Installing the conbee zigbee usb dongle on home assistant core

Z-wave and zigbee are two competing low-power wireless standards, so far I have used z-wave through a zwave hat on my raspberry pi.

Since zigbee seems to be gaining some traction I decided to also add a zigbee network. To do so, I bought the conbee usb dongle.

the integration with home assistant allows for some choices: ZHA, deconz or zigbee2mqtt. In my case, for no good reason I went with deconz first but could not get all sensors visible (my smart wall plug could be turned on and off but no power readings). Installing the ZHA integration then proved to be easier, no additonal daemon needed and all sensors were visible.

Probably though zigbee2mqtt is the way to go. I’ll try it if ZHA gives me issues.

Installation (for deconz)


As usual, on home assistant os all is done out of the box, for us home assistant core users we need to install the zigbee middleware (the gateway) ourselves. The required software is called ‘deconz’, no standard package is in the repositories for raspbian so we need to add the phoscon repository to apt. (alternatively a docker image is also available).

0. plug in the device. (it is recommended to use an usb extension cable to avoid interference, I did not yet do this).

  1. follow the instruction at phoscon for installing the driver.

(unfortunately all the gui tools are also installed you can expect a lot of dependencies)
start up the daemon:

after installation:
root@raspberrypi:/etc/mosquitto# systemctl list-unit-files | grep conz
deconz-gui.service                     disabled
deconz-homebridge-install.service      disabled
deconz-homebridge.service              disabled
deconz-init.service                    disabled
deconz-update.service                  enabled
deconz-wifi.service                    disabled
deconz.service                         disabled

enable deconz and start it:
systemctl enable deconz
systemctl start deconz

new status:
root@raspberrypi:/etc/mosquitto# systemctl list-unit-files | grep conz
deconz-gui.service                     disabled
deconz-homebridge-install.service      disabled
deconz-homebridge.service              disabled
deconz-init.service                    disabled
deconz-update.service                  enabled
deconz-wifi.service                    enabled
deconz.service                         enabled

check the log for correct startup. the default port is 80.

You can now connect your browser to http://<ip_of_your_pi>:80 and you will get the web interface.

2. through the web gui, you can configure the device:

  • you will be prompted for a password. set up the initial password.
  • if necessary, update firmware. Go to ‘menu’ then ‘gateway’.
  • in menu/gateway, click on ‘advanced’.

enable pairing mode by clicking on ‘authenticate app’.

3. link the zigbee gateway to your home assistant core: add the dconz integration.
(more info:

  • go to devices and configure dconz
  • enter your ip, it can be if running on the same system.
  • complete the pairing process.

installing an mqtt broker for home assistant core

What is MQTT and why do you want it ?

MQTT is an OASIS standard messaging protocol for the Internet of Things (IoT). It is designed as an extremely lightweight publish/subscribe messaging transport that is ideal for connecting remote devices with a small code footprint and minimal network bandwidth.


In other words, it is a messaging protocol which is designed to be efficient for frequent message sending between different devices. A device can send messages to an mqtt topic, and your home assistant server could retrieve these messages from that topic.
Like the Installing zwave-js on home assistant core article, this component is actually installed out of the box on home assistant but not in the installation of the core version.

I keep the below info as a reference for myself, the document will be improved as I make changes.

Installation and configuration:

Install the package using apt. Like eg the zwave server, this will run as a separate daemon on your home assistant appliance (next to home assistant itself):

mosquitto/oldstable,now 1.5.7-1+deb10u1 armhf [installed]

go into /etc/mosquitto/ and add a custom configuration file to conf.d:

Set up a configuration:

# global
allow_anonymous false
password_file  /etc/mosquitto/conf.d/mosquitto_users

# default listener
port 1883

# ssl listenener
listener 8883
cafile /etc/mosquitto/certs/wf_ca.crt
certfile /etc/mosquitto/certs/mqtt.crt
keyfile /etc/mosquitto/certs/mqtt.key
#tls_version tlsv1.2

Here, I disable anonymous connections to the broker, configure a location for a user/password file and set up an ssl and a plaintext listener.

Configure a user:

mosquitto_passwd -c mosquitto_users mqttuser

(the -c is used to create the file so should be used only once. through -b you could add the password immediately on the cli).

Create some certificates for the ssl listener, you need:

  1. the certificate of your ca. this should be a private, internal ca.
  2. the certificate to be used for your mqtt broker
  3. the private key to be used for your mqtt broker.

place them into the certs folder:

ls -l certs/
total 16
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root  130 Nov 16  2019 README
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 1859 Feb 10 15:01 mqtt.crt
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 3244 Feb 10 15:01 mqtt.key
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 1815 Feb 10 15:17 wf_ca.crt

You can now start the daemon.

Configuration in home assistant:

Unfortunately, not all settings can be configured through the gui (yet and at the time of writing). Notably configuring the ssl part. In your configuration.yml put:

  certificate: "/etc/mosquitto/certs/wf_ca.crt"
  broker: ""
  port: 8883
  username: mqttuser
  password: "thisismypassword"

Now go to settings/devices and verify the mqtt integration is there.

