Hi folks, the Aqara U100 lock is now available for North America market:
I wanted to kick off an HA community thread here about support of this lock in HA and user experience.
I personally ordered few of these, specifically because it runs over Zigbee, has fingerprint reader, is IP65, external USB-C in case it runs out of battery and Apple HomeKey support to tap iPhone or Apple Watch as a key.
Why I emphasize these features and design choices:
- Zigbee security: a huge plus for a lock, I’m sure we’ll see some cloud-based locks being opened in thousands of homes because their cloud got hacked and/or potentially personal metadata leaking like Fingerprints. With Zigbee the radio is encrypted and the lock can never access internet directly (beware of Aqara Hub!), so even in case of political conflict or war between the manufacturer country and user country the devices won’t become malicious or dumb bricks, unfortunately in 2023 we have to consider that too folks.
- Zigbee battery: many users of Wi-Fi based locks including some of my friends and myself have struggled with the lock chewing through the battery within just few weeks and then you’re always afraid that you forgot the physical key and might not get into the house! With Zigbee Aqara promises (and we’ll have to report on that here folks) up to 8 months of use and it has external USB-C to power it up in case it died (I wonder if intruder can hack/fry it through the port though)
- IP65: not all locks work under rain and freezing or super hot temps, specifically Zigbee locks like Aqara A100 didn’t, U100 claims to work under rain/snow in between -31F (-35C) to 150F (65C).
- Apple HomeKey: out of all tech giants Apple is the one who consistently pushes Privacy & Security (in reality it is of course questionable), but so far their HomeKey and CarKey integration in iPhone and Apple Watch looks the most privacy and performance oriented, it is supposed to store HomeKey data encrypted and never uploaded out of your device w/o your consent, FaceID / code is used to verify authorized use. With some other locks I’m sure we’ll see even Police departments getting remote access like they do with say Ring cloud-based cameras. Also, even when iPhone runs out of battery and turns off Apple HomeKey can work for few more hours! However, it is important to note that some other Apple HomeKey compatible locks lose that functionality when they’re connected to non-Apple HomeKit controllers like HomeAssistant We’ll have to test and report that here.
- Price: $189 at launch so far is very very reasonable, compared to many smart locks with less features or worse design running easily in $300+ range.
- Guest access codes: unclear if this will work properly without the lock running through Aqara hub and Aqara servers, we’ll have to report on that. Ideally it will and guest codes should have schedule when they work so you could let say a nanny or housekeeper into your house only at certain days/hours w/o worrying that the codes will be used at night/etc.
- Matter support: it is promised through Matter compatible Aqara Hub and the reality of Matter devices so far — it doesn’t really work yet, so I wouldn’t buy it for this feature unless someone posts their success story. Personally, I will be using it through Zigbee2Mqtt.
With all that said, my lock should arrive in few days and I’ll keep you posted, please make sure to share your experience too!
Update 1 (also posted below as separate comment):
First update from topic-starter.
I’ve got one lock installed, here are the most important take-aways so far:
- U100 DOES NOT seem to have built-in way to be reset and discoverable for your own Zigbee network w/o damn Aqara Hub, I wish I’ve found out this aspect earlier. Apparently, same issue exists w/ Aqara A100 and the rabbit-hole of adding it to your own Zigbee network is very very deep, see: [New device support]: Aqara A100 Pro Smart Door Lock · Issue #13087 · Koenkk/zigbee2mqtt · GitHub still work in progress for over half a year as deep as flashing Aqara Hub with custom firmware or rooting it.
- U100 can be added to Apple Home via Bluetooth w/o installing Aqara app or having Aqara Hub, however it won’t work over internet w/o Aqara Hub and has just Apple HomeKey and Access Codes settings. You can’t configure fingerprints or AutoLock w/o Aqara app, even calibration won’t work which forced me to install Aqara app as the lock couldn’t figure out which way to turn itself because I have it on the left side of the door and it wanted to close to the right by default.
- U100 can be added to Aqara app over Bluetooth w/o Aqara hub and then you get all the settings, calibration, however it requires you to register Aqara account which sucks because I hoped to never even need Aqara app and account in the first place.
- There were no installation instructions on paper in the box I kid you not, I had to download manual from website but when I eventually installed Aqara app to get more settings apparently there were detailed video instructions on the installation in the Aqara app.
