Aqara Support on Hubitat

Hi All,

Is there any possibility that Hubitat will support Aqara products in the near future? With all of the products in their range and their overwhelming popularity within the Smart "YouTubers" community, I am surprised that Aqara integration appears to have been avoided with only partial workarounds by some knowledgeable people.

I was a Smartthings User until I upgraded to the Hubitat Hub and there's no looking back, part from the fact that I have quite a few Aqara products, Contact Sensors, Leak Sensors and Light Switches that I'd still like to use.

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@PezZarusS some people have good luck with the aqara stuff but the older stuff tends to drop off because of it's weird non standard Zigbee implementation. People report using ikea repeaters keeps them on the mesh

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I think you mean “smart” YouTubers :wink:.

But seriously, as @rlithgow1 mentioned, Xiaomi and their Aqara brand have had a long history of deliberately not playing nicely with zigbee meshes (because xaomi used a non-standard zigbee implementation).

Are the newer devices sold in the markets they’re intended to be used (i.e. not purchased on AliExpress and sent directly from mainland china), which are listed as zigbee 3.0 better?

Hopefully.

But I can understand why this brand of devices still might not be at the top of their list to develop built-in drivers for.

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Don't do it. I tried, even with noted working repeaters, it was bad and ruined the experience. My Zigbee was very unstable. All the money I thought I saved by buying cheaper aqara devices, wound up being a waste. The Aqara hub works very well, if you don't mind data mining. Another option is to use home assistant alongside Hubitat and bring in the HomeAssitant devices to HE via an integration

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I'm partial to Moe sensors at this point. They've been solid

As noted, there's a long history of discussion around the Aqara and other Xiaomi products here. You can literally spend hours reading and come away with total confusion. The fact is that Xiaomi doesn't consistently manufacture the same model of device and so integration is a major undertaking that the small staff here just cannot keep up with.

Zigbee2MQTT is a project that has hundreds of dedicated contributors, so for Xiaomi and also IKEA (same inconsistency issues) device integrations, the Z2M project is your best bet. There are more than two ways to run it, but the two that I'm going to guess you might be interested in are via Home Assistant > HE using the Home Assistant Device Bridge integration for Hubitat, or the relatively new community built Hubitat Zigbee2MQTT integration. Both are going to require another always-on computer. It doesn't need to be super powerful to run the MQTT broker and support the additonal Zigbee dongle you'll need.

In my opinion, the Home Assistant route is the easiest, because you're just dealing with prebuilt, easy to implement disk images, and well documented processes, supported by hundreds of easy to follow youtube guides.

I run HA on a Raspberry Pi for my Xiaomi and IKEA devices (around 30) and they never drop or fail to respond. I use a Conbee II Zigbee dongle, and although you can use others, I personally feel this is a solid choice and recommend it. Z2M also exposes full control of the devices (sometimes more than you get in the official manufacturers driver). I bring them into HE using HADB and use HE Rule Machine for my automations.

A side benefit of running HA>HE via HADB, is all the other integrations for cloud and other devices that HA has support for. Two recent examples come to mind. First is the Aqara FP2 (using the HA HomeKit Controller integration) which allows me to bring the FP2 into HE automations via HADB, without the need to create any HomeKit automations that can get out of sync. Second is an integration for Orbit B-hyve sprinkler timers that I just added. There's a community integration for HE, but the HA integration is going to allow me to take soil moisture readings from Misol moisture sensors running on HE, and then automatically adjust the Smart Watering soil moisture levels in the Oribit B-hyve app.

Many of us run multiple hubs and bridges to get what we want. My setup is about as limitless as home automation has to offer. I've not encountered a roadblock I couldn't get around with very little effort in the last two years.

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Agree with everything @SmartHomePrimer said. The decision to implement and support multiple systems isn't always an easy one to make, but can open up "limitless" possibilities.

That said, it requires a bit of forethought and planning. I would avoid creating automations in multiple systems even if it's the path of least resistance at the time. Trying to keep track of everything could get unmanageable.

For me, I leave device coordination to Hubitat and Home Assistant and create all of my automations in Node-Red. Regardless of what you choose to be as your automation engine, do everything possible to keep it there.

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Only Moe sensors? Not Larry, Curly, or Shemp sensors?!!

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Sound advice. It's easier to do if you're a Node-Red user, but that's a harder hill to climb initially. Very different from creating automations in HE or HA. I currently have around 40 HA automations out of necessity, The other 174 automations are all on HE.

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Yeah, sometimes it's unavoidable. More of a guideline than a rule. Agree that NR does make it easier to do so though.

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Wise guy eh???? Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk!

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I'm a reformed Aqara-hater. :wink:

In the past I had so much trouble with them on my C7 that I boxed my Aqara sensors up and mailed them to @aaiyar. True story.

