HomeBridge and QNAP and Ring... Wow, it worked!



As promised, we went ahead and installed HomeBridge on our QNAP NAS. 

And we connected our Ring Doorbell and cameras to HomeKit. 

It worked. It worked SO well.

Back in 2019, we purchased a new home. It had a Ring Doorbell (1st gen), and the battery had completely died. 

Couldn't be recharged. 

Needed to be replaced. 

And the Ring Doorbell Pro had some advantages! It was smaller, had a higher-resolution camera, and (most importantly) HomeKit support was coming soon.

So, we got a Ring Doorbell Pro. It's hardwired for power, so there are no batteries to worry about. It's been fun to use. You can talk to people when they ring your doorbell!

But HomeKit support never came. 

Oh well, the native app works okay. We added a Stick Up Battery cam for the back door. 

Ring + HomeBridge = HomeKit

Now, as we discussed in our last post, a major project for Q4 2021 is getting our Ring system into HomeKit. 

(...And then expanding it with an Alarm system, retrofitting our existing ADT Pulse into the Ring Alarm system, and running ALL of that through HomeKit. Soon.)

Step one is accomplished - our QNAP NAS is, as of yesterday, an always-on HomeBridge server, and our Ring cameras are visible in the Home App. 

It was, really... SHOCKINGLY easy.  

Especially if you have an always-on NAS server in your basement, that's acting as a Plex server and nothing else. It was begging for a new use!

Adding HomeBridge to QNAP

There isn't a native "Homebridge" app for your QNAP NAS, like there is for Plex. 

It takes a little bit of doing. But really.... it's not that hard. 

HERE IS THE PROCESS for adding HomeBridge. 

You need to download the "Container Station" app, and configure some settings. HomeBridge is going to be controlled via a web browser, created under your NAS' IP address. 

The UI is simple to use - I can't believe that HOOBS could be easier. 

I opened the Home App on my phone, went to "Add Accessory" for HomeBridge using the giant onscreen QR code....

Downloaded the Ring Plug-in + added our username and password....

Restarted the HomeBridge....

And that was it. Home auto-populated all of the Ring functionality into our Home App. 

This was a rare WIN-WIN. 

Our Ring stuff is working with the rest of our home, and our Home Server has a reason for existing other than streaming movies on Plex (most of which are also available on streaming services.)

NEXT - Ring Alarm

While it's really cool to have Ring Doorbell and Stick Up Cam available in our Home App... adding Ring Alarm will really take this to the next level. 

Creating automations based on Ring Alarm events could be extremely helpful. 

If there's motion on the back porch after sunset, turn on the back porch lights. 

If an exterior door opens after sunset, turn on the lights in the kitchen.  

Other HomeBridge Uses

Our August Lock Wifi is acting very strangely with HomeKit. It functions fine in the native app, and functions fine in HomeKit -- but only for devices on the primary "family" AppleID. 

For all other users, we see "Setup Needed". 

HOWEVER, all other users get HomeKit notifications for the August Lock.... and automations are working. It's 80% of what we wanted, and I'd hate to mess it up.

I tried to load the August Homebridge plug-in, and I'm getting fatal errors. I'll keep trying - I've heard that connecting to HomeKit via HomeBridge works better than connecting directly. 

There's also the issue of our MyQ garage door openers. Their hub is connected via ethernet, but the garage door opener panels are too far away (and probably have poor wifi reception anyway), so they're "Not Responding" about 100% of the time. 

It's possible that connecting them via HomeBridge would help... but I'm guessing this is a wifi reception issue. 

We'll see if a powerline adapter can create a wifi hotspot in the garage and add this functionality. 


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