Mi Home devices, experiences and fails...


Record

Members
Oct 1, 2018
8
15
Hi there, in the last few months I have bought and installed various Mi Home connected devices in my house...

Most of them work flawlessly, but with some of them I have encountered a few issues... I will try to write about them here.

First of all here are the devices I have now:

Air quality monitor (PM2,5 measure)
IR remote blaster
Rice cooker
Mi hub Gateway (new version)
Door and window sensors
Human body motion sensors (both versions)
Temperature and humidity sensor
Yeelight color lamps
IMI home security camera
Hualai Xiaofang camera
Aqara gateway camera
Water leak sensor
Smoke sensor
A couple of simple switches
Round switch (more functions than the simple ones)
Vima smart lock

And I am waiting for the new motion sensor (not IR body sensor, the one you place on an object you want to monitor its movement, such as a door or window), it is on back order for the moment.

All of the above is connected to the MiHome app, which is of course set with location Mainland China because some of the devices would not work otherwise (like the PM2,5 monitor or the IR blaster)

I cannot enter into details about every one of the above devices, it would take ages...
But the idea was to build a nice home automation and security package at a relatively low cost
And it seems that it is working (toghether with a set of Philips Hue lams, a Netatmo thermostat and weather station and three WiFi routers)!!

The idea behind the Mi products was to use them as a security system (the body sensors, the door and window sensors, the gateway, the lock etc), monitoring and security (the cameras) and lighting scheduling and automation (the Yeelights).

I have sucessfully connected and programed all the above and created automation scenarios that notify me in case movement is detected by the cameras or the sensors when I am away. I also can operate me A/C units remotely using the 2 IR remotes, monitor air quality, get notified if there is smoke in the kitchen, a water leak beneath the sink (where the dish washer also lies) and get readings of the temperature and humidity in a room where I haven't installed a Netatmo module (I have three of those in the other rooms). I use the gateway as an intrusion alarm, in combination with some of the sensors.

The good thing with the Mi devices is that you can create several kinds of automation scenarios by combining readings from different devices (the temperature sensor, the air quality sensor, the door and window ones etc) and create commands for the other devices (such as the A/C units or the lamps) or send notifications to your phone.
I am using the switches to arm the gateway alarm, to turn on and off the Yeelight bulbs and as a doorbell (rings the gateway bell and sends notification to my phone). I can also program them to record a short video clip from the cameras when pushed if I want (this can be useful in combination with the doorbell function if you have a camera installed in front of the house entrance, which I will do in the future).

Here are some problems that I have encountered:

The fact that the region is set at Mainland China means that some of the devices set the time automatically at Shanghai time zone. The rice cooker for instance works and displays Shanghai time and when I have to program it to prepare the rice for a specific time, I have to calculate the time difference and set it accordingly. Some other ones are more confused, like the Yeelight bulbs that I have programmed a schedule using local time and it worked, but later I found out that the times had changed and the ones displayed now are Shanghai ones. I think that the schedule works fine, though...

Some of the devices that are meant to be sold only in China have some of the menus in the app only in Chinese. The biggest problems came with the IR blaster, where all the commands available for the A/C units are in Chinese, so I have to guess which button is for cooling, which is for heating etc. Forunately, for some of them there are symbols, too...

Although one of the human body sensors I have has also an ambient light sensor (lux meter), it cannot be used to create an automation to set a device (a lamp, usually) to operate when it gets dark. I just wanted the lamps to turn on when the sun sets and turn off again when it rises in the morning, but it is not possible using the sensor. It is only possible to use preset times for sunset and sunrise, which would be fine if the range of available locations to choose from were not only Chinese cities. If I chose a different region in the MiHome app this would probably change, but then a big part of the devices I have would stop working too, so I choose to rather not do this...

The door lock, a new product if I am not mistaken is pretty cool. It protects the lock from being picked and alerts you if an unauthorised key is inserted. You can allow any ones of the 5 keys provided to unlock the lock at a given moment. You can create automation scenarios in case an unautorised key is inserted, or if you just forget to take the key out of the lock after opening the door. You can also see which authorised key is used to open the door and when, all day long... Nice. Negatives? Yes, some of the menus are still in Chinese (the automation menu, for example) and it seems that there is no way to disable the warning signal when you leave a key on the lock, in case you need to do that.

