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  • Home Automation, Raspberry Pi
    6 min | 32167

    #Raspberry Pi: Controlling Philips HUE Lights (ZigBee & CC2531)

    Home Automation, Raspberry Pi | 6 min | 32167

    This article extends the tutorial about and the Xiaomi Aqara Sensors that I've published months ago. That tutorial is part of the series of articles about Zigbee and the Rasbperry Pi using the CC2531 USB dongle. Here are the links:

    Fig. 1: Philips HUE Lightstrip.

    In Zigbee: Xiaomi Sensors using Raspberry Pi (...), I didn't mention that same "hacking" can be used to control Philips HUE lights. This means, you don't need to buy the Philips Hue Bridge (€45) to control the HUE lights and you can replace it with a Raspberry Pi, a CC2531 USB dongle and

    This article summarizes the above mentioned tutorials. Thus, if you need detailed information about the steps, please refer to those links.

    Hardware and Software

    The following hardware and software will be used in this tutorial:


    The DIY tutorial is divided in two main parts. The first part is related with the configuration of the needed hardware, and the second part describes the software needed on Raspbian.


    To get started, you need to flash a new firmware to the ZigBee CC2351 USB dongle. To do that, you can choose between two options:

    The first option is the easiest, but you need to spend some more money (about +$10). The second option requires some electronic skills (soldering and cabling). Both options work on the hardware listed above.

    Docker and

    You need to install Docker to start with this part of the tutorial. Therefore, log in to your Raspberry PI (remotely or locally) and type the following into a terminal:

    curl -sSL | sh
    sudo usermod -aG docker pi

    The following terminal lines deploy a dockerized running version of Home Assistant. Actually, it creates a service that deploys the hassio-supervisor container, which then pulls and runs the raspberrypi3-homeassistant container. This means that you can still use Raspbian on the Raspberry Pi and install add-ons using the add-ons section.

    FYI: You can install Home Assistant using the official docker tutorial or using Python virtual environment and typing python3 -m pip install homeassistant. But, then you cannot directly install any add-ons using the web interface (the option is not available). You can download the image and flash on a micro SD card, but then you get HassOS as a custom OS and not Raspbian.
    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install -y apparmor-utils apt-transport-https avahi-daemon ca-certificates curl dbus jq network-manager socat software-properties-common
    wget ""
    chmod +x
    sudo ./ -m raspberrypi4

    If you are using using another SoC like e.g. Orange Pi, check the home assistant registry images and replace the argument raspberrypi4 (in my case Raspberry Pi 4B+) with the corresponding, e.g.: orangepi-prime for the Orange-Pi Prime.

    Some notes and tips after installing Home Assistant:

    Note 1: If you want to stop everything, you need to type the following:
    sudo systemctl stop hassio-supervisor.service
    This stops the armhf-hassio-supervisor container and then you can stop all the other running containers. Otherwise, the containers will start automatically after you stop them.
    To start the service again, type the following:
    sudo systemctl start hassio-supervisor.service
    Note 2: If you need to update the version, type the following on a terminal/console:
    sudo docker pull homeassistant/raspberrypi3-homeassistant:latest
    sudo systemctl stop hassio-supervisor.service
    sudo systemctl start hassio-supervisor.service
    sudo reboot

    Installing Zigbee2mqtt

    After installing, you can access Home Assistant pointing to http://<ip-address>:8123. Home Assistant will ask you to set up a username and password.

    Then, follow these steps to pair the Philips HUE lights:

    1. Go to (on the left menu) and add the as repository (see Fig. 2).
    2. Look for the Mosquitto broker add-on and install it.
    3. Set the configuration to the following (I added login credentials to the MQTT broker. Alternative, you can set anonymous to true) and start the add-on:
      "logins": [
      "anonymous": false,
      "customize": {
      "active": false,
      "folder": "mosquitto"
      "certfile": "fullchain.pem",
      "keyfile": "privkey.pem",
      "require_certificate": false
    4. Then, look for the zigbee2mqtt add-on and install it.
    5. Set the configuration (add the login credentials - more options are available here) to the following and start the add-on (the default options have an error, the password key should be password and not pass!):
      "data_path": "/share/zigbee2mqtt",
      "devices": "devices.yaml",
      "groups": "groups.yaml",
      "homeassistant": true,
      "permit_join": false,
      "mqtt": {
      "base_topic": "zigbee2mqtt",
      "server": "mqtt://<ip-address>:1883",
      "user": "yourusername",
      "password": "yourpassword"

      You need to have the USB-ZigBee dongle connected before you start the add-on. The permit_join option should be set to true to pair the ZigBee lights. Once you joined all devices, set permit_join to false for security reasons. Every time you change a setting, you need to restart the add-on.

    6. Go to Configuration->Integrations, and configure the MQTT add-on selecting the Enable discovery option (see Fig. 3).
    7. Connect the Philips HUE light to the power outlet and wait.
    8. Go to click on the zigbee2mqtt extension and scroll down to the Log. You should see something like Fig 4.
    9. The light should be available on the Overview page as in Fig. 5. The result of that configuration is shown in Fig. 1.
    10. Once you joined all lights and devices (you can also add [Aqara sensors], do not forget to set the permit_join variable to false! and restart the add-on.
    When you paired your strip, you should then backup the database.db file. Do this, especially if you don't have any Philips HUB bridge like myself.

    Some Philips LEDs strips have to be reseted in order to connect to another hub and this can be only done by software using a Philips HUE bridge (some new ones have a button). Thus, if you format your Raspberry Pi, and you want to re-pair your LEDs, it could be a little bit tricky. But, if you backup the database.db, you can add it again without any problem.

    You need to list the running containers typing docker container ls and run bash inside the zigbee2mqtt-armhf (docker exec -it CONTAINER-ID /bin/bash). Inside the container you can cat the file /share/zigbee2mqtt/database.db and copy the database contents. Check the following:
    root@orangepizero:~# docker container ls
    CONTAINER ID        IMAGE                                              [...]
    21462b915728        dwelch2101/zigbee2mqtt-armhf:1.8.0                 [...]
    root@orangepizero:~# docker exec -it 21462b915728 /bin/bash
    bash-5.0# cat /share/zigbee2mqtt/database.db
    {"id":1,"type":"Coordinator","ieeeAddr": [...]
    {"id":5,"type":"Router",[...] "manufacturerName":"Philips","powerSource" [...]}
    Then, you can replace the file on a new system with that content, or you can add only the Philips HUE bridge as an end device on the list using the vi command.

    The Xiaomi/Aqara sensors do not have this problem, and can be always paired to a new system.
    Fig. 2: running on Raspbian.

    Fig. 3: MQTT configuration: Enable discovery mode option.

    Screenshot from 2019-12-01 20-04-52.png
    Fig. 4: zigbee2mqtt log: Philips HUE Lightstrip found and added.

    Screenshot from 2019-12-01 20-06-00.png
    Fig. 5: Philips HUE Lightstrip control panel.


    This article extends the tutorials about the Zigbee Gateways replacements using a Raspberry Pi. In this case, the Philips HUE Bridge is replaced with a Raspberry Pi and a CC2531 USB dongle. and the Zigbee2mqtt add-ons enable the Raspberry Pi to connect to the HUE lights and control them. HUE lights can be combined with Aqara sensors and using rules, it is possible to switch them on using the signal of a PIR sensor, or change their colors according to the ambient temperature.