Want to get started with HomeKit or expand your home automation network without spending a fortune? Well, we’ll show you how to use Aqara and its Hub E1.
Aqara offers us a wide variety of HomeKit accessories at very affordable prices, the only condition being that you must use one of these hubs to make it compatible with Apple’s home automation network. Today we explain how to add a plug, a motion sensor, a temperature, humidity and air quality sensor, and a configurable button, all via the affordable Hub E1. You’ll be surprised how easy it is and how little you need to invest.
Hub Aqara E1
This little device, which is a little bigger than a USB stick, is the key to adding all of our Aqara accessories to the HomeKit Home app. Made of white plastic, with a very discreet and articulated design, we can put it in a USB port on the back of our computer, TV or any device that has such a connection. We just need you to power it, so we don’t care where that port is. A USB charger is also perfect if we don’t have any available.
This small receiver uses the Zigbee 3.0 protocol to connect to Aqara’s other accessories, which means it uses a low-power, stable and long-distance connection. Connect up to 128 Aqara devices to it, all of which will automatically be compatible with HomeKit (as well as Google Assistant and Alexa). Also, the biggest advantage of using such a hub is that by not being connected to a router, you free up your WiFi network for other tasks, which is always a positive. The Hub E1 itself does connect to your WiFi network (2,4GHz), the configuration process via the Aqara app is very simple (link), they point out all the steps to add it not only to the manufacturer’s own app but also to HomeKit . In the video you can see it in detail.
Add other accessories to the Hub E1
Once the Aqara Hub is added to the Aqara app and HomeKit, we can start adding other Aqara accessories. The binding process is always the same: we must always use the Aqara app to add accessories to the Hub and it automatically appears in HomeKit. In the video you can see how each of the accessories we analyze in this article is added , and you can verify that it’s a very simple process in all cases.
This Air Quality, Temperature and Humidity Sensor This is a small station that provides us with all the necessary information to improve the comfort of our room. Its e-ink screen is ideal for viewing information with minimal power consumption without the aid of your phone, which means you can have more than a year of autonomy with just two CR2450 batteries (replaceable). It’s so small, we can place it anywhere, and we can attach it to any metal surface, thanks to the included magnetic sticker, or using traditional adhesives.
The buttons at the top of the device allow us to change the information displayed on the screen, there is not much to control on the device. But the information it gives us is very useful, not only to understand it, but also to create automation based on that information, such as turning on the exhaust fan when the air quality in the bathroom drops, or turning on the purifier in the room, etc.
Home automation switches are a great idea to be able to do things without using your phone or virtual assistant. This way, you can use physical buttons to turn lights on, turn them off, or perform other automated actions, which can be handy in some situations or in homes for users who don’t want or can’t use a phone. Aqara provides us with a switch that you can perform three actions by pressing a simple button.
The Aqara Mini Switch is very small and looks like a traditional switch. A button will be responsible for doing what you configure, as I show you in the video, either from the Aqara app itself or from the Casa app. You can configure three actions, depending on whether you press it once, twice, or three times. A simple CR2032 coin cell battery can give you up to two years of battery life (depending on how you use it). Adhesive is included in the box so you can stick it to any surface.
Motion Sensor P1
Aqara has updated its motion sensor, keeping its design but improving its performance. This new P1 sensor has up to 5 years of autonomy, so when you have to replace the old battery (2x CR2450), you will completely forget about it. Its task is to detect any kind of actions and execute actions through those actions. . It also includes a light sensor, so you can also use it to turn on the lights when there’s not much light in the room. All of these automations can be configured in the Casa app or the Aqara app, just like any other accessory. Creating your own alarm system at home is also a very fun element.
The motion detection is adjustable in angle and distance. We can choose the detection angle of 170º and 2 meters, or the detection angle of 150º and 7 meters. We can also adjust the three detection levels (low, medium, high) and we can also configure the wait time before activation, from 1 to 200 seconds. The design of the sensor allows it to be placed on any surface, thanks to the hinged feet it contains, we can place it on the ceiling, wall or any other flat surface.
The last accessory we’re going to add to the Hub E1 is the Smart Plug, an essential piece of equipment in any home automation system. Very compact design that fits European plugs and has a physical button that allows us to activate or deactivate it manually, this type of home automation accessory is ideal for controlling the on and off of appliances such as coffee machines, purifiers, lamps, fans or water heaters . We can create automations so that they turn on or off at specific times, when a door is opened, or a detector is activated.
The plug has overheating and overload protection, and in addition to being able to control all the devices you plug in, you can also see how much energy your connected devices use. You can plug in any device with power up to 2300W without any problems. It also has an LED on the front that informs you of the status.
Bridges or hubs are often disliked elements by users because they represent the extra cost of accessories we want to add to our home automation network. However, Aqara provides us with a very affordable hub with very good features, it also has the advantage that it allows us to add its branded accessories to HomeKit at an affordable price, all without making our router The WiFi connection is saturated, and thanks to the stability and wide coverage of the Zigbee protocol. You can buy the Hub E1 and other accessories on Amazon: