So, as I mention briefly earlier, I’m now the proud recipient of a number of Itead products including Sonoff Basic which I’ve discussed and used in the past, always with 3rd party software, Sonoff POWR2 (I’ve now used this version before) Sonoff S26G – the UK version of Itead’s smart socket. What;s special about their stuff?
Well, price for one thing, Itead products are available from Amazon and many other outlets but if price is an issue (most IOT hardware is to me grossly overpriced, particularly in the UK where it can cost £20 or more for a simple smart light or socket – dream on, people).
For those Brits who like to get their stuff quickly from Amazon.co.uk, you may find the following link useful: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sonoff-Wireless-Modified-Low-Cost-Solution/dp/B06WWNBD3Y
The normal Amazon price is apparently £9.90, coupon offer is 15% off, i.e. £8.42 after discount. The offer is open from 2018.12.26 to 2019.01.31 – coupon code: F2CYBNAV – this applies to Sonoff Basic.
I’m particularly interested in the SP26G. The POWR2 and Sonoff Basic products claim compatibility with IFFT and Google assistant (Nest etc.) with POWR2 also referring to IFFT (If This, Then That). They do of course work with the EweLink App for Android (and I guess Apple, I don’t have any Apple products so can’t verify that, I’m sure others can.
For more technical info than you could ask for (in English), visit https://www.itead.cc/
I would normally suggest diving straight into Tasmota custom firmware to use these products but last night I thought I’d try putting the EweLink software on my phone (it turns out I set up an account ages ago and never used it). I plugged the S26G into the wall outlet and as it is a new device, pressed the front panel button for 7 seconds at the end of which I ended up with a new device on my system. I gave it a name “my bed light”and then via the Amazon Alexa website (where I am also registered) added this new device, this is all SO much easier than it used to be.
I kid you not, that was it. I could now press the button on the App to turn the light on and off, or better, just say “echo, turn on my bed light” and my Amazon Alexa device (which I call “echo” (they should add many more names) took over control of the light.
Not only that but (back to the EweLink app) setting up timers and scheduling is easy. All I need now is for someone to tell me how to talk to the device with MQTT (my Node-Red setup) without re-flashing the firmware.
Above you see the view in the EweLink App and below, the Amazon Alexa Devices page.
My biggest fear, that the two ways of controlling the light might not track each other, was, as it happens, unfounded.
That’s the easy one done, next, the ones you have to put a wire and plug on…. First off I set up the Sonoff Basic – again that took no time… I simply plugged it into power THEN pressed the button for 7 seconds, then released. In the Ewelink App, adding another device is easy. Similarly adding that new device into the Amazon App is easy. So now I had two devices, one I called “my bed lamp” – the other, “my basic one”.
I was out of spare plugs. Something had to go. I disconnected one of my gadgets and connected the Sonoff Powr2. Same as before – within minutes it was up and talking to Alexa. Now the challenge. Could I get an OLD Sonoff board to work. Well, I have one or two but they have been customised and apparently reverting back isn’t that easy. I found an original Sonoff WIFI (v1.6) and it worked after a couple of attempts. I went into settings and attempted to upgrade the firmware (OTA, no effort). Worked first time and now my old Sonoff is as good as new and again, working with Alexa. This just keeps getting better.
So what’s special about any of this? Now we have a choice of custom firmware or a good package from Itead with Alexa and Google compatibility… and these boards are inexpensive –if you get them from Banggood or AliExpress, REALLY cheap.