ZigBee temperature sensors to SkyConnect HA box

I wanted to make sure the following setup will work.

Thin client running Home Assistant
SkyConnect dongle
ZigBee temperature sensors

Is there anything else required?

The only gap is managing coverage which I’m not certain on.

You’ll need some mains powered devices that act as (Zigbee) routers. Those could be plugs, lightbulbs (that remain powered), or many other options.

Routers are how you get the mesh to reach more than a few meters from your coordinator (the SkyConnect).

I see.

I need a ZigBee router to extend the range. End devices cannot do that. ??

I am questioning the value of ZigBee over wifi. Is the low power usage it?

Typically a mains powered Zigbee device will also act as a router. I have a Zigbee socket, Sonoff MiniZB module and 2 Ikea Zigbee repeaters in my mesh.

Two main benefits:

  • Significantly lower power use - you can expect to measure battery lifespan in years
  • 100% local - no need for some manufacturer’s crappy cloud service, or a local API they turn off with a forced firmware update
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With zigbee “end device” generally means “battery device.” Battery powered devices can’t route, otherwise they would die in a matter of hours or days.

Battery devices usually sleep with the radio turned off until they have something to report (they will also wake up once every hour or two for a quick check-in). Router devices are continuously transmitting/receiving.

I have one mains powered device that optionally supports installing batteries for backup. If unplugged it will continue to function as a router causing the batteries drain in a day or two, and that is using a pair of relatively large CC123A batteries. The version of the device designed as a “battery only” end device is still going strong after one year, and will last another year or more.

As mentioned, most mains powered devices act as routers in addition to whatever their primary purpose is. There are some “router only” devices, but generally they aren’t really needed as long as you have a mix of other mains devices. A smaller house or apartment may be able to get by without any router devices. Things like distance, number of walls, construction type, rf interference, etc all factor in. Still, it is best to plan on needing a router or two in your mesh.

Yes. End devices usually last well over a year on even the smaller coin batteries.

Battery wifi devices exist, but battery life is usually measured in months, maybe a up to to a year if you are lucky. Wifi is higher powered and chattier compared to zigbee.

Battery wifi devices are usually larger than their zigbee equivalents because they need larger batteries to last any reasonable length of time.

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Ok.

Appears if I install 6x temperature sensors, I’d need to add a router device or devices.

I’m looking to get some generic branded ZigBee sensors. They are about $10 each versus $40-60 for a single branded sensor. Is this a viable option?

It really depends on what those are. You will tend to get what you pay for, and if they’re Tuya then you may not even get that.

Side note: Tuya provide firmware and cloud services for many different manufacturers. Some devices badged Tuya are fantastic, many are mediocre, and far too many are terrible.

As the saying goes, buy cheap, buy twice. Buy something that’s positively reviewed by this community and you’ll only buy once.

Also, don’t buy from Amazon, I usually buy from AliExpress and things are often half the price, or less.

Thanks again.

I’ve done some searching through the forum and narrowed it down to two temperature sensors.

Tuya TS0201 - appears to have an issue with frequency

Sonoff SNZB-02 - seems more reliable

Last question. These models often come with a bridge or gateway. Do I require these devices or can I connect directly to my thin client?

I’ve been pleased with the Aqara temp/humidity sensors. Responsive, and nothing else come close aesthetically.

Do you have the Aqara hub? Or do you run directly to your HA box?

Direct. Both ZHA and z2m support them. You normally don’t use the manufacturer’s hubs with zigbee and HA.

Ah yes, the two brands least recommended…

Sonoff’s sensors have a bit of a track record of being unreliable.

Buy a suitable Zigbee coordinator and you can go direct, that’s what most people do.

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Oh no. And the most recommended?

What I’m gathering is:

ZigBee sensor (end device) > ZigBee plug (router) > SkyConnect dongle > thin client running HA??

Yes

Varies a lot, but Xiaomi Aqara generally are a safe bet. Their newer Zigbee 3.0 range (largely E1/T1/P1, but also some others) is better than the older Zigbee 1.2 stuff, but even the old stuff is mostly fine.

Linkind, Develco/Frient, 3Reality, and Hue sensors all get positive reviews too. Innr and Salus for plugs, and Innr, Ikea, and Hue for bulbs.

Thanks.

So I’m looking to purchase 8x Aqara temperature sensors. Making sure they support ZigBee 3.0.

I may purchase four first from AliExpress and if successful, buy more.

I’ll also try source same brand smart plug to act as a repeater.

Fingers crossed.