Here we have the POW Elite (POWR32OD), handling 20A max non-inductive load. Both of the controllers in this blog entry support Bluetooth pairing with the Sonoff eWeLink APP and have detachable DIN RAIL mounts on the back.
It is worth noting for better or worse that as usual we have common neutral – i.e. the incoming and outgoing neutrals are permanently connected to each other. For some purposes (heating systems) I’d prefer the output relay contacts were completely isolated – but this method of only switching the live is exceedingly common. In the UK this would be a very useful safety feature but here in rural Spain there is often no differentiation between live and neutral coming out of the wall sockets anyway.
The connectors look solid and are bigger than some other products including earlier Sonoff power units. The size and hence cable thickness potential is noteably better than in the past and thanks to the recesses in the bottom I feel quite safe messing around with the unit on my desktop.
Over on the right photo, I’ve connected the POW Elite to mains power and right now the blue WiFi light is flashing – the two display sections are showing zero values and that’s about it. Time to hook up to the eWeLink APP I guess. This should be easy as the unit contains an ESP32 and so will use Bluetooth to connect.
Until recently I remained convinced that the use of an ESP32 was overkill for such devices but the pricing difference between ESP8266 and ESP32 is now so low that, well, why not, if it makes setup easier.
I just opened the eWeLink APP on my phone and it wants to log in – WHY? I didn’t log out last time – so I have to go off to my notes to find my password. I hate that.
Ok, now to press the large PLUS symbol in the eWeLink APP….select BLUETOOTH PAIRING – long-press the pairing button on the Sonoff POW Elite – sorted – I just have to tell the APP which WiFi access point to use… the APP already knows my password and…. done – the blue light is now on permanently on the unit.
If I short press the button – the RED light (leftmost light) comes on and power output is available. Voltage now says 247v – that’s about right, my inexpensive meter says 246v. You’ll see in the photo, left, the POWR320D (top left) is active.
Of course we have the usual scene management in eWeLink for timing etc. Were I feeling ambitious I’d be opening up the unit – I already know that ground, 3v, input and output are available on the PCB for programming the likes of Tasmota – but for now I’ll settle for the eWeLink option.
“Software version 1.0.0 – Available 1.0.1 – UPGRADING…. – Current version 1.0.1 – Latest version” – compare this smooth operation to the THR320D below…
THR320D and Sensors
Firstly, I have in front of me the following – a pair or Sonoff DS18B20 sensors – which just happens to be the Dallas brand name for the actual sensor – what we have here is a Dallas chip in a stainless tube, with 500mm of black cable and an RJ11 4P4C connector on the end – ideal for my new Sonoff TH Elite (THR320D).
You may well have come scross the Sonoff TH series before – I’ve written about them here in the form of the TH10 and TH16 products with earlier versions of the DS18B20 sensor probe (for anyone not familiar with the DS18B20, I should point out that this is a temperature-only sensor but a good and popular one).
The TH Elite ups the game to 20A non-inductive load as against the previous 16A (Sonoff also do a 16A version but I have the 20A version) – but also includes a nice display and of course there’s the usual Google Home and Alexa compatibility.. the separate DS18B20 sensor is waterproof and there are two other optional sensors – TH01 and MS01 (temperature+humidity and moisture respectively).
The Elite range are upmarket without going too overboard on price and look very solid with it.
The TH Elite (THR32OD) will of course operate without one of the optional sensors – but that kind of defeats the point of the display a little. On the right, you see the TH Elite operating with the DS18B20 sensor attached, obviously only showing temperature as the sensor does not handle humidity.
I have to say I found the response time of both the button on the unit and the APP to be slow – with the APP reporting from time to time that the TH Elite was offline – so – off I went looking for updates. My firmware version was 1.0.0 and it seems 1.0.1 was available. When I tried to get the update I got the report that the device was offline.
Right! (a day later) – I’ve changed WiFi – the TH Elite IS working perfectly – BUT just as before, the UPDATE appeared to fail – this time however after seeing the UPDATE FAILED notice and clearing the notice, I see that the APP is now showing firmware 1.0.1 for the device – which means it did actually update. And backing out of the menu and coming back in, the device is still working – and the 1.0.1 firmware is still there. Thinking about it, it’s not the first time I’ve seen this kind of apparent update failure in eWeLink when in fact the update has worked. Time to inform Itead (makers of Sonoff).
The LCD displays in both cases are fine provided you have decent lighting but backlighting would have been nice for less-than-ideal lighting conditions – after all the device IS mains powered, it’s not as if we need to save batteries.
As you might expect, both of these products operate on IEEE 802.11 b/g/n 2.4Ghz WiFi.
Please note also that despite having LAN mode switched on by default, if I switch my phone from local operation to 4G (and turn off WiFi) I maintain control of the two units – I need to check this a little more deeply – for this to be working, the APP MUST be calling home to Sonoff’s servers just to start the ball rolling…
A last note: Here is a 15% off coupon for readers (just use reference SCARGILL15 when placing an order with Sonoff) for both TH and POW – valid until July 30, 2022. As usual I stress I make nothing out of this… Sonoff asked me if I was interested in an affiliate system, I declined and they made this reader offer regardless.. only you the reader benefits.