But I really liked the form factor and battery life of the Aqara contact sensors so I tried them again on my C7 maybe 9 months to a year ago. Model MCCGQ11LM.

Maybe because I'd added some Sonoff dongle repeaters the Aqara sensors stayed on my mesh very reliably. Not perfect, but very good.

Since updating to the C8 they have been even better... Go figure, but they are my most reliable Zigbee device on the C8, on which I've had a lot of Zigbee issues.

Clearly a YMMV situation.

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I think it’s been about a year and a half now that I moved all of my 15 aqara devices to a separate C5 with three tradfri repeaters and mesh them to my C7. Zero issues.

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The main attraction of Aqara devices is their availability (Amazon) and pricing (inexpensive). I purchased two of them. I could not get them to work with my C7 hub until I replaced my older Smartthings and Centralite HA 1.2 smart plugs with Zigbee 3.0 smartplugs.

When I migrated from the C7 to the C8, the Aqara devices ceased working. I decided to replace the two Aqara devices with Tuya devices. The new ones work just fine. Thus, my inexpensive Aqara devices cost me a lot of money in the long run.

Aqara says they are coming out with devices that will be fully compatible with Zigbee 3.0. But until that is confirmed in practice, proceed with caution. There is a community driver that might work with some Aqara devices. If you do decide to try Aqara devices, please purchase ones that state they work with hubs other than the Aqara hub.

Official support by Aqara for their Zigbee devices is possible- Homey have already did it :

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Hello,

I had a ton of them on SmartThings for years (motion sensors and temp/humidity - no contact). The only way I could ever get them to stay online was to strictly limit the Zigbee repeaters they could connect to - in my case it's been a few Ikea plugs and XBees. I avoided any other type of repeater in my system.*. I've only been on Hubitat for a few months. They've been working just fine for me with the available custom drivers and using the same repeaters I used in SmartThings. I really believe it's about the repeaters and not about Hubitat.

Best,
Alec

  • One note - I've just realized I have a couple of the second generation plugs from Smart Things (which sold out so fast) and they don't seem to cause any trouble. The first generation (big square ones) sure did, along with any repeating Osram bulbs and a few others - I had to just keep them out of the system entirely.
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That's absolutely true. There is nothing magical in ZHA or Z2M implementation in regards to the old generation Aqara sensors pairing. There are exactly the same issues reported in Home Assistant with Aqara devices. And all other home automation systems are quoting the 'classic' write-up by @veeceeoh written more than 5 years ago :

Xiaomi & Aqara Devices - Pairing & Keeping them connected

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It has got to be something in the choice of Zigbee controller, but maybe the driver to a small extent? :man_shrugging:t3:

I don’t have a C8, so I cannot speak to that, but I just couldn’t keep the Aqara devices reliably connected on any of the earlier generation hubs, no matter which driver I used. They would be fine for a while, and I’d get all cocky about how I “Cracked it”, but that wouldn’t last more than 6 months or so. I may have gotten 8 months out a few if I remember correctly, but a year or more was unheard of.

When I first decided to try using Home Assistant with some crazy workarounds to get the device states back into HE (this was before @ymerj created the wonderful Home Assistant Device Bridge), I had chosen the ConBee 2, because it came highly recommended. Using the exact same Aqara devices and the same IKEA repeaters, they have stayed joined with HA and the ConBee 2 from the start (Feb 2021). Same with troublesome IKEA devices. I later switched to Z2M from @aaiyar’s recommendation, with so many additional device settings exposed and a massive support list for the more budget friendly devices.

I’ve also found that with the ZHA integration on Home Assistant, I would still often have to keep the Aqara devices awake while trying to join them, but with Z2M I don’t need to do that.

My explanation for this is that when the problematic Aqara sensors are moved to Z2M you have a much smaller, isolated Zigbee network, without the dozens of other potentially problematic routers that you keep paired to HE.

The same effect should be achieved if you move the Aqara devices and the friendly repeaters to a dedicated C-7 or C-5 hub (instead of ZHA/Z2M).

Ummm... I have no idea how is this possible.

What Zigbee radios are you using with Z2M and ZHA? Have you used Aqara sensors with the most popular CC2531 Zigbee adapter?
The Conbee stick is a special case... I don't have experience with it.

I kept the Zigbee network very carefully controlled with only IKEA repeaters (exact same ones I’m using today). No repeating bulbs. Have always used Hue bulbs with the Hue Bridge integration. Very cautious about the channel distance at that time too. Only other repeater that I later used was an XBee, but the long term stability issues never increased or decreased with its presence in retrospect.

:man_shrugging:t3: Me either. Just an observation.

Has always been a ConBee 2. I suppose it’s magical :wink:

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