Sonoff ZigBee 3.0 dongle test: the Zigbee2MQTT key at 12€

Reviews and use of Sonoff ZBDongle-P with Zigbee2MQTT

Sonoff ZigBee 3.0 USB Dongle Plus

SONOFF - ZIGBEE 3.0 USB DRIVE + 20DBM EXTERNAL ANTENNA (COMPATIBLE ZHA, ZIGBEE2MQTT)

Price as of: May 20, 2022 9 h 40 min

After seeing how install Zigbee2MQTT on Home Assistant, now here is a quick focus on the Sonoff ZigBee 3.0 dongle which allowed us to complete our tutorial.

Offered at only 12 euros, this home automation gateway really has everything to please lovers of DIY. Let's see why.

Itead has just announced an increase in the price of the Sonoff ZBDongle-P due to the component crisis during the month of May 2022.

Sonoff ZigBee 3.0 dongle: the most accessible home automation gateway on the market?

Presentation

Although presented in reduced packaging, the Sonoff ZigBee 3.0 USB Dongle Plus is not the most compact since it measures 8.7 cm long for 2.55 cm wide and 1.35 cm thick.

So it's tough for this type of dongle, but it's a very good thing because its chips TI CC2652P et CP2102N are protected by a aluminum alloy case with a radiator-type design in order to reduce interference too often suffered by ZigBee gateways of this type.

"the perfect purchase to get started at a low price in Zigbee2MQTT"

It also comes with a 108mm long SMA antenna offering a gain up to 20dBm (by default, it is set to 5 dBm) which promises us a much greater range than the small keys without typical antenna Phoscon ConBee II.

Pre-flashed with the official firmware of the Z-Stack 3.x.0 coordinator, the Sonoff ZBDongle-P can be used directly with Zigbee2MQTT on Jeedom, Domoticz or Home Assistant. We will also see that the latter also recognizes it immediately with ZHA.

According to Itead documentation, the Sonoff ZigBee 3.0 USB Dongle Plus now supports 21 live devices et up to 100 child devices since 20210120 firmware.

According to certain Anglo-Saxon specialists, its current version 20210708 would even allow him to manage 50 live devices and up to 200 child devices. Unfortunately, we have not been able to verify this point due to a lack of sufficient ZigBee devices available, but a member of our Facebook community confirms to us to manage more than 80 with 9 repeaters. « For me it's the best dongle I've had between the Conbee II and CC2531″, he tells us, and we can only confirm.

Information

  • Maker : Itead
  • Brand : Sonof
  • Model : ZBDongle-P
  • Protocol : ZigBee 3.0
  • Material : aluminum alloy
  • Operating temperature : -10°C / 40°C
  • Accessory : 108mm SMA antenna
  • Dimensions : 87 x 25.5 x 13.5 mm
  • Food : DC 5V / 100mA max

Installation of Sonoff dongle with Zigbee2MQTT

As we explained above, the Sonoff ZigBee 3.0 dongle is already flashed and so we don't need to do it again to use it with Zigbee2MQTT, but be aware that it is possible to do it for some applications. Do not hesitate to consult the documentation from the manufacturer on this subject.

  • If you already have an MQTT broker and Zigbee2MQTT, you just have to plug in the dongle, taking care to add a few lines in the file configuration.yaml from the Zigbee2MQTT add-on:
    homeassistant: false permit_join: true mqtt: base_topic: zigbee2mqtt server: 'mqtt://xxxxxxx' user: xxx password: xxxxxxx serial: port: /dev/ttyUSB0
  • If you want to install an MQTT broker, here are several tutorials that will help you depending on your setup.
  • You prefer to install a Mosquitto MQTT broker directly in Home Assistant : it's the fastest and easiest, and it's an official add-on, but.
    Supervisor > Add-ons > Add-ons store > Mosquitto broker
TO READ :
Tutorial: Zigbee2MQTT on Home Assistant

Pairing and use with Zigbee2mqtt

As for adding peripherals, no particular worries. Just open Zigbee2mqtt andactivate pairing with the button located at the top right. You then have 2 minutes and 15 seconds, not one more, to put your device in association mode. An association which is made really very quickly and which you will have confirmation with one or more green notifications.

In short, all the sensors, sockets, bulbs and other devices we tested failed. added at speed V. Nothing to complain about, the ZigBee dongle from Sonoff is very efficient.

We were finally able to take advantage of some recalcitrant peripherals with deCONZ and our good old ConBee II. Excellent news for Les Alexiens since it will finally allow us to talk to you about these connected objects in the coming weeks!

Our opinion on the Sonoff ZigBee 3.0 dongle

What to say except that Sonoff ZigBee 3.0 dongle ticks a lot of boxes ?

In fact, we have here a quality product. Particularly open, flashable if necessary, it will delight all home automation enthusiasts DIY. But not only because, if it usually takes "Get your hands dirty" with this type of device, this is not really the case here where everything is done quite simply with Zigbee2MQTT, or even downright in two clicks if you use ZHA or Jeedom for example.

Another box checked, that of efficiency. We put it to the test by moving our USB hub to the worst location and positioning it on our Synology DS920+ NAS, next to a Z-Wave Plus key and the Homey Pro multi-protocol box, not far from a Wi-Fi terminal. Add to that an inverter and you have everything to disrupt this poor little dongle. But no, to our surprise, the Sonoff ZigBee 3.0 dongle did just fine, we only had no trouble pairing new devices and don't have no disturbances noted. A very good point!

“Nothing to complain about, the ZigBee dongle from Sonoff is very efficient. »

New good point, this coordinator no longer only supports 21 live devices and up to 40 child devices, but at least 100 Child Devices, some specialists even claiming that it would be able to climb up to 200 Child Devices. Moreover, it is enough to remove a few screws to switch it to router mode and thus be able to extend its ZigBee mesh at a lower cost. With only one copy available, unfortunately we have not yet been able to test this point, but we will do so soon...

Finally, add to this exceptionally low price, and you no longer have any reason not to take it and test it! Besides, at 12€ at Domadoo, we advise you to jump on the occasion because Itead has announced a rate increase from May 2022 due to shortage of components. An increase already passed on to its resellers. In other words, its price is likely to soar very quickly.

In conclusion, the Sonoff ZBDongle-P is the perfect purchase to get started at a low price in Zigbee2MQTT with Home Assistant, Jeedom, or even Domoticz. Although we are eagerly awaiting the firmware allowing it to unlock support for up to 200 child devices, this dongle already has the best quality/price ratio on the market to date. Thank you Itad! ❤️
Fascinated by Alexa since the day I received it in beta test, I gradually became passionate about the subject, before deciding to go further by creating a site with Jean-Christophe. An activity that allows me to quench my thirst for new technologies and share my discoveries about the nicest of communities: Les Alexiens.