Z-Pi 7 Z-Wave gateway devkit works with Raspberry Pi and Orange Pi Zero boards

WiFi & Bluetooth are the most popular wireless protocols for home automation, alternatives like Zigbee and Z-wave have also been widely adopted, at least in some countries.

And if you are interested in the latter, Aeotec has just introduced the Z-Pi 7  gateway development kit that lets you add Z-Wave connectivity to Raspberry Pi boards or Orange Pi Zero SBC with an expansion board connected over UART through the GPIO header.

Aeotec Z-Pi 7 Z-wave development kit

Aeotec Z-Pi 7 Z-Wave expansion board (ZWA025) specifications:

  • Z-Wave connectivity
    • Silicon Labs EFR32ZG14 Arm Cortex-M4 SoC @ 39 MHz with Series 700 and Gen7 technology
    •  Frequencies
      • ZWA025-A: US Frequency 908.42 Mhz
      • ZWA025-B: AU Frequency 921.42 Mhz
      • ZWA025-C: EU frequency  868.42 Mhz
    • TX Power – US: +9.3 dBm; EU: +4.8 dBm
    • RX sensitivity – -97.5 dBm
    • Range
      • Indoor – US: 70+ meters; EU: up to 60 meters
      • Outdoor – Up to 200 meters
    • SmartStart native integration and S2 security.
    • Z-Wave Plus Certified
  • SBC compatibility (tested) – Raspberry Pi 3 and greater, Orange Pi Zero
  • Power Supply – 3.3V DC via GPIO
  • Max Operating Current – 75mA
  • Dimensions – 42 x 35 x 12 mm
  • Weight – 6.5 grams
  • Temperature Range – Operating:: 0°C to 40°C; storage: -20°C to 70°C

Z-Wave Raspberry Pi & Orange Pi ZeroThe expansion board was clearly designed for Raspberry Pi in mind, as while it’s compatible with the Orange Pi Zero board, it takes more area than needed due to the required orientation.

Z-Pi 7 Z-Wave controller board was apparently inspired from RaZBerry V2 board, the successor of the RaZberry board introduced in 2015, as shown in the photo above with the Raspberry Pi 3 board taken from Aeotec’s user guide.

The kit supports the Z-Wave SDK 7.11.0 or later, and the configuration instructions on Raspberry Pi and Orange Pi Zero boards are pretty similar, with the installation of Raspberry Pi OS or Armbian Linux distributions and the need to enable UART. Note that you’ll also be asked to disable Bluetooth on the Raspberry Pi board. The Z-Wave connection will be handled by your host software, and in some cases, the new device will be automatically detected. I’ve been told the board is compatible with the “Z-Wave JS” (node-zwave-js) project in Z-Wave 500 backward compatibility mode which, among other open-source projects, is used by Home Assistant.

Aeotec Z-Pi 7 Z-wave devkit can be purchased for $54.99, but I could only find the 868.4 MHz version suitable for Europe. Further information may be found on the product page. If you prefer using a USB dongle, the company also recently launched Aeotec Z-Stick 7 (ZWA010) with the same features and specifications as the Raspberry Pi “HAT”.

Z-Wave Z-Stick 7 vs Z-Pi 7

Thanks to Hedda for the tip.

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