Happy New Year everyone… If you regularly check into the blog you’ll know I’ve just finished (for now) a writeup on some new Sonoff equipment including the brand new NSPanel Pro WHITE.
As if that wasn’t enough I’ve just received two more Sonoff products (new to me at least) -the Sonoff ZBMINI Extreme (ZBMINIL2) and a very large Sonoff Zigbee Smart Curtain Motor (Model ZBCurtain). I can’t do much with the latter right now as I don’t have suitable curtains – but:
Much as I can’t properly test ZBCurtain on actual curtains, it easily paired with the NSPanel Pro (the Pro, not the APP), turning power on and holding the pairing button for a few seconds, the internal rechargeable battery powered Zigbee curtain unit was added in – at first with a daft name then I called it Curtain Motor – following the instructions I set the curtain limits to just a couple of inches to avoid taking it out of the box and attaching to curtains I don’t have. That way I could test to ensure that both the APP and the NSPanel could control the unit.
In my Amazon Alexa APP, Curtain Motor soon appeared and from that APP I could again open and close the “curtains” – but for reasons beyond me, my Alexa only works with “turn the curtain motor on” and “turn the curtain motor off” – you’d think open and close would be more appropriate for curtains but it seems not.
Let’s have a look at the ZBMini Extreme as I obviously have the SPanel Pro WHITE here to act as a Zigbee hub:
Now, there’s a BIG difference between these otherwise identical-looking units. While the MiniR4 (Mini Extreme) is claimed to handle a maximum load of 10A (resistive load), the Zigbee 3.0-based ZBMini Extreme claims 6A Max (resistive load) then goes off on a tangent with “LED: 150W Max 100v, 300W Max at 240v” – I wasn’t at first sure what they are referring to there….
Anyway, this is an odd one – no neutral (that might be what the reference to LED is about – LED lighting). There are in total 4 connectors on the connector block – S1 and S2, then L In and L Out – see the photo – don’t you think that’s CUTE? So I can see this easily fitting behind a standard light switch fitting… I remember when such controllers needed a rather unweildy external capacitor – not any more it seems. As for the connectors – not exactly child-proof but I feel quite safe with them as someone familiar with mains wiring.
I do think a nice touch would have been an uncommitted connector – while testing this new device I’ve ended up with 2 neutral wires fastened together and no-where to go – however – it works…
So in essense, I took a mains plug and lead (220-240v), a lamp, made sure the lamp switched was on, commoned the neutral wires (leaving them dangling somewhat dangerously) – feeding the live from the plug to L In on the Sonoff and the live to the lamp to the L Out on the Sonoff… with all plugged in – I held in the reset/pairing button on the Sonoff for a few seconds, went to my Sonoff NSPanel Pro WHITE control, ADD Device and told NSPanel to START pairing. Within seconds it confirmed it had a new device called SWITCH.
The APP noted a new ZBMINIL2 and I tried turning the device on and off both in the APP and on the NSPanel – NOT really sure why it remained referred to as SWITCH on the NSPanel until the next morning, nor why the image shows a switch always OFF even though touching anywhere in the relevant panel turns the light on and off – brightening up the panel when on – over to Sonoff for that one.
So, generally speaking I think this is all going in the right direcction – but there are still several questions outstanding.
This might just do the job for my thermostat (i.e.) the typical heating system requires a pair of uncommitted contacts so assuming the heating system generates 220v to the contacts this should do) but until Sonoff come up with the reason my new Sonoff temperature sensor won’t act as part of a thermostat, the use for this idea is in limbo. INDEED – in the ACTION section of the NSPANEL – the new ZBMINIL2 doesn’t even appear in the list!! Itead – you reading this?