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#259896 29-Oct-2019 11:37
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I was looking for a temperature monitoring solution, so I can put cheap sensors in a few places. I came across Aquara, which looks interesting, but there's not really any introductory material I can find.

 

It looks like you buy a Hub, then as many temperature sensors you want, as well as things like smart plugs, motion sensors, light bulbs, etc. 

 

Questions:

 

  • I guess you control it all and get information like temperatures with some kind of an app?
  • It mentions the Zigbee protocol - which Wikipedia says is 10 - 100m line of sight comms. Does this work ok through walls? Does it interfere with WiFi or anything else?
  • Any experience with the system?

I mostly want an easy way to check temperatures. I'm a bit wary about things sourced on ebay / Ali Express, the Broadlink stuff I use for heat pump control has the worst app with the most bugs I've ever seen.

 

Putting in a hub and such seems like overkill for checking temps, but it doesn't look all that expensive.


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  #2345754 29-Oct-2019 11:45
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it's xiaomi ecosystem, but on sister brand. I have it for the past 2+ yrs. I have 4 temp sensors, 6 door/window sensors, smart plugs, smart power strips, wireless button, motion sensor, etc

 

Hub is required to connect zigbee devices, you can DIY hub and connect devices, can't do it without it. But why bother?





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  #2345756 29-Oct-2019 11:50
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I use this for temp/humidity, as well as door/window and motion sensors, and smart plugs. Works well for me, very reliable, sensor battery life is about a year. Furthest sensor I have from the hub is around 20 metres through several walls and it works fine. This system integrates really well with the likes of Home Assistant too.

 

Yes it needs an app, and the hub also needs Internet access. With Home Assistant you can control the hub directly without needing to give it Internet acccess.

 

Pairing of sensors to the hub is really easy. Note that the voice component of the hub is not in English, but the app is. I don't use the app much but I think it is ok to use.


 
 
 
 


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  #2345759 29-Oct-2019 11:54
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I use it, it's read by both openhab and home assistant.  Works well.   Mine have been in (I have about 12 sensors) over 6 months, battery life seems ok.

 

Two in my primary rooms, are backed up by powered D1 mini sensors (only because I didn't 100% battery based).  And I use the xiaomi plugs which act as range extenders.....I was looking replacing the Xiaomi gateway with Raspberry pis and CC2530 zigbee radios, since the gateway and power sockets are essentially uncertified electrical devices.

 

i also block the gateway from phoning home.....and i know from reading the IOS backup that its go location data in the app.  This means their app doesn't work, but I don't find this as issue.

 

 





Previously known as psycik

OpenHAB: Gigabyte AMD A8 BrixOpenHAB with Aeotech ZWave Controller, Raspberry PI, Wemos D1 Mini, Zwave, Xiaomi Humidity and Temperature sensors and Bluetooth LE Sensors
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  #2345774 29-Oct-2019 12:01
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That's useful, thanks @xontech and @davidcole. Interesting that the plugs act as repeaters. That could give me a way to get temperature monitoring in my greenhouse.

 

 

 

Any have any idea what the difference between an Aquara Hub and "Mijia Gateway 2" is?

 

The hub is around US$40 from what I can see, with temperature sensors about US$14. So it'd be about $100 for the hub and sensors, give or take? Not sure it's worthwhile just for temp, but if you take into account smart plugs, things like water sensors which could tell us about leaks, etc, maybe it's worthwhile.

 

I don't use a home assistant, I just want an app that will let me check up on stuff. Is the app decent?

 

 

 

 

 

 


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  #2345776 29-Oct-2019 12:07
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timmmay:

 

That's useful, thanks @xontech and @davidcole. Interesting that the plugs act as repeaters. That could give me a way to get temperature monitoring in my greenhouse.

 

 

 

Any have any idea what the difference between an Aquara Hub and "Mijia Gateway 2" is?

 

The hub is around US$40 from what I can see, with temperature sensors about US$14. So it'd be about $100 for the hub and sensors, give or take? Not sure it's worthwhile just for temp, but if you take into account smart plugs, things like water sensors which could tell us about leaks, etc, maybe it's worthwhile.

 

I don't use a home assistant, I just want an app that will let me check up on stuff. Is the app decent?

 

 

 

 

Its not bad, and has some automation capability.   Also I think some of the gateways are homekit enabled?   I never really figured out the different models and versions, they made it very difficult to understand.  Aquara was what mine was branded as.