The Aqara gateway camera is nice, too. And there is a way to make it send push notifications to your phone when it senses movement, by creating an appropriate automation scenario.

The Hualai Xiaofang camera is good because it gives you a totally spherical view of everything around it ! The image quality is not that great, though. This is probably because the image is anamorphic and this is done using software...

The rice cooker rocks ! I haven't tasted better cooked rice !! And it can make yoghurt and several other things, too. Steamed vegetables are super easy and well cooked.

I still have to get the Robot vacuum, but it is quite expensive, will do it in the future (with a furry dog and two cats in the house it will be quite useful)

There you are, please don't hesitate to ask questons about all the above if you feel the urge...

Cheers

George
 
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Kiri Meister

Members
Mar 28, 2019
7
3
Nice summary, thanks! Anyone figured out since how to set the proper local time in the Rice Cooker without changing Mainland China? It is really annoying...

Gabor
 

Record

Members
Oct 1, 2018
8
15
I haven't found a way, unfortunately. If you only have the one device, you are not obliged to set Mainland China as your region, because I think the rice cooker can operate in Europe, too (maybe in the US, who knows)... Xiaomi exports it to Europe through their official importers.
 

Kiri Meister

Members
Mar 28, 2019
7
3
They do export it and it's official, but if you set it to something else than Mainland China, it won't show some of the menu points (e.g. rice type selection, bar code scanning), therefore it is pretty useless. The wierd thing is that these menu points only appear if you also set the language to chinese, so you have to learn those menu points in advance and also how to switch back to english. Quite cumbersome. It there any way the complain and to ask for improvement?
 

cobben

Members
Dec 2, 2017
936
82
Can the rice cooker read non-China barcodes successfully (European, etc.), and correctly identify the exact type of rice?
 

Record

Members
Oct 1, 2018
8
15
That's what I thought (about the Chinese language) and didn't bother. It works fine without the rice identification. I use it for basmati, jasmine and less often other types of rice as well as quinoa without any problem. I also steam veggies...
 

Record

Members
Oct 1, 2018
8
15
The app itself has a setting for steaming veggies. I just fill the pot with water up to the mark numbered "2", put the veggies in the plastic bowl and press the corresponding button in the app. It takes half an hour and the veggies are nicely steamed.
As for the quinoa, I measure water quantity the same way as with rice and use the "quick rice" setting in the app... it comes out pretty good !
 

dimitarrupanov

Members
May 5, 2019
3
13
Hi, i have too some devices from Xiaomi. I want just one- to listen radio from Europe in Xiaomi Gateway 2. I find some solution from Russia and change the station whit russian and some others from Europe. But i want more.
 

vsandu

Members
Aug 16, 2019
3
3
Very good, thank you! I've just bought the Mi hub and some sensors.
I am on the Germany server now because that is the recommended one in the UK.
Totally surprised the the Aqara temp and humidity sensor are incompatible with the Mi hub at least at the moment on this server.
But there you go, Getting into compatibility and servers issues now like anybody else.
 

vsandu

Members
Aug 16, 2019
3
3
I think you are right. Everybody does it so that is the way.
It could be a long wait for all those sensors to be made available on the European servers...
Which device are you using as a Bluetooth BLE gateway? Have you tried the Aqara cube?
Many thanks again!
 

aluisperezh

Members
Jun 27, 2018
8
15
I know this is not exactly what you are looking for, but I'm using several Xiaomi domotics devices integrated with many other brands without problems by using Home Assistant software. You can even use most Xiaomi devices without the gateway. And automations are much more powerful that with Mi Home, besides many other interesting things...
 
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vsandu

Members
Aug 16, 2019
3
3
I know this is not exactly what you are looking for, but I'm using several Xiaomi domotics devices integrated with many other brands without problems by using Home Assistant software. You can even use most Xiaomi devices without the gateway. And automations are much more powerful that with Mi Home, besides many other interesting things...
I'll give it a go. Thank you! The problem is to activate dev mode in the Mi Home App as this has been removed from the Mi app.