Those devices usually work via a Zigbee enabled gateway that could be a router, Raspberry Pi SBC, or mini PC, which ITEAD did not offer so far. But to help people making their own Zigbee gateway the company is now selling a low-cost ($3.99) CC2531 USB dongle preloaded with CC2531ZNP-Prod firmware (Zigbee coordinator firmware), and compatible with Zigbee2MQTT open-source Zigbee to MQTT bridge once plugged into a PC, Raspberry Pi, or another Linux SBC.
- MCU – Texas Instruments CC2531F256 Zigbee and IEEE 802.15.4 wireless MCU with 8kB RAM, 256kB Flash pre-loaded with CC2531ZNP-Prod firmware for zigbee2mqtt application
- Host Interface – USB 2.0 male port
- Expansion – 8-pin unpopulated header with 8 I/Os
- Debugging – Debug connector
- Misc – 2x user buttons, 2x user LED’s
- Dimensions – 5.6 x 1.6 x 0.7cm
The advantage of Zigbee2MQTT is that it integrates well with most home automation solutions, including Home Assistant and Domoticz, because it uses the popular MQTT protocol. Usually, you have to flash the firmware yourself with a CC debugger (hardware device), but with ITEAD Zigbee USB dongle it’s not needed since CC2531ZNP-Prod firmware is already installed, and you can just proceed with Zigbee2MQTT installation on your host device.
Sadly it does not come with a case at all at this time. If interested, you can purchase the USB dongle on ITEAD store for $3.99. Enquiring minds will notice Aliexpress has plenty of similar $3-$4 Zigbee dongle, but those are not loaded with firmware compatible with Zigbee2MQTT.
Thanks to Andreas for the tip.
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.