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DIY Zigbee Gateway with zigbee2mqtt

Lots of users already have some smart hardware from brands like Hue, Ikea or Xiaomi. And every brand has his own separate bridge or gateway.
They are all using the Zigbee protocol. There are some dongles available that can communicate with several brands (Zigate or Conbee), but the downside of these dongles is that they are not opensource, they are not really cheap or are not be plug and play. Have you already heard about a DIY Zigbee gateway with zigbee2mqtt?

But that is changed now! Open Source developer Koen Kanters (Koenkk) started the project zigbee2mqtt. Which aims to develop a Zigbee to MQTT bridge, so you only need a single Zigbee bridge. This project contains very good documentation and has great potential. In a few steps, you are able to get rid of the popular Xiaomi gateway that sends your data to China. With cheap hardware, you can create an opensource gateway that is usable for systems like Domoticz of Home-assistant.

Architecture of the zigbee2mqtt project.
Architecture of the mqtt2zigbee project.

Check the incredible list of already compatible devices.

Getting started with zigbee2mqtt Zigbee Gateway

There are multiple options; different hardware, flashing modes and besides a Raspberry Pi, you can run the software in a Docker Container. But we go for the best and cheapest DIY hardware, Flashing the hardware on windows and running the software on a Raspberry PI. If you are in need of other ways you can read the information on the wiki of the zigbee2mqtt project.

4 Easy steps to get rid of your non-DIY gateways and bridges:


1: Buy hardware
2: Preparing the hardware
3: Install the software
4: Domoticz plugin.

Buy the right hardware

You only need the CC debugger and the downloader cable once to flash the firmware on the USB sniffer so it can operate as a Zigbee gateway.  But it’s handy to keep so you can create more gateways in the future. Or you can buy it together with your friends and share the debugger and downloader cable to save some money. 😉

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Prepare Hardware (Flashing)

There are several ways to flash the sniffer. This is described very well on the getting started page of the zigbee2mqtt wiki. We followed the instructions for Windows and Linux and you can choose which you prefer the most.

Linux (Raspberry Pi)

Connect the CC2531 USB to your Raspberry Pi

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ls -l /dev/ttyACM0
git clone https://github.com/dashesy/cc-tool.git
cd cc-tool
./configure
make
--Download the firmware
wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Koenkk/Z-Stack-firmware/master/coordinator/CC2531/bin/CC2531ZNP-Prod.hex
--or:
curl https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Koenkk/Z-Stack-firmware/master/coordinator/CC2531/bin/CC2531ZNP-Prod.hex -o CC2531ZNP-Prod.hexsudo ./cc-tool -e -w CC2531ZNP-Prod.hex

Windows

We bundled the prerequisites for Windows with:
Flasher software, driver and firmware in 1 zip. Download HERE.

  1. Install SmartRF Flash programmer.
  2. Install the CC debugger driver. 
    1. When I used the setup the installation was not correct, and manually pointing to the drivers was needed. See the screenshots below.
  3. Connect the debugger with the Downloader cable to the cc2531 USB Sniffer.
  4. Connect both USB (from debugger and Sniffer) the same time.
  5. If the light on the CC debugger is RED, press set reset button on the CC debugger. The light on the CC debugger should now turn GREEN.
  6. Start SmartRF Flash Programmer, setup as shown below and click “Perform actions” . 
zigbee2mqtt zigbee gateway CCC debugger

Put the Zigbee Gateway USB Sniffer in a nice case

When the sniffer is flashed you can put it on your Raspberry. but a PCB with a USB connector is not that fancy. So when I searched on thingiverse I saw a nice design (link to 3d model) that I printed.

Install the (bridge/gateway) software

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# Setup Node.js repository
# For Pi Zero use https://raw.githubusercontent.com/sdesalas/node-pi-zero/master/install-node-v8.10.0.
sh sudo curl -sL https://deb.nodesource.com/setup_8.x | sudo -E bash -
# Install Node.js
sudo apt-get install -y nodejs git make g++ gcc
# Verify that the correct nodejs and npm (automatically installed with nodejs)
# version has been installed
node --version # Should output v8.X.X (at time of writing v8.12.0)
npm --version # Should output > 6.X.X (at time of writing 6.4.1)
# Clone zigbee2mqtt repository
sudo git clone https://github.com/Koenkk/zigbee2mqtt.git /opt/zigbee2mqtt
sudo chown -R pi:pi /opt/zigbee2mqtt
# Install dependencies
cd /opt/zigbee2mqtt
npm install

Before starting the zigbee2mqtt software you need to edit configuration.yaml

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nano /opt/zigbee2mqtt/data/configuration.yaml

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# MQTT settings
mqtt:
  # MQTT base topic for zigbee2mqtt MQTT messages
  base_topic: zigbee2mqtt
  # MQTT server URL
  server: 'mqtt://localhost'
  # MQTT server authentication, uncomment if required:
  # user: my_user
  # password: my_password

Save the file and exit.

If you are running an other device as your primary (Domoticz) device you can change mqtt://localhost in the previous file in 
mqtt://<your domoticz server IP address> per example mqtt://192.168.1.1 .

If don’t have a MQTT broker then you can install it on your Raspberry with the following steps:

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wget http://repo.mosquitto.org/debian/mosquitto-repo.gpg.key
sudo apt-key add mosquitto-repo.gpg.key
cd /etc/apt/sources.list.d/
sudo wget http://repo.mosquitto.org/debian/mosquitto-wheezy.list
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install mosquitto

Running the bridge software (zigbee2mqtt)

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cd /opt/zigbee2mqtt
npm start
You want to autostart npm, so you need to run it as daemon in the background automaticly when booting.

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sudo nano /etc/systemd/system/zigbee2mqtt.service

add the following lines:

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[Unit]
Description=zigbee2mqtt
After=network.target

[Service]
ExecStart=/usr/bin/npm start
WorkingDirectory=/opt/zigbee2mqtt
StandardOutput=inherit
StandardError=inherit
Restart=always
User=pi

[Install]
WantedBy=multi-user.target

Test if everything is correct.

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# Start zigbee2mqtt
sudo systemctl start zigbee2mqtt

# Show status
systemctl status zigbee2mqtt.service

When you get the info messages that zigbee is started you can enable the created services:

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sudo systemctl enable zigbee2mqtt.service

Things you need later on for your DIY Zigbee Gateway

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# Stopping zigbee2mqtt
sudo systemctl stop zigbee2mqtt

# Starting zigbee2mqtt
sudo systemctl start zigbee2mqtt

# View the log of zigbee2mqtt
sudo journalctl -u zigbee2mqtt.service -f

#Update zigbee2mqtt to the latest version with the following codes:

# Stop zigbee2mqtt and go to directory
sudo systemctl stop zigbee2mqtt
cd /opt/zigbee2mqtt

# Backup configuration
cp -R data data-backup

# Update
git checkout HEAD -- npm-shrinkwrap.json
git pull
rm -rf node_modules
npm install

# Restore configuration
cp -R data-backup/* data
rm -rf data-backup

# Start zigbee2mqtt
sudo systemctl start zigbee2mqtt

Finished

At this point, you are actually running a DIY Zigbee gateway.  
Now you are able to pair devices with zigbee2mqtt, but it’s in MQTT and not yet in your home-automation software. Learn how to pair
And now you can choose how you continue. Using Domoticz, OpenHab or Home-assistant.
We will choose for Domoticz, next we explain how to continue.

Domoticz and zigbee2mqtt DIY Zigbee gateway

Of course you can choose for MQTT, you can use this and configure it so that you can connect to Domoticz but it’s very technical. That’s the reason stas-demydiuk made an Python plugin for Domoticz.



reaction on the forum: Wooohoo! I love this plugin… so much easier now to handle the aqara devices! 

Install the Domoticz Zigbee2MQTT Python plugin

  1. Clone repository into your domoticz plugins folder

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cd domoticz/plugins
git clone https://github.com/stas-demydiuk/domoticz-zigbee2mqtt-plugin.git zigbee2mqtt

  1. Restart Domoticz
  2. Go to “Hardware” page and add new item with type “Zigbee2MQTT”
  3. Set your MQTT server address and port to plugin settings

Once plugin receive any message from zigbee2mqtt server it will try to create appropriate device.


