Sonoff Zigbee Bridge
Early in June 2020 I received my long-awaited Sonoff Zigbee bridge along with Itead‘s pre-programmed Zigbee CC2531 USB dongle which means I am starting to write about low-power-consumption Zigbee devices including Itead devices (also some from ZemiSmart). In this update I’m including the new Sonoff sensors.
First things first, the Sonoff Zigbee Bridge has both WiFi and Zigbee LEDs, a pairing (recessed) button and a microUSB connector. Other than that, it is plain white and similar in shape to the black Sonoff RF Bridge (both run over WiFi).
Tasmotizing the Sonoff Zigbee Bridge is still experimental (https://templates.blakadder.com/sonoff_ZBBridge.html) so I’m thankful I still have the little Itead dongle for my Raspberry Pi 4 – now I’ve had a good play with the unmodified Bridge and the eWeLink software which is not without issues…but read on…
Step 1: Turn on the new Zigbee bridge, (install and) turn on the eWeLink APP on your smartphone – inform the APP when requested of your WiFi password – seconds later – done – THAT’S it, no button pushing, nothing. The APP gave my new Zigbee Bridge a really dumb default name which I quickly updated to call it “Zigbee Bridge” – just to be original.
Note the reference to “child devices” in the image above.
Sonoff Zigbee DIY
Step 2: Plug the Zigbee DIY Smart Switch controller into the mains – it has a blue light which flashes…. now back to the eWeLink APP, that “Zigbee Bridge” rectangle above left, touch that – ADD… found a device….”device00042 is OFF”. SO easy – again no button pressing – but I didn’t want the default name… so “zigbasic” it is. I like it.
After touching ON in the eWeLink APP, my new “zigbasic” now had a RED light as well as the BLUE light. No change on the bridge which now just had its blue light on. If I manually pressed the on-off toggle on the BASIC, still no change on the bridge – but everything worked – WELL – THAT was easy. As an aside, I hope Zigbee proves to have good range otherwise I’ll need lots of bridges…. some mains-powered devices can act as repeaters – I’ve not ACTUALLY seen that behaviour yet.
The Sonoff Zigbee Bridge came with firmware v 0.2.2 – I’ve now, over a period of several weeks, had three attempts to upgrade that firmware in the APP to v1.1.0 on my up-to-date Android Pocophone – the firmware simply will not upgrade. “Device1000dxxxxxUpgrade failed” – yes, not only did the upgrade fail but they blew the spacing in the error message 🙂
I found another tiny flaw with the APP when working with my new zigbasic device – I turned the latter ON, I disconnected zigbasic from mains power – then reconnected. It worked i.e. I could turn it OFF then ON again from the APP – but the APP blue ON/OFF power state indicator remained ON throughout. I backed out of that page to the BRIDGE page and repeated the operation, all was and is now well. But that needs fixing in the eWeLink APP. To test the range, I unplugged the device, plugged it in elsewhere, still within good range – same visual issue until I backed out of the device page. I’ve reported this back to Itead already.
MORE: Don’t anyone ever say I don’t check this stuff out properly. I took my new Zigbee DIY unit into the hallway (a stone wall and an internal wall away) and all was fine, turned it on and off, no problem. I then took it into the living room (two more open doors) and by now, no blue light, nothing lit up on the device, YET the APP thought it was turning the device on and off – the button on the APP responding to touches no problem – this takes me back to last century and X10 mains control with no feedback. Something else to ponder. I need to be able to check the state of my devices. At this point, a Tasmota-equipped WiFi device would have (after a delay) changed over to a secondary access point and be responding.
As an aside: I also now have one of Itead’s 4-button (433Mhz, not Zigbee) keychains – you will see in the photo below that the latter looks just like many others out there. I’ve not had a chance to test it properly yet but the code looks a little different to the similar-looking devices you see at AliExpress.
New Sonoff Sensors
- SNZB-01 Zigbee wireless switch
- Touch button with single, double press and long press support
- Battery – 3V (CR2450)
- Dimensions – 43x43x16mm
- SNZB-02 Zigbee temperature & humidity sensor
- Unnamed temperature and humidity sensor
- Battery – 3V (CR2450)
- Dimensions – 43x43x14mm
- SNZB-03 Zigbee motion sensor
- Built-in PIR sensor with 6m range and 110°viewing angle.
