Do myOwnThing - Connect my XBee Radio to the Hub?

The SmartThings ThingModule used the EM357 chip and so does the Digi Pro series.

Does that mean they could associate to the Hub and …


We absolutely want to support XBee. I want to support XBee. I have like 6 of them and you can bet they’ll be put to use. I was messing around in X-CTU the other day and I found the ZigBee HA (Home Automation) firmware option to upload to the modules. A very high majority of ZigBee devices have to be ZigBee HA compliant to be compatible with us, so thats good news. The device would have to be programmed to support the pairing process which is usually standard across ZigBee HA devices.

I have done some brief research into it right now, but I have a lot more to look at. The way the XBee’s are programmed from X-CTU makes me think I need to spend a few hours looking over the ZigBee HA document. The document is open and you can download it here.

It’s a…long read. Also note that only XBee Series 2 radios can be used. The other models are a different frequency and incompatible.

Whow! Andrew you are just all over it. Hopefully somebody with ZeeBrains can get a handle on this. I did pick up 2 series 2’s in anticipation for learning. I got them talking to my Arduino in Mesh but that is about it. Got to get a handle on packet contents. That doc may be the key! Thanks :slight_smile: I was thinking the HA version was a special hardware preprogrammed version but maybe it is all software.  Keep us posted. Since you have 6 of these chicks sounds like you can hatch them for us. Thanks and let’s MAKE  lot’s of Thing-a-ma-Jigs!

I’ve used the Xbee’s for some cool stuff too! In the really early days, before we went with the mature HA, I used an Xbee on an Arduino to control a shot pouring robot I built. It was fun stuff!

Just chipping in a note of interest here…
Probably there are other Topic / discussions / Projects on this that I need to wade through.

I just got some random surplus XBee based devices and didn’t get lucky yet: i.e., nothing is recognized automatically by my SmartHub.

So… I have to learn the next steps in diagnoses; perhaps just loading the proper Zigbee HA firmware, right? But need a baseline device to do this with, hmmmm. Well… learning is fun, as long I don’t get completely stalled. :-/

Just let me know, please, if anyone starts a basic Step-by-Step Flow Chart or FAQ in this regarding (i.e., “I have a random XBee unit … what next?”).


The issue stems around the join process. The XBee needs to be able to speak the HA protocol and support the HA join process. I’ve been having some trouble finding any solid documentation on it.


Please pardon my newbee-ness (Hmmm… that sounds like a good brand for another ZigBee chip, right? The NewBee?).

Here is a description of one experiment. The attached images are of the relatively simple “key-fob” push-button device that came with ZigBee network join instructions.

I’ve picked up a few XBee based light switches, key fobs, and a thermostat, from a “surplus” out-of-business seller on eBay with very little documentation. They all contain XBee MaxStream 4214A-XBEE modules, but I have no idea what firmware. The key fob, however, has documentation describing how to connect it to a Zigbee network by just removing / inserting the battery and pressing the button.

However, I get no response when trying to “Add Device” to my Hub from the App.

Based on my browsing of the API documentation and Forums, I still am not sure if I am missing something obvious, or if this is a more complex situation:

(a) Do I have to go into the IDE and use the “Create New Smart Device” first, or should the Hub just find it as an “undefined” device?

(b) If I have to Create New Smart Device, is it necessary to define the Join Fingerprints, and if so, how can I determine that Fingerprint?

© I am over-simplifying the process? In other words, is it necessary to hack the XBee to ensure it has the right firmware and read it’s data stream using a debugging device before I can even hope to add it to my Hub?

Or… these are just not speaking the HA protocol / HA Join Process?

@tgauchat, @urman,

When i searched for this, this is what i found. The last answer on that forum suggested some settings to be able to join HA profile. I don’t understand all the lingo…hope this helps you guys.

@gopi2212 (Surya): Thank you for the pointer!

The post makes sense, but, personally, I have to do some really basic XBee 101 experimentation and education before I continue attempts at SmartThings integration.

I’m definitely optimistic – Quite glad that SmartThings supports ZigBee, but disappointed to find out how complex the standard is, in many ways, compared to Z-Wave.

My various surplus / random-vendor Z-Wave devices are all working fine; whereas XBee/ZigBee must be properly configured.


Our products are Digi xBee based and we are converting them to the Home Automation profile. Our Anemometer has a Digi ZB Pro SMT as its core and I already have it communicating with the SmartThings hub with my custom device type.

The xBees can communicate in API mode or transparent mode. In transparent mode you can send traffic to the Digi’s com port by sending your ZigBee packet to the end point of 0xE8 and Cluster 0x0011. The ZigBee payload packet can just be ASCII text and that will be sent out the serial port.

We use the xBee in API mode. This way we can create custom end points and clusters or simulate standard clusters. The SMT (Surface Mount) version of the Digi xBee Pro ZB is the way to go if you want to adhear to the ZigBee standard as the through pin versions don’t support a ZigBee device bind and a few other commands.


John does this mean the through pin version will not work with SmartThings?

The through pin xBee ZB will connect to the SmartThings hub just fine (if configured correctly) but it is not a robust solution. It wasn’t until the SMT version Digi started to support binding and groups that was a show stopper for me. I switched everything over to SMT with little effort. I use the same sockets i used for the through hole just solder some pins to the side of the SMT its not a big deal.

But to answer your question it will work.

Just as an FYI I have an article coming out I think in the December version of Nuts and Volts that walks you through step by step how to connect an xBee SMT to SmartThings.

Sounds like you have a project in the works, good luck!!

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John thank you so much for the quick response and information. Please let me know when your articles is out. I have several projects that require Zigbee/XBee integration as well as Bluetooth.


Me too! Thanks! I’ll even proofread!

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Hi everyone.

I’m a UK based super newbie so please go easy on me. I am trying to extend my Zigbee range (smartthings router is in the middle of our house) to reach the shed at the end of my 40ft garden so I can use Smartthings sensors in it. Ive tried putting a smartthings plug in outlet by the door to the garden (it connects to the smartthings router fine here) to boost signal, but had no luck.

The shed has power and wifi but I don’t think that’s going to help so prob not relevant.

I know I could put another router in there but I’d like everything to be in the same smartthings location so that wont work.

Anyway. I’ve bought a 3 pin plug in to the wall Digi XBee 888-XR-Z14-CW1P3 extender in the hopes that it will do the trick of extending the network.

Can anyone advise if I need to do anything special to it to get it to work?