Zigbee 2-1 Switch (On/Off & Dimmer) | Project New Horizon (Blue Series)

Lol, I just commented on a post of yours in the Home Assistant Community (recognize the name and avatar haha). Yeah, I’ll get you on the list!

Project Update: Everything is still on track for a Q4 release. We are now working on the PCB and ensuring the manufacturer fully understands all the specs so there aren’t any surprises. I’m sure there still will be, but the best we can do is minimize it.


TLDR: No problem if you want a bad-a ZigBee switch. If you want a Matter switch, we are going to suggest you wait until mid-2022 to purchase as OTA is not available (you can still hard-wire update). OTA ZigBee is ok, however.

There is an, “issue” around our strategy, which needs to be called out. This switch was originally brought to life with two intentions – creating a ZigBee switch that would work with ZigBee bulbs (cough, cough… Hue… cough, cough) similar to our Z-Wave switch with the intentions of it also turning into a Matter switch once that protocol works as the chipset inside the switch will be convertible from ZigBee to Matter.

The issue lies in what we were originally told by SiLabs (and in fairness, the protocol and details were in its very infancy, so I’m not blaming anyone) in that the ZigBee firmware could easily be OTA’d to new Matter firmware as they share the same chip.

Unfortunately, from what we’re hearing, that isn’t true and the MG21 chipset cannot be OTA updated. It has to be updated via a wire. The MG24 can be OTA updated, but there isn’t an official release date on that and we’re currently being told mid-2022.

So, this leaves us in a bit of a pickle in the sense that we want to be on the cutting edge of this protocol, but updating to Matter will be a real pain for people if they purchase our initial batch of switches before the MG24 is implemented.

What we’re being told is that ZigBee hubs that update to Matter will be backwards compatible with ZigBee, so if you purchase this switch to use with your Hue hub or Amazon Echo Plus, when those hubs convert, they will still work with ZigBee. But again, if you want your Inovelli ZigBee switch to turn into Matter, then you will need to take apart the switch and upgrade it via hardwiring (we do plan on having a serial port on the PCB to do so).

Anyway, we figure that the initial purchasers of this switch are the hardcore users anyway and not mass market, so this shouldn’t impact too many people.

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just to confirm if I understood… ZigBee as we know it today will still work with hubs while the new matter will be a separate protocol.

is that it?

Thanks for sharing insights into the new switch allowing customers to make informed purchases :+1:

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Thanks so much for these specifics about the chipset and the path to Matter.

That’s the good news I was waiting to hear! A port should make it easy enough — was really hoping this wasn’t going to be one of those “connect some tiny wires to these tiny pins and don’t mess up or you’ll fry it” kinds of thing. (I’m also guessing I won’t really care about Matter the second it’s released and likely for quite some time after, if ever, but that’s another story. Ha.)

Also, obligatory “(still) happy to be a tester if you need them” post. :rofl: (Primarily Hubitat, with a Hue Bridge system integrated into that.)

I am so stoked for this. I’ve been wanting you guys to do a ZigBee switch for so long, since I only have ZigBee devices. I’m very interested in finding out if they work with Xiaomi/Aqara devices as I have tons of their sensors.

If you guys do open up beta testing, I’d love to get in on the action! Not sure if you are aware, but there is a nice platform for beta testing that I’ve done several different tests for products (mostly smart home), called BetaBound. I’ve only seen them from the tester side, so not sure what it would cost for you guys to take part in, but it might be worth looking into?

Great work so far! Looking forward to the official release.

just to confirm if I understood… ZigBee as we know it today will still work with hubs while the new matter will be a separate protocol.

is that it?

Matter itself isn’t a radio protocol, it is a whole ecosystem that defines a few radio protocols (Wifi, BT, Thread,…). In the context of these zigbee switches, when people talk about upgrading them to matter - they are typically talking about upgrading the zigbee radio to a thread radio (since the two are very similar and the same hardware can usually support both after a firmware flash).

The downside is that most of these chips (at least current in market ones) need to pick between zigbee or thread (according to stuff SILabs has said). So if your zigbee hub (eg. Hue hub) “upgraded to Matter” (which in this context means it’s switching it’s zigbee readio to thread) it would presumably not be able to run any zigbee devices anymore. In practice that seems unrealistic though, it seems more probable that Philips/Signify would want to sell you a new hub which had two chips so it could simultaneously do zigbee for old devices and thread for new devices.

