Migrating from a Raspberry Pi with Raspbee 2 to a Home Assistant Green with a SkyConnect

Writing this quick topic for posterity. I do not need help fixing any issues. Just wanted to make it easier to find some experience migrating away from a Raspbee 2.

I had concerns when starting my migration. Nowhere is it described clearly how to migrate a ZHA Zigbee network with a Raspbee 2 coordinator to a different coordinator.

Well, I can report I successfully migrated from an RPi 4 with a Raspbee 2 to a Home Assistant Green with a SkyConnect.

Why? The SD Card in an RPi never sat well with me, I could’ve opted for an external SSD, but I felt I wanted something in a single package that is very close to the attention of the creators of Home Assistant. On top of that, the Raspbee 2 works great, but I did have some signal strength issues in my Zigbee mesh. Most likely due to unshielded close proximity to USB 3 ports and chipset on the RPi board. (And yes, with the SkyConnect, my signal strength values are way way better.)

So, I basically went all in on the Cabu Nasa ecosystem. And I can now repurpose that RPi 4 to a less mission/home critical purpose.

My concern was mostly around the disconnecting of the old coordinator. An Raspbee 2 is a daughter board on the pin headers of a RPi and I feel one should not take things off of the pin header in a hot/running system.

The steps I took:

  1. Create a full system backup and download it to my laptop.
  2. Create a ZigBee ZHA backup and download that too.
  3. Initiate a ZigBee radio migration as described in the docs for the SkyConnect.
  4. At the step where it says to plug your new and unplug your old coordinator, I did NOT unplug the Raspbee 2. I just continued.
  5. Complete the migration.
  6. Power down the RPi correctly by initiating a shutdown in the System setting menu. It’s an advanced option under that little elipses button at the top right.
  7. Take out the Raspbee 2.
  8. Reboot
  9. Remove the Raspbee coordinator entity from my list of ZigBee devices.
  10. Things were not working now. I re applied my zigbee network backup and again indicated an overwrite of the radio address. For some reason it did not work on the first attempt.

Now I went ahead and let the whole system settle and see if all ZHA related automations were still intact. They were.

  1. Now I created another fresh full system backup. Since I let everything run on the RPi for over a day.
  2. Power down the RPi.
  3. Move the SkyConnect to my new Home Assistant Green.
  4. Connect the Home Assistant Green to network and power and let it boot itself.
  5. Taking the system installation path which immediately applied my fresh backup.

Once done and running again everything looked exactly as before I got started with this proces. (Note, applying the full backup took over half an hour.)

All in all, my advice for people seeking a ZigBee Coordinator device. Skip any daughter boards or embedded radios. Yes, I advice against picking a Home Assistant Yellow. A radio that’s not hot pluggable like a USB key is a big nuisance when you want to switch out the host running Home Assistant. Migrating from one USB radio to another is a lot simpler and is much easier to bring over to your next device.

And those Coordinators fill a mighty important role in a ZigBee mesh. Lose the coordinator and you have to reconnect all your ZigBee devices. And I currently have 65 nodes in my mesh…