Compatible by plugin already:

Supported devices

GE

  • GE Link smart LED light bulb, BR30 soft white (2700K)
  • GE ZigBee plug-in smart dimmer
  • GE ZigBee in-wall smart dimmer

Ikea

  • IKEA TRADFRI control outlet
  • IKEA TRADFRI wireless dimmer
  • IKEA TRADFRI driver for wireless control (10 watt)
  • IKEA TRADFRI driver for wireless control (30 watt)
  • IKEA TRADFRI LED bulb E26 1000 lumen, dimmable, opal white
  • IKEA TRADFRI LED bulb E27 1000 lumen, dimmable, opal white
  • IKEA TRADFRI LED bulb E27 600 lumen, dimmable, color, opal white
  • IKEA TRADFRI LED bulb E14 400 lumen, dimmable warm white, chandelier opal
  • IKEA TRADFRI LED bulb GU10 400 lumen, dimmable

Innr

  • Innr E27 Bulb
  • Innr E27 Bulb warm dimming
  • Innr GU10 Spot
  • Innr E14 Candle
  • Innr B22 Bulb dimmable
  • Innr Puck Light
  • Innr Strip Light
  • Innr Under Cabinet Light
  • Innr Spot narrow
  • Innr Spot wide
  • Innr Spot Flex narrow
  • Innr Spot Flex medium
  • Innr Spot Flex wide

OSRAM

  • OSRAM Smart+ plug
  • OSRAM LIGHTIFY LED Classic A60 clear

Philips

  • Philips Hue dimmer switch
  • Philips Hue Lux A19 bulb E27
  • Philips Hue white A60 bulb E27
  • Philips Hue White Single bulb B22

Sengled

  • Sengled Element Classic (A19)
  • Sengled Element Classic (A60)
  • Sengled Element Touch (A19)

Sylvania

  • Sylvania LIGHTIFY LED soft white dimmable A19
  • Sylvania LIGHTIFY LED soft white dimmable A19
  • Sylvania SMART+ Smart Plug

Xiaomi

  • Xiaomi Aqara door & window contact sensor
  • Xiaomi Aqara double key wired wall switch
  • Xiaomi Aqara double key wireless wall switch
  • Xiaomi Aqara human body movement and illuminance sensor
  • Xiaomi Aqara single key wired wall switch
  • Xiaomi Aqara single key wireless wall switch
  • Xiaomi Aqara socket Zigbee
  • Xiaomi Aqara temperature, humidity and pressure sensor
  • Xiaomi Aqara vibration sensor
  • Xiaomi Aqara water leak sensor
  • Xiaomi Aqara wireless switch (WXKG11LM)
  • Xiaomi Aqara wireless switch with gyroscope (WXKG12LM)
  • Xiaomi MiJia door & window contact sensor
  • Xiaomi MiJia human body movement sensor
  • Xiaomi MiJia temperature & humidity sensor
  • Xiaomi MiJia wireless switch
  • Xiaomi Mi smart home cube
  • Xiaomi Mi power plug ZigBee

Other

  • Belkin WeMo smart LED bulb
  • Custom devices (DiY) DNCKAT single key wired wall light switch
  • Hive Active light dimmable
  • Iris Smart plug
  • Ksentry Electronics Zigbee OnOff Controller
  • Nanoleaf Ivy smart bulb
  • Nue ZigBee one gang smart switch
  • Paulmann SmartHome Zigbee LED-stripe
  • Trust Smart Dimmable LED Bulb


Add new devices to the plugin

You probally have devices that are supported in the zigbee2MQTT project but not yet in the Domoticz plugin. There are two ways to have your devices added:

1:You could create an issue on plugin’s Github and attach examples of MQTT messages for this device. when pushing the ‘Get started’ button you get a template message that helps to fill in the right information to get your device added.

zigbee2mqtt zigbee gateway plugin github
place an issue to get your (unsupported) device added in the plugin.

2: For more advanced users that know Python a little bit: you could create adapter by yourself. You need to create new file in adapters folder for your device based on examples of already existing ones, then import your file and add corresponding item to adapter_by_model map to main plugin.py file. But don’t forget to push it to git so you can help other users that are less skilled with Python.

Coming Soon

will be added.. Work In progres…

  • How to debug
  • Dashboard in Node-red
  • routers, repeaters and expanding range
  • selling preflashed devices? or a combined purchase?
  • How to integrate in Home-assistant
  • Alternatives

Thanks to

koenkk and all contributors for mqtt2zigbee project

stasdemydiuk for is Domoticz Python plugin
github
forum discussion topic

Discount coupons

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Alfawise V8S PRO E30B Robot Vacuum Cleaner with Smart Mopping

I can’t remember the last time I use my vacuum cleaner to clean the whole house, I only use them for the stairs and spots my robot vacuum can’t reach. Vacuum robots are hot and become smarter (app support, mapping rooms etc) and cheaper in price. After the iLife A4, Alfawise z8077k and still my favorite Xiaomi, it is time for a new player in town. The Alfawise V8S Pro. It’s my first robot vacuum with mopping functionality. So vacuum and mop my house when I’m away from home. And it has support for Google Home and Amazon Alexa out of the box. Sounds great, let the cleaning begin!

When you are browsing the web and searching for a Robot Vacuum with the model number ‘V8S’ you will also find an iLife vacuum, is this a coincidence or is the Alfawise V8S a rebranded iLife robot vacuum? It is not, but I can imagine this can cause some confusion. I don’t know why Alfawise choose to use the exact same model name because it’s a total different vacuum.

Alfawise V8S Pro front

Specifications

Specifications as stated on Gearbest:

  • Brand: Alfawise
  • Model: V8S PRO E30B
  • Accessories Types: Dustbin,Filter,HEPA,Mopping Pad,Remote Controller,Rolling Brush,Side Brush,Water Tank
  • Material : Others
  • Cleaner Types: Vacuum Cleaner
  • Function: Dry,Suction,Sweep,Sweep Suction,Vacuum,Wet,Wet and Dry
  • Feature: Auto,Mop,Remote Control,Schedule,Self Charging,Small,Wet
  • Remote Control: Yes
  • Remote Controller Power Source: 2 x AAA batteries ( included )
  • LCD Display: No
  • Camera/Video: No
  • Schedule Function: Yes
  • Self Recharging: Yes
  • Virtual Wall: No
  • Cleaning Area (sq.m.): more than 150
  • Floor Types: Carpet,Ceramic Tile,Marble Floor,Shag Carpet,Tile Floor,Wood Floor
  • Dust Box Capacity: 600ml
  • Water Tank Capacity: 350ml
  • Suction (pa): 1800Pa
  • Noise (dB): less than 65dB
  • Power (W): 30W
  • Input Voltage (V): 100 – 240V
  • Working Time: 100 – 120min
  • Color: White

Expectations on the Alfawise V8S Pro

We have some very good experiences with the brand Alfawise but also some less good experiences. But in general, the brand is getting more mature and products are getting better. The last Alfawise Robot Vacuum we tested was pretty decent and performed well. We expect the Alfawise V8S Pro to be more advanced than the Alfawise XK8077 (because it’s connectivity and features) but less then the highly praised Xiaomi Robot Vacuum.

Packaging

  • Product weight: 2.7000 kg 
  • Package weight: 4.1000 kg 
  • Product size (L x W x H): 33.00 x 33.00 x 7.60 cm / 12.99 x 12.99 x 2.99 inches 
  • Package size (L x W x H): 47.00 x 40.00 x 14.00 cm / 18.5 x 15.75 x 5.51 inches
Alfawise V8S Pro box

What’s in the box

The Package contains the following:

  • Vacuum Cleaner
  • Side Brush (2x),
  • HEPA Filter (2x),
  • Microfiber mop (2x),
  • Charger base with adapter,
  • Remote controller with 2 x AAA Battery.
  • A Clean Brush

Features

Alfawise V8S PRO E30B cleans your home smarter. Control it with Smart Life App or your voice, it supports Google Home and Amazon Alexa, make it sweep and mop the floor when you are not home.

