Can I support my custom Zigbee device with just a Bridge?

Hello. I have developed my own Zigbee device and would like it to get supported in Homey. As I do not own a Homey device, I am not sure what to do. Purchasing a Homey Pro is too expensive just to make my device supported, and then sell it again.

Can I buy a Homey Bridge and use the cloud to develop? Actual steps going from A to Z is kind of missing in my opinion, so I’m not really sure where to start except from the Github page: GitHub - athombv/node-homey-zigbeedriver: Generic class to map ZigBee Endpoints/Clusters to Homey capabilities

Alternatively, using Home Assistant’s ZHA or Zigbee2MQTT, I don’t need to purchase anything except a Zigbee dongle to make my custom device handler. Is there a similar solution to that with Homey? Where I just need a Zigbee dongle, and then some software Homey has made.


Developers who made an app for the bridge have to pay to use the app on the bridge.
Athom wants only “serious” developers for the bridge.
Most bridge users use there device as plug and play. If I’m correct.

This means not that developers for the Pro versions are not serious. I think they are more serious and faster with updates.

So I have to pay Homey to get my app (and therefore device) added and supported? Or, is it just for the bridge?

I just want to know what the cheapest solution to supporting my device in Homey is. If I have to purchase a Homey Pro just to add support for my device, I’ll have to pass on Homey and just use ZHA and Zigbee2MQTT, unless someone else wants to do the work for me, which I highly doubt.

From what I understood, Athom aims at companies creating their own apps, and have them published to Homey cloud for an annual E100,- fee. Also need the apps to be rock solid, while they run on a world-wide shared platform.
When there’s 100 apps with issues for Homey Pro, only these 100 Pro’s can be affected.

The bridge by the way is just a physical add-on for Homey cloud to include local radio’s like zigbee.

If you want to play and test, I’d recommend a (used) Pro (seen it for sale for E75,- already).
As far as I know there isn’t a virtual Homey developing environment available at the moment.

Yeah, developing without a Homey is not the quickest way. Of course you can ask some users to test your versions, but it’ll be a time consuming process.

Chance is low, but you can always give it a go at Homey Pro Community App Requests

Thanks for the reply. Do you know where I can find more about these prices? It’s not very transparent in my opinion, when I have to learn about this through the forum. I just want my device to be supported in Homey. Is that really going to cost me €100 per year? If that is so, I sincerely hope they change that, because that will definitely scare away people and companies from implementing their devices into Homey.

So please, share any documentation you have about this. Thanks.

It is getting better, but clear communication by Athom is not the best part :wink:

True, publishing on Homey cloud is not just E100,-, it is an annual fee.

I found this info:

This subscription includes one year of support for development-related questions. This subscription is only meant for companies and brands to publish their official integration on Homey Cloud.

Despite Homey Cloud running apps in the cloud it is still possibly to easily test your app during development. If you run homey app run while having a Cloud Homey selected, the Homey CLI will automatically guide you to install all the required tools. It will then run the app on your computer and connect it to Homey Cloud.


I see. Interesting. What is weird about that last page, is that it says:

This subscription is required to publish your app to the App Store when targeting "platforms": [ "cloud" ] or "platforms": [ "local", "cloud" ]

And then right under it says:

Publishing apps for Homey Pro does not require a subscription and will always remain free

I thought “local” meant Homey Pro, and cloud (possibly) meant Homey Bridge? I am probably wrong about that, since those two sentences contradict themselves in my head.

I’ll wait for Homey to respond to my mail I sent earlier today. But, either way, if I have to purchase a Homey Pro in order to develop for the Homey products, I’ll have to pass. There’s no reason why that part isn’t completely open source and testable without a Homey Pro, in my opinion.

Yeah this means when you want to publish on both cloud and pro platforms

For Pro only, you’d use only local, and then you don’t have to buy a license:
"platforms": [ "local" ]

No clue. Homey is closed source afaik. Maybe support can give you some reasons for it

I get why it’s closed source at that price point, when the components themselves are like 1/5 maybe 1/4 of the price of a Homey Pro. However, the actual “develop for our platform” should not be closed source.

Like… give us a test environment/sandbox on their cloud servers and let us connect any Zigbee, Z-Wave, Bluetooth etc. dongles via some software proxy/tunnel that runs on our computers. That would stop people from complaining about lack of device support, because developers don’t want to shell out €470 for a device they’re probably only going to use a handful of times.

I’d recommend to write to support to hear their vision on a virtual developing environment for the Pro models, while it seems to be (somewhat) in place for Homey cloud.

Homey Pro isn’t just a Raspberry Pi with some dongles, it’s fairly proprietary hardware, so connecting “any Zigbee, Z-Wave, Bluetooth etc. dongle” won’t work.

Besides that, Homey Bridge is a Zigbee/Z-Wave/Bluetooth proxy, and (AFAIK) you can use it to test your apps locally. It’s just that when you want to actually publish your app to the app store, you run into the aforementioned issues of Homey Cloud access only being available to verified (paying) developers.

