Tuya Zigbee Infrared IR Remote ZS06 Review

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When you first start diving into the Smart Home world, you start wondering how can you automate your dumb devices, such as Air Conditioners, Humidifiers, TV and Sound Systems. While some can be easily integrated in Home Assistant if they have the capability to form a network connection, others are completely offline and are controlled simply by an Infrared remote.

Googling around for smart IR blasters, you will probably come across the Broadlink RM Remote Control, which has been around for a while now and has it’s own Home Assistant Integration. The Broadlink is a Wi-Fi-based device, with a capable IR blaster that clones your IR remote codes and fires them on demand, thus controlling your dumb home electronics.

In this review, I am testing something similar, an IR Blaster Remote model ZS06 by Tuya, but instead of Wi-Fi it’s Zigbee based, something a lot of home automation users prefer.

Tuya Zigbee IR Remote Blaster SmartHomeScene.com

I bought this device for $15 on AliExpress after coins discount, but it’s also available on Amazon as a Wi-Fi version ONLY for a similar price.

A battery operated version of this IR Blaster is also available, white labelled UFO-R11, which costs ~$18 and also be bought on AliExpress (Zigbee) or Amazon (Zigbee).

Technical Specification

  • Model: ZS06
  • Input: 5V1A
  • Communication: Zigbee 802.15.4
  • Size: 50x50x19mm
  • IR Frequency: 38KHz
  • IR Range: ≤12m
  • Working Humidity: 10-85%RH
  • Working Temperature: -10°C ~ 60°C

Disassembly

The Tuya ZS06 IR Remote Blaster comes in a package containing the device itself, a user manual, USB-A to Micro USB cable and a double-sided adhesive sticker for installation. There is no 5V1A adapter in the box, you will have to supply it yourself.

Tuya Zigbee IR Remote Blaster Package Contents

It surprised me how tiny it really is, which just further puffed up my curiosity of taking a peak inside. It has very unanimous body, deep black color and sleek edges.

A Micro-USB port is placed on the bottom on one side, for powering the remote with a 5V1A adapter. An indicator LED is peaking through a small hole on the top of the device, indicating pairing mode, code sent or read etc.

On the backside, a small pairing button is protruding in the corner under the label with it’s most basic characteristics. Overall, a good design which was instantly appealing to me.

Tuya Zigbee IR Remote Blaster Case Front and Back

There are no screws holding the case together, I had to pry it open, which was no match for my flat head screwdriver and gave up without a fight.

This device handles Zigbee communication by a Tuya ZS3L Module [Datasheet], which is based on a 32-bit low-power Arm Cortex-M33 core, 768-KB flash memory, and 64-KB RAM, with rich peripherals. This module operates on channels 11 – 26@2.400-2.483GHz, 250 Kbit/s air interface rate.

This Tuya Module also operates a few other Tuya devices that I’ve reviewed, such as the excellent Tuya ZY-M100 Human Presence Sensor, the Tuya Single Clamp Energy Meter PJ-MGW1203 and the Tuya 4-Button Touch Remote S011.

Tuya Zigbee IR Remote Blaster Case Open

Removing and flipping over the PCB, reveals a cluster of IR Diodes spread out to cover a 360° angle. They are angled slightly upwards, so they send IR signals in the correct direction, considering this device is meant to be laid out on a flat surface. Very neat, clean and good looking PCB.

Tuya Zigbee IR Remote Blaster Diodes Cluster

Top and bottom view of the main PCB, if for whatever reason you decide to buy the Wi-Fi version of this device, the ZS3L would be replaced with an equivalent Wi-Fi module by Tuya.

Tuya Zigbee IR Remote Blaster Top and Bottom of PCB

Home Assistant Integration

The Tuya ZS06 Zigber IR Blaster Remote is compatible with Zigbee2MQTT and ZHA with a custom quirk. Learning and sending codes is easy with Zigbee2MQTT, but it is a little more involved with ZHA.

To pair the device, simply hold the button for ~5 seconds until the LED indicator starts flashing.

