Sonoff SwitchMan R5 (using Mini R3 as a Gateway)

SwitchmanR5 from Sonoff

SwitchmanR5 is a battery-powered multi-function wireless wall switch which needs a “gateway” to talk to normal IOT WiFi.

There are a limited number of devices which can act as these gateways so so firstly, I opened my handy the Sonoff MiniR3 and plugged it into live and neutral. Immediately it started flashing blue (2 long, 1 short bursts) which meant it was in Bluetooth pairing mode acccording to the manual. I told the eWeLink APP to add the device and that was that. First things first, it had firmware version 1.0 with the current version being 1.4.1 – well you have to don’t you.. I hit update and that was the MiniR3 running, fully up to date.


Under device settings, I note “eWeLink-Remote sub-device 0/8. I hit that text and was told “Firmware update – It’s not supported adding eWeLink-Remote sub-devices under current firmware version; please update it to the latest version” – BUT I ALREADY DID. “Update Now”. The response was of course “Latest version”. Someone needs to work on that.

Next, I grabbed the “eWeLink remote control” program for my phone. “Please keep the app running in the foreground. Do not quit the app or turn of the screen” – “Please add remotes to the gateway in the eWeLink app”.

Sonoff Switchman R5

I went back to the eWelink app. I could see 2 items “MiniR3 and Gateway with subtitle “Subdevices 0” under the latter.

With my new SwitchMan R5 sitting on my bench with it’s battery protection tab (Switchman uses a pair of CR2032 batteries – supplied) removed, in eWeLink, I pressed + which resulted in “Added 0”. I backed out.

I went back to Gateway – this still said “Subdevices 0” but suddenly a main device R5 appeared with a message “Channel5 long-pressed” and the time. I pressed another button on the R5 – result – “channel 4 clicked”.

What I don’t really understand at this point is the need for a second APP.

This all works but I have to say up to now I think setting up my Aqara 6-button Zigbee switch was a lot easier to set up. I rebooted the phone as that message about keeping the APP running was a bit worrying. However, I needn’t have worried – after a reboot I opened eWeLink and the button set worked perfectly.

With Switchman you get a bunch of sticky labels and an adhesive mounting strip for the magnetic back plate.

All very nice but it has to DO something. So, I went into the eWeLink app and created 2 SCENES, one of which turned the MiniR3 ON when I pressed one button and OFF when I pressed another. EASY. All of this after several phone power recycles just to make sure it’s all reliable.

It seems that the REMOTE CONTROL device to let Switchman work – can be a MiniR3, S40/S40 Lite (USA) or the Sonoff M5.


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