Need a better ZigBee network, is Conbee 2 the answer?

Hi from Norway!

I’m sorry to jump the German section in English here, but it seems like most post about the Conbee can be found here so I’m guessing the most experience on it also is here!

I’m currently passed 40 ZigBee devices on my Homey ZigBee network, and we all know that anything above 30 can make a lot of trouble…So I’m looking for a cheap and stable route to add more fun stuff.

I could add specific hubs, like a Aqara and Ikea, but I was hoping to find a better solution, one that like Homey supports multiple brands.

And this is where Conbee got my attention!

It looks like the perfect solution, and it’s seems to integrate good with homey, and I read some places that Conbee can handle 100+ ZigBee devices!

So I have some questions.

  1. If I don’t have a computer to plug it into I’m guessing a raspberry pi is the cheapest way to go?
    Is there any money to save ordering raspberry from china, AliExpress and the likes of them? Is a specific raspberry version I should look for?

I have absolutely no experience with raspberry, is raspberry+ Conbee more or less plug’n’play?
(I have absolutely no experience with Linux or anything non windows/apple)

  1. Is the integration between homey and Conbee go enough, is the developers of the app responsive and fast when new homey upgrades is coming?

  2. Is there another option then Conbee you would suggest me looking at?

The conbee app is currently no longer maintained (abandoned)…

Yes

Conbee can handle 512 Zigbee devices. A Raspberry 3b+ has enough power for this issue.

It is not plug and play. There is a manual here:
https://phoscon.de/de/conbee2/sdcard

Unfortunately, the developer of the Conbee app has had a dispute with Athom and is no longer developing the app. However, the previous version of the app continues to work and is very reliable.

Yes, you can connect the Conbee 2 to a Raspberry with Home Assistant. The stick is recognised automatically. There are also ready-made and free images for Home Assistant to download.

Personally, I don’t use the Zigbee from Homey at all anymore. At the moment, about 100 Zigbee devices are connected to my Home Assistant/Conbee combination and are forwarded to Homey with the HA app (Community Store). You have to learn the ropes at first, but the result is a very reliable Zigbee system.

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Ohh… that’s no good!

Any suggestions for other solution then Conbee?

Thank you! Very helpful!

You mentioned HA, isn’t that a competitor to Homey?
Do anything I add to HA appears in Homey?

Im very happy with homey, coming from 6 years with Samsung smartthings the simpleness with Homey was a joy so I’m a bit reductant to add a new more complex smarthome solution and I end up with a system like ST again…

Home Assistant is actually a competitor to Homey.
However, I have found that the two in combination are a very powerful system and support each other. You can forward almost all devices registered with Home Assistant to Homey. Even things or devices that Homey can’t do are then available. For example, I send the current petrol prices to Homey and use them in Flows.

Of course, the whole thing also works the other way round. With the MQTT apps, HA also knows all the devices that are registered with Homey.

As I said, you have to get involved with Home Assistant. But if you do, you’ll get the most powerful smart home as a reward.
The beauty is you can install and test HA without affecting your Homey system in any way. So you can learn the ropes slowly and there’s no risk of Homey not working. You can move devices one by one and test if it works better. If you don’t want to create flows and automations in HA, you can also just use HA to send your Zigbee devices to Homey. You don’t need to learn any complicated programming. The rest comes automatically later. That’s exactly how it started for me.

If you could please keep the conversation in English as much as possible, then more people will be able to participate and help you. If you would rather not or can’t communicate in English then please check out Non-English boards/categories:

Dansk (Danish)
Deutsch (German)
Espanol (Spanish)
Fiński (Finnish)
Français (French)
Italiano (Italian)
Nederlands (Dutch)
Norsk (Norwegian)
Polskie (Polish)
Svenska (Swedish)

Therefore moved to English.

Why do you use the HA community store app over the official HA app?

The Community Store app has many more importing possibilities

Thanks! I was just investigating the possibilities. Do you have any experience with the Compound option?
I cannot seem to find how to install the custom component in HA

No, unfortunately not. I mostly only use HA to bring additional equipment into Homey. For some things I also try to relieve Homey because he is already working at his breaking point.

@Undertaker So if I understand you correctly; you use the build-in Homey zigbee for most of your devices. And when needed for a device that is not possible to add in Homey you use HA ?

Not quite. I have most of the Zigbee devices on Home Assistant and then import them back to Homey. The main reason is that the Conbee stick on HA has the better range and, unlike Homey, can manage 512 Zigbee devices. Homey’s Zigbee is getting on in years and causes me too many problems.

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This post explains what you have to do to use compounds. But it is in German language.

This helps a lot!

Only thing I noticed in the log of a device that is toggled through the HA app is that when turning a device on, you’ll see the following

  • Device is turned on by user
  • Device is turned off by HA app
  • Device is turned on by HA app