Aqara/Xiaomi/whatever...woes

Recently, I got tired of a Sonoff door/window sensor failing to register updates in my HA. I researched, found Aqara to be highly rated and decided to give it a try. I had forgotten that I bought Aqara motion sensors about a year ago, back when I was on Hubitat, and they would not work at all. Status would just not update after a few hours. That’s pretty much what brought me to HA, I wanted to start over and build something great that would suit all devices.

But…alas…I have failed…the new Aqara door/window sensors do the same thing. Pair nicely, after a few hours, just don’t update status anymore. I recall conversations about adding devices from Ikea into the mix, never did it because I already, apparently, have devices that should help but haven’t (Sinope zigbee thermostats, zigbee environment sensors, etc). I want to really get to the root.

I have also read that my Sonoff 3.0 zigbee dongle might not like them either with my zigbee2mqtt implementation. I have seen reference to a nortek z-wave/zigbee that some folks have said works well with these types of devices.

So, my real question is, what can I really do? I know I can get a new zigbee dongle and replace the Sonoff but is there really any dongle out there that plays well with all devices? Could I buy a dongle that will play nice with these types of devices and use both zigbee dongles on the RPI? Maybe leave the Sonoff on z2m and put another zigbee that works with Aqara/Xiaomi in another USB port with ZHA?

I’m really looking for the best solution. I want this thing to be all that I want it to be but just unclear on the best way to get there. I want to stop wasting money and saying “Meh, won’t work with what I have” and make everything that I have work.

What are your Zigbee router devices? Some (eg Sonoff) are known to be pretty bad routers.

Are you pairing them to the nearest router (recommended) or just using the generic pair option and letting them pick (not recommended)?

The SkyConnect has been extremely reliable (without multiprotocol, never could get that crap to work) with my Sonoff and Aqara devices.

Also, be sure that you’re using a USB extension cable between your ZigBee Adapter and your USB port.

If your devices have got LQI of about 80 and below, you might wanna check connectivity issues between devices instead, or try repositioning the adapter/antenna.

Thank you for the replies! I have a Sonoff 3.0 zigbee router. I thought I had researched a lot when I put this together and that was the one recommended. I think I have something to learn here. I wasn’t aware that I could pair to a nearest router and not use the generic pair option. I have been pairing just using the Permit Join. How do I pair to a nearest router? I have paired with them in place and while close to a device that I would like them to connect to that people say would be reliable (Sinope thermostats) but neither have been all that successful.

I do use an extension cable between all adapters connected to the RPI. I have read about the SkyConnect as well and I thought I had found one post that wasn’t having tremendous luck with Aqara with that device, but I might be wrong.

Most of my devices are well above 80 and range from 130 - 150. I’ve put a ton into the mesh here and have 61 zigbee devices.

So, if my Sonoff 3.0 adapter is junk, what would really be the recommendation to tie it all together? SkyConnect?

Look closely at the pair button, on the right :wink:

So… yes, but no, but really no.

Xiaomi devices pair to the first device they hear from. Not the strongest signal, the very first one, no matter how weak. Oh, and pairing uses more power.

You can see how this ends badly.

Thankfully the newer (E1, P1, and T1) ranges use Zigbee 3.0 and will happily change parent after pairing. I’m never buying an original Aqara again :wink:

That’s fine as a router, it’s the Sonoff plugs are known to be junk.

Oh my goodness…you mean the big drop-down arrow that is hard to miss that I somehow have missed every single time I have paired something…where I can select a device…jeesh…I’m sorry for asking such a stupid question…embarrassing. So, I selected the closest Sinope and paired an Aqara sensor to it. We’ll see what happens with that! Thank you for your patience!

Oddly enough, I love the Sonoff plugs. I have not had a single issue with them at all and use them more now that the old Iris (still my favorite) plugs are hard to find. I still like changing out an entire outlet entirely if practical, though.

Not at all, it’s been missed by countless people. Safe to say you’re very far from alone there.

