delay onto the HomeKit start will be more than sufficient.

  10. This is awesome and works well in my 4 zone setup! Thanks heaps!!

    Is it possible to create an automation within home assistant to turn a specific zone on when the temp drops below a certain value? i.e, if a specific zone drops below 17c then turn on heating for that zone with a set temp of 19c? Or if the temp goes above 29c then turn on cool for that zone with a set temp of 25c?

    I have a computer room with DAS and a NAS setup, I’m wanting to keep it somewhat temp controlled without turning on the rest of the house specifically when I’m not home.

    1. Hi James. You could create an automation in HA to run based on time, or events. You could have it react to the event of the temperature sensor changing, or every hour for example. You could then call HA services to take action, i.e. turn on ac, change zone, set temp etc. There’s lots of examples of the automations, and help available in the forums – someone will have definitely created the automation to which you’re referring before. Have a look on the developer tools tab of HA – you can see the services and the entities you’d need to use in your automation.

  11. Hi
    I am not tech hence my query
    I have an actron que and my aim is to try and have a homekit integration. I have a device called as HOOBS based on homebridge which has enabled a few products to be integrated.
    However it looks like HA is different from homebridge.
    For the uninitiated how painful will the HA set up be ?

    1. HA setup is generally pretty straight forward and quick – and there is significant community support/guides/forums available.

      They generally start with a Rasperry Pi device for hosting.

    2. Ritam,

      It is a bit harder than HOOBS or Homebridge… but if you can get Hass.io up and running https://www.home-assistant.io/hassio/ it’s the recommended path – and Mike’s add-on works seamlessly with it.

      Installing on a Raspberry Pi is probably easiest as it’s just grabbing a build and putting the image on an SD-Card and turning on the RPi. You then follow the guides to set it up.

      If you run into trouble – message here and I can share sections of my configuration files which will likely be enough to get you up and running.

      Shane.

      1. Thanks Shane and Mike
        I have HassIO/ HA installed on Raspberry Pi yesterday -so Que is next.
        Correct me if I am wrong
        1. The Que HA plug directly connects to the web and interacts with the controller.
        2. It will not directly communicate with the master controller locally.
        3. Once set up -The ActronQue app does not interact with the web and controller hence it is not of much use – it has anyway crashed 3 times in 1 month.
        4. All traffic goes to HA and then Homekit ?
        5. If Actron servers go down the HA plug in will not work like the APP ?
        Ritam

  12. 1. Connects to the Cloud Service – the same one to which the master controller connects (the HA add-on emulates the phone app).
    2. Correct.
    3. The Que app will continue to function as normal. It’s only with the Actron Connect (not Que) that the phone app stops working.
    4. HA will register devices with HomeKit. When HomeKit needs information, or to send a command, HomeKit connects to HA.
    5. Yep.

  13. Hi Shane
    So I downloaded MQTT and installed.
    Then installed Mike’s actron que add on – put in user name and password under configuration.
    Does not appear to work or show under integrations.
    Any suggestions on how to fix.

  14. So I have now installed the Actron Que add on into HA and it reflects as a switch in HomeKit.
    I now have to figure out how to get ranges and temperatures into HomeKit.

    Let me know when possible how to fix this.

  15. Hi Mike,
    This is a great piece of work! I am new to this and have some setup issues. I have flashed the home assistant rpi4 image, installed the mqtt broker, created a separate mqtt user in home assistant, set mqtt discovery to true and discovery_prefix to homeassistant in the configuration.yaml file. On looking at the log file, it seems to log into que and get the serial number but the following error continues to recur and I don’t know where to start to fix it.

    23-08-2020 12:16:40.25 Que.GetAirConditionerZones() [0x00000013] Error (Microsoft.CSharp.RuntimeBinder.RuntimeBinderException): Unable to process API HTTP response. ‘Newtonsoft.Json.Linq.JValue’ does not contain a definition for ‘RemoteZoneInfo’

    My actron que has 5 zones. Do I need to create these zones or rooms separately in home assistant? Any helpful points would be greatly appreciated!
    Cheers,
    Mike

    1. Hey Mike, I’ll contact you separately to get the full logs. First time seeing this error – there’s either something in your setup that I haven’t seen/catered for, or the API has changed. Should be solvable!

    2. Thanks for your help Mike. I’ve updated the add-on to call out when it detects multiple Que systems registered on the one account, and you now have the option to specify which unit you wish to use.

      1. Thanks Mike for sorting this out. This is a fantastic add on for those with que systems. The support offered is phenomenal!

  16. Hey Mike,
    Awesome work on this add-on. I’ve been playing with it for the last week or so and working very good with my Acton Que with 8 zones.

    Questions I have
    – Is there a way to turn on a zone without selecting the mode?
    What I want to be able to do it just turn on a zone like you can on that app and I’ll hide the other functions from the tile.

    – When a zone\s are turned off they seem to default view with a temp of say 24c when the set temp is actually 20c, Is there a way to just display it as ‘off’ ?

    Cheers,
    Kyle

    1. Agreed – This add on is awesome.

      I have HomeAssistant bridge the zones to Apple HomeKit and can see not only the aircon/temp control, but switches for each individual zone.

      I’m assuming if Honeassistant can show this via it’s HomeKit bridge that it should be accessible in HomeAssistant.

      Shane.

  17. Thanks Shane,
    Do you know what the calls the on and off of a zone?

    Below is what I can see in HASS and I’ve hidden the other functions from the zones but if I need to hit cool or heat to turn on the zone, If the wrong option is selected it will change the mode for all zones.

    Cheers,
    Kyle

    1. Hi Kyle, not only is there a climate unit per zone, there should actually be a zone switch that does nothing other than turn the zone on/off. Shane’s picture shows the switch entity as well as the climate entity.

      1. To your other question about the temperature. That’s the ‘set temperature’ that HA displays, rather than the current temperature. When the unit is off, it doesn’t indicate heating or cooling – which meant it wasn’t obvious what to use as the set temperature. When the unit is off – I take the average of the set heating temp, and the set cooling temp.

  18. Hi Mike,
    Thanks heaps for the reply, much appreciated.
    Worked out the switch entity, pretty new to HA so working things out as I go.

    See below what I mean about the temp when a zone is off and how it defaults to a temp, try to set it, reverts back, turn zone on and goes to the nominated temp that doesn’t match what is displays when off.

    Any ideas why it’s behaving that way?

    Cheers,
    Kyle

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