HomeHome AutomationSonoff ZB Mini (ZBMINI-L) but without neutral?

Sonoff ZB Mini (ZBMINI-L) but without neutral?

It's time to go no-neutral!

We got to the point where Itead has so many switches, that I need to look at the list of my articles to figure out if I covered it already. My memory served me well, this is not the first Sonoff ZB Mini I have in my hands. It is the first Sonoff ZB Mini with no-neutral. Rejoice!

I got an email with an evidenceof switches going offline after a period of time, so if this affects you, looks like SONOFF is rolling v1.5.0 update soon to address these. I don’t have any ETA about the release date.

New switch, old tricks

Sonoff ZBMINI-L
Sonoff ZBMINI-L and Sonofff ZB Mini

ITEAD adopted a new look for the latest devices. Sonoff ZBMINI-L ditches the rectangular form factor, in favour of this rather hard to name shape (feel free to let me know). While the shape and the form factor has changed, the functionality reminded mostly unchanged.

I’m a big fan of the Sonoff ZB series. These affordable switches work without the need for the internet (ZigBee hub is required) and need no Tasmota flashing, should you want to abandon the eWeLink cloud and link it with your own custom ZigBee coordinator (either from Sonoff or their competitors). Sonoff ZBMINI-L brings one more thing to the table: no neutral wiring. Finally!

If you live in the UK, no-neutral wiring is a way to go (usually) and a lot of people like me feel left out where the usual options require a neutral wire to be present to play nicely. Sonoff ZBMINI-L offers the same features as the previous Sonoff ZB Mini:

  • 1 gang relay (6A)
  • toggle/push/rocker support with optional 2 way switch mode

Pay extra attention to the installation guide, as something rather new is going on here. While no-neutral installation is pretty straightforward, wiring up wall switches has to be done with caution. The two switching terminals are not equal.

S1-S2

Be very careful when connecting Sonoff ZBMINI-L to your wall switch. In a single switch configuration, use Live to route the connection through to the S2. In a 2-way switch configuration, use S1 and S2 to link both switches. Incorrect wiring may result in damaging the switch. Observe the instructions.

The switch comes with a mounting bracket (DIN rail compatible) and an awkward terminal which thankfully, you only have to remove once. It should fit into electrical brackets neatly as the switch is 54x45x24mm. Measure twice, leave space for an extra Wago connector if you do have live and neutral behind your wall switch.

Pairing

Switch pairs quickly with Sonoff ZB Hub, but the instruction also mentioned direct compatibility with Alexa speakers that come with ZigBee built-in. If you already own one, you won’t need a Sonoff ZB Hub at all. I don’t own any Echos like this, so you will have to take the ITEADs word for it.

To maximise compatibility with other hubs, the behaviour of the wall switching is defined by the hardware button on the device. Press it 3 times to enter different wall switch modes. Once added to the ecosystem, it shows up as a light switch toggle in the eWeLink app.

Sonoff ZBMINI-L in action

From there, it looks and acts like a ZigBee switch. It’s responsive, triggered from the cloud or through the wall switch. Integration with Alexa works fine and the device has a minimal delay. Nothing that would bother me in the long run.

As usual, it comes with built-in timers, schedules and a loop setting to toggle the output on and off. Further automation can be achieved with eWeLink scenes and for anyone keen on taking this further without getting a custom ZigBee coordinator, I recommend checking out the eWeLink API article that lets you control your Sonoff devices without the need for custom firmware.

Sonoff ZigBee range gets bigger every month, so if you want to know what else ITEAD has to offer in their affordable ZigBee series, take a look at this list

Inside

While I have it with me early, it’s worth taking a look inside to see what’s up. The device opens up nicely to reveal a couple of interesting secrets. The relay inside is rated for 16A, so the device’s current rating has more to do with the actual design of the board and heat dissipation than the relay itself.

The layout of the PCB reveals that S1 is fused with L-IN so for the sake of your health and the device’s operability DO NOT connect neutral through your switch or you will blow up mains.

CC2652 inside Sonoff ZBMINI-L
CC2652 inside Sonoff ZBMINI-L

Lastly, the ZigBee IC inside is CC2652 which is also present inside the Sonoff ZigBee dongle, which suggests that Sonoff ZBMINI-L will make for a fantastic router in your mesh. (apparently, power requirements in standby mode may prevent Sonoff ZBMINI-L from acting as a router, according to this conversation) There are no dev pads present, but that’s ok. I see no reason to flash these since they work with everything else as is.

NodeRED and ZigBee2MQTT

Considering the fact that Sonoff ZBMINI-L is compatible with Alexa Echo devices with ZigBee hubs built-in and the original Mini is already supported I anticipated no issues in NodeRED and ZigBee2MQTT. The device pairs as ZBMINI-L – but it’s not yet supported. That’s ok, since this is a carbon copy of the previous Mini, I can add the model number to the existing converter.

Open up /opt/zigbee2mqtt/node_modules/zigbee-herdsman-converters/devices/sonoff.js and add the model ZBMINI-L as shown below.

{
        zigbeeModel: ['01MINIZB', 'ZBMINI-L'],
        model: 'ZBMINI',
        vendor: 'SONOFF',
        description: 'Zigbee two way smart switch',
        extend: extend.switch(),
        configure: async (device, coordinatorEndpoint, logger) => {
            // Has Unknown power source: https://github.com/Koenkk/zigbee2mqtt/issues/5362, force it here.
            device.powerSource = 'Mains (single phase)';
            device.save();
        },

I already have guides about Alexa and Google Home integration, so if you want to add Sonoff ZB Mini to your Smart Home – check these out! If you are looking for a better coordinator, I have a list of them you can check out too:

Most popular coordinators:

Final thoughts

At just under $14 it’s a really good option for anyone looking for a ZigBee switch that works without a neutral wire. All jealous about the original Sonoff ZBMINI-L, now have an opportunity to outfit your home with this great in-wall smart switch. Enjoy the automation process and let me know what you think about the switch in this Reddit thread.

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