After using deCONZ in Home Assistant for a couple of years, I decided to move my Zigbee network to a separate device, a Raspberry Pi 4, with the official deCONZ image. It is a bit of a long story, however, someone working in IT, I know that details can be cruicial.
Essentialy the key steps for the migration were:
- Prepare/image the Raspberry Pi with deConz Buster Desktop image.
- Pi will boot to CLI for daily usage. Will reconfigure it to boot to desktop whenever I need acces to the deCONZ GUI via VNC.
- Networking over Ethernet.
- Disabled WiFi and BlueTooth to prevent interference.
- Backup deCONZ 2.22.2 configuration in HA Addon. Disable addon. Remove Conbee II stick.
- Connect Conbee III stick in Pi in the USB2 port, using a 50cm USB extension cable with ferrite beads.
- Then boot, confirm everything is working as expected. deCONZ works and recognizes the Conbee III.
- Restore backup on the Pi, confirmed the network was indeed there.
- Had to re-pair 2 sockets and 1 light.
So this looked good, at first, but then found several problems.
Problem 1: Batteries
I found that most of my IKEA buttons, namely the E1743 On/Off Switches and E1810 remotes, were out of battery juice. I thought the switch to the Conbee III might have caused the remaining power to be used due to changes in the network, so I replaced all 10 devices their CR2032’s with fresh new VARTA ones that usually last about 12 to 15 months. However, yesterday morning I found I flushed €7,50 worth of batteries down the toilet, since ALL devices drained their batteries overnight. After replacing batteries, you will have to re-pair them as well.
Problem 2: Pairing issues
I had a LOT of trouble pairing the buttons again. It took 3 to 10 attempts per switch to have it paired. Sometimes after pairing, they would control ALL devices in the entire network. After trouble shooting that issue, I managed to workaround it by manually binding them to groups via the REST API. To rule out a faulty batch of fresh batteries causing this behavior, I directly wired a switch to my bench supply and gave it 3V of juice. It showed the same behavior as the rest.
Problem 3: Firmware update backlash
I figured I’d update the gateway’s firmware, hoping this would solve the issue. I updated it per deCONZ wiki instructions, which worked fine. However, the network broke and the Conbee III was unable to communicate with the devices. There was no link between them. After troubleshooting and analyzing a backup, I found that the firmware caused the network PAN ID, Network Key, TC Link Key and Channel Mask to change. I guess it reverted to default (auto generated) values based on the coördinators properties. I changed them back manually, which seemed to have fixed it.
Problem 4: Random connection loss
After fixing problem 3, I found that many lights and plugs, from all brands (IKEA, Lidl and Lumi) would randomly loose their connection and become unavaible for several minutes, after which they become avaible again. Several IKEA lights and plugs still had to be re-paired, which took several attempts for each. This issue doesn’t seem to occur anymore. However, the firmware update did not fix the issue with the battery drain. I had some cheaper cells lying around I put in several of the switches, and they all ran out over night. In short this means we are currently are out of practical means to control the lights in our house.
Problem 5: Device names
When I mention re-pair in In above described issues, this means I remove the device from deCONZ, and then pair the device again, and then renaming them to what they were called before.
However, It seems that when re-pairing devices without removing them first, will cause them to loose their names anyway, having to manually rename them. This is new behavior, and not sure if it is intended or desireable.
Current biggest issue
So for now the main issue is the battery drain. Not sure if it is related to Conbee III or Deconz itself. I’d like to avoid reverting to a previous backup or the Conbee II, since I’m affraid new issues will be introduced. Are there any tips or solutions in sight against the battery drain?