ITEAD of Sonoff fame now sells a very inexpensive Zigbee USB dongle that should work out-of-the-box with both Zigbee2mqtt and the ZHA integration

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ITEAD Studio (of Sonoff fame) now sells this linked Zigbee USB dongle for only $4 US-dollars, it is based on a Texas Instruments CC2531 chip and has no enclosure or external antenna but comes pre-flashed with a Zigbee coordinator firmware that should make it compatible and ready-to-use directly with several computer-based DIY home automation controllers/hubs, including Home Assistant on Raspberry Pi.

https://www.cnx-software.com/2020/03/23/4-itead-cc2531-zigbee-usb-dongle-works-with-zigbee2mqtt-out-of-the-box/

https://www.itead.cc/cc2531-usb-dongle.html

That firmware which comes preloaded on those should make it out-of-the-box compatible with the Zigbee2mqtt gateway with Home Assistant or on its own, as well as the native ZHA integration built-into Home Assistant (which is compatible with many different Zigbee adapters from multiple manufacturers, without Zigbee2mqtt).

https://www.zigbee2mqtt.io

https://www.home-assistant.io/integrations/zha/

It should, however, be noted that while both Zigbee2mqtt and the ZHA integration in Home Assistant can be generally be considered stable today, the newly added support for these type of Texas Instrument CC chip-based Zigbee adapters is still very new and only classed as experimental thus not yet stable so I would only recommend these dongles with ZHA to developers wanting to help with development, beta-testing, or just experiment with the ZHA integration using a cheap adapter right now, fully knowing is unstable now.

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That is not remarkably cheap, it is similar to current aliexpress prices. Maybe TI are dumping this chipset. They have far better now.

Nice to have the firmware pre-flashed. But it’ll need updating at some time. The flashing hardware is worth having, although it can be done without the hardware.

@nickrout I disagree with you here as I think that you are wrong on both those accounts and will try to explain why below.

My argument regarding these being very inexpensive is that the total cost of ownership the CC2531 USB-dongle that ITEAD sell are less than others because they already come pre-loaded/pre-flashed with the correct firmware, especially if you only want one or two. You can not simply compare to current Aliexpress prices for just any CC2531 USB-dongle as those that have similar prices to ITEAD do not come pre-loaded/pre-flashed with the correct firmware.

If you are straight just looking to buy a other CC2531 USB-dongle which already come pre-loaded/pre-flashed with the correct firmware so that it compatible out-of-the-box has these then know that at least I have not been able to find a reseller that sells those for under twice the price of what ITEAD are sell selling its pre-loaded/pre-flashed CC2531 USB-dongle. For example on eBay pre-loaded/pre-flashed CC2531 USB-sticks are sold for about three to four times the price and shipping if often more than from ITEAD. Not sure if you knew this but ITEAD have a very good reputation in most home automation communities because the fact that they also the designer and manufacturer of Sonoff devices.

List price for those that ITEAD sell are not more than those that are sold without firmware you do not need to spend time and money to flash them yourself. Flashing it yourself is relatively time-consuming and complexed comparing to just plugging those that ITEAD sell which take no time or skills at all. Yes flashing CC2531 USB-dongles with a purchased debugger-adapter is easy and relatively fast but fact is that a debugger-adapter alone cost more than then the USB-stick. And while flashing with an Arduino/ESP8266/ESP32 or Raspberry Pi GPIO might not be super-hard the fact is that does take more time than to set-up flashing with the debugger-adapter for the first time.

Most importantly I believe that just hearing about having to flash brand new USB-stick via Arduino or Raspberry Pi GPIO before you can use it will put many people off from buying one a Zigbee USB-stick in the first place. I’m sure that many people are then willing to either not buy one at all or buy the more expensive ConBee which also does come pre-loaded/pre-flashed with the correct firmware for it to work.