  • Smart mopping with App controlled water quantity, clean thoroughly without water leaking.
  • Supports Google Home, Amazon Alexa voice control and Smart Life App control, hands-free smart cleaning.
  • Equipped with Epson gyroscope navigation, auto path planning, S-shaped cleaning and intelligent omission repair.
  • Equipped with ARM chip, faster operation and programming, remember the room after one cleaning
  • Multiple infrared sensors, intelligent anti-drop, anti-collision, easy obstacle-crossing, difficulty-free and winding
  • Brushless motor with 1800Pa suction, specially designed V-shaped side brushes, carpet supercharging mode, designed for better cleaning
  • Auto go back to recharge when the power is less than 20%
  • Quiet operation because of the noise reduction sponge, maximum noise 65 dB, mopping noise only 30dB
  • 7.6cm thin, easily clean the dust under sofa, bed and other furniture
  • 2500mAh Lithium-ion battery, 350ml big tank and 600ml dust box, one-time clean 150 square meters
  • App: Smart Life

Test

When everything is unpacked, place the vacuum on the dock to charge.

Install

The installation is pretty straightforward:

  • Double tab the Power button on the vacuum to enter WiFi mode (so you can configure the vacuum in the app)..
  • Open the Smart Life app from Tuya (scan the QR code that’s in the manual or search in App store/Play Store),
  • Add a device: Vacuum cleaner, confirm fast blinking, and complete the WiFi details of your current network.
  • App is connecting and after that the vacuum starts automatically firmware updating.

This process took me less than a minute. You are now ready to use the robot.

Alfawise V8S Pro charging

Tuya smart life app

Alfawise did not create an own App to control the V8S Pro but uses an app from Tuya. This is very wise choice because Tuya can handle devices from a large amount of brands, models and also can control smart devices like lights, switches etc. Their goal is to get everything connected in a single app.

alfawise smartlife
smart life app.

Cleaning

The robot has an ARM chip and an Epson gyroscope to scan, process and map the room so it can determine a complete and optimal cleaning pattern. The visualized map doesn’t look very detailed, but the robot does a good job in making an efficient cleaning path through the room. It has three power modes and different cleaning modes. The power modes are Low, Normal and High. After experimenting with these I keep it on Normal. As you can expect High makes a lot of noise and Low leaves some dust behind. The operation mode I always use is Auto mode. There are also Edge Cleaning and Spot Cleaning modes which works if you have very dirty edges or spots. You can also use the remote control, but I really prefer the Auto Cleaning mode. After all the Alfawise V8S pro is the expert. You can let the vacuum do its thing. It will automatically return to its dock once it is done or runs out of battery and because of the sensors it will not bump into things or fall down the stairs.

Mopping

Their are components that look like a dust bin, but one of them is not a dust bin. Instead of containing dust, you have to fill it with water and place a pad underneath to mop. The robot knows that it must mop the floors when inserting the component below.

alfawise v8s pro mopping
Mopping the floor

Mapping

This robot can map the room, but if you check out the mapping that is made and visible in the app it looks awful. It looks like a 8 bit map of a dungeon in a video game :P. But doesn’t come close to my room. We do not know if the map is being used by the robot or not.

Alfawise V8S Pro Map
Alfawise v8s Pro mapping

Build Quality & Design

The robot feels solid, is completely white except for the docking station. The way you click new sweepers on it, is brilliant, no screwdriver needed. There is one button on the robot you only need to activate wifi, after that you probably never use that button or remote. because voice, or the mobile app is the way to go.

Heath / Power consumption /Noise

In the auto mode the robot cleans until its almost empty or the job has done, Because he is doing this job on his own I haven’t recorded the time, but I see he never misses a spot.
Alfawise claims that the max noise is 65dB but we cant check, Its more silence on normal mode then my other robots and when mopping its almost no sound. Alfawise did a very good job here.

Home automation compatible?

Alfawise does not have there own app and that is a very good point! Why? It uses a app from Tuya: Smart Life. That way it has out of the box support for Amazon Alexa and Google Home. But tuya is also supported in Home Assistant. For now not all kind of devices are supported but this is a matter of time. The goal of tuya is connect everything to everything and be open!
So activate cleaning with your voice is a nice feature.

Alfawise V8s Pro compared to my other robot vacuums

This is my cheapest but most completed robot vacuum.
My favorite is was the xiaomi robot vacuum because of his smart functionalities like mapping and support for home automation. But the Alfawise V8s is cheaper, has mopping functionalities, a very open app and clear English voice feedback. So my new favorite is the V8s, sorry Xiaomi.

Complementary Products / Alternatives

Buy complementary products here
Buy extra brushes, filters and other spare parts on AliExpress.

pro / cons

pros

  • Nice design
  • Clear english voice and documentation
  • Mop function
  • Great app support
  • Good price

cons

  • Quality of mapping visualisation is poor
  • No virtual walls or in app no clean zone support.

Price quality and Verdict

As mentioned before, the Alfawise V8S Pro became my new favorite Robot Vacuum. I was surprised by its quality, the app support and the mopping functionality. For such a good price it is a real deal. And if you are looking for a good but cheap vacuum check out the discount code below and save more money and get yourself a nice smart vacuum robot.

Where to buy?

Coupon discount code for the Alfawise V8S Pro

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Alfawise ZK8077: a budget Robotic Vacuum Cleaner with Virtual Blocker

The main technology of Robot Vacuum cleaners has been the same for a number of years. Nearly all robot vacuums are round devices on wheels with brushes and a vacuum and lots of sensors to prevent the device from bumping and falling. The newer devices also use AI and advances sensors to map your rooms to determine the optimal cleaning route. Drawback of this is that the device needs an internet connection and your data is stored on a server of the manufacturer. The Alfawise ZK8077 is a robot vacuum cleaner that is not connected to an app or the internet. Does it stand a chance without the help of AI from outside? And how does it compare to the previously tested Xiaomi Robot Vacuum.

Specifications

Specs as stated on Gearbest:

  • Brand: Alfawise // Model: ZK8077 // Cleaner Types: Portable Vacuum
  • Product weight: 3.1000 kg 
  • Product size (L x W x H): 35.00 x 35.00 x 9.50 cm / 13.78 x 13.78 x 3.74 inches 
  • Battery: 2000 mAh / 90 minutes // Charging time: 270 – 300 minutes.
  • Cleaning modes: Auto cleaning / Edge cleaning / Spot cleaning / Scheduled cleaning. 

Expectations

Alfawise delivers products with a good price to quality ratio. I know that they are not the most premium products, but they are certainly not rubbish and come at a reasonable price. That’s why expect the Alfawise ZK8077 to be at least ‘ok’, so a robot vacuum that vacuums the floors well, both on the rug as on harder flooring like laminate and wood. I hope it is intelligent enough so it does not get stuck nor destroys any of my furniture.

Packaging

The package is pretty big and weighs around 4.5 kg. The dimensions are 41.00 x 49.00 x 15.00 cm (L x W x H).

Alfawise Robot vacuum zk8077 box

What’s in the box

The package contains the following items:

  • Robotic Vacuum Cleaner
  • Charging Station
  • Remote Control
  • Blocker
  • Adapter
  • Extra Filter
  • User Manual in English, Spanish, French, German. 
  • Cleaning Brush
  • Extra Side Brushes

Features

Features as stated on Gearbest:

  • Robotic vacuum cleaner: The device can move autonomously while collecting dust and can come back to the docking station to recharge.
  • Set schedule: You can set the timer to arrange the device to start working.
  • Two ways to operate: You can control the sweeper via a remote control or the panel on the top.
  • Virtual blocker: It can be used to specify the area that should be cleaned.
  • Voice reminder: When suffering full dustbin, glitches, wheel twining, or under charging, the cleaner will make a sound to remind you.

Build Quality & Design

The robot vacuum is a big grey plastic device that feels pretty sturdy. The big bumper covers the front half of the device. The size of the wheels enable the device to switch from hard floors to carpets. Every part of the device feels durable, except for the top cover which covers the dust collection unit. This ‘push to open’ cover feels a bit cheap and opens way too quickly. So when the device scratches with its top against the bottom of a chair, the cover becomes a spoiler. As you probably expected, the operating speed of the robot vacuum does not require extra down-force by the spoiler, so this is just annoying.