- I’ve found the lock’s physical design and quality quite good, outer part is aluminum, fingerprint scanner is quick, inner side is matte gray plastic and looks nice in my home, it’s easy to operate.
TL;TR: I had to order Aqara Hub, my plan so far is to have hub added to HomeAssistant either through Xiaomi integration or as HomeKit compatible device and then block internet access to the hub so it can only talk to HA. Second goal is to try to hack it to run directly on my Zigbee2Mqtt network w/o Aqara Hub.
With Aqara A100 a user on GitHub reported figured that you can get A100 into Zigbee pairing mode by starting to bind it to Aqara Hub and quickly unplugging Aqara Hub from the outlet, but the problem with at least A100 is that Zigbee messages are encrypted and unreadable for other Zigbee coordinators like Zigbee2Mqtt unless someone pulls private keys out of the lock. But anyway, I’ll try putting U100 into hub pairing and then intercepting the pairing w/ my own Zigbee2Mqtt coordinator.
So far it’s really sad that U100 can’t be connected as normal Zigbee device w/o Aqara Hub, I planned to install more of these locks across the house because I have robust Zigbee network w/ lots of routers, but with this damn Aqara Hub I might need few Aara hubs to extend it to all doors in the house. Aqara decided to screw with Zigbee standard once again, what a bummer.
Update 2 from topic-starter (also posted below as separate comment).
TL;TR: it’s really bad.
- I got M1S Aqara Hub
- I’ve added Hub to Aqara app on iOS and it wanted to add itself to Apple Home, ok
- I’ve “bound” lock with Hub in the Aqara app
- In the Aqara app it then integrated lock with Apple Home
- I’ve removed Hub from Apple Home and it immediately became available for integration into HA HomeKit Controller
- I’ve added Hub to HA HomeKit Controller
- But the lock does not appear as Hub accessory device/entity in the HA HomeKit Controller!
Without bluetooth as per comment above on my HA server it seems impossible to get U100 to work with HomeAssistant right now.
I’ve also tried adding lock to Zigbee2Mqtt as per [New device support]: Aqara A100 Pro Smart Door Lock · Issue #13087 · Koenkk/zigbee2mqtt · GitHub by clicking “Bind with Gateway” in Aqara app and quickly disconnecting Hub from outlet, lock eventually says “Zigbee connection failed, please check the hub and try later” but never appears in Zigbee2Mqtt UI or logs, I’ve tried like 5 times.
It kills me that Aqara M1S hub is listed as Zigbee 3.0 Certified and the U100 is a Zigbee lock yet they screw you with non-Aqara Zigbee compatibility. It’s like saying this device is Wi-Fi certified but it uses it in its own unique way and you won’t be able to connect it to your Wi-Fi.
This is really sad, the lock itself is great and fingerprint is extremely convenient, but I want the lock to be controllable through HomeAssistant to be sure that the door is closed/open when I need to.
I’m sure technically it’s completely possible for Aqara to release firmware update for the lock to make it compatible with non-Aqara Zigbee coordinators. But I don’t know if they’re going to listen to consumers.
3rd update from topic-starter: (also posted below as comment)
- I bought long range Bluetooth adapter as per HA Bluetooth docs, adapter works w/o drivers w/ my OrangePi5 running Linux Kernel 5.1
- Deleted U100 from Apple Home on my iPhone
- Lock immediately became discoverable for HA HomeKit Controller (server is about 15 ft away from the door)
- Added U100 to HA HomeKit Controller via bluetooth
- Lock lost Apple Home Key, but fingerprint and other Aqara app specific features work
- For a day it was all good except 5-30s delay in status changes in HA
- After about a day Lock stopped missing reports on status change to HA, like unlocked, locked twice but only one even was reported
- About one day more and lock completely stopped reporting to HA via HomeKit Controller over Bluetooth
- What’s worse it doesn’t even react to forced commands and service calls to Lock/Unlock from HA HomeKit Controller
- I’ve tried re-adding it, rebooting my HA server, after re-adding it works for few hours and then stops reporting updates
I wonder if that’s my Bluetooth adapter issue or if the lock is this bad with HomeKit over bluetooth because I’ve noticed it took a lot of time to propagate status change on iPhone Apple Home and Aqara needs to release firmware update?
Lock that doesn’t report its status and doesn’t react to lock/unlock commands over officially supported protocol is really really bad for home automation…