- Battery – 3V (CR2450)
- Dimensions – 35x39x28mm
- SNZB-04 Zigbee wireless door/window sensor
- Magnet + sensor
- Battery – 3V (CR2450)
- Magnet – 32×15.6x13mm
- Sensor – 47x27x13.5mm
The SZNB-01 is a simple rectangular (some pressure needed) touch-switch which handles click, double-click and long-press and has an internal reset hole and LED indicator (which only seems to operate when resetting). The unit comes complete with CR2450 battery.
The SNZB-02 has a temperature range of 10-40c – which of course limits it to indoor use – in the UK, sub-zero temperatures are very common in winter, while here in Spain the summer outside temperature can easily exceed 40c. With that restriction I can make use of at least one or two of the latter devices around the house. Humidity range is quoted as 10-90% RH. The (supplied) battery for the SNZB-02 is also a CR2450. I’m not too happy that I cannot find any reference to accuracy or expected battery life. The unit has a reset button on the bottom.
The SNZB-03 is on 24-7 test on an internal wall and working perfectly and has done so for several days – though- I may be doing something wrong but although I can get visual notifications of device state changes from the eWeLink APP – I cant seem to get audio alerts so I have to go LOOKING at notifications of changes.
I’ve also tested the SNZB-04 door-window sensor and it is happily working on the front door of our place here in Spain – up to now I have no complaints about the adhesive pads supplied with these sensors.
As you might expect from Itead, the new Sonoff sensor products will be very sensibly priced.
Today (13/08/2020) having failed again with the eWeLink software upgrade I have successfully put Tasmota onto the Bridge – all credit to digiblurDIY for that – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dC1AEyFhmnc.
Itead Zigbee CC2531 USB Dongle
Of course these devices will run using the company’s eWeLink App for IOS and Android but being me you can expect I’ll be doing my best to get everything integrated into Node-Red and NOT on the cloud and to that extent I then took, rather than the Bridge, the Itead custom pre-programmed Zigbee CC2531 USB dongle and plugged it into a Raspberry Pi4 USB(2) socket and grabbed the freely downloadable https://www.zigbee2mqtt.io/ software (which also handles a SHEDLOAD of Zigbee devices). If you read my blog entry on the Instar cameras, the name Mike Polinowski might ring a bell. I’ve since kept in touch with Mike and he’s into Zigbee – this is useful reading… https://mpolinowski.github.io/zigbee-sensors-in-fhem
Anyway, I reset the Sonoff Zigbee DIY (referred herein as the basic-zbr3) and it worked quite readily with the USB dongle.
At that point, a pair of Smart RGBW bulbs turned up from Zemismart and I added them into the mix. Lovely and so easy to set up without any cloud. I’ve yet to succeed with the Zigbee meshing ability or integrate Alexa with these products – but I’ll likely give that it’s own blog entry where I’ll also do justice to other Zemismart Zigbee products..
Unfotunately, the Zemismart touch wall switch does not seem reliable on a 5w LED (this is the British version of the wall switch with no neutral). The Zemismart bulbs, are bright and were easy to pair the first time. As they don’t have any buttons, five off-on cycles is supposed to reset them, that didn’t work every time for me, but a random number of on-off cycles in quick succession soon brought them into flashing mode and soon after they were all paired up. Re-pairing them proved impossible however after the first time.
At some point as this subject expands, I’ll need to split this blog into two because (for several reasons) I’m learning more by the minute on the subject of Zigbee – and I trust that interested tech readers will soon contribute to that knowledge. So, firstly, helpful subscriber steve Lenehan just put me onto the Ikea Tradfri repeater as (apparently) a reliable repeater at a reasonable price – and so I bought one. Meanwhile I went off on a tangent and watched Paul Hibbert’s video on the subject of Ikea and their Tradfri Zigbee Gateway – which did not impress him very much. SO, more feedback guys please.