Alfawise Robot vacuum zk8077 front

The remote control has the quality that you can expect from a remote control and the virtual wall feels a bit cheap and is not really a treat for the eye.

Power consumption

As stated in the specs, the Alfawise comes with a 2000 mAh battery that will run for 90 minutes before it requires a recharge. This recharge will take quite a while, up to 300 minutes. Luckily it will self detects low power and go to the charging base and even better: it will resume when it is recharged.  

Usability

The result of the first test run of the Alfawise ZK8077 was a bit confronting to me. I had vacuumed my house a couple of days earlier and expected that it would be pretty clean. But the robot vacuum returned to its dock with more dust and hairs than I hoped to find there at that point.

The robot vacuum

The robot vacuum is well equipped with sensors to prevent it from bumping into objects and falling from the stairs. If the vacuum happens to bump into objects, the bumper will detect it and the vacuum will try to steer around it. Overall, the Alfawise ZK8077 does this pretty well. However, in some cases, the robot vacuum does not detect all obstacles. Things like cables on the floor can get stuck in the wheels which will block the device from continuing.

There are multiple ways the Alfawise provides feedback, using the display on the device and using audio feedback. When it starts cleaning it will show and tell you, also when it almost runs out of juice or when the bin is full. It will automatically return to its dock when it is finished cleaning. When it cannot find its dock it will return to its starting position.

Remote control and touch display

On top of the vacuum an LCD is located which gives an indication of the status of the device (for example the battery status or an error code). Around the display some buttons are located (see the picture below), which you can use to start and stop the auto-clean mode, set the timer, switch from powerful to low noise mode and to send the vacuum to its docking station.

It is not very practical to press buttons on the robot vacuum while it is cleaning. So I was delighted that also a remote control is included. It includes more functions than the buttons on top of the vacuum unit. Starting with the arrows to control the vacuum in all directions. You can also switch to Edge cleaning mode and Spot cleaning. The maximum distance between remote and vacuum is about five meters.

Alfawise ZK8077 remote control and display
Stock images of the vacuum display and remote control  of the ZK8077. N.B. There is no actual MOP button on the remote nor does the vacuum have mopping functionality. 

Virtual wall

The previously tested Xiaomi robot vacuum includes magnetic strips that act as a virtual wall to prevent the robot vacuum to go to places you don’t want it to go. Advantage of these stripes is that you can hide them under the carpet. The Alfawise ZK8077 includes a black box that acts as a virtual wall. It is powered by 2 AA batteries and you can toggle a switch  to set the direction of the virtual wall (from/side/both). The length of the virtual wall is three meters and it works pretty well. I installed the virtual wall in front of a couple of cables that are on the floor and could not be stowed away. The Alfawise virtual wall is not as elegant as the Xiaomi virtual wall, and if someone of something bumps into it, the whole virtual wall will accidentally move. Alfawise mentions that you can use it to prevent the ZK8077 from falling from the stairs, but I found the sensors on the vacuum are good enough to detect the stairwell without the virtual wall.

Operation modes

There are four modes of operation you can use to let the ZK8077 clean your house:

  • Auto cleaning: press the start button on the vacuum or the remote to let the vacuum cleaner determine its own path and clean until there is no more room to clean.
  • Edge cleaning: after you pressed the edge cleaning button, the robot vacuum will search for the nearest edge and starts to clean the edges of the room(s).
  • Spot cleaning: if the Spot cleaning button is pressed the robot vacuum will start extensive cleaning of the spot it is currently locating. It does this in a swirling motion. 
  • Timer: it can start auto cleaning based on the weekdays and times on these weekdays you setup. 

Performance

Just as most of the robot vacuums the Alfawise ZK8077 is noisy. It has a Low Noise mode but that will the vacuum less powerful. Because of its round shape it will not get all the dust that lies in the corners.
I’ve tested the vacuum on both on hard floors and carpets and the results are good. I did not test high pile carpet, but I don’t expect it will work as good with this type of flooring. So the overall performance is what you can expect from a robot vacuum, so it will definitely save you a lot of time.  But now and then you still need to do the corners (and the stairs) manually.

Cleaning the device

It is easy to remove the 0,7 liter dustbin from the robot vacuum. Emptying the dustbin is done rather quickly by opening the bin and throwing the contents into your garbage bin. On the dustbin a small cleaning brush is located. The brush can be used to clean the dustbin, but I’d rather clean it with a damp cloth. You can also remove the 3D filter and the HEPA filter from inside the dustbin. You can clean the filters with compressed air or with some water (be sure to let them dry before placing them back).  To keep the robot vacuum running smoothly, you should now and then clean the roller brush on the bottom of the robot vacuum to discard it from tangled hair and dust.

Compared to the other tested Robot Vacuums. 

Next to the Alfawise ZK8077 we have the Xiaomi Robot Vacuum and the iLife Robot Vacuum available for comparison. As indicated, we already published a review on the Xiaomi. The iLife A4 is in the same price range as the Alfawise, but the Xiaomi is about the double the price.

The Xiaomi is the most premium Robot Vacuum and has the highest intelligence (for example the virtual map it creates and the use of AI). It is followed by the Alfawise ZK8077 with more cleaning option than the iLife A4. Regarding the size and build quality the Xiaomi and Alfawise are equal. The sensor on top of the Xiaomi is bigger than the one on the Alfawise and scratches therefore a bit quicker when is scratches the bottom of furniture. On the field of feedback: all the three robot vacuums provide voice feedback but the Alfawise is the only one with an LCD on the vacuum itself. Performance-wise the Xiaomi and Alfawise are nearly identical, the iLife performs less but that is probably due to its size, age and older technology. 

pro / cons

pros

  • Good performance.
  • Reasonable price.
  • Virtual wall included.
  • Timer function.

cons

  • Dust bin cover opens up accidentally.
  • It is stubborn: it can bump quite hard into objects it did not detect and it keeps spinning the wheels when it is stuck. 
  • No batteries included for the remote and virtual wall.
  • No integration with a smartphone app. 

Price quality

It is a good robot vacuum for its price. Don’t expect top notch functionalities but the features are sufficient to have a good cleaning experience. Especially when you schedule it for when you are away from home.

Verdict

If you want to buy a robot vacuum but don’t want to pay Roomba prices, then the Alfawise ZK8077 is a good option. It is good at performing its basic functionality and the scheduling functionality is good enough to minimize the effort to keep your house clean. You just have to empty the vacuum  dustbin and clean the brushes now and then. It does not come with an app nor connects to the internet, but that means it will not upload a virtual map of your house to the cloud. With the Alfawise ZK8077 you will get what you pay for: a decent robot vacuum with now and then a top cover that turns into a spoiler.

where to buy?

Buy Here

360 Vacuum Cleanser: A Xiaomi killer or rip-off?

360 vacuum cleaner

Gearbest informed us about a new 360 robot vacuum cleaner: The vacuum cleaner of the brand 360. Another one? In the iLife range or Xiaomi (still my favorite)? It is promoted as a very strong vacuum cleaner with even a mopping function. It also used AI to scan the room to determine the optimal path. The vacuum cleaner has the possibility to use an app. And with the option to create virtual walls instead of virtual wall devices. It sound like a Vacuum Cleaner with a lot of features for an affordable price.

The information on this page is from GearBest, we are waiting to receive this model to do an in depth test, compare it with the other models we tested earlier and integrate it in Domoticz.

What we like so far: 

  • Smart technologies that map your house and that has different suction strengths.
  • Design looks a lot like the Xiaomi Robot Vacuum, we hope it has the same quality.
  • Affordable for a Robot Vacuum.

What we don’t like so far:

  • We don’t know the reputation of the brand 360.
  • Does it have an API (or: can we integrate it in Domoticz).
  • Do your interior maps end up somewhere in a server on the other side of the world?

Gearbest has got a limited special deal: 

Start at 7.30-8.05  UTC8

The 360 vacuum cleaner.

original price $399.99,flash sale $359.99  €311.40

Promotion: buy vacuum cleanser you can get these three for free.

