Phoscon ZigBee Gateway AKA – ConBee or RaspBee – Part 1: Introduction
Welcome to the first of several parts on the Phoscon Zigbee Gateway.
The Phoscon Zigbee Gateway is the core of all the Zigbee devices in my home. This includes motion sensors, remotes, lights and dimmers from multiple vendors.
Before we get too far into this discussion. If you are looking for a direct drop-in replacement for a Hue or IKEA hub this is probably not the device for you. If you are looking for outstanding cross-brand compatibility with full local (cloudless) control over how sensors and lights are interpreted and controlled then carry on.
What is it?
The Phoscon Zigbee gateway is a combination of a hardware device and a software suite. It aims to provide a high level of compatibility with all Zigbee devices regardless of manufacturer. Out of the box, the system is currently compatible with devices from Philips Hue, Osram Lightify, IKEA Tradfri, Xiaomi, Sengled and others with more being added all the time.
The hardware itself is available in two configurations a USB stick and a Raspberry Pi HAT. The ConBee is the USB unit. The RaspBee is the Pi HAT. Beyond the form factor, they are primarily the same hardware. DeConz is The software package. Finally, a German company called Dresden Elektronik builds both the hardware and software.
Host Hardware & OS Requirements
- Raspberry Pi 2 or newer
- Raspbian Jessie or Stretch (A ready-made Raspbian image is available)
- Raspberry Pi 2 or newer
- Raspbian Jessie or Stretch
- Laptop or Desktop with a USB port capable of providing 500mA
- Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and 10
- Ubuntu Linux 16.04 LTS
Key Features & Notes
- Protocol Compatibility: Zigbee Home Automation, Zigbee Light Link, Zigbee 3.0
- 200 Device limit
- 100% Local control
- WebSocket and REST APIs for integration with local services
- I.E. Node-Red, Home Assistant, or OpenHab
- Recently upgraded web app call Phoscon which simplifies device management
But What Can it Do?
Do you want an entirely Zigbee based network? It can certainly do that for you. Through the Phoscon web app, you can configure automation’s, scenes, light groups, etc. just like you would expect from any other home automation controller.
The real power though comes through the use of its REST API.
In my environment, I have integrated the gateway with Node-Red. As a result, I can have Zigbee sensors or remotes control both Zigbee and non-Zigbee items. For example, I have an IKEA motion sensor turning on a light that is controlled by MQTT. Similarly, I have a 5 button remote that controls both a Zigbee dimmer switch and a Belkin WEMO Wi-Fi switch. The limits are really your imagination.
Next up I’ll go through the installation and basic configuration of the RaspBee module.
We originally contributed this series of articles to the Smarter Home Club Blog starting on November 11, 2018. We are reposting it here to ensure our content remains available to all. Small corrections for grammar and spelling or dead links may have been made in the reposting.