For years, Europeans have been browsing the central aisles of the German Aldi and Lidl supermarket chains, attracted by the surprising variety of transitory non-grocery bargains to be found there. There are plenty of temptations for hackers, and alongside the barbecues and Parkside tools at Lidl last year was a range of Zigbee home automation products. Every ZigBee network requires some form of hub, and for Lidl this comes in the form of a £20 (about $28) Silvercrest Home Gateway appliance. It’s a small embedded Linux computer at heart, and [Paul Banks] has published details of how it can be hacked and bent to the user’s will.
Under the hood is a Realtek RTL8196E MIPS SoC with 16Mb of Flash and 32 Mb of memory. Gaining control of it follows the well trodden path of finding the bootloader, dumping the firmware, and re-uploading it with a known password file. If you’ve done much hacking of routers and the like you’ll recognise that this quantity of memory and Flash isn’t the most powerful combination so perhaps you won’t be turning it into a supercomputer, but it’s still capable enough to be integrated with Home Assistant rather than the cloud-based services with which it shipped.
There was a time when repurposing routers as embedded Linux machines was extremely popular, but it’s something that has fallen from favour as boards such as the Raspberry Pi have provided an easier path. So it’s good to see a bit of old-fashioned fun can still be had with an inexpensive device.
If you fancy a bit more German budget supermarket goodness, feast your eyes on an Aldi stick welder!
19 thoughts on “Hacking The Lidl Home Gateway”
The Battle of Lidl & Aldi springs immediately mind :-)
Epic rap battle?
Lidl forever …. you can stick Aldi where the sun dont shine. Burp!
Aldi north or Aldi south? They are not the same company, 👀
Aldi Süd, natürlich
There’s been some Lidl stores in the States for a few years now.
Just picked up a couple of the Lidl foam gliders, which are good candidates for cheap RC conversions. Lidl call it the “middle of Lidl” but in our household it’s the “aisle of wonders”
Really? Here in Europe they always have the same crap :( The usual screw bit sets, stick-on LED lights and car mats. They used to have cool stuff when they first opened but I never see any now.
I picked up an air compressor and a disc/beltsander machine… :) YMMV
In Czech and Slovak republic they’ve been changing the ‘special’ offering every two weeks for many years now. It is usually rebranded chinese crap but often it is well chosen with a high value for the money asked.
For 60euros I have truly brushless lipo powered cordless drill with 4x planetary gear reduction which is serving me well for a third year now.
When I was living in Munich/Bayern the Lidls always had a rotation of new stuff every week or two
Not exactly true. You just have to be fast or go online because the good stuff tends to be gone in a day or two. The stores only get a limited amount of stock and dont take backorders. Lidl Parkside power tools are pretty good for the money and Aldi often have very good bargains on Medion computer gear
“and Aldi often have very good bargains on Medion computer gear”
I really, really cannot recommed Medion gear. The specs and price look usually good, but they don’t last long in my experience
They release new stuff on Mondays and Thursdays here in Finland.
Most of the stuff is quite good but some total scrap too.
Not true… I always buy something new in a weekly basis from Lidl. Great quality, German made (mostly) 3 YEAR warranty gadgets and home / house stuff. Highly recommended!
Just for info, this hub zigbee is not made by aldi and lidl, but it is made by tuya, who developped tuya cloud and tuya app which work with this hub…
as i saw in other web article, prefer mother app tuya instead of aldi ou lidl app.
There is no way to hack this GW to be able to run it 100% local?
I just have trouble to get the bootloader stopped viy typing esc in the early boot stage.
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