360 vacuum cleaner special page

Information from GearBest

Multi-radar intelligent construction of the off-limit cleaning area

With the rapid development of contemporary technology and the growth of home intelligence, robot cleaners have gradually become a valued member of the smart home appliance family. People have high expectations of robot cleaners, but while cleaning, they arbitrarily break into bedrooms and bathrooms, and after roaming, they sweep both what should and should not be cleaned and become the “troublemaker of the family.” Therefore, in the vacuum market, there is a special use of robot cleaners–virtual wall. When people buy a robot cleaner, they need to buy boxes or strips to draw virtual walls and prevent the robotic vacuum from wandering around.

360-Robot-Vacuum-Cleaner-virtual-wall 360 Robot Vacuum Cleaner bottom 360 Robot Vacuum Cleaner 360 Robot Vacuum Cleaner voice and light 360 Robot Vacuum Cleaner Battery 360-Robot-Vacuum-Cleaner-accesoires

The 360 Robot Vacuum Cleaner is based on 360 artificial intelligence technology and autopilot technology. When the 360 Robot Vacuum Cleaner starts, the built-in LDS lidar and SLAM algorithm is automatically triggered and the house maps will be intelligently generated. Maps of different floors will be generated and saved separately and the cleaning routes will be planned.

Mobile App

Users can use the mobile app to not only control the 360 Robot Vacuum Cleaner, such as setting the cleaning area, but also clearly see the remaining power, cleaning time, and cleaning area in details. The user can manually define cleaning areas and off-limit areas by drawing them on the map. For key cleaning areas, the user can set the 360 Robot Vacuum Cleaner to clean them multiple times. The 360 Robot Vacuum Cleaner will not enter restricted areas. Users can set key cleaning areas and off-limit areas through the mobile app at any time. This function is called intelligent virtual wall and is completely different from other robot cleaners, which use boxes or magnetic strips to set off-limit areas. Users can view the cleaning trajectory of the 360 Robot Vacuum Cleaner through the app to understand the cleaning process. Users can also save maps of each floor. Next time cleaning, a saved map can be restored for an optimal route. This will largely improve the cleaning efficiency.

Mobile Settings

360 Robot Vacuum Sensors

In addition, the LDS lidar used in the 360 Robot Vacuum Cleaner can intelligently detect the distance with a frequency of up to 2,160 times per second. The device will analyze the information from the lidar to complete the accurate distance measurement and intelligently plan cleaning routes using generated maps. Based on the LDS lidar, the 360 Robot Vacuum Cleaner is equipped with 9 sets of infrared collision protection sensors and 3 anti-drop sensors. During the cleaning process, the 360 Robot Vacuum Cleaner can judge the obstacle distance and the height and space of cleaning targets, and then intelligently plans how to clean or avoid them. It can also be remotely controlled by point-to-point cleaning, which makes the cleaning experience more fun. It is very easy to schedule cleaning sessions.

cleaning the corners

Corners are covered without any unreachable points

Sweeping and also mopping

During the cleaning process, the 360 Robot Vacuum Cleaner has functions of sweeping and mopping. The 360 Robot Vacuum Cleaner is equipped with a water tank and a mop. When mopping, you may attach the mop and fill the water tank and the 360 Robot Vacuum Cleaner will automatically complete the sweeping and mopping. During cleaning, the 360 Robot Vacuum Cleaner will complete four processes: dust gathering, dust collecting, vacuuming and mopping. In the process of mopping, the water tank will automatically seep water through slowly and evenly wet the mop while controlling the amount of water seepage to achieve the effect of fast drying after mopping and preventing the ground from becoming slippery due to excessive water.

If users do not need the 360 Robot Vacuum Cleaner to mop the floor, the mop and the water tank at the bottom of the robot cleaner can be removed. The bottom of the robot cleaner is designed to be flat. Even if users remove the water tank and the mop, the bottom of the robot cleaner will still look natural.

360 Robot Vacuum Cleaner-bottom bottom
Bottom of robot cleaner

Side brushes at the bottom of the 360 Robot Vacuum Cleaner are located on the left and on the right of the main rolling brush. When the robot cleaner is turned on, the side brushes will gather the dust and debris that are in front of the robot cleaner underneath the robot cleaner. When the robot cleaner moves, the main rolling brush quickly rolls up the dust and debris and the robot cleaner’s strong vacuum will suck the dust and debris into the dustbin. Finally, the mop is used to complete the cleaning.

Sucking power and Noise

The noise level of the 360 Robot Vacuum Cleaner is mainly dependent on the design of the vacuum motor, the design of the air duct and the design of the fuselage accessories. Among robotic vacuums in the market, the 360 Robot Vacuum Cleaner has very good noise control.

The 360 Robot Vacuum Cleaner completes its work in four steps: side brushes gather dust, middle rolling brush collects dust, motor vacuums, and tail mops. The 360 Robot Vacuum Cleaner uses an imported NIDEC motor with high RPM and little noise. Three vacuum levels, silent, standard and strong, can be set to meet your needs.
The silent mode, which has a vacuum level of 800pa, can be used to accomplish basic cleaning with the advantages of energy-saving and minimal noise. The default suction setting of the 360 Robot Vacuum Cleaner is 1300pa-1500Pa. When the Robot Cleaner enters carpeted areas, it will automatically switch to 1500Pa high suction to deep clean the carpet. On top of the two suction levels mentioned above, the 360 Robot Vacuum Cleaner also has a strong suction level of 1800Pa, which is designed for users’ special needs. However, using this vacuum level also results in more noise.

360 Robot Vacuum Cleaner automatically identifies carpets

The greater the suction level, the greater the noise. Therefore, in order to reduce noise as much as possible while ensuring sufficient vacuuming, the robot cleaner designer will enhance the internal air duct design of the robot cleaner to make the air duct ventilation smoother.

HEPA filter

The 360 Robot Vacuum Cleaner uses a vortex air duct and reduces the noise through the internal design of the air duct for multiple levels of noise reduction. We strive to create a quiet and pleasant robot cleaner for all users. In the design of the air filter, the 360 Robot Vacuum Cleaner uses HEPA filter with H11 grade to ensure the fresh output air of the robot cleaner. After the 360 Robot Vacuum Cleaner has worked for some time, the user can take out the filter and wash it directly with water.

Washable filters

Washable filter

Accessories

All the fuselage accessories of the 360 Robot Vacuum Cleaner are carefully selected to have the best performance. The 360 Robot Vacuum Cleaner uses two long side brushes, and the device can automatically complete corner cleaning following the PSD along the wall sensor to detect the cleaning path. Meanwhile, the cleaning efficiency has been improved and noise level has been reduced.

In the process of cleaning, the 360 Robot Vacuum Cleaner frequently needs to climb over obstacles to clean up every bit of dust in the room. The bottom travel wheel of the 360 Robot Vacuum Cleaner was designed as a continuous track with a design that ensures the ability to easily climb over short obstacles and accomplish its cleaning task.
Robot cleaner transforms into an “indoor SUV”
indoor SUV

5PCS Mi Robot Vacuum Smart Cleaner Accessories review

Intro

I earlier reviewed the Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum Cleaner itself and now it’s time for the must-have Xiaomi vacuum 5 pieces accessories pack. Because the brushes do not have eternal life, I ordered the set immediately.

Specs

Superfast, light, ergonomic 😛   no, I can’t say something technical about this product, sorry.

Expectations

The same quality of parts as Xiaomi delivered originally with the vacuum.

Packaging, What’s in the box

Dimension and Weight:

  • Product weight: 0.8300 kg
  • Package weight: 1.2000 kg
  • Product size (L x W x H): 20.00 x 18.00 x 5.00 cm / 7.87 x 7.09 x 1.97 inches
  • Package size (L x W x H): 23.00 x 20.00 x 8.00 cm / 9.06 x 7.87 x 3.15 inches

Package Contents:

  • 1 x 2m Virtual Wall,
  • 1 x Rolling Brush,
  • 2 x Side Brush,
  • 2 x Filter,
  • 1 x Rolling Brush Cover

I count more items then the product descripe.

