In praise of the Aqara Temp/Humidity sensors

I've been wanting to put a small Z-wave temp/humidity sensor in my humidor for a while, to replace the Caliber IV that I've had in there for years. There are precious few devices small enough to fit nicely in my 100ct humidor, and I'd been eyeing the Aeotec aerQ as a possibility, but got tired of waiting.

Anyway, I've long admired the tiny size and minimalist design of the Aqara products. I'd read all of the mixed reports about success/failure with the Xiaomi products and Hubitat, but since I've been very careful up until now to only use Z-Wave products in my home, not wanting to deal with contention on the 2.4GHz band, I figured I'd order a humidity sensor from Amazon, and a couple of outlet/repeaters from Ikea, and see what happens. I did my reading ahead of time and noticed that folks were saying the Aqara Hub is locked to Zigbee channel 25, so I set my C-7 up to use that channel.

Anyway, my outlets haven't arrived yet (they were supposed to arrive today, but instead I received a 20oz bowl that has a very similar article number to the outlets I ordered :joy:) but I figured I would try to pair the thing up and calibrate with a Boveda pack in a ziplock bag, even though I thought it was unlikely to work in my office.

For contexts: my C-7 is in a structured wiring enclosure near the center of my 1500sqft home, but my office is 3-4 walls away, and my humidor is in a usually-closed closet. I also have 3 Ubiquiti IW-HD APs, one on 1, 6, and 11 broadcasting 2.4GHz Wi-Fi. I figured this was going to be an uphill battle.

Imagine my surprise when the thing paired up immediately. I installed @veeceeoh's driver, and everything "just worked."

After seeing a couple of updates come through, I figured I'd toss the ziplock bag in my humidor and close the closet door. Surely the updates would stop.

Nope. Still working great. LQI of 254-255, and RSSI of -77. I did some reading up on LQI and RSSI, and while that RSSI number isn't incredible, or anything, it's "good enough" while I wait for a couple of outlets to arrive.

Not only that -- I'm going to let it sit for a bit longer but as of my last reading, it's 72.9% RH in a ziplock with a Boveda 72RH pack, which is supposedly +/- 1% itself, so this thing looks to be startlingly accurate right out of the box.

I've gone ahead and ordered two more to put in my bathrooms for use with my Smarter Humidity Fan app, so I can repurpose my Zooz 4-in-1 sensors elsewhere, given they are all reading ~10% high, out of the box (at least it's consistent!). Looks like they'll be downgraded to motion-detector-only.

I'm starting to think that I'll just reserve my C-7's Zigbee radio for Aqara products, since I like them all so much, and be a happy camper!

Anyway, just wanted to share a story of encouragement to anyone who was on the fence about these little devices, like I was.

2 Likes

Glad they work well for you! Lots of people have had success with them as long as they are careful with how they build their Zigbee network. Many repeaters are known to be problematic for these devices, so sticking to those or using a dedicated hub as you do is pretty much the only way to avoid that (but you will likely want repeaters there too if you don't already).

In my quest to rid my network of Xiaomi devices, I've discovered that the new Sonoff Zigbee devices are about as cheap and also work well for me. However, they are an order of magnitude uglier. :slight_smile: But the temperature/humidity sensor design isn't that offensive, and they're pretty much all out of sight for me anyway, so I don't care. Just another option you can consider! But I do wish they looked more like the Xiaomi ones for sure...

PS - the veeceeoh drivers you found are likely no longer maintained, as the community member who wore them has not been seen in some time. There are newer ones by Markus, but that is also complicated now that he's been kicked off the forum (but are still being maintained and, eventually, posted about elsewhere, somewhere I'm hesitant to mention lest I meet the same fate). I've used both without problem, and barring major Zigbee changes, I'd assume both should keep working well for you indefinitely if they currently do. Just thought I'd mention that!

4 Likes

Is it Zigbee?

2 Likes

If I tap it just right, I'm sure I could get it vibrating at 2.4GHz :joy:

2 Likes

Thanks for this info! I didn't realize that was the case. Thankfully, @veeceeoh's drivers look pretty slim and maintainable, so in a worst-case scenario, I suspect I could make the necessary updates myself.

Really loving having things to hack on again!

Just wondering if things are still going strong with these little guys for you or if you've run into any issues.
I picked up 5 of them, installed @veeceeoh's driver, like you did. All 5 connected and worked perfectly, for about 40 minutes. Then 3 of them just stopped reporting.
I can't get them to do anything other than log a "batteryLastReplaced" event or these:

2021-01-17 10:06:43.593 am debugTemp Hum Bath: Debug message logging enabled
2021-01-17 10:06:43.589 am infoTemp Hum Bath: Info message logging enabled
2021-01-17 10:06:43.583 am infoTemp Hum Bath: Updating preference settings

I have Zigbee repeaters around the house and have never had any issues with any devices until now. (Zwave is a totally different story, of course. LOL)
I've tried everything I can think of to "reset" them, checked/changed the batteries, etc.

I'm wondering if trying a different driver would work, but the other two units are still going strong.