Regarding re-flashing/upgrading firmware on ownership the CC2531 USB-dongle that ITEAD sell. Fact is that since these are already flashed with the correct firmware they now also already have a bootloader, and with using that bootloader you can upgrade/reflash the Z-Stack firmware the USB-port, meaning that you do not need a debugger-adapter to flash them, you can read one way of doing that here https://github.com/Koenkk/zigbee2mqtt/issues/320 and the same goes with the adapters that you have already flashed yourself. I even read that Zigbee2mqtt developers are considering adding firmware re-flashing/upgrading via its software for USB-sticks that already come with a bootloader. This will make even more sense in the future since the newer CC2652 chips all come with such bootloader direct from the factory so you can even do the initial flashing from USB.

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I guess it depends on how your value your time. For most of us it is a hobby where the literally 5 minutes it takes to flash a stick does not matter much. Also most of us have a pi or an esp.

All I am saying is though that it is not that cheap. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32959325109.html

Thanks for the tip about uploading firmware. Looks like you need windows software thougg. Yuck, and at the cost of hardware and a windows license.

NotEnoughTech has some good strong arguments as well, like the fact that a number of people have had issues flashing older revisions, and not having to pay $10 for a single-use cable if you don’t have to

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I bought one of these.

Worth noting that the firmware version that came with mine was old (“20180507”).

I needed to update the firmware to “20190608” to enable the zigbee devices I had to work.
eg. " Ikea 1743 TRADFRI ON/OFF switch button" messages weren’t being decoded - no messages in the logs in either ZHA or zigbee2mqtt. (i.e. button presses were not detected and my device only appeared to expose it’s battery level).

Luckily I had a Raspberry Pi w lying around to try flashing the cc2531

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If they already have a firmware when I think that you can upgrade the firmware on them from USB(?)

https://github.com/Koenkk/zigbee2mqtt/issues/320

I believe Zigbee2mqtt devs was working on firmware upgrade via USB if they already have a FW(?)

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There seem to be more questions than answers in that thread.

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It does not come with the latest firmware however it works fine out-of-the-box with ZHA in Home Assistant and well as with Zigbee2MQTT.

I think anyone would be silly to buy this when there are far better chipsets on the market now (albeit at more cost, but worth it) "Zzh!" (short for "Zig-a-zig-ah!") open-source hardware licensed Zigbee USB-stick based on TI CC2652R

Fact is still that all other USB-adapters that are plug-and-play that work directly out-of-the-box cost more than 5-10 times more. This works good as an entry device to try Zigbee with ZHA in Home Assistant

The SONOFF ZBBridge Smart Zigbee Bridge is hardly 5 times as expensive, much more powerful, and can be used with ZHA too.

That is 4.25 the price if only count that device alone but the total cost before usable is actually is more than 5 times if also count price of a TTL-adapter which you need to flash it before it can be used with ZHA, and since you need to modify it with third-party firmware before you can use it with ZHA you can not argue that it is ”plug-and-play” and simply works ”out-of-the-box” as you need to take it apart and flash it before you can use it. You do however get much better hardware with it, but there fact remain it has a higher cost and more effort before it is usable so many new users will probably not buy it just to try ZHA

Maybe 4 or 5 times the cost to get a decent device, but:

  1. that is still only $25 difference or so, hardly a bank breaker; and
  2. the device limitations and range limitations of the cc2531 will soon mean ditching it, which is a complete waste.

How do you know what firmware is on it?

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also reported in the HA states screen (developer-tools/state) :

Blockquote
[sensor.coordinator_version] (http://localhost:8123/developer-tools/state#) {‘type’: ‘zStack12’, ‘meta’: {‘transportrev’: 2, ‘product’: 0, ‘majorrel’: 2, ‘minorrel’: 6, ‘maintrel’: 3, ‘revision’: 20190608}} friendly_name: Coordinator Version icon: mdi:chip

Hi, I have ordered ITEAD Zigbee USB dongle (USD3.99). What is next step? Am I need to flash the USB dongle? If yes, can you send details how to flash ITEAD Zigbee USB dongle?

I already have aquara human motion sensor and planning to buy some toys from ikea.

Thanks

If you want to use ‘IKEA toys’, maybe it is better to flash new firmware.

Thanks Francis
I will prefer to avoid ikea toys as it looks this method requires additional hardware and soldering.

Am I need to flash ITEAD USB dongle to use it with aquara human sensor?