Xiaomi robotic Vacuum Cleaner Cleaning brush Xiaomi robotic Vacuum Cleaner Filters Xiaomi robotic Vacuum Cleaner Rolling Brush Cover Xiaomi robotic Vacuum Cleaner Rolling Brush Cover2 Xiaomi robotic Vacuum Cleaner Side Brushs Xiaomi robotic Vacuum Cleaner Virtual Wall Xiaomi robotic Vacuum Cleaner Virtual Wall Xiaomi robotic Vacuum Cleaner whole set

Build Quality

The build quality of the products is the same as the original components you get with the vacuum. They are fine.

Brushcutter is handy but a fork can also do the job. But the cutter can you store inside the top cover of the vacuum, this way you have always the cutter at hand when you empty the bin and clean the brushes.

The magnetic wall is fantastic. Other vacuums do also have virtual walls, but most of the time ugly stations with batteries. This solution is really smart. If you put the strip under a carpet the robot does ride around it. The strip is 2 meter and with a scissor, you can make it the required length. the strip is magnetic (300 gausses). I have tested whether standard magnetic tape works but that didn’t,  so for this price buy the original.

Complementary Products

With this pack, you have all the products in one buy. I don’t see any components that are missing.

Alternatives

The only alternative for this set of combined products is buying them separately. That is handy when you don’t need an extra dustbin, or if you only want the magnetic virtual wall.

Pro/cons

pros:

  • All in one buy.
  • Fair price

Cons:

  • If you have already this set, You probably don’t need some items twice.

Verdict

After buying the vacuum this is a must buy.  But don’t buy more than one, after you have this set you better off buying the items separately.

Virtual Wall € 13.02
Side Brush €   7,07
Rolling Brush € 10,78
Filters € 10,78
Rolling Brush Cover €  9,70
Total 51,35

But the whole package is as a set available for just: € 45,83 for the set.   Do the math 😉

Where to buy?

If you like my reviews and want to buy, click on the picture below.

buy here your Xiaomi set.

Stock info

Xiaomi vacuum accessories

Xiaomi vacuum brushes sideXiaomi vacuum virtual wall Xiaomi vacuum cover Xiaomi vacuum filter Xiaomi vacuum Haircutter

Alfawise S60 Window Cleaning Robot

As a gadget-freak, I want to automate as much as possible! This means also cleaning the windows. After successful experiences with my robot vacuum cleaners, I wanted to try if a windows robot like the ‘Alfawise S60 Windows Cleaning Robot’ can help me with cleaning the windows. Let’s find out!

Through my positive experiences with robot vacuum cleaners, I’m very curious about this window cleaning robot.

A short impression of the Alfawise S60 Window Cleaning Robot in our one minute review video.

Specifications

Specifications as stated on GearBest

Product
Details
Brand: Alfawise 
Model: S60 
Cleaner Types: Vacuum Cleaner 
Accessories Types: Mopping Pad,Remote Controller
Battery
Information
Type: Polymer Lithium Cell ( Model: 483048 ) 
Capacity: 600mAh, 8.88Wh 
Voltage: 14.8V

Output voltage: 24V / 3.75A
Input: AC 100 – 240V, 50 / 60Hz
Power consumption: 80W
Charging time: 1 hour
Glass requirements: thicker than 6mm, with frame
Cleaning speed: 4min / square meters
Certification: UL, FCC, CE, RoHS, etc.
APP support version: iOS 7.0 or later, Android 4.3 or later, Bluetooth 4.0 or later
Cable length: 5.5m
High strength safety rope ( 150kgf )

Expectations

I truly believe that today’s technology should be able to contribute in making cleaning window more easy and automated. Because I’m very precise when it comes to cleaning windows ( I really hate to see stripes and residue from the window cleaning products),  I’m curious if this device can do it as good as I can.

Packaging

  • Product weight: 0.9500 kg 
  • Package weight: 2.5100 kg 
  • Product size (L x W x H): 29.50 x 15.00 x 12.50 cm / 11.61 x 5.91 x 4.92 inches 
  • Package size (L x W x H): 30.00 x 23.00 x 13.50 cm / 11.81 x 9.06 x 5.31 inches

What’s in the box

  • Alfawise S60 Window Cleaning Robot
  • Adapter
  • 4m Extension Cord
  • Remote Controller (no batteries included)
  • 4 x Cleaning Wheel
  • Safety Rope
  • 14 x Cleaning Pad
  • Spray Bottle
  • English User Manual

Features of the Alfawise S60

AI Technology
Automatically detects window frames and obstacles, calculates and programs an optimal cleaning path for maximum efficiency
UPS System and Anti-dropping Algorithm
To stop this small smart appliance from falling if the battery cuts out or the power fails
Zigzag Automatic Cleaning Routes
Auto up then down, auto left then down, auto right then down
Powerful Motor-powered Suction
The vacuum motor will draw in air allowing the robot to hold onto the glass tightly as it traverses the surface
Remote Control
Simply switch the cleaning route or control the directions by the remote controller
APP Control 
You can control the cleaner through the Bluetooth matching to your smart phone or tablet.

Test

After receiving the robot, I unpacked it, plugged in the cables en tested it on the window of my glass sliding doors. The first thing I noticed was that the robot firmly sucked itself to the window. This gave me the feeling, that this robot might be able to really do the trick. Using the security cord was not necessary.

Because of the suction of the robot, it is quite noisy. I installed the supporting app, which makes it easier to control the robot remotely. I sprayed the windows with my window cleaner and I started the robot for cleaning. After a few minutes I already noticed that the robot wasn’t cleaning the window like I hoped it did. The greasy fingerprints were gone, but I had a window full of swirls. A bad first impression, but I wanted to give it another try.

A second attempt

The second try: this time using more cleaning spray! The result was slightly improved, but because the cloth on the robot became too wet, it had trouble climbing back up on the window. It kept sliding down the window.

I decided to get my traditional bucket with water and my cleaning gear to clean the window with the stripeless result I want for my window. Within two minutes I had a very clean window, but unfortunately not because of the robot.

The test of this window cleaning robot was indoor, but I wouldn’t dare to use it on the outside of the window. On the outside, there is a lot of sand residue and I am afraid, the swirling movement of the robot, would cause damage on the glass and spreading the sand and filth, rather than cleaning it.

I could clean the windows beforehand and then using the robot, but this takes away the reason why I bought the robot in the first place, which would be to make window cleaning faster and easier.

Build Quality & Design

The device looks solid and has a nice finish. The cables are not only long but also connected/secured so it don’t get detached.

Heath / Power consumption /Noise

The robot makes noise, a lot of noise!

Usability

The unboxing, plugging in the cables and starting the cleanup takes the same time as when I would clean the windows myself. If the result with the Alfawise s60 windows cleaning robot was better, I would say it’s worth the time. But unfortunately it is not, so the use of the robot is a No for me. I would rather do is myself.

pro / cons

pros

  • The powerful suction to the window
  • App / or remote control
  • Cables are long enough and secured

cons

  • Does not do the cleaning job (perfect) for me.
  • Took a while for cleaning a whole window.
  • Noisy

Verdict of the Alfawise S60 Window Cleaning Robot

It’s a nice gadget with a good app and a powerful air suction. But like I said before it’s not the right product for me. I’m faster then the robot. And I don’t have a hive appartment with big windows for it have no reason to use it.

Where to buy?

Buy here at GearBest

Adding the Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum into Domoticz

In order to control our Xiaomi Mii Robot Vacuum, the app of Xiaomi (iOS and Android) does a good job. But when you have a Domoticz setup present at home, it would be a shame not to integrate the vacuum into this system. In this post I will explain how to set up the Xiaomi Mii Robot Vacuum into Domoticz using Amazon Alexa and leverage the Domoticz platform to control the Vacuum in a smarter way.

What can you expect?

A bunch of new devices in Domoticz to control the vacuum manually, blocky or scripting. As you can see in the screenshot below there are several new devices after adding.