So, after pairing to a Sinope thermostat (friendly to Aqara), I found that the status stopped updating again. I went into Zigbee2MQTT and clicked on the Map to see where it was mapping to and found that it is mapping to all of the Sonoff plugs. Is this why the Sonoff plugs are trash? It is weird, that Sinope Thermostat is way closer than any Sonoff plug. All Sonoff plugs are even upstairs or in the garage while the sensor is downstairs, clear line of sight and within 10 feet of the Sinope thermostat…

They’re known to be pretty bad routers

What would be the best way to relieve the issue with Aqara? The Sonoff work reliably but I’m not tied to them so long as another plug works just as reliably and is a better router and would help the Aqara. I’m really just trying to get everything to play together. Would replacing the Sonoff plugs with Tradfri plugs be best? Seems like a new dongle wouldn’t since they are connecting to other routers anyway. Could I add a dongle that would work better with Aqara and just put them in ZHA and leave the Sonoff 3.0 with the other devices?

Add some router devices that don’t suck, and pair the Aqara through them.

Innr are pretty much the “gold standard” of affordable quality - they’re great devices and amazing routers.

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Huh, first I have heard of that brand. I will give them a look. My guess is that I will need to remove the Sonoff plugs because I have A LOT of routers that are far closer than any Sonoff plug is to that sensor; aforementioned Sinope thermostats (3 of them), aforementioned Iris plugs (zwave/zigbee type – multiple…I think 6 or more), 2 of those nifty environment sensors (KMPCIL), GE switches (2 of them), and Enbrighten switches (2 of them). The fact that it connects to the Sonoff plugs is pretty crazy to me considering distance it has to travel…I wonder if stuffing one of those Innr plugs in the room next to the sensor will make a difference.

I added a single sonoff plug to my net. Multiple odd issues followed the next couple weeks.

Found it hard to believe all were related to the plug, but once replaced everything was and remains solid.

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Thank you so much for this!! I think I will work to replace them. They have been reliable from a switching standpoint but need things to play well with each other or, at least, not interfere.

Unfortunately, I needed to take my “Solution” away. I bought Innr plugs to replace all the Sonoff plugs and I was excited that my Aqara devices would stay connected…but they still didn’t…they fell off after about an hour. So…it isn’t the plugs that are the problem here. Any other ideas?

My mesh uses Innr for the backbone (with a few Tradfri and Gledopto), with by far the majority of end devices being Aqara (72 out of 75).

I have no problems with devices falling off.

You are pairing the devices to a nearby (Innr) router, not letting them pick?

Yes, I paired to an Innr plug and the devices are mere inches apart from each other. I guess Aqara devices are just not meant for my setup for some reason.

Well, I ended up buying another zigbee dongle. I read where folks had done this and run Z2M with one and ZHA with the other so I will put ZHA on it along with the new plugs and other “compatible” devices and see what happens. I hoped this would be an option and looks like it is so will go from there.

So, circling back to my original post, I am marking this as the “solution”. Maybe others will not have the same success but it is working awesome for me. Yes, I can add another Zigbee dongle to my implementation. As mentioned, I had a Sonoff 3.0 with Z2M that I started with that has a very strong mesh with devices that have all worked well for me (Sonoff plugs, Sonoff motion sensors, Tuya contact sensors, Iris plugs, decora switches, etc.) and Aqara devices would not stay connected.

I tried getting rid of Sonoff plugs and adding Innr plugs instead but Aqara devices still fell off after an hour. I bought another Sonoff 3.0 Zigbee dongle since I had an open USB port on my RPi, connected it with ZHA, added an Innr plug, then 2 Aqara devices and none have fallen off over the last 3 days.

So…one could go ahead and start replacing devices that might not play well with devices that do play well in a well-established mesh that works extremely well for the sake of Aqara devices…or take the cheap and easy route of just adding another Zigbee dongle for these “special” devices to play on and leave the other great network alone…choice was simple for me but I had the extra USB port to do it, just wasn’t sure I could have both.

Leave well enough alone, but if you prefer z2m, you could run the z2m-edge addon as your second net.

Might be a worthwhile experiment just to compare stability. Use the same devices and channel as zha.