Greetings to all Mi-fans!
This is my first post in Global Mi Comunity to tell you about Xiaomi's Smart Ecosystem devices. Me and Mark are going to post new articles about the devices we take our hands two times a month. Hope you'll like them. So today I am going to talk about a set of devices, which is made for us to help starting a smarthome from scratch. That's Mi Smart Sensor Set. Yes, it's the starting point for those, who want to make their homes smart. Let me explain why.
If you are a hardcore Xiaomi fan, you must've heard a lot about new devices from Mi-ecosystem presented every month or two. However, only small part of these devices are able to work standalone by connecting to your smartphones via WiFi or Bluetooth. And these are mostly gadgets like cameras, TVs, TV boxes, vacuum cleaners etc. And when we speak about devices like switches or sensors, we should understand they need something to connect to your smartphone through - because both WiFi and Bluetooth depend on power whereas these devices can't carry a big enough battery inside. This is a point where we need another technology (or protocol) to help us. The one that is called ZigBee - a protocol created especially for smarthome appliances. It's more power-effective and devices inside ZigBee networks not only work in receiver-transmitter mode, but also become retranslators for their neighbour devices. To interconnect your ZigBee network built of smarthome devices with a smartphone (actually, with WiFi network) Xiaomi created a gateway - Mi Control Hub. It works in both networks/protocols and let's your sensors and devices communicate.
Mi Smart Sensor Set is a Global version of widely known Chinese Mi Smart Home Kit. This Set is packaged with more devices and has EU-power plug. Mi Smart Sensor Set is shipped in a white package (Chinese one is red). You can see a photo of the set itself on a front panel alongside with a small title saying what you bought. Xiaomi and MiJia logos are there on the two side faces. On the back there is a traditional sticker with the technical information about the device and a description of the equipment.
Another box is extracted from this package (like in a russian fairy tale about Koshchey the Immortal) - the company's usual cover-bottom box, which reliably protects our set from mechanical damage during transportation. After opening this box we finally reach to the devices placed inside it.
The Set for the Global market contains the following devices (left to right):
1. A pair of small, but widely-functional motion sensors - Mi Motion Sensor
2. The Gateway itself - Mi Control Hub
3. A pair of door/window sensors - Mi Window and Door Sensor
4. Wireless button - Mi Wireless Switch
The tab on the right side of the box is a part of envelope containing a clip for resetting the sensors, a manual in English and a set of double-sided tape for attaching the sensors to any surfaces. All these components are placed in a molded plastic pallet. Just FYI, there is nothing interesting under it.
All components' cases are made of durable white PC/ABS plastic and have a matte surface. There are no noticeable fingerprints on their surfaces after touching them. Both the gateway and the sensors are are assembled pretty well, with no squeks or backlashes. Let's see each device separately.
Mi Control Hub
This is the most important component of the set. Its case is made of two parts separated by the buil-in RGB-backlight diffuser. The case is quite small - 80 mm in diameter and 30 mm in height (not taking the plug into account). The front panel perforation has spiral pattern with the MiJia logo in the center. There is a button on the upper-side part of the front panel for controlling the gateway and resetting it (yes, it doesn't need the clip). The speaker, used for playing alerts (in Chinese version it's used for playing music as well), is placed behind the front panel. There's also a hidden light sensor there to activate scenarios based on the light conditions. The rear part is taken by the power plug. The perforation on it provides Mi Control Hub with passive cooling. The gateway is powered by a standard 220V socket and supports WiFi 802.11 b/g/n networks (2.4 GHz band), as well as ZigBee protocol.
Mi Wireless Switch
The second component of the set is a button for wireless control of the smart home - Mi Wireless Switch. This button allows you to activate various scenarios and functions of smarthome devices using light clicks. It is made in a small size - only 50 mm in diameter and 13 mm in height.
There is MiJia logo on the top side of the button. On its bottom side there is an informative sticker, a reset pinhole and an LED indicator (blue light when active). Also, a double-sided tape is already applied to it and the switch can be mounted on a wall or any other surface. Fixing the switch with the help of it is very reliable - don't worry, it won't come off. The switch works with ZigBee protocol, so it will not work without a gateway.
Mi Motion Sensor
The set includes two motion sensors - Mi Motion Sensor. Their purpose is to activate scenarios when motion is detected in a room (turn the light on, send a notification about movement, activate cameras, etc.). The height of the sensor is 33 mm, and the diameter is just 30 mm.
MiJia logo is there on the upper side of this sensor, and the sensor info is on the bottom. Unlike the switch, the motion sensor has no double-sided tape on the bottom, but there is a soft silicone lining. The side face of the sensor has a lens, behind which an infrared pyroelectric sensor is hidden. The reset button is located on the side face of the sensor and a clip is required to press it. Mi Motion Sensor does not have holders with hinge mechanism, so by default it can be mounted only on walls or horizontal surfaces. However, there are multiple models for 3D printers. You can separately purchase the holders for similar Aqara sensors. Without a gateway, motion sensors do not work - they use ZigBee.
Mi Window and Door Sensor
Just like motion sensors, these are represented by the two copies sized 40.8x20.8x11 mm. Each window/door sensor consists of two elements - the main sensor (larger in the photo) and a magnet. The principle of operation is extremely simple - when the main sensor is placed in the magnetic field, the door or window is considered closed. As soon as the effect of the magnetic field weakens, the sensor sends a signal to the gateway about opening the door or window.
On the front side of the main sensor, the manufacturer's logo and the LED indicator are placed. On the back - technical specifications and double-sided tape, with which the sensor is attached to the door or window. On the side face there is a hole for reset and a slot for opening the sensor. The Mi Window and Door Sensor accompanying part has only double-sided adhesive tape on its back. Both parts of the sensor have marks on the side faces, designed to properly position them against each other. This sensor works with ZigBee.
Both the sensors and the switch are powered by coin-cells. Since the ZigBee protocol is very energy efficient, one battery can last for about 2 years of continuous operation of any of the described components of the kit. However, the batteries used are different. Mi Wireless Switch uses CR2032 batteries, Mi Motion Sensor is powered by CR2450, and Mi Window and Door Sensor uses CR1632 cells. Replacing the batteries is easy - just open the sensor and replace an old battery with the new one.
Connection and management
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Mi Smart Sensor Set can be managed using the global version of Mi Home app. You need to connect the Mi Control Hub first - plug it in a power socket and wait until it says you to open the app (it will be blinking yellow). Open the app and start adding new device. Wait for the gateway to get discovered. Next you will help it connect to the WiFi network and set some options. After you finish the process your Mi Control Hub will show up on Mi Home main page. It will also automatically couple with the sensors from the kit. Now you can start creating your scenarios and changing your devices' settings.
The scenarios are described by simple "If-Then" logic, which can depend on one or more signals sent by your sensors. They can be used for controlling other devices from Mi-ecosystem (vacuum cleaners, air conditioners, air purifiers etc.) and are only limited by your imagination and the devices you have at home.
Now, when you have Mi Smart Sensor Set, you can start building a plan for your home digitalization. Choose the sensors and devices you like, install them, set scenarios. As for me, I am planning to automate my appartment lighting first and then move on to other actions like automatic curtains control, air conditioning control etc. I will try to gradually cover these in my next articles. What I definitely know as of now is this set is the best point to start building smart home with - I actually checked the market and Mi Smart Sensor Set is the only good option in terms of quality, price and expandability.
Thanks for reading my article! Feel free to ask any questions you have. See you soon!