Electrolama to Launch 802.15.4/Zigbee USB Dongle and Raspberry Pi “HAT”

Electrolama (@omerk and friends) has been working on two open-source hardware 802.15.4/Zigbee projects with “zig-a-zig-ah” (aka “zzh”) USB stick based on Texas Instruments CC2652R SimpleLink multi-standard wireless MCU and Zoe (Zigbee + Poe) development board based on Raspberry Pi HAT form factor and powered by TI CC2530 SimpleLink 2.4 GHz SoC alongside CC2592 range extender.

Both boards are released under an Apache-based Solderpad Hardware License 2.0, and target users of the Zigbee2MQTT project.  The boards could soon also get native support in Home Assistant via the “zigpy-cc” library which adds support in ZHA (Zigbee Home Automation) integration component.

Zig-a-zig-ah USB Stick


Preliminary specifications:

  • WiSoC – Texas Instruments CC2652R SimpleLink multi-standard wireless MCU with support for Thread, Zigbee, Bluetooth 5 Low Energy, IEEE 802.15.4g, 6LoWPAN, and proprietary systems. (Note: CC2652RB is also considered as it does not require an external crystal oscillator)
  • Host Interface – USB via CH340 USB-UART bridge
  • Misc – Push-button on BSL (bootstrap loader) pin for programming
  • Debugging – SWD debug header (non-standard, requires a debug adapter board)
  • SMA antenna port

Omer Kilic explains the board can see seen as an upgrade to CC2531 USB sticks with the 8051 MCU being replaced by a much faster Arm Cortex-M4F MCU @ 48 MHz in CC2652, along with more memory, and an open-source toolchain.

You’ll find more details on the product page and Github repository with EAGLE schematics and PCB layout.

Zoe Zigbee + PoE Raspberry Pi “HAT”

Zigbee + PoE Raspberry Pi HAT

The second board looks like a Raspberry Pi HAT and is compliant to the standard except for one thing: no ID EEPROM.

Zoe specifications:

  • WiSoC – Texas Instruments CC2530 along with CC2592 Range Extender (PA+LNA).
  • Misc – RTC + battery slot
  • Debugging – TagConnect to CC-Debugger footprint
  • Power Supply – Passive 48V or IEEE 802.3af Power-over-Ethernet (PoE)
  • Dimensions – Raspberry Pi HAT form factor

The board is meant to be connected to a Raspberry Pi board, optionally powered over PoE, and intended to be used as a Zigbee coordinator. The developer mentions no external programmer is required for flashing the Zigbee module thanks to flash_cc2531, an implementation of the Chipcon programming protocol. You’ll find instructions on the product page, and hardware design files on Github.

If you intended to use the Raspberry Pi’s WiFi and/or Bluetooth at the same time, you’ll be disappointed to learn you should disable it to prevent radio interference since everything operates at 2.4 GHz.

None of the boards are available right now, but they’ll be launched on Tindie when ready.

Thanks to Andreas for the tip.

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