Robot Vacuum in Domotica as devices

A few examples of what you can do with the Xiaomi Mii Robot Vacuum after it is added in Domoticz:

  • Start the cleaning process with your voice (Alexa or Google Home)
  • Start cleaning when Domoticz knows you are away from home
  • Start cleaning if you have dust sensors that report that cleaning is needed
  • Stop cleaning if TV turns on

 Prerequisites

  • Your Robot Vacuum needs to have a fixed IP address (remember this IP). This can be done in your router.
  • Ensure you can use the Robot Vacuum in your app of xiaomi (Mi Home).
  • Ensure you have Java on your computer. Check this in your overview of installed software or download it at http://java.com.
  • Have the latest Domoticz version running. Check the latest version on the Domoticz site.

In order to configure the Robot Vacuum in Domoticz you need to know the IP address and its token. The token is needed for the communication between the Robot and an external app.

Obtain the token from the Vacuum Robot

There are different methods to get the token. In this tutorial, I use an Android tablet and Windows 10 computer to do this.

The most simple method is to download the old version of MiHome on an Android device that is not decoded.
My Samsung Android phone is decoded and making a backup is only possible when using a password. The tool we use to get the token out of the backup doesn’t like a password, so use a device that is not decoded.

Starting from version 5.0.31,  the MiHome app no longer stores tokens locally but on the Xiaomi servers so we need an older version of the app. So uninstall the newer version (or use another Android device) and install the older version of the app and login with your Xiaomi account to get access to all of your devices (including the Robot Vacuum) again.

  • Download version 5.0.0 here and install it on your android.
  • Enable developer mode and USB debugging on the Android device and connect it to the computer with a USB cable.
  • Download and extract the MiToolKit.zip on the computer.
  • Open de MiToolKit (it opens in German language but you can change it to English)
  • Click “Extract Token” in the toolkit.
  • On your Android device, you will see a screen that asks you to confirm a backup. Confirm the, but Don’t use a password. (as mentioned before that was not possible on my Samsung so I needed to switch to an old tablet for that)
  • Once confirmed you can check the toolkit on the computer to see your token
  • That’s all!! More methods for obtaining a token on Android and IOS are available on GitHub.

Setup plugin in Domoticz

There is a Python plugin manager under development (Linux only) that enables a simple and easy to use plugin manager in Domoticz. With this PP-manager users can install plugins from there without the need of SSH, GitHub etc. But because it’s still in development we are focusing on the manual procedure.

SSH into your Domoticz and fire:

1
sudo apt-get install python3 python3-dev python3-pip libffi-dev libssl-dev
1
sudo pip3 install -U setuptools
.
1
sudo pip3 install -U virtualenv
.
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
cd domoticz/plugins
git clone https://github.com/mrin/domoticz-mirobot-plugin.git xiaomi-mirobot
cd xiaomi-mirobot
virtualenv -p python3 .env
source .env/bin/activate

pip3 install -r pip_req.txt
  1. Open and edit miio_server.sh by vi/nano:
    1
    nano miio_server.sh
    1
    # 1. Check and update absolute path to miio_server.py

    # 2. Update IP and TOKEN for robot# 3. Optional. Change MIIO server host-port bindings if need it# file miio_server.sh
    DAEMON_USER=root
    DAEMON=/home/pi/domoticz/plugins/xiaomi-mirobot/miio_server.py
    DAEMON_ARGS=”192.168.1.12 476e6b70343055483230644c53707a12″
    DAEMON_ARGS=”$DAEMON_ARGS –host 127.0.0.1 –port 22222″

  2. Check path to python3 
    
    
    1
    which python3
    . By default is 
    1
    /usr/bin/python3
    . If your path different than default, update miio_server.py first line with your path.
    1
    #!/usr/bin/python3
  3. For run as system service:
    
    
    1
    sudo chmod +x miio_server.py
    1
    sudo chmod +x miio_server.sh
    1
    # check your path here:
    1
    sudo ln -s /home/pi/domoticz/plugins/xiaomi-mirobot/miio_server.sh /etc/init.d/miio_server
    1
    # add to startup
    1
    sudo update-rc.d miio_server defaults
    1
    sudo systemctl daemon-reload
    1
    # if you want to remove from startup
    1
    sudo update-rc.d -f miio_server remove
  4. Run server and test script:
    
    
    1
    sudo service miio_server start
    1
    sudo chmod +x test.py
    1
    sudo ./test.py
  5. 1
    2
    # to stop miio server service
    sudo service miio_server stop

    Also you can run MIIO Server manually and look log output:

    1
    sudo ./miio_server.py 192.168.1.12 476e6b70343055483230644c53707a12 --host 127.0.0.1 --port 22222

    # then you can run test
    sudo ./test.py

    If server and test is ok, time to restart the Domoticz:

    1
    sudo service domoticz.sh restart

The steps above are created by Mrin, and we thank him for this great work! Also the plugin is made by the user Mrin (Igor Sankovich). More info can be found on GitHub.

Once Domoticz has started you go to hardware > and you can add and enable the plugin.

Addmin Xiaomi robot as hardware
Add Xiaomi robot as hardware

After enabling the hardware you see all devices in the settings>devices and you are ready to start scripting and using them.

Control cleaning with your voice

In this example, I show you how to use the vacuum with your voice. Check out the video to hear me commanding my vacuum.

Amazon Alexa with Controlicz

When you have Google Home or Alexa you must use the plugin Controlicz.  Controlicz let you use Domoticz in your voice system. To enable Controlicz you have to use https! How to install and configure I will explain later in a new post, but you can check out Domoticz forum now for more info.

If you are able to use Domoticz in Alexa there are a few minor things:

  • Alexa doesn’t recognize selector switches, and ‘xiaomi_vacuum’ is not a nice name to speak out. So you have to create a dummy on/off switch with a nice simple name: I named it ‘Dusty’.
    Put the switch in a room plan, so you can use it in Alexa.
  • When you have the new switch in Alexa, it doesn’t do anything. That’s why we are using a dzventz script. When we switch Dusty on, the script will change the real selector switch for you.

return {
on = {
devices = {
‘Dusty’
}
},
execute = function(domoticz, device)

local vacuum = domoticz.devices(‘Dusty – Control’)
domoticz.log(‘Device ‘ .. device.name .. ‘ was changed’, domoticz.LOG_INFO)

if (device.state == ‘On’) then
domoticz.log(‘Hey! I am on!’)
vacuum.switchSelector(10) — this is clean
else
domoticz.log(‘Hey! I am off!’)
vacuum.switchSelector(20) — this is home
end

end
}

With this trick you are able to control a selector in Alexa. Maybe you want more virtual switches for thinks like: finding, speed or other, so be creative and edit my scripts.

xiaomi vacuum switches in domoticz
Xiaomi vacuum switches in Domoticz. I think it looks different on your Domoticz, but that’s because of the theme I use: Aurora.

Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum; does it suck or not?

Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum cleaner (first generation)

 

Introduction

I bought the Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum product at GearBest and integrate it into my home automation system Domoticz. I already had a vacuum cleaner but a dumber one (the ILIFE A4 Smart Robotic Vacuum Cleaner). My goal for this article is to provide an overview of the functionality and usability of the product, integrate it in my home-automation platform and end up with a clean living room and a happy wife.

Where to buy?

Original Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum 1st Generation

I ordered on Gearbest on March 1 2018 and received it from DPD on May 13 2018. It was shipped through Hong Kong and didn’t have any additional customs costs.

I also ordered the accessories kit (Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum accessories kit). I will review this in another article.

xiaomi vacuum stock

Specs

  • Brand: Xiaomi
  • Cleaner Types: Vacuum Cleaner
  • Function: Suction, Sweep
  • Feature: Remote Control, Self Charging
  • Self Recharging: Yes
  • Dust Box Capacity: 0.42L
  • Suction (pa): 1800pa
  • Power (W): 55W
  • Input Voltage (V): 100 – 240V
  • Current : 2.2A
  • Working Time: 2.5h
  • Dust Bin: 0.42L
  • App Control: Mi Home app

Expectations

After having excellent experiences with multiple other Xiaomi products, I had high expectations of the Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum.

When unboxing the product, you immediately notice the beautiful en slick design of the robot. We can expect a smart vacuum cleaner, with an app that can be used easily and is compatible with Domoticz.

Will it meet these expectations? Let’s find out…

 

Test

Is the app usable?
Is the vacuum really efficient and smart?
Is it possible to connect it with Domoticz and control it from there?

