ZigBee ecosystem of Xiaomi Mijia and Aqara

ZigBee ecosystem of Xiaomi Mijia and Aqara

Summary:

Introduction for ZigBee products from Xiaomi brand and what is differences between two branches – Mijia and Aqara and how to install them.

Xiaomi brand is relatively well-known manufacturer mostly thanks to phones. Perhaps it is not so well known that it is a large manufacturer of home IoT equipment as well.

In this article today we will focus on two product branches (subsystems) labeled Mijia and Aqara. Both of them using for communication ZigBee wireless technology – so let’s have a lot on ZigBee first.

ZigBee as a communication protocol

IoT’s ZigBee technology is very interesting in three ways:

  1. in principle, it allows networks of the so-called Mash type – that is, a Zigbee device can also act as a kind of repeater signal and spread it away from the base station – products that can do so are called ZigBee Routers.
  2. Unlike WiFi, the protocol is very energy efficient, and devices can run for years with one small battery
  3. Very easy installation – no need to enter any passwords, only pair the device to the gateway/hub.
Mash the network using ZigBee elements

One of the biggest disadvantages over WiFi is the need to have a gateway between WiFi and ZigBee. In addition to the devices themselves, we need one more communication.

The range of ZigBee technology is usually 70m, which is not bad at all and especially to cover the apartment we will have no problems.

Mi Home – configuration and control center

The basic prerequisite for being able to activate any device at all is the installation of Mi Home app. It is available for both Android and iOS.

Google Play

App Store

Xiaomi server settings

There is one controversial thing to say about Mi Home, especially today. Most Xiaomi ZigBee devices are not available when using a European server where your data should be protected by GDPR. A similar situation could be for the US.

You need to switch the application to the Mainland China server, a server located in China. So the question may be what happens to your data, but no abuse has come to the surface.

You will be warned that for data protection, you may only have a device registered in one region and that you will no longer have a device registered in the new region.

Fortunately, you can switch back and forth, so you won’t lose your device completely – they’ll only stay in another area.

💡 If you are using a VPN connection, you may have trouble setting up in the Mainland China area. This is probably due to the blocking of VPN on the Chinese side. At least for me, some items did not work correctly when connected via NordVPN. Once set up, but everything already works with VPN connection.

Add a device

On the main screen, click on the + symbol in the top right corner and in the Mainland area we will see a really long list of devices, which are nicely categorized:

  • Camera – cameras
  • Power switch – all kinds of switches in the form of a wall socket
  • Lighting – bulbs and whole lights. It is interesting that you can add devices from two other manufacturers – Phillips and IKEA.
  • Household security – house security
  • Air treatment – dehumidification – dehumidifiers, air cleaners, humidifiers, heating and air conditioning, fans, thermostats and air quality meters
  • Sensor – temperature, humidity, motion, vibration, smoke, gas, door and water meters
  • Kitchen electric – kitchen equipment – refrigerators, coffee machines, water conditioners, coffee machines, rice cookers, hoods, hotplates, and dishwashers
  • Entertainment – radio, robots, speakers, clocks, and printers
  • Home appliances – heating, smart tables, toilets, washing machines, vacuum cleaners, water heaters
  • Car-carried – scooters, dashcam and segway
  • IR remote – remote controllers
  • Health – pressure gauge, watch, weight, toothbrush and temperature meter

In this article, we will only look at devices labeled Mijia and Aqara. Mijia products are an older series that are being gradually replaced by Aqara products, the biggest difference being HomeKit compatibility.

Související obrázek

Let’s finally see how to add a product to Mi Home app.

Hub Xiaomi Mijia

As I mentioned in the introduction of the article for using ZigBee products from Xiaomi we will need some gateway between ZigBee and WiFi.

I decided for the older Miija hub, mainly for the following two reasons:

  1. can easily be added to HomeAssistent (Hass.io)
  2. currently has a significantly lower price ($ 25 vs $ 38)

On the other hand, Aqara version has only one advantage from my point of view, namely direct integration with HomeKit, which we can solve by integration into HomeAssistent.