Zigbee2MQTT

Tuya Zigbee IR Remote Blaster Zigbee2MQTT

In Zigbee2MQTT, it is identified as model ZS06 and manufacturer _TZ3290_7v1k4vufotpowp9z. Those gibberish numbers are a unique identifier for the device in Z2M. The device is also a router, capable or relaying Zigbee traffic to your coordinator. It exposes the following entities in Home Assistant:

Tuya Zigbee IR Remote Blaster Zigbee2MQTT Entities

  • switch: learn_id_code
    • Put’s the device in code learning mode
  • sensor: learned_ir_code
    • Remembers the last code it learned
  • Linkquality: Signal quality in LQI

Learning and Sending Codes

Right from the Zigbee2MQTT dashboard, we can learn and send IR codes. Follow this procedure to test it:

  • Click the ON button on the learn_ir_code entity
    • The LED on the device should light up blue
  • Point your remote to the device and click the button you want to clone ONCE
  • The code will appear in the learned_ir_code field
  • Copy-paste the code in the ir_code_to_send field to test it (Click away to trigger)
  • If it works, save it in a document somewhere and label it
  • We will use it to create a script which we will use to send codes through the dashboard or automation

Once you’ve confirmed the code works, navigate to Settings > Automations & Scenes > Scripts > + Add Script:

#Replace Device ID (Friendly name from Zigbee2MQTT) and IR Code
alias: "AC Remote: Turn ON" #Zigbee2MQTT Script
sequence:
  - service: mqtt.publish
    data:
      payload: >-  #Replace IR Code
        {"ir_code_to_send": "De0R7REwApEG9gEwAjACAHC8AZEGgAsJMAIwApEG9gGRBoAHAT=="} 
      topic: zigbee2mqtt/Tuya ZS06 IR Remote/set #Replace Device ID
mode: single
Code language: YAML (yaml)

Let’s assume your device fires two different codes for ON/OFF: First code turns ON the device, the second code turns OFF the device. We can create a template switch, which will be toggleable in Home Assistant, thus turning the device on/off by firing the correct code:

#Replace Device ID (Friendly name from Zigbee2MQTT) and IR Codes
switch:
  - platform: template
    switches:
      living_room_ac:
        turn_on:
          service: mqtt.publish
          data:
            payload: >- #Replace IR Code
              {"ir_code_to_send": "De0R7REwApEG9gEwAjACAHC8AZEGgAsJMAIwApEG9gGRBoAHAT=="} 
            topic: zigbee2mqtt/Tuya ZS06 IR Remote/set #Replace Device ID
        turn_off:
          service: mqtt.publish
          data:
            payload: >- #Replace IR Code
              {"ir_code_to_send": "pEG9gEwAjACAHC8AZEGgAEGgAsJMAIwApEGsJMiofEG9gGR6AT=="} 
            topic: zigbee2mqtt/Tuya ZS06 IR Remote/set #Replace Device ID
Code language: YAML (yaml)

ZHA

The Tuya ZS06 and the battery operated version UFO-R11 are not officially supported in ZHA. However, a custom quirk has been developed by someone on the Github device request page which works fine. Setting it up is a little involved, but If you must use ZHA this the only way currently.

To apply this custom quirk in ZHA:
1. Download the quirk ts1201.py
2. Place it in config/custom_zha_quirks (create the folder)
3. Add the path to your configuration.yaml file
4. Reboot Home Assistant

zha:
  custom_quirks_path: /config/custom_zha_quirks/
Code language: YAML (yaml)

Learning and Sending Codes

Learning mode must be set by clicking Manage Zigbee Device, selecting the custom cluster and issuing the Zigbee Command:

Tuya Zigbee IR Remote Blaster ZS06 VS Broadlink RM4 Pro

I happen to have a Broadlink RM4 Pro lying around, I used to employ it as an AC controller a while back. Ever since I changed my air conditioner with a smarter one, I have no real use for it now and it’s been lying in a box for months. Some general specs comparing the two:

SpecsBroadlink RM4 ProTuya IR ZS06
Blaster Type:IR + RFIR
Infrared Frequency:38KHz38KHz
Infrared Range:10m12m
Infrared Direction:360°360°
Learning Mode:YesYes
Connectivity:Wi-FiZigbee
Dimensions:85x85x31mm50x50x19mm

The table compares the applicable specs of the Broadlink in relation to the Tuya ZS06. The Broadlink RM4 Pro is superior in almost every other aspect and equipped with a 315/433MHz RF Blaster with up to 50m of range. But it’s also 2 times the price and size!