I also just realized that I'm on channel 20. I could change that, but I'm not sure how well other devices would like it.

If you have any thoughts, please let me know. I love these little guys and don't want to have to return them.

These devices are very picky about which repeaters they function with. Repeaters that are widely reported to work include Ikea Tradfri outlets and Ikea Tradfri USB repeaters. Details are described here:

This is unlikely to change the issue.

The finicky nature of Aqara devices vis-a-vis repeaters is not something that is Hubitat-specific. I've been using zigbee2mqtt lately, and the device page for all Aqara devices indicates they do not stay online if they are connected through a repeater that doesn't support Aqara devices.

For example, here's the zigbee2mqtt page for the Aqara Temperature & Humidity sensor:

1 Like

Awesome information! Thank you.
Now I have plenty to go through and verify before making more drastic and potentially stupid, changes. :wink:
Will let you know what I find.

1 Like

Interesting to hear the anecdotal feedback on these devices. Mine are stable, but I have my own method of syncing the devices back from a Xiomai Aqara HomeKit hub to HE. I do have two Aqara Leak sensors, one Mijia Motion sensor, and one Aqara Temp/Humidity sensor that are directly joined to my C7. They are stable, but they were stable on my C3 with the Nortek stick too. I am careful about what goes on my Zigbee network. No bulbs paired directly to the hub, and only IKEA Trådfri plugs and repeaters. I once had my temp/humidity sensor start to fall off every week or so when I moved one of the Trådfri outlets. I moved it back and it's been stable for over a year now.

In case anyone is wondering, I'm on Zigbee Channel 13. Does it matter? It seems to somewhat, but I'm fairly certain that your environment and what 2.4 GHz signals you have going on around you are a big influence on the outcome. When I moved to a C7 hub I tried channel 15. All my direct connected Xiaomi devices were happy except for the Mijia motion sensor outside at my front door (covered of course). So I went back to channel 13 and it's happy again.

So I'm curious what everyone reporting good results is running. This has been discussed over and over, but I cannot recall ever seeing a poll. So here's an unofficial round-up (yet again :crazy_face:)

My Xiaomi Aqara / Mijia devices are rock solid on this hub - Select the option that best fits your setup
  • Hubitat Elevation C3/C4 with Nortek stick - I use compatible Zigbee repeaters.
  • Hubitat Elevation C3/C4 with Nortek stick - I don't use Zigbee repeaters.
  • Hubitat Elevation C5 -- I use compatible Zigbee repeaters.
  • Hubitat Elevation C5 - I don't use Zigbee repeaters.
  • Hubitat Elevation C7 - I use compatible Zigbee repeaters.
  • Hubitat Elevation C7 - I don't use Zigbee repeaters.

0 voters

Didn't fill out the poll because I wanted to add some information. I had 60-odd Xiaomi sensors on a C5 hub with compatible repeaters (5 Tradfri outlets, 6 Tradfri repeaters, 4 of @iharyadi's environmental sensors).

They were completely stable when I had around half the number of devices. With ~60, every week or so one device would fall off (this was with the newer driver from @markus). Also, with a smaller number of devices, I had no missing events, but with 60 devices using @markus' drivers, I would have missing events not only for the Xiaomi sensors, but also for Yale zigbee locks on the same network.

After I've moved them to their own network, I haven't missed any events from the Yale locks.

So I think a certain degree of instability is also caused by having large numbers of these devices.

1 Like

That's interesting info. I understand with that volume of sensors why the Zigbee 3.0 versions interest you so much. I'm so far below that number.

Maybe it's something they just never expected. Prior to the Zigbee 3.0 version of their hub, they only supported 32 directly connected anyway. I'm sure there's some give to that with Chinese customers buying some outlets that would then repeat and extend that limit. Large spread out homes are just not the norm there though.

1 Like

Do we know why this person got kicked out of the forum? This is concerning news, isn't it?

He is part of a group of former HE forum members that started a new company that will be competing w/HE (selling hubs/devices).

3 Likes

i bought one of these aqara temp/humidity sensors, even with a repeater nearby, it falls off the map, doesn't report temp consistently.

For Aqara sensors to work even semi-reliably with Hubitat, all the zigbee repeaters/routers connected to Hubitat have to be Aqara-compatible.

2 Likes

Completely new to Hubitat (very excited!) and also bought one of these aqara temp/humidity sensors. I have a dumb question: is the aqara hub necessary for me to collect temperature data on my hubitat device? Or do the third party drivers discussed on this post enable me to collect this data without the aqara hub? Still wrapping my head around drivers vs apps vs physical vendor-specific hubs (like the aqara hub mentioned in this post).

No, you do not need their hub; they are Zigbee devices (albeit with slightly non-standard behavior--read this thread if you haven't: Xiaomi & Aqara Devices - Pairing & Keeping them connected) and can pair directly to Hubitat. You'll need a custom driver for it, which it sounds like you've already seen. The ones by veeceeoh, Markus, and I think one newer author are all popular ones around here.

1 Like

Download the Hubitat app