Meross Home Control – Revisited – Again

Meross

In March 2020, just about the time the term “Covid” became a thing, I received several IOT units from a company called Meross (designed in California, made in China as I noted on one of the boxes) including the UK version of their MSS310 power-monitoring Smart Plug, their Smart Radiator Thermostatic starter kit and other items. See page 2 (link at the end) for the April 2022 updates and my hot water tank experience…

Now, before I launch into this, I must say that this equipment does NOT use ESP8266/ESP32 and hence is not hackable with Tasmota and so the first part of this article may not be of much use to those interested in hacking – so don’t say I didn’t put that up front. However, with one caviat, the equipment I received is high quality and works out of the box, I had minor issues setting up the thermostat and Meross tech support came back immediately – as it happens I figured out what I was doing wrong. See December 2021 Update and April 2022 Update below for new material.

MSS310 UK Smart Socket

Setting up the UK MSS310 Smart Switch was easy. Out of the box, the smart plug went into my wall socket and lit up immediately – no button pressing. I downloaded the Meross APP to my Android phone and created an account with nothing more than my email address and a new password. The next thing to do was hit + on the APP and tell it what kind of Meross product I was setting up. The APP then asked for my WiFi password and that was it. I didn’t have to inform my phone to use a temporary access point.

I plugged a lamp into the MSS310 and turned it off using the button and then the APP to test. I then used the APP to upgrade the firmware on the MSS310 – no skill, patience or expertise needed at all. The unit also works with Alexa and Google Home. I noted on the box reference to IFTT but didn’t progress that one .Easy – if you don’t mind using the Meross cloud that is. In the APP I could see power consumption and voltage and there is also the option on the device for timers including sunrise and sunset. If you want custom configuration (tasmota) you’ll be disappointed – if you want EASY, this device has you covered.

With the above in mind, Meross sent me 5% discount links who’s usefulness ended on March 9, 2020:

MTS100H thermostat with hub 
https://amzn.to/2TD6Tt4
code :FQ5XEMPC  

MSS310 smart plug with energy monitor (2 pack) 
https://amzn.to/3cxvR5O
code :VZC8284X  

MSS420F smart power strip
https://amzn.to/2wqMWxz
code: Y37PT4F9

And now, the Meross MSS210 13A Smartplug which does NOT do power monitoring but is otherwise the same visually and otherwise. It took less than a minute, most of that with me sitting doing nothing, for the new socket to come online. Simple. At the start, the unit LED (which you can switch off if you want) was flashing orange and green, the flashing stopped once the MSS210 was set up. I set up two of the MSS210 adaptors and the only thing I found odd was that on removing the first MSS210 and installing the second, the App pointed out that the first was no longer available, yet made no comments about the MS310 being unavailable. Weird. The UK version of the above all handle 13A. Size: 2.65 x 2.65 x 1.88 inches (not sure why they think we use Imperial measurement)

Power strip from Meross

The Meross MSS420F (above) is their 4-way Smart Surge Protecting extension. That powered up with 4 socket lights on solid green and an on-off button flashing green. I opened up the APP to add the device. Configuration amounted to pressing OK a couple of times. The APP has 5 buttons for this device, one is all on and all off, the other 4 are individual on-off controls. As far as I can tell there are no timers – nothing – just on and off. The manual does refer to Google Home, Amazon Alexa and IFTT control of course. In total the 4 outputs can handle a 10A collective load.

I have a gripe about this 4-way socket and it’s a big one. After less than a couple of weeks of testing, one of the LIVE plastic covers moved slightly with the effect that it became impossible to insert a plug. I’m waiting to hear back following a request for a replacement – I’ll let you know how that goes. As these are not cheap, I guess much hinges on their service or lack of it. Email: support@meross.com – Web: www.meross.com/support – Address info on the box includes: Libelle Consulting GmbH, Deuchland.

Meross radiator thermostat

I’m waiting to progress the Radiator thermostat and rapidly running out of time before our travels but meanwhile above is a picture (note – clearly you don’t get the phone with this – the App is the same one used with their other products. I got the kit comprising the little hub and an actual battery powered stat (with adaptors for different setups).

December 2021 Update

When I wrote the original article on these Meross products I was planning a trip to Spain which ended up being a game-changer – we headed off to Spain and WELL over a year later have only just returned to the UK for a short visit. Covid ensured the trip was extended way beyond our original plans and Brexit… well, there’s a story for another time, suffice it to say this stuff has been gathering mothballs. So, back to those 13A Meross SmartPlugs: I’ve never grasped why people call them smart plugs when their main point in life is to be a smart socket 🙂

I never ended up making use of the power monitoring but they do seem to be reliable as (decent power) remote access power sockets (I just wish I could find the 4-way extension – it’s hiding from me).

So with a change of plans, from our UK house being our main base, to Spain getting that job, I’ve changed priorities for much of the UK-plug-devices I have. We returned to the UK weeks ago to a broadband outage which lasted several days, followed by violent storms which in turn led to several days of no power. This kind of thing gives one a different perspective on lots of things including “the cloud”.

So, first off, much of my UK home control is based on devices which have been “Tasmotized” – that is they work without the cloud on the local network. I learned a valuable lesson this week as most of these devices (which ran well during the broadband outage) failed miserably thanks to the power outage (which consisted of several short bursts of power on-off, then 2 days of no power, then back on, then more short bursts – then 2 more days of no power). It’s a good job that I was here in the UK at the time. It took me a while but I eventually figured out that I’d left default settings on the software including “setoption 65″ – which can be abbreviated to SO65” – this defaults to value 0 (can be changed in the Tasmota console) and is handy for resetting sealed units like bulbs – but disastrous for smartplugs as, in the circumstances above, lost all the WiFi settings. I’ve since console-set all my Tasmota-based units to “SO 1” so that won’t happen again.

