Help on new Dongle and ZHA vs MQTT


Not sure where to start with my questions, but I have a few. And this message might be kind of scattered.

I set up my HAOS on an i7 NUC. I’ve got it running decent with a blend of Zwave devices, some Shelly, some ESPHome and some Zigbee. My main problems come from my zigbee. Mind you, about 4-5+ months ago, I was spending 4+ hours a night trying to get a decent, reliable smart house set up with having essentially no knowledge with Python, YAML, CSS or any of the languages used in HA. So it was a struggle. So I’m only at about half of where I want to be with my house, but I also don’t want to spend 2-4 hours every night when everyone goes to bed tinkering…

I have a lot of inconsistencies with how things are working (like battery buttons pressed, zigbee devices not responding consistently (ugh, I HAAATTEE my Ikea blinds). Admittedly, I bought the cheapest Zigbee dongle which was an Aeotec Zi-link and set up ZHA when I first set up HA.

From doing a lot of reading (and correct me if you think I’m wrong) is that maybe some of my inconsistencies and issues could be from using a cheap antenna. So a few months ago I bought a Sonoff 3.0 (which from what I read is one of the highest rated dongles). But I feel like I’m going to have to marry every zigbee device again to my system and I certainly don’t want to have to go through and fix every single automation because of name changes and such. So, how do you think I go about this? Can I just shut down my computer, switch out dongles, restart and everything will just “work” or do I have to go through and reconfigure everything?

Second major part is ZHA vs MQTT. I feel like I’ve read that the Ikea blinds are gonna work better on MQTT but I can’t remember how true that was. But a lot of times when I’m in bed, i’m hitting my bed buttons to shut down the house (lights, locks, blinds, etc) and it doesn’t respond well. So I have to pull out my phone and do everything manually. Frustrating.

And now that I’m using Frigate, I really want to set up a bunch of automations, and I “think” I’ve already set up some MQTT in regards to Frigate, but I can’t be certain, remember, I haven’t really touched HA for a few months.

So, I know that’s a lot of text, but to clarify, my main questions are:

  1. Should I, and how do I switch this dongle? Is it going to delete all of my attached devices (like 80)? Will it find them by itself upon installation and keep the same names and all is kosher or what?
  2. Should I consider switching to MQTT? How do I go about that, how much work, how much will I lose, how much would I have to start fresh?

Thanks a million!

Not MQTT, Zigbee2MQTT. The distinction is important :wink:

Between the two, assuming devices are supported, performance should be identical since that’s completely unrelated to the stack.

Well, no, particularly not the Sonoff P which has known problems. The Sonoff E is fine, not the best, but not bad.

Do ensure that you’ve put the stick on a USB extension cable away from your computer and any WiFi devices.

Switching to Zigbee2MQTT is unlikely to help you. If you did then you’d have to re-pair every Zigbee device and set up all your automations, scripts, scenes, dashboards etc.

Ok great thanks for the advice. Well, unfortunately, I just looked at it and it’s definitely the Sonoff-P and probably too late for an Amazon return :frowning: . Do you have any recommendations on which device to use then?

It sounds like it should be a smooth transition. I honestly can’t remember in all of my reading why I wanted to switch to Z2M. I think maybe I was reading that people we having better luck with the Ikea blinds with Z2M vs ZHA. I dunno, I honestly can’t remember. But I think I’ve convinced my wife to switch the blinds out anyways, so we’re probably going to be switching the whole house to SmartWings. Anyways, I’ll get the new device that you recommend and go from there. Thanks!

The current “best” are those based on the EFR32 MGM24 chip:


FWIW, I have been using a Sonoff Dongle Plus (the ‘P’ version which is with the chip from TI) with Zigbee2MQTT for several months without any problems.

Upon receiving it I immediately upgraded its firmware to the latest stable release and haven’t changed it since then. I have upgraded Zigbee2MQTT two or three times since installing it.