Home Assistant SkyConnect - official radio USB dongle will be compatible with both Zigbee and OpenThread (including Matter/CHIP over Thread)

If you physically unplug one of the dongles then should see which device id disapear under hardware?

I have 100+ Zigbee devices. And I don’t want to screw up my main network (beta)testing Matter/Thread devices.

@Hedda : Yes, but on the hardware page I can’t see those id’s, would be a nice change. Maybe I could have unplugged one and see if my ZHA network was still availble. I ended up choosing the bottom one as I plugged that one in months later and was the correct one.

How stable is your sky connect?
I have 97 devices and it’s unstable

Read and try to following all tiopa here → Zigbee networks: how to guide for avoiding interference and optimize for getting better range + coverage

Best case you only need to add avoid interference by following the tips, middle-groubdcase you on only need to do the former as well as add a few additional ”know good” Zigbee Router devices, and worse case you have one or more rouge devices with bad firmware that should be removed if causing problems (in which case you need to troubleshoot to find those, but that is the last route so start with the other things that are recommend first, avoid interference and add more Zigbee Router devices that are good).

Hello
I could not find an answer
Does skyconnect support hardware flow control?

Best would be if @agners could answer? I think it does but believe it may depend on firmware used?

Yes, the CTS/RTS flow-control signals are connected to the CP2102N chip, and the firmware has harware flow control enabled.

I am very disappointed with SkyConnect. I bought it as a way to support the developers of HA and I only needed it to be decent.

Unfortunately, all my Aqara sensors connected to it lose connection sooner or later, it just takes a bit longer for those connected directly to the controller (1-2 weeks instead of 1-2 days for those connected through other routing devices).

This is worse than Smartthings, where only the leak sensors would drop. Ok, we know Aqara has some non-standard zigbee implementation, but come on, if Smartthings can make it work since 5 years ago, I was hoping that Sky Connect would do it as well.

If anyone has a solution to this other than using an Aqara hub (which I own, but was hoping to get rid of), I’d be grateful.

Be aware that Aqara/Xiaomi devices are infamous for having badly written firmware, and among other things, they will not automatically move routes to better Zigbee Router device if you add that later, (so to workaround that specific Aqara/Xiaomi device issue you will need to re-pair/re-join the Aqara/Xiaomi devices again a while after you have added more Zigbee Router devices), and then making sure that they connect to the closest Zigbee Router devices instead of directly to the Zigbee Coordinator. See more Aqara/Xiaomi specific tip “Xiaomi & Aqara Devices - Pairing & Keeping them connected” here → https://community.hubitat.com/t/xiaomi-aqara-devices-pairing-keeping-them-connected/623

Other than knowing about the many issues specific to Aqara/Xiaomi devices, suggest that you learn and understand the general limitations and working with the Zigbee network and low-power radio devices. So while you need to jump through some specific hops for choosing to use Aqara/Xiaomi devices on an other Zigbee gateway implementation than their own, you should actually put in some effort to optimize your setup and environment when using Zigbee, regardless of which Zigbee gateway implementation you use.

Specifically, I highly recommend that read all trying to follow all the tips here → Zigbee networks: how to guide for avoiding interference and optimize for getting better range + coverage

Of those the three most important things are;

  1. First use a USB extension cable (longer is better) to get the radio dongle away from the computer and all other devices/cables/wires which may give EMF interference,
  2. Secondly to plug the USB extension cable into a USB 2.0 port (and not USB 3.x or USB 4.x port), so if your computer does not have a USB 2.0 port then buy and connect it via a powered USB 2.0 hub as then that will in practice convert a USB 3.x/4.x port into a USB 2.0 port.
  3. Third is to buy and add a few “known good” mains-powered Zigbee Router devices as Zigbee depends on mesh technology for increased range and coverage since all Zigbe radios as relatively weak signals with poor wall penetration because a Zigbee network relies on routing messages indirectly through Zigbee Router devices. Thus you can not really have Zigbee network with just battery-powered devices and no Zigbee Router devices as then not all signals/messages will always get through.

My tip is also to not just buy any Zigbee Router devices, instead buy some “known good” dedicated Zigbee Router products and place them strategically as Zigbee repeaters to act as the stable backbone of your Zigbee network.

Personally, I suggest buying and adding at least three such “known good” Zigbee Router devices.

  • For example, the “IKEA Tradfri Signal Repeater ” and “Aeotec Range Extender Zi ” are products that work very well out-of-the-box, while a more powerful alternative is to make yourself some semi-DIY variant by flashing the correct Zigbee Router firmware to Zigbee Coordinator USB dongles and then using them as stand-alone Zigbee Signal Repeater devices in USB-chargers for power, like, for example, either the Sonoff ZBDongle-E (EFR32MG21 based) or the Sonoff ZBDongle-P (CC2652P) work great as dedicated stand-alone Zigbee Signal Repeaters with recommended firmware.
    • Buy a few additional new Zigbee USB adapters to use after re-flashing them with Zigbee Router firmware.
      • Reflash/reuse modern Zigbee USB adapters to act as Zigbee Router devices by changing Zigbee firmware.
        • Search community forums for more “Zigbee signal repeater” or “Zigbee range extender” Zigbee Router tips.