It might be possible to just change your app’s definition to mark it for Homey Pro only and publish it (and then wait for users to run into issues that you can’t debug because you don’t have the actual hardware).

Why do the teardowns show a Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 on a daughter/carrier board, with some radios attached to a larger PCB then? Radios I can buy the chips for on any site (EFR32MG21 for Zigbee, ERF32ZG14 for Z-Wave, and the CM4 module for Bluetooth) . I’m taking a wild guess here, but Homey Pro is probably just a Raspberry Pi CM4 module on top of an I2C expansion chip, with each module connected via I2C. That or USB, but I doubt it.

I have yet to see any hardware that isn’t widely available. They’re using off-the-shelf components. Components that are already inside USB chips, hence why it would be easy to simply use the USB devices instead of the chips on the Homey Pro devices.

I bet you, if you ls /dev/serial/by-id/ you would see the Zigbee and Z-Wave devices, just like you would, if you plugged in an USB dongle with the same chips (SkyConnect or SLUSB001A for example).

$ ls /dev/serial/by-id/
ls: cannot access '/dev/serial/by-id/': No such file or directory

Anyway, like I said, it’s not just a Raspberry Pi.

Even if that were the case, it’s a moot point because Athom will not open source the software.

Then perhaps /dev/serial/by-path/. Either way, it’s literally just a Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 with their closed source software on it and those chips connected somehow. If they use I2C, then it makes sense the devices aren’t found as serial devices, unless they use an USB to serial chip like CH340 or CP2102 I guess.

Homey Pro is not some magical device. They have not made everything from scratch, such as the components and operating system, which is why it would be farely easy to trick the Homey Pro into using external devices instead of the onboard ones. If I had a Homey Pro hands on, I bet you I could connect a SkyConnect to it via USB and make it work. Would require I modify their software, but as rooting the device is possible, I can’t see why that wouldn’t be possible.

What does it say when you do uname -a?

And they shouldn’t make it open source. The software is their product. The hardware is replaceable with other components, but the software is where they’re different from others.

But, if they want us developers to support their platform, they should open source the development part. Or keep it closed source, but make a sandbox environment, where we can develop our features and test them. They have plenty of options to do so. It’s just a matter of picking one that fits the agenda.

All current developers apparently have no issues just buying the hardware. If you have an issue with that, that’s fine, but this is a community forum and discussing the way Athom does business is rather pointless.

If you can’t see why having to spend €470 as a regular person to support a platform is insane, I don’t think we should be discussing this either. No other smart home platform (that I know of) charges anything for developers to support their platform.

Does this look good to you?

Supported platforms:

ZHA: Yes
Zigbee2MQTT: Yes
decONZ: Yes
Homey: No

I have already reached out to a local Homey community to ask for guidance on this (before creating this post), and a lot of people said my device would be an awesome addition to Homey. If I have to tell them it’s not going to happen, because Homey charges developers to support their platform, guess who looks like the bad guys. Hint: It’s not me.

There’s a reason why Homey users complain about bad device support. This is one of those reasons. Can’t you see that?

And yet, a lot of developers have. If you don’t want to, and you’re also not interested in any of the proposed alternatives in this thread, and you can’t get someone in your local Homey community to provide access to their Homey, or get a local reseller to temporarily loan you one, then I guess the Homey community at large will just have to live with your device not being supported.

Again, if you want to discuss the way Athom does their business, take it up with them.

I have not seen any alternatives (except the app requests, which I already filled out), that does not require me to spend a lot of money. I can justify buying a Homey Bridge, but thus far I have not seen any information on how to start developing for that. I want to support the whole Homey platform (Bridge and Pro), without buying a Pro myself. But I guess that’s too much to ask.

Someone suggested buying a second hand “old” Pro, which should be fine for what you want to do.

I suggested that it might be possible to buy a bridge and use it for development, then when you want to publish your app, change its configuration so it targets Pro’s instead (developing for Pro and Cloud/Bridge is nearly the same).

It’s also been explained that to get your app published for Homey Bridge/Cloud, you’re going to have to get verified and have to pay a fee.

Start by reading the fine manual.

I’m sure there will be an existing app developer that’s happy to create an app for your device, you just have to provide one for them. There’s more than one app that started out that way.

There have been a lot of information for you. My 2cents…

  • Bye a HomeyPro and develop an app by yourself
  • Bye a bridge, pay the “verified developer” fee and develop a cloud app by youself
  • Hire a developer, spend a device and donate for creating an app for you.

To be future proof and support maintenance, you will need a Homey (Pro or bridge) to investigate on issues and publishing bug fixes.

What’s different to other brands? Apple won’t spend you a phone to develop an app.
The difference is, that most developers started with Homey and started later to create apps for devices they own because they were not supported by a Homey app.