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What is HACS and how to use it?

Home Assistant Community Store ( HACS ) is an Plugin in home assistant that gives you the ability to download and update plugins that are on GitHub and are not in the home assistant standard repository.

There are allot of plugins and extension out there for home assistant on github and this makes it hard to keep track of updates on these plugins or extension. HACS will take this of this

How to Install HACS?

You should always update your home assistant installation but if you did not do it in a while then some requirement could be a problem.

The requirement for HACS are:

  • Home Assistant version 2020.12.0 or newer
  • A GitHub account
  • supported Home Assistant installation
  • Access to the filesystem where Home Assistant is located

The Installation steps for HACS on Home Assistant OS:

  • Click on your profile ( left right corner ) and enable Advanced Mode
Home assistant Profile
  • Go to the Supervisor panel and click on Add-on Store
  • Install the Terminal & SSH add-on
Hoem assistant SSH terminal plugin
  • Click on Terminal in the menu or on open web ui in the add-on
Terminal SSH plugin
  • Run the HACS install script
wget -q -O - | bash -
What is HACS
  • Click on Configuration then server controls
  • Click on restart to restart home assistant
  • Once it is rebooted click on configuration
  • Click on intergrations
  • Click on Add integration and search for HACS
Installing HACS
What is HACS

Follow the on screen installation steps

TIP: Copy the authorize code so you can paste it in github when asked

Activate github for hacs

Once it is connected to your github account go back to your home assistant and click finish

Activate HACS

You now have HACS in the menu and when clicking on it you will see HACS is starting up. This will take a while. Depending on your system it could take up one hour for the first time it boots.

Hacs is starting up

Once finished the information screen is gone and you can now use HACS

HACS Intergrations

How do I use HACS?

Click on the HACS Icon in the menu of Home assistant to access HACS

What is HACS

There are 2 things in HACS. Integrations and Frontend. I Will explain both but first you need to know that HACS works with GitHub repositories. You can either add you own or add one that is already known to HACS.

Integrations in Explained

Integrations in HACS are connections to other devices or extensions to home assistant. Like a connection to Philips android TV to control it or a Scheduler component to create custom schedules.

  • Click on HACS in the menu and then click on Integrations.
  • Click on Explore & Add Repositories ( Lower right corner )
  • Search for a repository of your liking. I will use the Philips Android TV as an example
  • Click on the found repository
How do I use HACS
  • Click on Install this repository in HACS then install on the next screen
Android TV in HACS

Some needs a restart of home assistant when installed.

Philips tv in HACS

To restart home assistant. Click on Configuration -> Server Controls -> Under server management click on restart

Once restarted go back to HACS -> Integrations and click on the integration to check if it has installed correctly. In this example I do not see any errors and it can now be added to home assistant by going to Configuration -> Integrations

HACS intergrations

Do note that HACS installs the integration but you still need to tell home assistant to use it as seen in the above example

Frontend in Explained

Frontend in HACS are custom themes or special Lovelace cards you can use for your dashboard. In other words Dashboard customizations

  • Click on HACS in the menu and then click on Frontend.
  • Click on Explore & Add Repositories ( Lower right corner )
  • Search for a repository of your liking. You can also use the filter.
  • Click on the found repository
Goole Dark theme
  • Press install this repository
  • Click on install. Do read the extra steps to activate the new card or theme
  • Reboot Home assistant ( Configuration -> Server controls -> restart ( Under server management)
  • Themes can be found under your profile

If not under your profile you need to edit the configuration.yaml. in order to do so we need to add an add on that makes this possible. Go to Supervisor and click on the add-on store and add the file editor plugin

File editor in Home assistant
  • Open the file editor in the menu or by clicking on open web ui
  • Click on the folder
  • Select configuration.yaml
  • Add the following to the configuration.yaml and click save
themes: !include_dir_merge_named themes
Edit config.yaml in home assistant
  • Reboot Home assistant ( Configuration -> Server controls -> restart ( Under server management)

Now you can see the themes ( Under profile, click on the user name lower left corner )

profile in hass

How do I update HACS?

HACS Does not update itself or the plugins/add-on you have installed automatically. You have to check under the HACS page in Home Assistant yourself.

I only do this if something is broken of before I update Home assistant. Just click on the HACS in the menu and you will see if there are any updates to install.

HACS menu picture


Home Assistant Community Store | HACS

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