If you click ‘configure’ on the mqtt broker you can test it:

Installing zwave-js on home assistant core

Multiple possibilities exist, we will install the barebones zwave-js server project ( zwave-js server is a node project implementing the zwavejs library and which is ready to use. it requires a certain version of the library to function, so always install the package and it will install the correct dependencies.

There is no need to use the cli commands after installation, just provide a config file and start up the server. Then, you can use the migration wizard in HA to move the legacy zwave to the new zwave-js version OR of course set up a new installation.

For the installation we will use a version of node and npm installed as the homeassistant user through NVM (so not from packages). the installation was tested on a raspberry pi 3 which was migrated from legacy zwave to zwave-js.

below is meant for home assistant core (the ‘advanced use case’ describe on the zwave-js documentation at the home assistant site).

In short, it means:

  • install the zwave-js server and start the daemon
  • enable the zwave-js home assistant integration
  • migrate your zwave devices to zwave-js
  • correct any missing devices.



make sure you have these installed: git-cli, curl.

Of course, make a backup of the database and config folder.

then, as user homeassistant, do:

  • install nvm (node version manager)
curl -O
  • restart your shell to have the nvm environment variables added to your path.
  • install node.js and npm (node package manager):
nvm install node npm

You are no ready to install node package zwave-js/server.

installing :

npm i @zwave-js/server

For already initialized zwave sticks: create a config file with at least your existing security key in it, if you have one:

module.exports = {
  securityKeys: {
      S0_Legacy: Buffer.from("4xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxyyyyyyyyyyyyyyD", "hex")

Start up the binary (provide the correct serial device for your z-wave stick, in the below example ttyAMA0) and check the logs for errors.

Set up a systemd unit file if needed for auto-startup:


ExecStart=/home/zwavejs/zwave-js-server/node_modules/.bin/zwave-server /dev/ttyAMA0 --config /home/zwavejs/zwavejs-config.js


You can now enable and start the zwavejs-server service and continue with


Occasionally an upgrade may be needed, home assistant will show you during startup and you will see in the dashboard that the zwave-js integration is incompatible with the installed zwave-js server version. You should upgrade. Switch to the user running zwave-js, then:

root@raspberrypi:/home/zwavejs/zwave-js-server# npm outdated

Package                            Current    Wanted   Latest  Location                                       Depended by
@types/node                       16.11.10  16.11.26  17.0.21  node_modules/@types/node                       zwave-js-server
@types/ws                            8.2.0     8.5.1    8.5.1  node_modules/@types/ws                         zwave-js-server
@types/yargs                        17.0.7    17.0.8   17.0.8  node_modules/@types/yargs                      zwave-js-server
@typescript-eslint/eslint-plugin    4.33.0    4.33.0   5.12.1  node_modules/@typescript-eslint/eslint-plugin  zwave-js-server
@typescript-eslint/parser           4.33.0    4.33.0   5.12.1  node_modules/@typescript-eslint/parser         zwave-js-server
@zwave-js/server                    1.13.0    1.15.0   1.15.0  node_modules/@zwave-js/server                  zwave-js-server
eslint                              7.32.0    7.32.0   8.10.0  node_modules/eslint                            zwave-js-server
eslint-config-prettier               8.3.0     8.4.0    8.4.0  node_modules/eslint-config-prettier            zwave-js-server
husky                                4.3.8     4.3.8    7.0.4  node_modules/husky                             zwave-js-server
lint-staged                         12.1.2    12.3.4   12.3.4  node_modules/lint-staged                       zwave-js-server
prettier                             2.5.0     2.5.1    2.5.1  node_modules/prettier                          zwave-js-server
ts-node                             10.4.0    10.5.0   10.5.0  node_modules/ts-node                           zwave-js-server
typescript                           4.5.2     4.5.5    4.5.5  node_modules/typescript                        zwave-js-server
ws                                   8.3.0     8.5.0    8.5.0  node_modules/ws                                zwave-js-server
npm notice
npm notice New minor version of npm available! 8.2.0 -> 8.5.2
npm notice Changelog:
npm notice Run npm install -g [email protected] to update!
npm notice

root@raspberrypi:/home/zwavejs/zwave-js-server# npm update @zwave-js/server

added 10 packages, removed 1 package, changed 37 packages, and audited 399 packages in 2m

83 packages are looking for funding
  run `npm fund` for details

found 0 vulnerabilities

Notes & caveats

  • copy your zwave key ! (it will also be shown through the migration wizard)
  • in my case, all my devices were migrated but not all entities. I just recreated the missing entities later through the GUI. (mostly this meant recreating some graphs or other widgets).
  • if you keep a backup of your homeassistant config folder/database, you can always revert.


zwave-js server npm implementation
zwave-js library documentation
nvm documentation
installing node tools through nvm
home assistant zwave-js docs