How to
Flash Sonoff ZBDongle-E as router under NixOS

Sonoff ZBDongle-E is quite powerful Zigbee dongle. By default, it's loaded with coordinator firmware. This how to article contains steps cheatsheet to flash it with router firmware under NixOS.

Disclaimer: This how to is intended for advanced users. You should be able to understand what commands are doing, before copy-pasting and executing them.


Prepare following:

  • download the firmware from itead's github,
  • disassembly the device:
    • access to board's buttons is needed,
  • figure out /dev/ttyXXX under which device becomes available - see constants to modify below.

Modify constants in commands

Flashing steps contain constants, which vary in different environments, or after some time:

  • /dev/ttyFIGURE_OUT:
    • location of tty device for the Sonoff ZBDongle-E,
    • figure out via - simple way:
      1. run ls -ld /dev/tty*,
      2. connect the device,
      3. run ls -ld /dev/tty* again,
      4. find the difference - new line for the device,
  • Z3RouterUSBDonlge_EZNet6.10.3_V1.0.0.gbl:
    • firmware file name - will change if a new version is released.


With prerequisites prepared, flashing can be performed using following steps:

  1. connect the board to computer:
    • extension cable can make it more convenient to access buttons on the board,
  2. connect to device's serial:
    nix-shell -p putty 
    sudo putty -serial -sercfg 115200,8,n,1 /dev/ttyFIGURE_OUT
  3. enter bootloader mode:
    1. press and hold BOOT,
    2. then press RST,
    3. then release BOOT,
  4. perform upload:
    1. open another terminal:
      nix-shell -p lrzsz
      cd directory/containing/the-firmware/in-it
    2. confirm upload start via putty:
      • press 1 to selecting "upload gbl"
    3. execute the upload in terminal - run:
      sudo bash -c 'sx Z3RouterUSBDonlge_EZNet6.10.3_V1.0.0.gbl < /dev/ttyFIGURE_OUT > /dev/ttyFIGURE_OUT'
    4. wait for completion:
      Sending Z3RouterUSBDonlge_EZNet6.10.3_V1.0.0.gbl, 2244 blocks: Give your local XMODEM receive command now.
      Bytes Sent: 287360   BPS:9008
      Transfer complete
  5. pairing:
    1. reboot board by pressing "2" in putty to select "run",
    2. enable pairing mode for your Zigbee network,
    3. wait for Sonoff ZBDongle-E to pair,
    4. turn off pairing mode for the Zigbee network.
  6. unplug the board, and assembly it back.