Ultimately it’s hard to predict what will happen with current ecosystems though - as the whole point of matter is that vendor specific Hubs won’t exist anymore. Matter is supposed to provide a common language for how your smarthome systems tells a bulb to turn on, or change color, or tells your door to unlock, or whatever. The whole point is that Amzon and Google and Apple can incorporate matter into their smart home devices, and then those devices will be able to talk directly to a bulb or lock or whatever.

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nice. I think I’ve read somewhere that existing ZigBee devices will still function as (at least smartthings) will be backwards compatible. let’s hope they don’t make us buy a whole bunch of devices again. that’s why I’m not l buying any smart devices until this issue clarifies. thks.

“nice” platform? I filled out so many freaking surveys and never heard back on a single one that I figured at this point they’re just harvesting my data with no intention of actually connecting me to any beta tests.

I’ve participated in maybe 8 hardware tests and a handful of software through it. The problem is the companies that use beta bound end up having very specific requirements. For instance, I got into a smart faucet test simply because I had an infant that was using formula… I was merely suggesting the use of it since it can target a wider audience. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve applied to at least 100 different tests and hardly get approved for them, but the platform does work.

Interesting. Good to hear that it does actually work, because I had honestly started to think it was a scam just for data harvesting. I hadn’t heard of anyone who had actually gotten approved. Perhaps I’ll start applying again.

@kendrosg seems way more versed in the overall architecture than me, so I’ll defer to him until I get a better understanding from a technical standpoint, but from what I asked one of the leaders on the Matter project, he mentioned that there should be backward compatibility with ZigBee devices. Keyword there is should… there definitely is a lot up in the air right now.

Yeah guys, definitely! I’m learning with you if it’s any consolation :slight_smile:

Lol, you can thank @EricM_Inovelli for this. He pushed them for this feature!

Most definitely – you’re one of our fav’s!

Yeah that would be cool – Xiaomi holds a special place in my heart. Their book, “The Xiaomi Way” has been quite the blueprint to running and building our company. They have a really cool story if you ever feel like a good read.

Never heard of it, but I’ll check it out! We have a decent process, but we’re always looking to improve.

I’d love to pick your brain about your understanding honestly. I have a very limited understanding and my focus is primarily through a marketing lens, so the technical stuff can get lost on me sometimes. Eric M. is more of a Z-Wave guy, so I know there’s a learning curve for him as well.

Thanks for your insight either way! The goal is definitely to have a product that can work across multiple manufacturers. It’s frustrating sometimes when we have to tell people our products don’t work with HomeKit (without a special integration) or Alexa, Google Home or Philips, so this is very exciting once it’s pulled off.

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Just came across this project now - sounds amazing and exactly what I am looking for. I’ve looking at adding smart switches to 5 properties (will need ± 80 (mix of dimmers and normal on/off). Any chance the blue range will support 110 - 240v?

I’m based in South Africa (240v, 50/60 hz)

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Sure.

basically, think of Zigbee and Thread as bieng very, very similar to eachother - to the point where most modern chipsets from SILabs are able to flip between zigbee and thread with just a firmware upgrade.

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Will the no-neutral method still have the problem of needing around 25W minimum to work without flickering? Is there any chance of having a built-in bypass that can optionally be enabled?

That willl not work. The bypass goes between load and neutral. So if there is no neutral, there is nothing for the bypass to connect to.

Oh, right. I had a brain fart. Thanks for correcting me kindly.

Any chance the switch will support Zigbee Binding? Would be great to be able to bypass the hub if needed and communicate directly to the lights on the network (better reliability + reduced latency)

Actually, yes! I completely forgot about this selling point. These will work in 240V settings :slight_smile:

Yes, unfortunately. I don’t know what the minimum wattage will be as the ZigBee chip is different than Z-Wave, but we should be able to find out soon.

I believe so as we talked about it initially when we were looking into the aux switch with LED bar (since we were going to have to use ZigBee there too).

@EricM_Inovelli or @Darwyn_Inovelli – can you confirm?

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