How to Fix Basic Issues with Zigbee Devices

Introduction

Zigbee is a simple wireless communication method to control home automation devices. Lights, sensors, home security systems all run on Zigbee.

This guide will take you through repairing some basic issues you may encounter with your home automation and control devices.

? What kind of device are you having problems with?

  1. Lighting or smartplug
  2. Smart Appliance
  3. Sensor
  4. Home Security
  5. Control app

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Zigbee is a simple wireless communication method to control home automation devices. Lights, sensors, home security systems all run on Zigbee.

This guide will take you through repairing some basic issues you may encounter with your home automation and control devices.

When troubleshooting your lights, make sure all your Zigbee lights have power before starting this process. You'll be turning them off through the app or hub device, rather than the switch on the wall or lamp.

The following steps will help in cases where some or all of your devices are unable to communicate.

Your Zigbee devices automatically create a 'mesh network'; they talk to, and through, each other. This means there needs to be a path between your hub and another device.

Simple diagram of zigbee mesh network distances

  • In general, the Zigbee signal can travel about 30 to 50 feet, less if there's a lot of walls in the way.
  • Each device in the mesh network must be powered on, even if it's not in use, to be able to hand data to it's neighbors.

Your Zigbee lighting relies on a hub or bridge that connects to your home network to translate the commands you send from your smartphone, computer, or other device to your lights.

Your Zigbee hub is usually a small boxe near your Internet modem and router.

  1. Unplug the power cable from the back of your Zigbee hub.
  2. Wait 30 seconds.
  3. Plug your Zigbee hub back in.
  4. Wait 60 seconds while your Zigbee hub restarts, reconnects to your home network, and your Zigbee lights.
  1. Turn the power off to the Zigbee device.
  2. Wait 30 seconds.
  3. Turn the power on to the Zigbee device.
  4. Wait 60 seconds for it to automatically re-join the Zigbee network.

Try using your Zigbee device again.

  1. Launch the app for your Zigbee appliance, and check the status.
  2. Check if you can turn the device on or off, or use the other features of the device from the app.

Try moving the Zigbee device you're having problems with closer to other Zigbee devices.

Alternately, you can put another Zigbee device between two devices to extend the network to where you need it.

Many Zigbee home appliances will have a small indicator light, letting you know it's connected to your Zigbee network and hub.

Many Zigbee sensors are battery powered, using batteries specifically designed to provide the small amount of power needed for a very long time. Most will last 6 months to 2 years.

The following steps will help in cases where some or all of your sensors are unable to communicate or are giving false positives.

Your Zigbee devices automatically create a 'mesh network'; they talk to, and through, each other. This means there needs to be a path between your hub and another device.

Simple diagram of zigbee mesh network distances

  • In general, the Zigbee signal can travel about 30 to 50 feet, less if there's a lot of walls in the way.
  • Each device in the mesh network must be powered on, even if it's not in use, to be able to hand data to it's neighbors.

In most cases, the app you use to control your Zigbee items will let you know if the battery is low well ahead of time, giving you ample time to purchase and replace the battery before the sensor stops working.

If that is not the case, carefully open the sensor, and check the battery.

It is absolutely critical you get the proper battery type. You can severely damage a sensor with the wrong battery.

If you are not sure, please consult the user manual, or contact the manufacturer to be sure.

Common batteries in use for Zigbee sensors

CR1632

Commonly used for keychain remotes

CR1632 battery

CR2032

Commonly used for keychain remotes

CR2032 battery

CR123A

Commonly used in motion and entry sensors

CR123A battery

AA, AAA

Commonly used in larger remotes

AA, AAA batteries

Your Zigbee lighting relies on a hub or bridge that connects to your home network to translate the commands you send from your smartphone, computer, or other device to your lights.

Your Zigbee hub is usually a small boxe near your Internet modem and router.

  1. Unplug the power cable from the back of your Zigbee hub.
  2. Wait 30 seconds.
  3. Plug your Zigbee hub back in.
  4. Wait 60 seconds while your Zigbee hub restarts, reconnects to your home network, and your Zigbee lights.

Try using your Zigbee device again.

  1. Launch the app for your Zigbee appliance, and check the status.
  2. Check if you can turn the device on or off, or use the other features of the device from the app.

Many big-box stores, specialty camera and battery stores, and online retailers will stock the type of battery you need.

Contact the manufacturer of the sensor or device, most will be able to provide names of reputable dealers, or sell the batteries themselves.

Try moving the Zigbee device you're having problems with closer to other Zigbee devices.

Alternately, you can put another Zigbee device between two devices to extend the network to where you need it.

  • Many Zigbee sensors will reset if they are triggered multiple times in a short timespan.
    • For a door sensor, open and close the door 5 or 6 times.
    • For a motion sensor, place your hand close in front of the sensor, then remove your hand 5 or 6 times.
  • Some Zigbee sensors will reset if powered down.
    1. Remove the cover to your Zigbee sensor.
    2. Remove the battery.
    3. Wait 10 seconds.
    4. Replace the battery.
    5. Wait 30 to 60 seconds for the sensor to re-connect to the Zigbee network.

Do not use a 'reset' button in or on a Zigbee sensor attached to a home security system. Your home security system will detect this as sensor tampering, and alert your alarm company and/or the police.

Contact your alarm company, or the device manufacturer, for the proper procedure to reset and re-pair a sensor to your alarm system.

Try using your Zigbee device again.

  1. Launch the app for your Zigbee appliance, and check the status.
  2. Check if you can turn the device on or off, or use the other features of the device from the app.

In many cases, you can troubleshoot some aspects of your home security system yourself, but given the secure nature of the product, you can easily trip or trigger your home security system, resulting in extra costs for false alarms, or damage to the system.

If you are unsure of any aspect of your home security system, it is best to reach out to the provider of your home security system instead of proceeding with any steps here.

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