Again, wait at least 24-hours after adding some “known good” Zigbee Router devices and then you can re-pair/re-join your Aqara/Xiaomi devices in their final location where they are permanently placed.

PS: By the way, while that linked guide covers more of what is great to be aware of, know that some of those things are also mentioned in the ZHA integration documentation for a good reason, see example:

I use skyconnect with z2m, and almost never have them drop out (using temp and door sensors) when I make them join via an ikea gu10 zigbee ledbulb. They do disconnect frequently when i join them directly to the controller.

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@Hedda

The fact that you wrote all this only reinforces the idea that SkyConnect is a finicky, sub-par device.

I am not new to smarthome. I’ve started about 8 years ago and went through a number of sensors, hubs and protocols. I’ve settled with HA because it is the best for me. However, not the same can be said about SkyConnect unfortunately.

Having a sensor not drop out of a zigbee network should not be too difficult in 2023. As I said (and you did not read) I’ve been using Aqara sensors with Smartthings for at least 5 years with no issues (except leak sensors), so it is certainly possible, even with the “bad” firmware that they have.

Also, btw, the Zigbee radio in Smartthings has a very very short cable :slight_smile: and somehow they manage to pull it off without interference. I mean come on, this is ridiculos.

PS I do not need to buy additional “known good” zigbee repeaters, since I already have the E1 Aqara hub which does an amazing job at keeping sensors connected even at incredible distances. The idea was that I was hoping to get rid of all my hubs and just use HA.

Not going to argue with you since you clearly will not listen to any recommend actions so solve your problems, so suggest you not ask for help if you will refuse all advice. Also suggest not buying cheap devices from Chinese companies if want quaility. It is otherwise ridiculos to make it sound like you are asking help when you really only want to complain.

Fact is that will get the same issues and experince with any Zigbee adapters in all open-source Zigbee gateway implementations, not only this SkyConnect dongle and the ZHA integration. Commercial hubs have to deal with the same Zigbee limitations and quirks, they have have it easier just dealing with one or a few brands of devices that enabling them to have specialized workarounds for troublesome products, and their propriatory nature also allow them to hide many issues from the end users or hack around them.

I was asking for help regarding the shortcomings of SkyConnect, not general zigbee network help. Perhaps when you will accept the fact that SkyConnect has shortcomings, then you will be able to answer to the point, like TRISS did.

There are plenty of people in forums complaining that sensors that used to work flawlessly with their previous zigbee coordinator under ZHA no longer work or no longer work as expected with SkyConnect.

Also, in one of your referenced guide you write that “Xiaomi/Aqara devices are for example known not to work with Zigbee router devices from […] SmartThings/Samsung”
and I can tell this is simply not true, having direct experience for many years that says otherwise.

You choose to ignore that loads of users in this community and other home automation communities have reported the same or similar symptoms/problems with Aqara/Xiaomi device when using all types of Zigbee Coordinator adapters based on radio chips from Silicon Labs, Texas Instruments, Dresden Elektronik, and more in many different open-source and closed-source Zigbee implementations (including the ZHA integration, Zigbee2MQTT, deCONZ/Phoscon, OpenHAB’s ZigBee Binding, Hubitat, and Zigbee for Domoticz Plugin).

The most basic troubleshooting processes always consist of starting with the most obvious which is sorting out the known issues that are easy to workaround, thus removing those from the equation, and in this case, EMF/EMI/RMI is well known to cause huge issues for all Zigbee radios, and especially the Zigbee Coordinator, regardless of which Zigbee adapter you use and what Zigbee radio chip it is based on. If you choose to ignore that then you are starting your Zigbee troubleshooting journey at the wrong end.

And being affected by EMF/EMI/RMI interference is not just a “shortcoming” of the SkyConnect dongle but a “shortcoming” of all Zigbee radios and it affects all brands/models of Zigbee Coordinator adapters as well as devices, and those can clearly be seen in all open-source Zigbee implementations using any Zigbee adapter (as those do not normally try to hide the issues that EMF/EMI/RMI interference causes, unlike most commercial Zigbee hubs which have proprietary software that show nothing of what happens under the surface so the user only see if it works or not and not how good or bad it works).

