Sensors? I'd like to buy the < $5 ones, not the > $30 ones


(Christopher Smith) #1

I’m not a hardware guy. So when I see “Arduino”, I move on.

So I see these sensors on Amazon for $3 to $6, then there are the Brand Name Home Automation sensors for $30 to $60.

For my critical “always need to work” items, I get stuff that is highly recommended and exactly works in my Homekit home. Schlage Sense Locks, Lutron Caseta Dimmer switches.

The OH HomeKit bridge is setup and working.

I have a few TP-Link Kasa Bulbs and Wemo plug switches that are working well with OH.

Now I want to start putting in door sensors, motion sensors more Kasa bulbs… Things that if automation is broken, I can deal for awhile.

The Schlage Locks and Lutron dimmers put me back a rather large sum of money.

There a large number of places I want to add sensors, buttons and keypads.

$40 per sensor/item is not in my budget.

I tried googling and searching the board here but any info I found is not organised in a straight forward way.

Any pointers to where and how I might find info about these less expensive devices?

The HomeKit bridge only supports switches, dimmers and thermostats. I’m a Java dev so I think I should be able to make something for the sensors to communicate to HomeKit for automatons I want to design in Homekit.

Just to illustrate why I’m avoiding Ardunio, I’m halfway through replacing all my light switches. I did 10 myself. I HATED IT. I’m having an electrician replace the last 8. There are also two ceiling fans that are wired with the fan and light on the same switch so I’m having that rewired to allow the dimmers to be installed.

Thank you for any help.


(Robert) #2

I have no experience myself, but this might be worth investigating?


(Johann Obermeier) #3

Maybe this things
https://www.itead.cc/smart-home.html
and with Tasmota (Open Source) firmware many sensors can be connected


and easily in OpenHab integrated via mqtt.


(Alan Fenwick) #4

I was all Arduino / Netduino esp etc for some time.
After discovering the Xiaomi stuff (mentioned above) that abruptly stopped.
They’ve been super reliable, and they’re all so neat and discreet. Added bonus, if you can wait for delivery, you can get the sensors cheap as chips.
This week I ordered 5 more door/window sensorsfor abgrand total of £33 delivered (AliExpress)
Temp/humidity sensors is about the size of a 50p count
Door / windows Sensors are the smallest I’ve seen (that aren’t internal)
Even the pirs are small (like 2 coke bottle lids stuck on top of each other)
The gateway is one off @ about £20
All very easy to work with.

Light switches are still Lightwaverf
Any power switching is done with LWRF sockets (not cheap) or sonoff with Sonata firmware - cheap, reliable and MQTT compliant, so status aware etc.


(Crispin) #5

I second xiaomi sensory. Get any and allegations, the bridge and you’re good to go. That coupled with the very good plugin here and it just worked.

Banggood is a good place to get them from.


(Christopher Smith) #6

Thank you all
I just ordered the Xiaomi Starter Kit and 5 door sensors for $100

Then I started looking at the Sonoff-Tasmota. Wow, those were prices I could get to love.

I’m going to start with Xiaomi and then maybe I’ll look into Sonoff-Tasmota.


(YF) #7

Hmm I just looked at the Xiaomi sensors, and they are definitely cheaper than the ZWave sensors. For example, a Dome ZWave Plus is $54 (Canadian $), but the Xiaomi one is only $17; huge difference. My only concern is to have a Chinese Xiaomi Hub with Wifi connection in the house (very much similar to have a Google Home listening all the time). Is there anyway we can get these sensors to work with another Zigbee Hub?


(YF) #8

I just took the dive and order a Xiaomi Gateway v2 and 3 Aqara Human Body Sensors. 66 US$. Can’t beat this price with ZWave sensors. Let’s see if I receive the stuff within a month. I never ordered from AliExpress before.


(Christian) #9

What is the range of the Xiaomi sensors? Is it possible to use them in a multi-storey house with massive walls? Is there any repeater if the range is insufficient? Thanks


(Vincent Regaud) #10

Yes, exactly my concern. The hub will be reporting all sorts to the Xiaomi could. I don’t want cloud connected devices, especially Chinese “clouds”.
Budget is also a very big consideration for me but I will not go near xiaomi gear.


(YF) #11

From what I read, the indoor range is roughly 7 meters, depending on how many walls you have; outdoor range is much higher. Each gateway can only support 32 devices; need more gateways if you have more than that. It is also zigbee stuff so I guess you can probably connect gateways together. Most sensors are battery-based so they unlikely serve as repeater.


(YF) #12

@vrorglub, after some research, I think the risk is somewhat acceptable. I am still uncomfortable, but the lower cost is too attractive There is a small window when we need the gateway to connect to the Internet to turn on dev mode. After that you can block it at the router. Subsequent pairings can also be done manually without the gateway to be online. Now, there is still a risk of it attacking to devices in the network or the router itself.

I plan to use this for dumb battery-based sensors such as motion sensors only. For other stuff, I am using ZWave device (e.g. the Inovelli ZW30 Wall Switch).


(Vincent Regaud) #13

Let me know how you get on, please.
Especially if the gateway can work offline, I’ll be interested


(achileos) #14

You can for sure avoid using the HUB.
Bought a $9 Zigbee (+$10 for programmer) receiver of Aliexpress and using this https://github.com/Koenkk/zigbee2mqtt as openhab connectivity.

Happy with it so far and no chinese cloud.


(Vincent Regaud) #15

Now that’s interesting!


(YF) #16

@achileos
That is really cool. I took a quick look at the Koenkk project, and looks like lots of the config stuff is for HomeAssistant. Would you be able to share anything that is specific to OpenHab? I am pretty new with OpenHab; never used anything with mqtt.

In another thread, EU Zigbee dongle, people talked about the Xiaomi sensors dropping off the network after a little while (using the Zigbee binding). Do you have the same problem? It is quite interesting the way Koenkk works; look like they basically fake themselves as the coordinator.


(achileos) #17

Nothing to fancy here :slight_smile:

Number T_BE4E  "T Salon [%.2f °C]" <temperature> (gZigbee,T,gZT)       {mqtt="<[local:zigbee2mqtt/salon:state:JSONPATH($.temperature)]" }
Number H_BE4E  "Hum Salon [%.2f %%]" <humidity> (gZigbee,Hum,gZHum)   {mqtt="<[local:zigbee2mqtt/salon:state:JSONPATH($.humidity)]" }

Number Batt_P_Entree  "BATT Porte Entree [%.1f %%]"  <battery>  (gBatt)   {mqtt="<[local:zigbee2mqtt/pEntree:state:JSONPATH($.battery)]" }

local being the name of mqtt broker, what’s after is topic name. You can rename devices on json config file “friendly_name” key.

I didn’t do the contacts yet/occupancy sensors as I’d need a proxy item (True,false vs Open/Closed) and have no use for it right now.


(Vincent Regaud) #18

You could just use a MAP transform or a Javasript transform and then you don’t need the proxy item


(John Schmitz) #19

You might want to see Stefan’s post Linear HUSBZB-1 and Xiaomi temp sensor where there is a comment on how to hack the Zigbee binding to deal with Xiaomi. I had the problem of them dropping off and switched to using the gateway (and disabling the gateway’s access in my router). That is working fairly well for now, but I would like to use a non-gateway solution if possible.


(achileos) #20

I’m already using JSONPATH to extract the data, some time ago we couln’t chain transforms didn’t retry since then, does it now work ?