Smart cottage # 1. ITEAD Sonoff Modules

    Once upon a time, when I got involved in the topic of electronics development, the market for smart home devices was empty. Empty is for me. I wanted to use devices at the same time that were reasonably inexpensive and adequately functional. Cheap devices on the 433rd radio channel were not suitable for this because of their simplicity. They have no feedback, no encryption. You can easily listen to the control commands on the air and do any dirty tricks with “his” smart home. You can not be sure whether the device really turned on as a result of the command sent. Everything else had an inadequate price tag.

    Since then a lot of water has flowed. The development of the dimmer did not reach the final. It did not work out to fix all the problems with the power - the wi-fi module is quite voracious and does not work stably enough in our switching circuit. While development was sluggishly flowing, the market was filled with LED lamps, which were not dimmable for the most part. My understanding of smart home has changed. It seems that a dimmer in that format, as I thought, is not really needed. For the "smart home" must work itself, without switches. The dollar exchange rate changed, which complicated the development of any electronic project, and the development of a dimmer complicated significantly. The device is not simple, the cost is high and it depends on the dollar almost directly. Therefore, the draft dimmer is paused. Until better times. Or for good.

    Everything was not and never was, and the summer cottage was being built. If the apartment “smart home” is still more “rattle”, then outside the city, automation can make life much more comfortable. I regularly looked for possible solutions from other manufacturers. And did not find everything. Until recently.

    Unexpected find

    Once wandering around the network and deciding to go to the ITEAD website, I found a very interesting assortment update. The comrades began to produce an inexpensive, but to be honest - cheap (from $ 6 per module, $ 4.85 per share), a solution to manage the power load. Ready-made, in the case, with an adequate connection scheme, with feedback, with control via a mobile application, both locally and through the cloud. Having wiped drooling from the desktop, I realized that the future is already here and finally a solution has appeared for the automation of my summer cottage. Cheap and it seems like even not at all angry.


    I spent $ 32.71 on my first purchase. I took two modules simply with Wi-Fi at $ 4.85 (for stocks, later the price tag will rise to $ 6) and two with an additional 433 MHz interface on board for $ 7.20 (later they promise to raise to $ 9.50). Shipping China-Yekaterinburg cost $ 8.61, the total price tag for a parcel with delivery is $ 32.71.

    In rubles, 2 605.01 RUB was debited from the card, that is, the dollar was roughly 80 and the cost of the modules, taking into account delivery in rubles, was 550 for a simple model and 750 for a filperservice. With such pricing, if the manufacturer is not a very temporary promotion, the new modules are an unconditional hit, which hardly anyone can surpass. More information about the functionality of the modules will be a little lower.


    First I tried to order delivery to the Chinese address of the warehouse I use. But the great and terrible PayPal said “nevermind”, saying that only in Russia can you pay for delivery from my card. If someone knows how to deal with this, please share in the comments or PM.

    I paid the parcel on February 26th. She flew to me pretty quickly, albeit with pickles, forgive me Moscow readers. The fact is that a long time ago a special terminal was built at the airport in Yekaterinburg for such Chinese parcels. They say that immediately flew to us, without wagging in our vast country. But, no, this joy so far only on paper, apparently, remains.

    How the package flew
    02/29/2016 Received by Hong Kong post
    03/01/2016 Prepared for
    departure from Hong Kong 03/02/2016 Departed from Hong Kong to the country of destination
    03/08/2016 10:24 Arrived on the territory of the Russian Federation Domodedovo AOPP 03/10/2016
    11:26 Import MR LC Vnukovo shop-1
    10.03 .2016 11:30 Transferred to the customs office of the MR VC Vnukovo shop-1
    03/10/2016 11:31 Issued by the customs of the MR LC Vnukovo shop-1
    03/11/2016 2:35 Left the international exchange site of the MR Vnukovo shop-1
    03/14/2016 11:14 Left sorting center Yekaterinburg MSC TsOPo 03/14/2016
    14:31 Arrived at the place of delivery Yekaterinburg 109
    03/15/2016 12:49 Presentation to the addressee Yekaterinburg 109

    What's inside?

    The neat package contained four neat boxes with modules. I must say, the manufacturer is a little confused in the testimony. The senior module is called differently on the box (Sonoff Pro) and on the label of the device itself (Sonoff RF). It is also fun to see a photo of the module on the site next to the remote control and a bright inscription here that "the remote control is not included." Children's diseases of positioning are not critical. The main thing is a quality device, but there is nothing to complain about.

    Cardboard box. Fasteners included. High-quality plastic case. Neat PCB. More than a suitable form factor for automating a summer house or a country house. For an apartment, perhaps the size is a little too big. A bunch of photos will tell about quality better than any words.

    In this case, the manufacturer has where to strive. If you really take a closer look and find fault, then you can pay attention that the modules have differently issued control buttons and LEDs from the depth of the case. Of course, this is not critical.

    How it works?

    Very simple, convenient, affordable. On Android or Apple-smartphone is a proprietary application. Searched in the app store for the not-so-relevant name “eWeLink”. I bet only on android, and I describe the behavior only on it, on iOS the algorithm can be a little different.

    We launch the application. We register in the system, indicating the phone number and code that came via SMS. Click "Add device." We include Sonoff in a network. Long press its single control button before it starts to flash quickly. The smartphone finds the module, offers to enter a name for it and specify the parameters of the wi-fi network in which the module will work. That's it, the setup is over.

    After that, we have the opportunity to control the device from the local wi-fi network. If we are not in it, but the local wi-fi network is connected to the Internet, then without any switching and additional settings, the cloud is activated. The application displays which switches are connected, which are offline. Communication switches can be controlled by turning them on and off. The status of the switch on the screen changes only after the real hardware switch. Feedback is and works.

    An extended version of the module with 433 MHz interface can be easily made friends with a cheap Chinese remote control or PIR sensor. When you switch the state of the module from the 433 MHz interface, the state of the module in the application instantly changes. The same thing happens when the module is turned on / off locally by briefly pressing its control button.

    All connected devices are displayed in the application. Devices can be shared between accounts. For example, you can reward your spouse with the opportunity to manage some small piece of your smart home from her smartphone.

    How to apply?

    I purchased four modules for implementing a “minimum program” to automate my summer cottage. Modules with only wi-fi on board will control convectors in the dressing room and in a warm room at home. So that I could turn them on in advance from the city, before leaving for the country. I dream of coming to already warm, warmed rooms. Modules with an additional 433 MHz will be used to control the lighting on the site. I want to turn on the light from the car at the entrance to the site, I want to turn off the light near the bathhouse already from home, so as not to walk in the dark. An additional radio interface will be needed for pairing with some cheap radio buttons. Convectors will be comfortable enough to control only through the application, the light on the street I would like to additionally be able to turn on and off with real switches.

    To connect these four modules normally, I bought a super-budget “smart home kit”, consisting of: a) an old ASUS WL500Gp router with a burned-out power supply (300 rubles), b) a new power supply for the router (100 rubles), c) 4G- a modem sticking into a USB router connector (400 rubles). Total 800 rubles, we add to them 2600 spent on modules, we get 3400 rubles. For full control of four points via the Internet with feedback. I think it’s simply not realistic to come up with a budget solution. Even if you solder the modules yourself.

    The system is assembled in test mode in my office, openwrt is configured, work with a real 1.5 kW convector is tested, and will soon be installed in the country. Later, an arduinka with various useful sensors and a small web interface will be added to the router. In a series of posts about "Smart Cottage" I will show that finally it has become really possible to assemble a convenient, functional, inexpensive set of "smart home" from available simple components.

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