Ok, this entry will be in 2 parts – I’ll do some digging soon – but as I’ve had several requests for this…
So what you’re looking at above are the Sonoff Pow, TH16 and DUAL mains controllers. These are ESP8266-based low cost controllers to turn things on and off. The TH16 has a sister product, the TH10 and we covered these a while ago. Now complete with CE markings (which we are told does NOT mean China Engineering before anyone steps in to defend British manufacturing…. and looking quite spiffy.
Ok, critical bits first, I’m not convinced about the push to connect stuff inside – I know it is fashionable to do away with screwdrivers but hell, you need a screwdriver to get into the thing in the first place and those push to fit jobs work GREAT with single-core wire – not quite so well with multi-strand, depending on the thickness. Also due to the case design the connectors at the ends could be a tad tricky to sort in a dark cupboard – however, generally very well built.
Note that all three have a proper fuse inside which is really nice to see – and two of them have 16 amp relays – the DUAL having a couple of 10 amp relays.
Note also that they all have the 4 way programming connector at the top left in these photos. Vcc I should note is 3v3 and not 5v. I usually manage to reprogram them straight from a 3v3 FTDI but it is pushing it a bit.
The ESP8266, FLASH and other bits are on the underside of these boards but if you’re just programming them – then you need go no further as the large button on the top is GPIO0 and hence you can use that for programming. I have programmed the TH16 and 16 extensively, the Dual and the POW are delights I have yet to tackle – the POW in particular as right now I’ve no idea how to read the power chip.
But of course you can use these out of the box with the Expressif cloud to control things. We’ve had the discussion in the past about power, I would not take the 16 amps too literally nor the 10amps – maybe keep the maximum power 25% under what is being claimed – though the tracks are quite thick. Of all the boards of this type I’ve seen – these seem to be about the best put-together.
on the rightmost image – I’m pretty sure that piece of copper in the middle is the power sensor and there appears to be an 8-pin control chip above it and to the right. Other than that they are much the same… note the nice cutouts in the board, decent spacing and thick tracks for power. A lot of designers could learn from this. My only gripe is their continued use of a tiny FLASH chip… HOWEVER, here’s a thing – in the old boards, the FLASH chip was on the top – partially obscured by the programming button – NOW it is on the bottom – which should make it one hell of a lot easier to replace – WHEEEEEEEE. I do note two different sizes of FLASH – note the two boards on the right – topmost right 8-pin chip. Last time I tried updating a TH16 I ripped the tracks to bits – now – I might just be able to do it – and the chips I bought are the bigger size. Mind you my biggest problem is more basic – having shipped all my stuff from Spain to the UK for the winter I now have to FIND my supply of SMT flash chips!
More soon on this one but I thought I’d give you a head’s up. To give you an idea of pricing – here’s the page for the TH10 and 16 - https://www.itead.cc/sonoff-th.html - they have gone up in price since the early days so just under £7 plus postage for the TH16 – probably a good idea to buy a few – but WAY less than anywhere else as far as I know. I have one of the original boards controlling an electric heater in my office and another controlling the likes of salt and room lights at home and they’ve been happily working away all summer.
As for pricing – with this link you get discount (don’t worry I don’t get anything) – and by the look of it – a shipment of one POW to the UK is (in dollars as their site screws up pounds) $8.62 for the DUAL and $4.62 postage… You are better off buying TWO as the postage is only another dollar.. all of this if you translate to Sterling – even with the atrocious state of the pound – is still cheap.
There is a link for the POW but I think they are out of stock right now.
So – you have these - and you can use their built in software – or you can roll your own. Our own software handles the TH10 and TH16 but not yet the DUAL and POW (note that the DUAL for reasons best known to ITEAD has a 4MB Flash whereas the others have smaller FLASH). If you’re in a hurry – here’s a link to a fellow who has done the hard work – and who is very responsive – if you’re an Arduino/ESP type – this might be of interest. https://github.com/arendst/Sonoff-MQTT-OTA-Arduino
4 Channel WiFi Wireless Switch IM160920099 – blogged elsewhere
And coming up soon – writeups on:
Sonoff Touch EU