Noob: HA Questions

Hello everyone.

I am really interested in taking the time to learn HA and migrate over from SmartThings. Although my journey will be slower as i use SharpTools and waiting for them to release their HA integration.

Anyway. I am thinking of setting this up on the Raspberry Pi 4 with the HA OS. What i am a little unsure about is Zigbee and Z Wave. Do i need to buy any extra hardware to plug in to the Rasberry PI in order to connect my devices?

Yes. Look up ‘ZWave stick’ and ‘Zigbee Stick’ to see what you’re looking for

Find ones that are on the compatibility list for ZHA for Zigbee and ZWave JS for ZWave.

Also theres a current known issue with ZWave sticks with 700 series ZWave chips so until you KNOW that problem has been resolved, stick with a 500 series chip in the ZWave stick you choose.

Thanks Nathan for the reply and the info. Can feel this will be a steep learning curve but ive had enough of SmartThings.

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Just don’t buy a CC253x Zigbee stick, or a Sonoff ZBBridge, and be careful with ConBee - results are mixed.

Whats the thoughts on this? The Amazin reviews are mixed for HA but would rather know the thoughts here

That’s a ConBee in GPIO form… I’d suggest pass

Ignoring the ConBee aspect, it limits you to running on the Pi. When you decide to move to better hardware you’ll be unable to easily move without re-pairing every device to a new coordinator.

I’d suggest something CC2652 based, such as the Zig-A-Zig-Ah!.

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Its funny you say better hardware. I haver a lot of 4k cameras i would like to add in to HA , sensors , lights , plugs etc.

I have a pretty good spec windows tablet just going spare. I assume this would be better than a RP4?

I run hundreds of devices on my HA install.

Its a Pi 4 8gb with a 250GB m.2 SSD.

Homeassistant isn’t necessarily compute hungry, (powerful CPU) but throw as much RAM as you can at it because all the states are stored in RAM while running. SSD instead of SD because SDs have a limited life running in this configuration (you wont get more than 2 years, the SD WILL wear out.)and its am order of magnitude faster than an SD.

Got to be honest and im sure its just because this is new to me. But choosing a USB Zigbee stick seems to be a mine field. Just on the recommended page is being advised not to use, USB devices that need flashing. Is there no out of the box device that just plugs in and works?

I have been reading and i think i am going to settle with the Zigbee2mqtt setup and based on that can anyone recommend a USB Zigbeen stick. There seems to be so much info to wade through.

Thanks in advance

Most of the CC2652 based sticks should come flashed, but flashing them is trivial.

If you’re in the UK, try Electrolama, in the USA, try Tube. Beyond that there’s no shortage of CC2652 based sticks.

Thanks mate. Appreciate the time to reply to me. Yeah i saw that Electrolama. Shipping is not until the end of the month but may just purchase it anyway. Gives me time to get HA up and have look around it in the mean time.

Quick question. I ordered that Device from Electrolama. I see through that it has two images. A Coordinator and a Router firmware. I assume i just need the Coordinator firmware? If i am reading right a Coordinator also provides routing?

This is a good primer, basically:

  • The coordinator is the brains of the mesh. Every mesh has one, and only one, of these. Your Electrolama stick is going to be your coordinator.
  • A router is a device that can route packets to other devices, these form the mesh network. Most, but not all, mains powered devices are routers (those that don’t include Sengled bulbs and most no-neutral dimmers and switches).
  • An end device is a device that doesn’t route packets. Battery powered devices are end devices, as they can spend most of their life in very low power mode - which is why things like the Xiaomi sensors can get 2 or 3 years of battery life.

Thanks mate for the reply and explanation.