To the test the IR blaster capabilities of both, I placed them on a bookcase in my living room. I setup the Broadlink through it’s official integration in Home Assistant and used Zigbee2MQTT for the Tuya ZS06. I cloned a few buttons of various IR appliances and blasted away.

The Broadlink has a maximum declared range of 10 meters, while the Tuya is specced at 12 meters, which may be a bit of an overstatement. Tinkering with their blaster I came to the conclusion that neither IR Blaster is superior, they both executed my codes without issues at ~10 meters. That said, the Broadlink feels like the more premium device.

It’s important to note, the Broadlink RM4 Pro is a higher end device, hence the $50 price tag. Broadlink also offers a cheaper variant without an RF radio at half the price ($25), Broadlink RM4 Mini.

Verdict

The Tuya ZS06 is a capable little infrared blaster remote. Integration in Zigbee2MQTT is seamless and easy, I wish the same can be said about ZHA. A custom quirk is required to use the device in ZHA, and learning and sending codes is a little more involved, but doable. In summary:

Pros

  • Incredibly small
    • Can be easily hidden
  • Operates as a Zigbee router
  • Capable IR Blaster
    • Tested at ~10 meters
  • Device independent code learning
    • You don’t need a database of pre-learned codes
  • Unlimited codes
    • Since codes are stored in your Home Assistant database, you can record as many as you want

Cons

  • Not officially supported in ZHA
    • Custom quirk is required
    • Learning and sending codes is more difficult
  • 5V1A adapter not included

Two things stand out to me from the capabilities of the ZS06.

1. It’s Zigbee instead of Wi-Fi, which means It’s completely local by design
2. It’s incredibly small, which makes hiding it somewhere really easy

What’s also great, there is a battery operated version of the Tuya ZS06, version white labelled UFO-R11 sold by Moes. It’s identical to the Tuya ZS06, but relies on 2xAAA batteries instead of USB delivered 5V1A. The device looks almost identical, carrying the same IR Blaster but is a tad bigger on account of the batteries.

If you are looking to deploy a couple of these, I would suggest going for the battery operated version. It will spend it’s life sleeping and consuming very little power, essentially lasting 6-12 months. Plus, no cables means a more hidden, concealed and versatile installation with the included sticker.

Where to buy?

If you are looking to automate an old IR operated device, the ZS06 is a really cost effective option. If you don’t want to deal with cabling and adapters, go for the battery operated version UFO-R11.

NOTE: The ZS06 Model is only available as a Wi-Fi version on Amazon, so I suggest buying the Zigbee one from AliExpress instead. The battery operated UFO-R11 Zigbee version is available both on Amazon and AliExpress:

Tuya Zigbee IR Blaster ZS06 ~ $14-16
Tuya Zigbee IR Remote Blaster ZS06 Buy SmartHomeScene



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Tuya Zigbee IR Blaster UFO-R11 ~ $17.99
Tuya Zigbee IR Remote Blaster UFO-R11 Buy SmartHomeScene



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4 thoughts on “Tuya Zigbee Infrared IR Remote ZS06 Review”

  1. Hi, I wonder if you tried to learn codes for many different devices? I encountered that some devices can’t be learned. Those devices have “paired” remotes, so the remote is paired to the device first when you set it up. So in my case the device was useless since it could not learn the remotes I wanted it for.

    1. Hi,

      That has nothing to do with the Zigbee remote. This is capable of learning any IR code from the 38KHz band you throw at it. What you are encountering most likely, is something called rolling codes.
      Each new press is generating a new code, which only the receiver understands. So you memorize one code, but the receiver expect the next one in line, not the same one.

      Since codes can be easily cloned, this is done for protection (eg. garage doors).

      Cheers

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