Xiaomi Miija Gateway
Xiaomi Mijia Gateway

Installation

  1. In the list of devices to add, click on Household security and select Mi Control Hub.
  2. Connect the hub to the electricity – only the Chinese connector has included so we have to use an adapter (in EU) – and then hold the upper button for 5 seconds. Then we release it and Hub should start blinking. In the app we’ll give it up and give Next.
  3. Turn off our WiFi name and password and give Next.
  4. In the phone, we connect to the AP WiFi created by Hub – in the list of WiFi networks we should see something like “lumi-gateway …
  5. The hub starts trying to connect to our local network
  6. Once Connected is a hub in the network and select the room in which it is located and click Next.
  7. We can name the Hub and click Next
  8. The Hub can also be shared with other Xiaomi Mi Home accounts. But I skip and give Next.
  9. Done

In addition to serving as a gateway between a WiFi network (ie the Internet) and a Zigbee network (up to 30 devices per Hub), the Mijia Hub can also:

  • Includes RGB LED Light with 16Mil colors
  • playback of up to 1200 Internet radios
  • alarm system in combination with connection to one of the sensors

Once we have a gateway installed we can check out some products using Zigbee technology.

Where to buy

1. Mijia products

So far I have only two products available, but I will update the article as soon as I discover another interesting product.

Xiaomi Mijia Gateway se sensory
Xiaomi Mijia Gateway with sensors

1.1 Mijia Wireless temperature and humidity Sensor

It is a temperature and humidity sensor using Zigbee technology powered by a battery with a life span of 1-2 years.

Main parameters

  • accuracy of temperature measurement is +/- 0.3 ° C and humidity +/- 3%
  • operating temperature -20 ° C to +60 ° C, humidity 0-100%
  • weight 85 g
  • dimensions 3.54 × 3.54 × 1.14cm
  • powered by lithium battery CR2032 3V
Xiaomi Miija teploměr a vlhkoměr
Mijia Temperature and Humidity Sensor

Installation

  1. In the list of devices to add, click on Sensor to select the product Mi Temperature Sensor.
  2. From the top of the sensor press the button for 5 seconds and release as soon as the sensor starts blinking blue.
  3. Hub starts to speak something to us in Chinese
  4. We should see a message that the device has been successfully added and we can select a room
  5. In the last step, we can rename the button

Where to buy

1.2 Mijia Wireless Switch

It is a button using Zigbee technology powered by a battery with a 1-2 year life. This is my favorite product – I have a couple of them for the same action in different places in the flat.

The button allows you to assign up to three different actions:

  • simple click
  • double click
  • and long hold

Main parameters

  • weight 19 g
  • size 5x5x1cm
  • powered by lithium battery CR2032 3V
Mijia button

Installation

  1. In the list of devices to add, click Household security and select Mi Wireless Switch.
  2. Take the wire from the Mijia hub manual and put the wire inside from the back of the button, hold for 3 seconds and release
  3. Hub starts to speak something to us in Chinese
  4. We should see a message that the device has been successfully added and we can select a room
  5. In the last step, we can rename the button and at the same time we are warned that we shouldn’t stick it to the metal

Where to buy

2. Aqara products

As I mentioned already, Aqara products should be considered as next-generation products, but for some reason, I still like more Mijia products. So if you don’t have a specific reason I could recommend go with Miijia instead of Aqara.

2.1 Aqara Wireless air pressure, temperature and humidity sensor

Similar to the Mijia version, this sensor is used to measure temperature and humidity. However, it adds air pressure measurement. Communication again takes place via Zigbee technology and the sensor is powered by a battery with a life span of 1-2 years.

Main parameters

  • accuracy of temperature measurement is +/- 0.3 ° C, humidity +/- 3% and pressure +/- 120Pa
  • working temperature -20 ° C to +60 ° C, humidity 0-100%, pressure in the range 30 – 110kPa
  • dimensions 3.5 × 3.5x1cm
  • powered by lithium battery CR2032 3V
Aqara sensor teploty, vlhkosti a tlaku
Aqara sensor Air Pressure, Temperature and Humidity

Installation

  1. In the list of devices to be added, click on Sensor and select Temperature and Humidity sensor.
  2. From the top of the sensor press the button for 5 seconds and release as soon as the sensor starts blinking blue.
  3. Hub starts to speak something to us in Chinese
  4. We should see a message that the device has been successfully added and we can select a room
  5. In the last step we can rename the button

Where to buy

Alternative pairing

Occasionally, it may happen that the sensor or switch pairing is not performed correctly in the classical way.

In this case, the path could work with a general device:

  1. click Hub on the home page
  2. Switch to the Device tab and click Add child device at the very bottom
  3. At the very end of the list, click Other devices
  4. Switch the physical device to pairing mode – usually by holding the button for a certain number of seconds

Conclusion

It is truly remarkable how simply the entire installation of individual products is done.

I have not encountered any problem with any of the products and everything worked right the first time.

If you spot any let me know in comments and we could try to resolve it.

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