Meanwhile, my Meross Smart Plugs – which, since 2020 have been in charge of two household devices, continue to be just fine – I left them running autonomously – one all night, the other all day. Their storage is non-volatile so the power cuts did them no harm – and the timer settings continued to run autonomously without the cloud connection.

Would mechanical timers not have done the job more cheaply? First off I like to have remote access and secondly, you’ll no doubt be aware that there are two main types of non-smart timer out there, the first (and cheapest) have no way to know if there has been a power cut and hence are basically useless, the second (common LCD-screen timers) keep track of time typically with a tiny rechargeable battery but again typically have no concept of daylight saving time as used in the UK and elsewhere and (again typically) have no means to judge dusk and dawn. One of my last LCD timers reset itself after 4 days of no power – no problem as I was here but part of the point of such timers is to work when no-one is about to maintain them.

Meross APP screens

The Meross plugs then turned out to be more useful than I at first imagined (on the downside I should point out that if you use them on a multi-way extension they tend to crowd the adjascent sockets so 2 in a row is a non-starter – I understand there’a a TP-Link product that is narrow enough to avoid this but I don’t yet have samples to test).

In short, despite not having local LAN control as such, the timers in the Meross plugs do continue to run without connectivity and can optionally be given (or auto-set near enough) your long/lat coordinates for dusk/dawn control.

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9 thoughts on “Meross Home Control – Revisited – Again

  1. Hi Pete, not sure where in Spain you are, but don’t you have a solar water heater? We’re in Greece at 35 degrees north, where the hot water tanks sit on the roof and are combined with solar. They are well insulated and have an internal 3.5kW electric element, but we only have to use it in December and January, maybe a bit of February. An ESP32 / Tasmota on the roof is currently reporting 160 litres of water at 62C, which rises to a scary 65-70 in mid-summer. Ds18B20’s are measuring HW, and panel top/bottom temperatures. We have to tell guests to be careful! Also pleased to say we don’t have radiators any more…. a modern heat pump cools in summer and warms in the (short) winter.

    1. Hi Chris – solar hot water heaters (in fact anything that isn’t edible or drinkable) is quite expensive in Spain (yes, so much sun, you would think solar would be dirt cheap – it’s not).

      Years ago I was tempted by a couple who lived (live) on the coast who said they needed no electric for hot water from April to November…This year has proven that’s not necessarily the case. We’ve just had snow here in Granada region – and rain – with just the odd sunny day – and we’ve more rain to come… also I’m reserving roof space for a new solar hot water panel we got cheaply second hand – for our pool. Hopefully this time next month we should be able to start using it to heat the pool which is currently typically sitting at 10c or so.

    1. I must say they LOOK neat – but as I no longer have radiators – not a lot of point in grabbing one to test. I’ll have radiators in our new place back in the UK but I don’t plan to be there for some time – also I’ve never really been a fan of measuring temperature at the source – seems to me the other end of the room might make more sense. But clearly they work for you. What’s a researchable LIPO ? Was that meant to be rechargeable? 🙂

      1. Sorry, rechargeable LIPO.
        The shelly software installed on TRV allow to receive a remote sensor temperature via http or mqtt. I use sonoff ZigBee temperature sensor and wrote rules in Tasmota’s sonoff zigbee to wifi gateway to forward received temperature to TRV mqtt channel. TRV’s and temperature sensors are useful to maintain in each room the desired temperature. You can configure TRV to connect to local mqtt server, not to shelly cloud.

  2. With regard to the radiator thermostat it will be interesting to know how they perform for range and battery life – I’ve tried similar in the past and both were poor – I think being stuck onto a large sheet of metal (the radiator) is probably the limiting factor. I now use a mains powered actuator such as the one I have linked below along with a sonoff basic and a ds18b20 along with your node red thermostat program and I get individual control for every room via mqtt and full Alexa voice control and because it is under my control I can adjust the settings to outside temperatures and forecasts . In addition because the Sonoff and the ds18b20 are some way from the radiator I get good signal range and accurate room temperature rather than radiator temperature as you get with TRV’s. Total cost well under £10 per room.
    https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4000443454659.html?uttaskid=552049&utcontentid=5951&utalgorithmid=2&tracelog=rowan&rowan_id1=eclc_en_ord_3_1_en_US_2020-02-26&rowan_msg_id=stevUTT_552049_0_$483a0508376749d8a21ed50c6d222b8a&ck=in_edm_other

    1. Agree battery life needs testing. Rang too but recent RF stuff I’ve has has been better than in days of old, not much but a little. Having said that, we bought a new Air Source heating system end of 2018 and the first thing I did was to bin the RF portable thermostat which used RF in favour of my own dual SSID WIFI version.

      Yup I am with you all the way here though I would never actually RELY on Alexa and I’m sure you don’t. MQTT over WIFI hsa been rock solid for me – along with Node-Red Dashboard (not the prettiest but it works).

    2. Steve, that is very interesting that you are having success with UFH manifold actuators. I had proposed that they might work on radiators on Peter’s blog some time ago and more recently suggested them as an option to a particular issue Peter had. I have not had time to try them myself but based on your post I will in the near future. The price of the items you linked is good too, if one can get anything out of China these days! I don’t even know if BG and Ali are even shipping anything.

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