Let’s start with the review:

xiaomi_vacuum

You can switch on the Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum from the app, scheduled or by pressing 1 of the 2 buttons on top of the robot. The other button is to send the robot to his docking station for charging.

When I first used the robot I controlled by using the app. After a firmware update the product was complete and ready to use. First thing I did was setting the language pack to English because I don’t understand anything of the Chinese voice.

When the motor switched on I immediately noticed that the suction was strong. According to the specs it is 1800pa, which is almost double the suction of the Ilife A4 (1000pa) but this is perfect for a robot vacuum.

Through the app I discovered that the Xiaomi Mi Robot scans the entire room, every detail was accounted for, until it has completely mapped the room. The robot starts with the corners and edges of the room, then it goes through the center of the room, covering every space. When finished, the robot goes back to his dock (home). During testing I put a box in front of the dock, and the robot immediately told me there was an obstacle located in front of the dock. I even received a push message on my phone, in which the robot alerted me of the problem. What a nice feature.

After a while I noticed that the robot collected some dust and was slightly scratched on the cover of the top sensor of the robot. This was caused by the sweeping under the furniture. It doesn’t effect the capabilities of the robot, but it’s something you have to accept when choosing for this product. The app monitors the amount of square meters the robot has cleaned.

xiaomi vacuum opened
xiaomi vacuum empty dustbin1
xiaomi vacuum empty dustbin3
xiaomi vacuum empty dustbin2
xiaomi vacuum empty dustbin4
xiaomi vacuum empty dustbin5
xiaomi vacuum empty dustbin6

The dust bin of the Xiaomi Mi Robot has a capacity of 0.42 liter and is easy to empty. You just flip open the top cover of the robot and take the dust bin out.

Packaging

  • Cleaning robot
  • Charging Dock
  • Main brush cleaning tool
  • power cable

Dimension & Weight

Product weight: 3.8000 kg
Package weight: 6.6500 kg
Product size (L x W x H): 34.50 x 34.50 x 9.60 cm / 13.58 x 13.58 x 3.78 inches
Package size (L x W x H): 56.60 x 43.30 x 15.20 cm / 22.28 x 17.05 x 5.98 inches

What’s in the box

Features

For me as a Domotica fan one of the biggest advantages of the Xiaomi Mi Robot is the ability to control the robot from the app.

xiaomi vacuum sensors

The vacuum has multiple sensors:

LDS sensor (laser Distance Sensor)this generates a digital map of the space that needs to be cleaned. Distances will be measured.
Wall sensormakes sure that there is a one centimeter gap between the wall and the robot (to avoided damage)
Dust bin sensorgives you a warning when dust bin is full and needs to be emptied
Collision Senorpredicts what object can be an obstacle for the robot
Utrasonic sensoranother sensor to avoid objects in the room
Electronic Compass Cliff sensordetects staircases and capes to make sure the robot doesn’t drop 
Gyroscope/Accelerometermonitors the movement, directions and stability of the robot
Drop sensorwhen the wheels of the robot are out, there’s no contact with the floor
Speedmetermakes the robot go slower when cleaning. The robot accelerates when going for a new spot
Fan Speed Sensormeasures the speed of the dust fan

Build Quality and Design

The device has a solid feel to it. One of the reasons for this is it’s weight. The wheels are steady en the protection rubbers feel durable.

The dock features the ability to store the cable and can be plugged into a wall outlet through the left or right side of the dock.

xiaomi vacuum dock1
xiaomi vacuum dock2

The design is what we expect from all Xiaomi products: simple but well thought out (It can be compared with the style of Apple products).

A small disadvantage that comes with this choice of style is that you van easily see the dust on the white and shiny surface of the robot. And, what I stated earlier, the sensor cover (placed on top of the robot) gets easily scratched when cleaning under furniture with a bottom of hard materal.

Power consumption

The battery is a 5200mAh (14.4V/74.88Wh) Lithium Ion battery which can deliver 2.5 hours of cleaning without recharging. But in my tests the cleaning was done before this time. When it needs charging it saves it last cleaned position and returns to that point after charging. I didn’t have a large enough house at my disposal to test this out.  But I can imagine that the vacuum is able to do this correctly because the mapping of the room is very accurate and therefore it is able to completely swipe the whole space.

Noise

I don’t have a professional db-meter, the only thing I can say is that the noise is depending from mode the vacuum is in. Sucking with an air pressure of 1,800 Pa  is about 64db. It is a bit louder then the Ilife A4 and therefore I only let it clean the room when I am not in it.

 

Portability / Mobility

Because of the small height (10 cm) of the robot, it cleans easily underneath your sofa, closets, and bed. Much better then the reach of an ordinary vacuum cleaner.

It’s also possible to pick up the robot and take it upstairs to clean other areas. You don’t have to temporary move the dock to this other location.

 

Usability

Now that we know how smart and easy to use this robot is, make sure you that the robot has the opportunity to clean the area without any unnecessary obstacles, like shoes, eliminate cables etc. So clean the room, So make it a robot friendly area 🙂

To eliminate lose cables you can use a magnetic wall strip.

Customizability

There are stickers for sale, which you can use to customize your robots appearance.

Complementary Products

Accessories kit (this is going to be reviewed in another post/review)

Magnetic strips as virtual walls

Alternatives

Ofcourse there are lots of alternatives. For example the much more expensive Roomba or the cheaper Ilife robot vacuums. I have also a Ilife a4. I don’t have any experiences with the new line of Roomba, but know the Ilife A4 is also a good player.

 XiaomiIlife
Design+++++++++
Specifications++++++
Control++++++
Price+++++++

The Xiaomi is a design robot which I use automated in my living room. The dumber ilife I use at my attic (which is my master bedroom). I have also made my Ilife  compatible with Domoticz with the Broadlink rm3 mini, so I can start the robot from Domoticz. But that’s the only thing you can do with the Ilife A4: starting. The Xiaomi has the potential to be fully controlled and automated through Domiticz.

IMG 1704
xiaomi vs ilife a4 2.jpg

 

 

App

Xiaomi_voice pack

When adding the robot in the Mihome app you can create a shortcut on your dashboard for the vacuum. After new releases of functionalities or translations also new material is placed. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L194Hezyoo4 a video which show most of the options.

At first you needed hacked (translated) apk files of Mihome to get the app in English, but now the original app is available in English.

An important feature is the possibility to download language packs from within the app. It lets the robot talk to you in English, through it’s build-in speaker.

A few nice things you can do with the Mi Home app:

  • Notifications: clean dustbin, replace brushes, obstacle in front of the charging dock.
  • Scheduling the robot.
  • Check floor map that is mapped by the robot. Nice feature is that you can see what the path of the robot was.
  • Remote control
  • Change Speed fan mode
  • Consumable status (the status of the health of brushes and filters)
  • Locate my robot (find my robot, “Hi, I’m over here”)

Mi Home app you can found on the Apple store and on Google Play.

 

Is the Xiaomi Mi Robot Home automation compatible

Yes, the default app is a great app to control the robot and let it do it chores. But I don’t like to have an apps for each device. My goal is to integrate the Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum Cleaner in my home automation platform (Domoticz) and control it from there. And of course not manually automated by scripts.


Pro’s / cons

Pro

  • Simple to control with the Mi Home app
  • Simple cleaning maintenance
  • Efficient cleaning
  • Great accurate sensors
  • Nice design for in home
  • High WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor)


Cons

Price quality

The price/quality of the Xiaomi Robot Vacuum Cleaner is very good. I don’t know an alternative that is so smart for such a low price.

Despite of the launch of a second (newer) version of this robot, I think this robot still is the better choice. This version of the robot is cheaper. The differences are minimal. The extra option to mop your floor, is an option I would never use.

To buy this product with discount , click on this link: Xiaomi Mii Robot Vacuum and enter the following code: GB4thGW4017

And if you want the swap function, but don’t want to pay for it, here is a little hack:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dug5za9B4sU

Verdict

My advice to you.. Buy the Xiaomi Mi Robot! You won’t be sorry.  It makes vacuuming so much easier and more fun, because you have more time to do other things 🙂  And the fact that you can link it to home-automation platforms like Domoticz (for free!), you have yourself a Home Run!