Best Arduino Zigbee Solution


(Tmp R) #1

What’s the best ZigBee board for the Arduino for ST? I’ve got a few photon’s that work great but I’d rather not use the cloud between device and ST hub. I’ve seen the Zwave dev board but it’s hard to get hold of in the UK and the on’ ones I’ve seen are £60 + postage.


(Michael) #2

SmartThings used to sell a zigbee shield but that has recently been discontinued. In efforts to keep the Arduino and SmartThings integrations going, @ogiewon and his son updated their STAnyting project to work with Wifi and Ethernet shields. These communicate through the hub to the cloud. See more here:


(Tmp R) #4

Yeah, I’d seen that about the ST shield. I was thinking of just using a generic ZigBee shield instead, just wondering if there was any particular one everyone favours.

If I was going to go down the WiFi route I’d just stick with the photons, they are cheap, work great with little lag and really easy to configure for WiFi. Plus flashing them in-situ over WiFi is a doddle with the particle web based IDE.

I just wanted to eliminate WiFi as a point of failure and use Arduino -> ZigBee -> Hub.


(Dan) #5

Curious, why not use WiFi? My ST_Anything solution does NOT require any OAUTH SmartApp for its connectivity. For some this seen as a Pro, for others, it is a Con.

My ST_Anything v2.x solution is as follows:

Arduino (or ESP8266) -> WiFi -> Hub -> ST Cloud (which is the same number of hops/devices as the old ST ThingShield used to require.)

Please know that user created code is NOT allowed to run on the hub locally. So you will eventually end up in the ST Cloud for any custom solution, unless you can perfectly replicate an existing zigbee device so it can use one of the approved ST local device handlers on the hub. At that point, you may as well just buy an off-the-shelf device.

If you really want Zigbee, you may be interested in the following discussion on the subject. Getting Zigbee to work is not trivial.


(Tmp R) #6

Some of the home automation stuff I’m planning on building needs to be as bulletproof as possible. e.g. an extension to the fire/security system. It won’t be relied upon, but it would notify me of events if I’m not home for example. Everything I have at the moment has multiple redundancies, all the network equipment etc has its own battery backup, broadband fails over to 4G etc. I work in the tech industry and over the years WiFi has proven itself less than perfect, I’m just not a fan at all. I realise ZigBee and Z-Wave may be just as fallible but there just seems to be fewer layers to the stack and less to go wrong.

I like to keep things simple and I was assuming it would be Arduino > ZigBee > ST Hub. I didn’t realise custom code still get’s executed in the cloud. Your right that makes ditching WiFi in the name of simplicity is irrelevant.

I think for now I’ll use the Photon (via WiFi), this does mean including yet another cloud system that could fail, but the main point of failure is going to be my internet connection so for the speed and simplicity of using Particle’s IDE/API and the fact I’m already using this successfully for some of the less important lighting I think it’s worth it.

Thanks for your advice!


(Dan) #7

Thanks for explaining. I understand what you mean. I definitely have to restart our router/cable modem more often than the ST hub. I too wish the v2.0 hub would have come through with its initial promise of permitting local processing of user code. This would have increased reliability of the platform dramatically.


(Tmp R) #8

I’ve just remembered another big reason for ZigBee over WiFi. So I now have a really simple device, it controls Varilight IR dimmer switches and presents them to ST as a normal smart switch. You just plug a small box in, in the same room as the varilight switches.

However, if it’s based on WiFi, you’ve got to put it into setup mode, use a smartphone to configure the WiFi details, then restart it. Vs ZigBee you just switch it on, search for new devices via ST and it takes care of everything. Much simpler if I was to produce the device as a product. (which I’m considering)


(Nate House) #9

I accidentally bought an xbee shield some time end of last year and by the time I’d realized that it didn’t come with the xbee module, I also realized that they are quite the $$$ and it was well beyond the return deadline. So, I also ended up picking up the xbee pro module to go with. Combined they are in the neighborhood of 50 bucks and if it wasn’t for that mishap, I wouldn’t have thought twice about getting it.

Needless to say, I will hopefully find some time to build out something using them and iir there were some other peeps here on the forum that posted their projects using that shield too.


Nate