Previously known as psycik

OpenHAB: Gigabyte AMD A8 BrixOpenHAB with Aeotech ZWave Controller, Raspberry PI, Wemos D1 Mini, Zwave, Xiaomi Humidity and Temperature sensors and Bluetooth LE Sensors
Media:Chromecast v2, ATV4, Roku3, HDHomeRun Dual
Windows 10
Host (Plex Server/Crashplan): 2x2TB, 2x3TB, 1x4TB using DriveBender, Samsung 850 evo 512 GB SSD, Hyper-V Server with 1xW10, 1xW2k8, 2xUbuntu 16.04 LTS, Crashplan, NextPVR channel for Plex,NextPVR Metadata Agent and Scanner for Plex


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  #2345844 29-Oct-2019 14:36
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On a related note, does anyone have any experience with the Xiaomi Mijia? No-one seems to be able to make a temp/humidity/VOC sensor that both doesn't suck and isn't vapourware, so I was wondering if the Xiaomi was any better.

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  #2345847 29-Oct-2019 14:38
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been on a similar path for monitoring attic and server cupboard, but do not have any zigbee/zwave devices yet so have found https://shelly.cloud/product/shelly-wifi-humidity-and-temperature-sensor/.

 

bit more in price, but do run of wifi.


 
 
 
 


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  #2345874 29-Oct-2019 15:40
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I spent a fair chunk of the long weekend on my home automation project, including half a dozen of the Aqara temperature and humidity monitoring sensors.

 

I don't have the Aqara hub; I wasn't happy about using another proprietary app/thing that relied on cloud servers to continue working. I have Hass.io running on a Rasperry Pi using Zigbee2mqtt. Open and makes it easy to see what's happening.

 

What I found (and your mileage may vary depending on your particular set up):

 

  • The Aqara sensors seem to be pretty consistent. I don't have a precise thermometer to check that the displayed temperature is accurate to the displayed 2 decimal places, but two sensors in the same place will display the same figure. If they're off a little, they are consistently off a little between sensors.
  • The Aqara sensors look good, and come with a little sticky pad to mount conveniently out of the way (though mine are still blue tacked about at the moment).
  • Once set up, the sensors seem to be set and forget.
  • I did find them a bit fiddly to set up, perhaps because:
  • Zigbee range isn't great, especially if you've also got 2.4GHz wifi in the same house.
  • Zigbee uses weird (to me) terminology. The main brain is a "coordinator", range extenders are "routers" and actual devices/things that do stuff are "End Devices". Anything with a battery will almost certainly be an End Device, but some things that plug in can be both Routers and End Devices (i.e. do something and repeat the zigbee signal), but not everything that plugs in are End Devices.
  • If you're scattering around End Devices/Sensors, you may well need something to extend the range. I tried an Aqara plug, but found it a bit flakey in terms of repeating/range extending. Some things online suggest that they might go to sleep.
  • I ended up with some cheap CC2530s with an external aerial as both coordinator and extra routers. These seem to work well. The external aerial most definitely helps.
  • Whether me, the Zigbee2mqtt approach, or in general, pairing with a coordinator was easy. Getting something to communicate via a router was a bit more fiddly.
  • A single big Zigbee network would likely be pretty impressive - in addition to the Aqara stuff, Hue bulbs also use Zigbee as well as some other bulbs, locks and things that you can either get locally or easily via Amazon ebay, Aliexpress etc. (Zigbee is universal worldwide, cf. Z-wave which is different from country to country). In theory, the more devices, the better the coverage.
  • A single screen controlling all the home automation stuff is much more convenient (and much higher WAF) than having multiple apps/screens for different things.
  • I found Hass.io pretty fiddly, but once you start to get your head around how it works it does act well as a single consolidated SmartHome app/screen.
  • Hass.io does unify various different protocols, so you can control (say) zigbee, z-wave, wifi and even RF stuff with the appropriate hardware and interfaces, again from a single pane of glass.
  • e.g. I also have some Lifx wifi bulbs that I have had various issues with. They seem to work more reliably in Hass than using the app/cloud servers though.

TL;DR: Aqara sensors (and other aqara stuff) seems pretty good all-in-all, but I don't use it with the Xaiomi hub or app.


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  #2345883 29-Oct-2019 16:17
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Skip the hub and go straight to Zigbee2mqtt as mentioned by mdf. 




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  #2346020 29-Oct-2019 19:38
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Thanks @mdf and @PANiCnz . A few things I've read said if you go Aqara, go all in, as they work better together. Not sure if I will or not, I'll ponder it for a while first. I'm very unlikely to build anything, I'm just too time poor due to having a very busy todder.

