Why doesn’t h.e work well with Aqara?

Can/will that be fixed with future hubs? What is it that allows h.a to do it?

Are you referring to Aqara devices that use a non-standard implementation of zigbee?

2 Likes

As I understand it, Aqara hasn't fully follow the Zigbee spec. They work perfectly w/their own hub (which they want you to buy of course) and can be very reliable on platforms like the Conbee II USB stick w/Home Assistant. HE has a hard time playing well w/devices that are non-standard, and Aqara has shown no interest in doing anything to improve compatibility. @kkossev may be able to expand on the issues around Aqara/HE compatibility.

They do have some new devices that support Matter, and as HE adds that capability that may provide improved compatibility w/those newer devices, like below:

https://www.amazon.com/Aqara-Requires-Contact-Automation-Supports/dp/B0BTL8B72D/ref=sr_1_1_sspa

Above all said, I'm using Aqara contact sensors and buttons (the Zigbee 1.2 versions) on my C8 reliably (and last year I was having success on my C7 as well).

Could be partly due to Zigbee repeaters I have on my mesh, but the Aqara devices are connnecting to both my C8 hub directly and via Zigbee repeaters, so it's not clear if/how the repeaters I'm using are affecting the improved reliability of Aqara devices. My repeaters are SonOff USB Dongle P and Sengled plugs (Zigbee 3.0) and Iris and Centralite plugs (Zigbee 1.2).

5 Likes

:point_up:

This isn’t a problem for Hubitat to solve.

2 Likes

It doesn't; the problem, as described above, exists on any standard Zigbee implementation. :slight_smile:

Case in point:

What is likely really happening is some people here might have have most devices on their Hubitat hub and then only these devices or these devices plus only "Xiaomi/Aqara-friendly" routers/repeaters (one workaround) on the other hub. But whether that's another Hubitat hub or one of the Zigbee implementations commonly used with Home Assistant isn't really the important piece; it's just that if it's HASS, it looks like HASS is the solution when it's really the above.

(There are some things the coordinator/hub can do to not totally fail with these, but Hubitat made a change very early on related to this; as far as I can tell, the rest is up to the routers.)

4 Likes

I used to warn folks away from Aqara devices on HE based on my early poor experiences with them on the C7 two to three years ago. However, my experience on the C7 the last part of last year and on the C8 now, leads me to feel comfortable cautiously recommending them. :slight_smile:

Caveats:

  • Have a good reason to want to use Aqara devices over other devices that are known to be consistently reliable on HE. I.e., there's no need to get into this unless you need to, right? In my case I have needs for very small contact sensors w/longer battery life due both WAF issues and specific tight-fit issues, and the Aqara are pretty darn tiny and last quite well.
  • Buy them from a vendor where returns are allowed w/out penatly in case things go south
  • Start out with a few sprinkled around in different locations.
  • Let them run for at least a month to confirm whether they play nice on your mesh. Still possibility they might get jiggy after a month, but you'd likely see any issues w/in the first two to four weeks.

As noted above I have the Aqara connecting via both repeaters and directly to my hub, so I can't offer any "use this repeater and you're good" guidance. Looking closely at my Zigbee mesh graphic is does appear that my Aqara devices are primarily connected to either the hub or the SonOff Dongle P repeaters, which are both Zigbee 3.0.

3 Likes

All my Aqara devices work perfectly with Hubitat! I have a C-5. I have multiple motion sensors, door/window contact sensors, leak sensors, temp/humidity sensors and one button device. According to the Zigbee graph, they are all perfectly happy connecting to Ikea Tradfri control outlets as repeaters and all is working great for me.

1 Like

TL;DR :wink:.

My general take on Xiaomi/Aqara devices is that I don’t hate myself nearly enough to spend the time or effort required to cater to their whims :open_mouth:.

6 Likes

Agree in general, hence my "if you don't need to, don't go down this path" advice. :wink:

If the Aqara sensors weren't the best option for me in terms of size, battery life, cost, and WAF I would not have tried them again. My go-to contact sensors have long been Visonic (the smallest I've ever seen) but their battery life isn't amazing, and when I was having issues w/Zigbee on my C8 (berfore HE replaced my hub) Visonics were dropping off when Aqara's were holding tight.

NYCE are the smallest I've seen, and fantastic battery life.
https://www.amazon.com/NYCE-NCZ-3011-HA-ZigBee-Window-Sensor/dp/B00WTE61FI

Good point - really like those. NYCE has a really strong reputation and the reported battery life is amazing. The price is above and beyond what my lovely wife would find reasonable for putting everywhere in the house, but for some targeted use they would be very good. Thanks for the reminder.

Dimensions and battery for this group of sensors, FWIW:

NYCE NCZ-3011-HA:

  • 1.26 x 1.18 x 0.39 inches
  • Battery: Claimed 5 years!!!

Aqara MCCGQ11LM:

  • 1.61 x 0.87 x 0.43 inches
  • I have some > 1-2 year old, still reading >70 and 80% on original battery.

Visonic MCT-340:

  • 2.6 x 1.0 x 0.375 in
  • Varies, several months to maybe a year or so. I have a collection of these sensors, I bought both new and used ones I found on eBay, so I can't speak to the level of abuse any of the used ones might have received.
1 Like

I'm getting about a year on batteries

Visonic XHS2-UE

1.81 x 1.06 inches

image

1 Like

Just my 2 cents.
After years of fighting ST and Xiaomi/Aqara I left due to the usual "Sammy who cares you low life hobbyist" attitude.
In HE there was a bit of Aqara growing pains but with the custom driver from @chirpy and the eventual discovery of Tuya ZB repeaters from the community I have had no issues. I tried Ikea but the sucked for coverage; bulky too.

1 Like

Coverage is fine for me. They are the ugliest things ever made though, so I have them hidden in closets and behind TVs.

1 Like

Visonic MCT-370 SMA Long Range. (L x W x H): 44.5 x 22 x 24 mm / 1.75 x 0.87 x 0.94 in

Bought it new. Installed in my metal mailbox May 2022. Battery (CR2) still good.

1 Like

Thanks for sharing the MCT-370, didn't even know those existed. The height kind of kills it for me for use in interior wIndows (would bump into horizontal blinds) but could work on doors and exterior windows.

1 Like

The 370 is definitely long range so it might work where the zigbee network is thin --attics, garages, sheds, basements. I used a ZB router to boost the signal but I was still surprised that it worked inside an all-metal mailbox with a poor line-of-sight to the router 200 feet away. There are shrubs and a couple of small trees blocking a straight path.

It is a little thick in order to house the CR2 in a relatively short footprint. The internals are heavily encased in plastic that makes it a poor candidate for soldering hacks.

1 Like