As part of the gradual expansion of my smarthome (might as well do something during lockdown right?) I decided to set up an XBee to improve the reach of my SmartThings hub. Good information for total beginners is a bit of a mission to find so I thought I’d put together a basic summary to start with.
Useful sources of information
- SmartThings integration thanks to “exile”
- The best “beginners guide” I could find by a long way — big kudos to “Gerald N”
Why an XBee
I needed a ZigBee repeater. I have several Xiaomi ZigBee devices which don’t work well with most repeaters due to them not quite following the standards corectly. They do work with the Ikea Tradfri plugs which only cost £10 (kudos to Ikea!) so if you just need a cheap repeater then a Tradfri plug is a good way to do it. I have one and can confirm it works well with Xiaomi kit. However, I wanted a stronger repeater, and I also wanted to be able to see and monitor my ZigBee mesh — both things that the XBee can do. The final reason in my case was that I don’t want to click-and-collect from Ikea during lockdown but nothing was available for delivery sooner than 30 days, whereas the parts for an XBee were available next day!
The kit you need…
You need an XBee board
You need a USB adapter to power (and program) the XBee
You need a USB cable to connect the adapter (the adapter should come with one)
You probably want a case to keep the whole lot in
I got all of the above in 2 simple purchases for a combined total of £31.35…
I got the XB24CZ7WIT-004 ZigBee Module itself from RSComponents in the UK for £18.36 (inc VAT and free delivery). This came next day in a neat little plastic box which is perfect for keeping the whole setup in.
I got the USB adapter with cable from Amazon UK for £12.99
to be continued…
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