It is hard to impossible to even start to troubleshoot to find the true root cause of any issue with a Zigbee device if it is located in a noisy environment due to EMF/EMI/RMI interference (also known as signal noise), and while it is possible to hide and hack around some of the symptoms of EMF/EMI/RMI interference in firmware and software this is, in the end, EMF/EMI/RMI interference impact on radio waves and electronics is only physics so the or the easiest solution is for the user just take some simple actions to avoid EMF/EMI/RMI interference in the first place, and that means using long USB extension cable in a USB 2.0 port as well as placing the Zigbee Coordinator and Zigbee devices away from USB 3.0 devices/cables, Wi-Fi radios and other known strong sources of EMF/EMI/RMI interference that spans over the 2.4GHz frequency range. Just check out this demo (which you will get the same result if using any other brand/model of Zigbee Coordinator adapter):

Maybe skim through these reputable references to understand this is the truth and not just excuses:

Then you choose to ignore the tips and confirmation from others about this thread that applies to all open-source Zigbee implementations using any Zigbee adapter → Xiaomi & Aqara Devices - Pairing & Keeping them connected - Devices - Hubitat

As mentioned in many home automation communities, some people have had great success using Aqara/Xiaomi devices with open-source Zigbee implementations using any Zigbee adapter but many others have huge problems, and that is because it depends on your overall setup, environment, and which Zigbee Router devices use, much more so than the actual Zigbee adapter you use and what Zigbee radio chip it is based on.

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Sorry if I am hijacking a thread for SkyConnect. I have a Sonoff dongle E which I flashed today with multi pan firmware. I was able to successfully transfer my old zha backup and things worked for a few mins. I then did a restart of Home Assistant and Zigbee wouldn’t work, fails initialising. I posted logs in the below thread. Any one else faced similar issues with SkyConnect as it uses the same chip? I then flashed the zigbee firmware and migrated everything back.

Yeah that is definitivly something that is off-topic and should be in a seperate thread, not be discussed here.

I have a SkyConnect that is currently just sitting around doing nothing as I had to migrate back to my Sonoff Dongle-E due to the constant reliability and connection issues with my end devices on the SkyConnect. Call it just bad luck or there is truly some kind of issue with the SkyConnect, but for weeks on end, I just had to keep struggling with every Zigbee device in my house. That all stopped when I switched back to my old Dongle-E.

I didn’t have a chance to read through the entire thread here, but from what I can make out, if the main issue with the SkyConnect is that it’s susceptible to interference, then why not provide an aluminum shield case and an external antenna that we can solder on to the pcb, to convert it into something similar like the Dongle-E? Or is there anything directly on the PCB that needs to transmit or broadcast that it cannot be enclosed inside an aluminum case?

I personally don’t think that an extension cable of any kind will solve its problems, at least not for me. No matter how far I place the SkyConnect from my PC or any USB 3.0 devices, I have an insanely high amount of 2.4GHz interference in my vicinity due to how dense my housing complex is, and the only way to give it a better fighting chance is to shield it as much as possible from any interference.

I’ll gladly purchase an aluminum shield case + antenna adapter kit so I can actually use my SkyConnect again, and flash my Dongle-E into a repeater to further improve my network around the house.

I picked one up and am a newb at all of this.
A lot of fun for an old guy. And HA green.

I hooked up several Aqara entry sensors and a motion sensor for lighting to test function. Alarmo integration etc.

It was a little weird at first, of course I had no idea what I was doing at first. Works good.

I have a ranch home and the signal shows good everywhere, basement, furtherest room etc.

No repeater yet.:crossed_fingers:

Should anyone need a Skyconnect hookup here in the usa. When I bought mine their stock said 1800, @ $25 plus shipping. Still shows 1500 or so.

https://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/Nabu-Casa/HASKYCNCT?qs=Imq1NPwxi770AoKCmeV2hQ%3D%3D

Zigbee Router devices are extremly important for your Zigbee network mesh to work so your need to sort that that ASAP or your batteries will drain very quickly. Read and follow these best practice tips-> Zigbee networks: how to guide for avoiding interference and optimize for getting better range + coverage

Note that many Aqara and Xiaomi devices have buggy firmware that lock to device they are first paired to which means that you need to re-pair them if you later add Zigbee Router devices as they will not automatically move to better Zigbee Router devices. See → Not many people know that... A random collection of Zigbee trivia

@Hedda

Thank you, I will read this thoroughly.

Based on what I’ve read prior and I saw this too, I figured I’d have to add some mesh devices.
And pair the existing over again.

Theres only five so far, so not a problem or I hope

I’ll go with 3 and hopefully that will suffice. I already have Aeotec Zi in my cart from weeks ago. Two upstairs and one down.

I was mostly testing Aqara devices and other than the first device, have had no connection issues or pairing. No interference yet. And ive got WiFi all with my mesh WiFi.

Perhaps I’ll understand Zigbee better when I’ve absorbed this.:+1: