Some Newbie Advice - Zigbee Devices and HA

Hi all,

Pretty new to most of this, so I wanted to see if the community could point me in the right direction before I throw unnecessary money at things!

I already have a small Philips Hue setup with a bridge, a few bulbs, a couple of smart plugs and a smart button, which all works well. I also have a couple of Tuya Zigbee compatible Smart Buttons from AliExpress which I wanted to use for things like turning the AC on/off during the night, without having to mess about with phones, or shouting at Alexa.

I also have a QNAP NAS which I have installed Home Assistant on, and that has picked up all of my HUE devices + smart plugs etc, but it’s a bit overkill for now, as all my current devices are covered by the HUE app and that works fine.

My Tuya Zigbee buttons aren’t recognised by the HUE app, and they aren’t detected by Smart Life etc on my phone (even though other users say they work fine with Smart Life), and I guess that’s because my Philips Gateway doesn’t pick them up. From reading around, I guess I either need a Zigbee compatible gateway, or some sort of Controller for my NAS & HA, in order to detect and use my Zigbee buttons (and, in the future AC control sensors etc)?

The more I read, the more I seem to confuse myself. I am aware that getting a Zigbee compatible gateway, or a controller for HA on the NAS, will effectively make my Hue Bridge redundant, or I’d be running 2 systems side-by-side unnecessarily, but the cost saving of using these 3rd party Zigbee products vs. Philips stuff might be worth it.

I hope that made some sense, any help is greatly appreciated,

Cheers, Ori

You could buy a Tuya Zigbee gateway, but that is not advisable, since it limits you to Tuya devices and is cloud dependent, and be running 2 systems side-by-side unnecessarily.

Better to buy a independent adapter, e.g. one of this list

then you can a Zigbee network with devices from all kind of manufacturers, including moving your Hue devices of the Hue hub, and your current Tuya Zigbee devices.

That’s by design from Hue, Qnap, Tuya etc. Each system wants you to only buy their hardware so if one device works on other platforms, that is an accident. (Matter is a new platform designed to be manufacturer agnostic. I’m old enough to have heard that before. I’ll believe it when I see it. But if history is any indication, Hue, and other manufacturers, will find a way to make sure you only buy their devices).

If you use a Zigbee dongle and a Z-Wave dongle (there’s several, but I use dongles from Sonoff), then Home Assistant is the only controller you need. You can sell your unused controllers to another sucker beginner on e-Bay.

Personally I don’t like “smart bulbs”. They are expensive for what they do. Unless you NEED color, then use dumb bulbs and smart switches.

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Great, thanks very much! I think that’s pretty much where I was headed, but I wanted to be 100% sure! And I do like the idea of dumb bulbs and smart switches :smiley:. Most of the ones I have were gifts, so I’m okay with that.

What I want to do with these new additions (which seem to be pretty cheap and functional from our AliExpress etc friends) is to control things like Air Conditioning, Fans etc, as Summer is coming and it get VERY hot here. Mostly for my wife who understands none of this, but if there is a button next to bed to turn the AC or a Fan on/off easily in the middle of the night, then she’ll appreciate that for sure!


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Right, I got hold of a Sonoff Zigbee 3.0 USB Dongle now… so here’s the next question.

Is there any easy step-by-step guide as to how to get this working on a QNAP NAS that anyone is aware of? I’ve been trawling the internet and YouTube for what feels like hours looking for a “Beginners Guide to Setup” for this, but there’s nothing. They either seem to be old videos, guides that no longer apply, RaspberryPi focused or they go straight into the technical details without covering the basics first.

I understand that setting this up on the QNAP NAS is a bit trickier than a PC, or even a Raspberry PI, as you have to mess around with containers etc, but I’m okay with that challenge. Just desperate for some kind of step-by-step walkthrough of this that explains the NAS (Container Station) setup, as well as the HA configuration for the dongle.

Thanks for any help… getting ready to give up on this project soon :rofl:


How is HA installed ? A VM with HA OS or a docker container with HA container ?

I’ve got HA running in a docker in Container Station on my QNAP NAS

For a new user it might be easier to use Virtualization Station and install a virtual machine with HAOS there. And then pass through the Zigbee stick (remember to use an extension cable, very important)

If you want to continue using Container station make sure you are storing your configuration outside the container.

I am quite far out of my depth considering your installation type, so be aware of that. I did find this thread which would indicate it is relatively similar to a general Docker container running on a Raspberry pi? If so, when starting up the container, you have to pass through the path to the USB, in order for it to be available to Home Assistant.

I cannot promise the following works, but it may be worth a short. I just so happened to be writing a manual for my roommates on how to setup our system, so I had it at hand. It’s written for setting up from a backup, or when migrating to a new USB, so I removed a few steps that were not relevant. This link gives a good example file for docker compose. It’s all the way at the bottom of the integration page. I knew of its existence already and even still I had trouble finding it again :sweat_smile:

  1. In the docker compose file, there is a line with devices:. The path there points to the USB stick.

  2. Before plugging in the USB, run lsusb and note what is listed. Then plug in the USB and run it again. There should be a new device in the list, which is the Zigbee usb. The one I bought was Texas Instruments, Inc. CC2531 ZigBee.

  3. Navigate to /dev/serial/by-id/ There should be a file in that folder that resembles the name of the zigbee stick. You can also run sudo ls -la /dev/serial/by-id for a better hint perhaps. Anyhow, note down the full path of that file (so, in the case of the RPI3 with the TI stick, it would be /dev/serial/by-id/usb-Texas_Instruments_TI_CC2531_USB_CDC___0X00124B001CD4A7A6-if00)

  4. Under devices, add an entry with the path the stick, similar to the one that is already there, and comment out the one that wasn’t working.

  5. Restart the Home Assistant container: docker compose up -d

Hopefully it will now show up when trying to add ZHA (if that’s the Zigbee integration you were setting up).

Also, in regards to your Hue/Zigbee setup: I was running a Phillips Hue hub and a cheap zigbee USB from AlieExpress concurrently for quite a while, to deal with a similar problem (just, in my case it was for some sensors and Ikea remotes). I don’t think it gave me many issues. I ended up moving everything to Home Assistant after getting a SkyConnect (well, quite a while after getting it, but alas), mainly because it wasn’t necessary anymore.

Oh great, thanks very much for that very detailed description. I need to sit down and have a good look through this as I’ve only ever really interacted with the NAS via the UI (dropping in media etc etc). All of this seems to involve logging in with SSH and running commands etc… something I’m not familiar with.

I do have a RaspberryPi, so logic might dictate that would be the better option, as there seem to be much simpler guides out there for that. Only issue is that I run PiHole on the RaspberryPi, so I don’t really want to mess about with that.

Let me do some research into your post and I’ll see if I have any luck.

Thanks again, appreciated it.

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You don’t need to use SSH to deploy virtual machines or containers on a QNAP.

Yup, I’m aware of that part. It’s just all the various commands to identify my USB ports etc that I am more unsure of

You can identify it through the GUI. How to connect skyconnect with Qnap nas - #3 by Daniel-W