Moving From Philips Hue Hub to Home Assistant Zigbee

By hernil


Long story short: I needed some temperature readings in our apartment and wanted the measurements logged in Home Assistant (and thus available to act on with automations later on). Only hard requirements were HA integration and no Internet connection required. That means no cloud, no app no nothing. I ended up going with these from Aqara. They work over Zigbee, and even though I have some Philips Hue devices and a Hub/Bridge I would have to use a dedicated Zigbee controller to talk to them in Home Assistant.

Conbee II

In comes the Conbee II Zigbee gateway. Turns out all that was needed was one line in my docker-compose.yml to get Home Assistant to recognise it. So that now looks like this.

version: '3'
    container_name: homeassistant
    image: ""
      - ./config:/config
      - /etc/localtime:/etc/localtime:ro
      - TZ=Europe/Oslo
    restart: unless-stopped
    privileged: true
    network_mode: host
      - /dev/ttyACM0:/dev/ttyACM0 # <- This line here (technically the one before as well)

Note that the Conbee III is out, and potentially more future proof with regards to Matter support, but the II serves me just great for now. I would also look into Home Assistants own gateway SkyConnect to support the project. I came in blind for once and didn’t really research before buying.

Migrating from Philips Hue

Now to the meat of the post. I figured that having a dedicated Zigbee gateway might let me move away from the Hue Hub. We don’t really use the Hue app except to adopt new bulbs and devices and the recent-ish anouncement that the app and hub would require an account to keep working is the sort of thing that bugs me a lot. So not only would the move potentially be pretty painless, but it’s something I would do sooner or later anyway when the new account requirements go into effect.

Researching the process surfaced a lot of info that goes back a few years from the Home Assistant forums. Recommending to read this and that wiki entry to prepare for a move. It turns out the whole thing is super straight forward!

  1. Make sure you have some sort of overview of scenes, automations or whatever in the Hue app or probably in HA as well so you can recreate everything. The bulbs and devices will not retain their assigned roles when importing everything to Home Assistant. 1
  2. Delete a test device from the Hue app. This will put it in “pairing mode”. As Zigbee is a mesh network, consider using a device close to the Conbee II dongle, or at least not one very far away if you have a large house.
  3. Follow the instructions to add a new device using ZHA in Home Assistant. Honstly you’ll probably find it yourself if you’ve played around in the interface more than a few minutes.

Make sure your on test device is working as intended. Now rince and repeat with the other ones until everything is imported. Hopefully you don’t have hundreds of devices, but at least you will not need to physically move from the couch while doing this. When everything has been moved you can unplug the Hue Hub and store it. Or sell it. Or recycle it. I’m not your boss :-)


I now have 1 less box, 1 less app and one less potential future account leaking data from my house to whomever is the marketing department of the day wanting to know when my lights are turned on. And the wife even claimed that the lights were more snappy now - which if not placebo is probably from skipping an API call from HA to the Hue Hub, with HA just talking Zigbee natively.

What’s not to like?

  1. If you have a lot of devices and automations for this I would spend five more minutes actually reading some of the wiki entries recommended and see if there is a way to keep them when migrating. ↩︎

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