Engineer Omer Kilic has called for beta testers for ZOE, an open hardware Raspberry Pi add-on which combines Power over Ethernet (PoE) with Zigbee radio functionality — plus a battery-backed real-time clock (RTC) for good measure.
"ZOE is a[n IEEE] 802.15.4/Zigbee development board designed to be used alongside a Raspberry Pi," Kilic explains of his latest board design. "It follows the Raspberry Pi HAT Mechanical specification but it does not have the ID EEPROM therefore it is not really a HAT
"The Zigbee radio used is the TI [Texas Instruments] CC2530 along with CC2592 Range Extender (PA+LNA). This is a fairly common and mature chip combo, famously used by zigbee2mqtt and other open source Zigbee systems. Intended to be used as a Zigbee coordinator, ZOE also has RTC for time keeping and can (optionally) power both itself and the Raspberry Pi through passive 48V or IEEE 802.3af Power-over-Ethernet (PoE)."
Kilic is hoping that ZOE will prove handy for home automation tasks, and has been testing the board out himself with considerable success. "This is to help get rid of all the hubs you might have around the house," he notes. "I've been running zigbee2mqtt and Homeassistant with ZOE for almost a month now with my Hue bulbs along with Xiaomi and IKEA sensors/buttons etc."
While the hardware is mature, there's a little more work to be done before ZOE can be launched in early 2020 — and Kilic is calling for beta testers. "Looking for a couple of enthusiastic beta testers for this," he tweeted. "If you're actively using zigbee2mqtt/Homeassistant (or a similar CC2530/CC2531 based setup) on a Raspberry Pi and can help me test/finish up docs, I will send you free hardware. Ping me if you're interested."
More information on ZOE, including preliminary documentation, can be found on the Electrolama website.