Monthly Archives: August 2017

Sonoff T1

Sonoff T1[5]The Sonoff T1 is described as a Luxury Glass Panel Touch Wall Switch” – and indeed looking at mine – it looks very nice indeed.

The wall switch comes in three varieties with 1 touch area (and one output) up to 3 touch areas (and 3 outputs).

There’s a full spec here so I won’t go too deeply into this. The T1 can be controlled via Itead’s own app using WIFI and also you can control it with Amazon Alexa, Nest and Google Home…  but probably of more interest to some readers here, being ESP8266-based, it can be re-flashed to run the Tasmota software which means of course, simple remote control via MQTT.  The unit can also be controlled by 433Mhz radio remote control.

The front of this switch is made from toughened glass and so should be good for a long life. Output is 2 amps per gang max – which in 21st century should be more than enough for most lighting.

So – a good gadget but a couple of things you should be aware of: The front panel is smooth glass, which means it gives no feedback as to where the touch surfaces are – so someone with visual issues might have problems with the 2 or 3-gang version of this.  Also – like some other electronic switches, this unit needs a NEUTRAL wire and in some UK installations this may not be available if you are simply replacing an existing wall switch. If it’s a new installation of course you can just make a neutral available  - but you should be aware of this.

The company asked me to mention this after I wrote to them to point out the neutral issue… they have put a warning on their website.

So – if the price is right, you have a neutral available and visual issues are not a concern then this probably is very good! Knowing Sonoff – the price will be right. They are cheap enough at just over £12 but postage as always will be important.


Colour OLEDS

OLEDJust in case you were wondering about those pretty two-colour OLEDS we see on Ebay etc..

It would seem they are not QUITE compatible with the normal single colour ones – if you look at the photo on the right, it simply looks like they’ve split board to have yellow LEDS on the top bit and blue on the rest… but in fact there is also a GAP at least one pixel high between the yellow and blue areas..

Colour OLEDJust so you’re aware. It looks like the first area is a maximum 15 pixels high… with the second area started at 16.

And that’s ok – caught me out at first 🙂

You’ll see a comment in here about them lasting maybe 15,000 hours – i.e. 2 years running night and day. Anyone any experience of this – does dimming them help?


Roseapple Pi and Wiring Nirvana

Lemon PiYes, you’ve heard it all now, we have Raspberry Pi, Orange Pi, Nano Pi and... Roseapple  Pi.

A long time ago when I first wrote about this board, there was a price tag of $35 (I believe it was called the Lemon Pi - same board, different marketing - hence the image on the right) - well, some time ago it was £44 from AliEspress - now I cannot find it - but then I've not looked hard.

Well, this board stands out a mile – it has three USB ports just like the Raspberry Pi – BUT – one of them is USB3  - which could be a game-changer when it comes to using external memory or hard drives!!!

No longer that easy to get a hold of – but might be worth checking – read on…

Continue reading Roseapple Pi and Wiring Nirvana


The Sonoff B1

Sonoff B1The Sonoff B1 is a “white and color” ambient bulb – and one turned up for me in the most this morning!

Not a lot new here you might say – and certainly, such bulbs exist yesterday. I was in Toledo in Spain at a major shopping centre and just happened to be in Leroy Merlin store – and noticed that not only did they have lamps that on the surface look like this – but also they had LED strip.  I also noticed they charged the most horrendous rip-off prices for both.

Continue reading The Sonoff B1


Nano I2c Peripheral

Nano deviceMy “nano peripheral” started life as a simple attempt to expand the ESP8266 by making use of the IO on a really cheap Chinese board, an Arduino Nano equivalent Chinese £1.20 rip-off (After all, any Arduino is basically little more than an Atmel chip with reset and power circuitry and a “bootloader”).

UPDATE: Now working on IR – receiver already tested – see experimental version further down…

The idea was to build a dirt-cheap I2c peripheral, suitable for use with my ESP8266 code but now, with improved access to i2c on various boards such as the Orange Pi Zero (2 i2c channels), FriendlyArm NEO, M3, Raspberry Pi and others (see blog entry on i2c) it makes sense to look at this for general use – and with a widened range of capabilities.

Regular readers may recall some time ago I was buying all sorts of parts – A/D converters, port expanders etc. to help with my solar monitoring – and so some time ago I had a shot at making an I2c peripheral using an Arduino Nano… Continue reading Nano I2c Peripheral


A new GPIO in Town

input and outputSince I started reviewing different boards (i.e. those other than the Raspberry Pi), one thing that has always stood out a mile has been lack of GPIO support. Well, that’s now history – at least for Node-Red users.

I cannot being to express how sick and tired I am of hearing about not being able to access GPIO without ROOT access. On the one hand you're not supposed to use root - on the other hand if you are not root you can't do this... you can't do that... the Raspberry Pi and other devices are learning tools for heaven's sake - it's as if some folk don't want us to succeed until we're as clever as them!!! GRRR.

So you can imagine how pleased I was as this learning exercise started to unfold. It turns out - that there IS a way... read on...

Continue reading A new GPIO in Town


Khadas Vim

Khadas VimA little something arrived via Correos post for me recently… a very pretty little package containing a Khadas Vim.

What is that, you may well ask. Well, until recently I’d not heard of them either. I can’t remember if one of you good readers brought them to my attention or if I just stumbled across them on one of my late-might web-trawling expeditions.

So without further ado – here’s the low-down. The VIM is an Amlogic S905X-based SBC. That is, a 64-bit quad-core Cortex A53 board. It is about, but not quite the same size as a Raspberry Pi but slightly thinner even including the Plexiglas case which looks like it was engineered for a precision record-deck. Very pretty. With the components getting warm, the company must have confidence as there is no provision for heat sinking or fans.

Continue reading Khadas Vim