$4 ITEAD CC2531 Zigbee USB Dongle Works with Zigbee2MQTT Out of the Box

Some of ITEAD Studio’s Sonoff home automation devices include Zigbee connectivity with for instance Sonoff BASICZBR3 smart switch or a version of Sonoff S31 smart socket with integrated Zigbee.

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.

ITEAD CC2531 Zigbee USB DongleITEAD CC2531 Zigbee USB dongle specifications:

  • 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

CC2531 Zigbee2MQTT Dongle

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.

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5 Replies to “$4 ITEAD CC2531 Zigbee USB Dongle Works with Zigbee2MQTT Out of the Box”

  1. It should also be work out-of-the-box with IoBroker, as well as work out-of-the-box with the native ZHA integration which is built-into Home Assistant, though that only exprimental support for Texas Instruments Zigbee dongles so is not yet stable.

  2. From a consumer point-of-view it is sad that it does not come with a nice enclosure and an external antenna for better reception.

    I actually sent an e-mail to Jerry Shi at Itead a few months back with a new product request suggesting that they should start selling Texas Instrument based USB dongles as theose sold from other Chinese manufactuers all come with a Zigbee sniffer firmware and as such has to be re-flashed before they can be used by Zigbee2mqtt, however, I did at that time recommend that they should sell a nice-looking consumer-friendly version of a Zigbee USB dongle with a professional plastic injection moulded enclosurecase, I also suggested that it should come with SMA-connector and external-antenna, as well as be pre-flashed with the “Z-Stack Home 1.2 (default)” coordinator firmware provided by Koenkk of Zigbee2mqtt fame.

  3. The dongle itself seems to be generic, as if you search for ZigBee dongle on Amazon, there’s a ton of the same dongle for sale on there, albeit for a lot more money and all are listed as sniffers…

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