ESP8266 provides an amazing environment to build iot devices for smart home. I managed to build all kinds of gadgets raging from simple temperature and humidity recorders to more advanced actors with sensor motions and appliance controls. There are tons of components for those available.

Recently, I entered into the area of automation of heating in smart house, discovered the homematic ip a line of products and got impressed how energy efficient and what an impressive operating range they have.

My current setups involve many nodemcu's (as well as off-the-shelf homematic and zigbee devices) on one side and raspberry pi 3 with openhab integrating those into one thingy on the other side.

I got these questions:

  1. I wonder how steep is the learning curve to get into the zigbee/zwave development.
  2. Thanks to nodemcu, one could start developing and testing the setups within days. Is there any similar inexpensive development boards are there? I tried to browse the net a bit, but all I got were kits costing at least a few hundred euro/dollar.
  3. Can one reuse the same sensor components to work with zigbee/z wave boards?

2 Answers 2


If you have done anything on the ESP8266 with MQTT, and are interested in controlling devices at home, you might want to look at zigbee2mqtt. Development is pretty active on that project.

I've been using all Digi zigbee hardware for the most part, but you can probably get started with a CC2531 USB stick flashed with the zigbee coordinator firmware, and a single XBee zigbee RF module that communicates with your MCU of choice over the TX/RX connection. Breadboard breakouts and FTDI interfaces are readily available for the Digi modules as well.

  • 1
    thanks for sharing your ideas. I have some experience with MQTT, and would love to try out zigbee2mqtt. I have a CC2531 usb stick from amazon.de/gp/product/B07V9K3GHH/… and managered to connect it to openhab. Which device would you suggest for xbee zigbee RF on aliexpress?
    – arthur
    Oct 1, 2019 at 7:12
  • 1
    I've only used Digi XBee RF modules myself, but any of the CC2530 modules with zigbee should work. From aliexpress you can try versions with the external antenna or PCB antenna.
    – John S
    Oct 2, 2019 at 17:32

Some additional resources on the net how to connect arduino&co with xbee.

ForceTronics blog:

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