These German smart sockets plug into your mains power outlet and allow you to control the output either locally or remotely by a variety of means.
Now, first off the bat these are not as cheap as the Chinese versions, they are made in Germany and at least to Spain I got rapid delivery. I suggest they mean 16Amps non-inductive load – so just as with the Chinese versions I’d be very wary about attaching a 16 amp heater. At 220v I’m thinking a 2KW heater should be fine – but I’ve not tested that yet as it is WAY too hot here in Spain to test any kind of heater.
There is an on-off manual override button on the top…. with a red light – OFF when off, dim RED when ON. I plugged them into the mains one at time after grabbing the Android App “Smart Life” – there is handily a QR code for this on the side of the boxes they come in.
As it happened I already had an account with this APP as I must use it for other stuff but that’s easy.
Next, I tested pushing the on-off button on the sockets – works as expected. Next I tried adding in the sockets to the Smart Life app – doddle.
Next I asked Amazon to find the units by name. It didn’t – then I noted that the “Smart Life” skill is needed for Alexa – the Amazon app on my phone asked for a password to enable the skill – done – dusted. Now Alexa could control the two sockets no problem.
Of course my next course of action was to ponder how Node-Red on my Raspberry Pi could talk to the switches…… normally I would FLASH such switches with Tasmota or ESP-GO – but it hit me that, as my Node-Red installation has Amazon cached speech (via my Amazon AWS account and MPG123 – I put together a flow in here ages ago) I could have NR talk to Alexa. IT WORKED. Now, you might say “why bother as the sockets have their own time switches” – well, they DO have simple timers, but using my BigTimer on Node-Red, I can do something those simple timers can’t… that is dusk and dawn as well as special include/exclude days and months – in fact, almost anything except make tea.
All in a very successful day. The GOSUND sockets of course do simple on-off only – but this setup was EASY. I’ve seen somewhere (out of stock) for UK and US plug variations but personally a I travel a lot I’ve settled on the EU standard for sockets and just use adaptors elsewhere (and American plugs are usually a bit nasty anyway) and increasingly we see universal sockets appearing that will handle various standards.
Timing is not, however ALL these units do, power monitoring is another feature and that’s where third party firmware MAY be of interest. Using the Smart Life app you can monitor historical current consumption of whatever is plugged into one of these sockets. If you are happy to read this information on the Smart Life app then you are all set. Exporting said info could mean installing the likes of Tasmota third party firmware – see below and comments.
But first, in case, like me you didn’t immediately twig to how useful this could be… my wife and I have holiday rental cottages back in the UK. Almost all year around, our air source heating is good enough but in freak weather conditions (of the kind we see more and more of these days) it could be useful to know how much power has been used by guests choosing to use backup electric heating – and even to be able to turn off a (for example) heater that has accidentally been left on. This could equally apply to any house with teenagers who might, while you are away, leave something running…. etc., etc. Or you could be getting a poor memory through age or simple illness, head off on holiday and realise you left something running – the list is endless. That device you left on might have it’s own thermostat but how would you know it actually works without being able to check current consumption? Been there, done that… trust me, this could be useful.
Antonio who gets involved in these projects as I do and who is always keen to help enthusiasts, suggests that there may be an easy way to put “Tasmota” onto these devices if that is of interest but check versions etc. Here’s the link Antonio sent me which also has handy teardown photos.
And for the Smart Switches:
- Pack of 1 – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07QYMB8J7
- Pack of 2 – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07R1XG6Z9
- Pack of 4 – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07QWKTJBZ