 

Shame you need the US$40 hub to make it all work, the sensors look really good and cheap, it'd be nice if they worked on WiFi.


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  #2346078 29-Oct-2019 20:41
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I've got both wifi and Zigbee stuff, and definitely pros and cons to each. Zigbee is *much* more energy efficient (coin cell battery for a year+ is reasonable), and, if you already have a Zigbee network, much easier to pair/get new things on the network. As a mesh network, in theory, Zigbee should get better the more devices you add. But also needs new special-purpose equipment, potentially range issues, and it is much less mature - i.e. you have to be a bit of a geek. 

 

Everyone has wifi already, so no special hardware required. It's well understood, common, and devices are often cheaper. But personally I've had huge problems with the usual "put the device in AP mode, use a special app to get it set up to use your wifi". Way easier to plug a hub into ethernet and press a button. Since wifi isn't mesh, notionally your network will likely get less efficient/reach device limits the more devices you add.

 

But definitely if you just want a device or two, wifi is probably the way to go. For a bigger/whole house/longer term project, the beauty of HASS, OpenHab, Hubitat etc. is having a single central point to manage all the various technologies so you can deploy the right tool for the right project, rather than being locked in to a particular ecosystem.




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  #2346080 29-Oct-2019 20:43
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mdf:

 

I've got both wifi and Zigbee stuff, and definitely pros and cons to each. Zigbee is *much* more energy efficient (coin cell battery for a year+ is reasonable), and, if you already have a Zigbee network, much easier to pair/get new things on the network. As a mesh network, in theory, Zigbee should get better the more devices you add. But also needs new special-purpose equipment, potentially range issues, and it is much less mature - i.e. you have to be a bit of a geek. 

 

Everyone has wifi already, so no special hardware required. It's well understood, common, and devices are often cheaper. But personally I've had huge problems with the usual "put the device in AP mode, use a special app to get it set up to use your wifi". Way easier to plug a hub into ethernet and press a button. Since wifi isn't mesh, notionally your network will likely get less efficient/reach device limits the more devices you add.

 

But definitely if you just want a device or two, wifi is probably the way to go. For a bigger/whole house/longer term project, the beauty of HASS, OpenHab, Hubitat etc. is having a single central point to manage all the various technologies so you can deploy the right tool for the right project, rather than being locked in to a particular ecosystem.

 

 

Thanks MDF. I'll consider Zigbee, for cost and ease of use. I do like that if I have a repeater in my office I could maybe put a sensor in my greenhouse - though it doesn't really matter what temperature it is in there.

 

Can you recommend any fairly cheap WiFi temperature sensors? I would probably only use 3-5 of them depending on price.


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  #2346087 29-Oct-2019 21:07
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Not that "just works" at a reasonable price point unfortunately. I know the sonoff stuff comes pretty highly recommended, and you can do temperature and humidity monitoring with that, but is definitely not plug and play. I've seen some plug and play options advertised, but for they money they are asking, you will save at least 50% buying a zigbee hub and aqara sensors.

 

How do you feel about bluetooth? Another Xiaomi range, Mijia, has a bluetooth temperature sensor that looks good. I've not used it so not 100% sure how it works, but if you're just interested in some more historical data (e.g. last 24 hours) it could work well. Won't do push monitoring or control other stuff without a hub though (I think).


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  #2346093 29-Oct-2019 21:21
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I'm very happy with the Aquara sensors. I'm using them with Hassio and a raspbee hat. It works very nicely and I've just had another 8 sensors arrive. I'm also using their motion sensors to control ikea Tradfri bulbs.

 

The Home assistant app works fine for normal visualisation.

 

I've also got them logging to InfluxDB on my Unraid server with some pretty Grafana visualisations. It all works very well, is cheap and doesn't rely on an offsite service.


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  #2346100 29-Oct-2019 21:39
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Handle9:

 

I'm very happy with the Aquara sensors. I'm using them with Hassio and a raspbee hat. It works very nicely and I've just had another 8 sensors arrive. I'm also using their motion sensors to control ikea Tradfri bulbs.

 

The Home assistant app works fine for normal visualisation.

 

I've also got them logging to InfluxDB on my Unraid server with some pretty Grafana visualisations. It all works very well, is cheap and doesn't rely on an offsite service.

 

 

Off topic, but I've been meaning to try Influx + Grafana again (couldn't get it working the first or second times I tried). But I haven't tried on the Unraid server, I was trying to get it all running on the Hass Pi. Will try that next.


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