In 2019 I wrote here (now updated) about the Teckin SP23 (for British plugs and sockets) Smart plugs and commented that whether this ends well or not will depend on the company. Well, they wrote back to me on Nov 4, 2019. It would seem they have binned power monitoring on the SP23 product and adjusted the capacity claim for the UK to 13A. It seems also that the chipset has been changed.
The SP23 devices I received convert to Tasmota no problem but newer models do not. I also have SP27 sockets in the same boat. So basically you are looking at just another cloud-operated smart socket. I guess it is all down to price and your happiness or otherwise with cloud dependency as to whether or not you use these. Anything about power monitoring below this paragraph is historical. Also, note that from around 2020, Tuya-Convert ceased to work so these controllers cannot now be converted to run Tasmota – you must use the Teckin-recommended APP.
Theirs are pretty normal looking smart plugs – without any special surprises – but do the SP23 and SP27 have power monitoring and will they work with Tasmota firmware? The early model SP23 did both, the new models do NEITHER. As techies, most of you may NOT be interested in the standard off-the-shelf software involving yet another cloud and yet another APP.
I normally choose Tasmota as it is possibly the best free alternative firmware for these kinds of sockets – if not THE best… however, due to a manufacturing change in the latest versions of the SP23 smart plug which I received at the back end of 2019, the power monitoring doesn’t work. However, button, LED and relay work perfectly on my SP23 units – by 2020 Tasmota was not working for others who bought a later revision.
March 24, 2020: I recently received a pair of the company’s SP27 smart plugs to test.. these are thinner than the SP23, but still not thin enough to fit 2 of them side by side in a British 4-way extension socket (a REAL shame) and also – the SP27 neither has power monitoring NOR does it convert to Tasmota.
My thanks to Mr Shark who reminded me that in order to see who makes the chip you just have to look at the MAC number – the first part gives the game away – and these Smart Plugs are NOT now ESP8266 based – apparently earlier ones were (just like the original SP23 which I have). If you have these products lying around, unconverted, check out their APP – EDIT (pencil) – DEVICE INFORMATION – that will take you to the MAC number.
In my case I used this website to check on MAC details – https://macvendors.com/ and it looks like the chip is now made not by Espressif but by HANGZHOU AIXIANGJI TECHNOLOGY CO., LTD
So, what do the SP27 smart plugs actually have going for them? Available at Amazon, not too expensive, pretty but otherwise nothing special it would seem. If you plan to use the “Smart life” App then maybe you don’t care – and that is fair enough. Bear in mind that these devices, as well as on-off, have 24 hour, 7 day timers built-in – but unbelievably do NOT have dusk-dawn capability. So lights on at lighting up time? NO. Fixed times only. Good for cheap rate timing, useless for dusk-dawn lighting. Perhaps the designers might re-think this if enough people gripe?
Two images above – and in the above dehumidifier photo is the SP27 smart plug (in this case running the internal timer to only turn on the living room – slightly noisy dehumidifier in the early hours of the morning when we are all in bed) and below, the somewhat larger SP23.
Of interest, that dehumidifier, now working on the SP27 timing, also has a home-made silicon seal to stop that empty tank ever filling up – instead, venting through a thin tube ot the outside. Aside from occasional filter cleaning, this setup should never need maintenance. At the other side of the house near the bedrooms, another SP27 does the opposite, operating only for a few hours during the day – all of this of course is part of the joys of living near a stream. Great to look at and enjoy in summer but you need a little effort to keep the house nice and dry in winter.
So, for those with the earlier versions of the SP23 that use ESP8266 – fire away (do NOT try this on non-ESP-based products such as the later model SP23 and SP27).
This is the result of an all day session with Mr Shark AKA Antonio, with me in my office in the freezing wastes of the Northeast of England and Antonio at work in Italy. Warning – this is VERY technical – the original notes were those which Antonio gave me to help me convert the device to Tasmota – it all works but as I said above, no power monitoring.
To use Tuya convert on the original ESP8266-based Teckin SP23 you need a spare Raspberry Pi – or temporarily re-task your only Pi, inserting a new MicroSD card. You should start with a fresh install of raspbian Buster Lite (I tried using my existing setup – too much activity).
You need a Raspberry Pi to set up Tuya-Convert. Grab the minimal Buster from the Raspberry Pi site and install on the Pi using, say, the free BalenaEtcher program (though as of March 2020 I’m staying away from BalenaEtcher and trying USBImager). While the SD is still in your PC (after installing Buster, remove and reinsert the SD into your PC and you will see the boot partition). You should put an empty text file in the boot “drive” called merely “ssh” without the quotes. Remove the SD and put it in the RPi. Then power up the RPi. I used an RPi 3. None of this works on the new versions of the Teckin products which no longer use ESP8266.
sudo apt-get install -y git
git clone https://github.com/ct-Open-Source/tuya-convert.git
Open two SSH terminals on your PC as user Pi on thr RPi. I use MobaXTerm for that. On the first terminal do this…
Press YES. Connect your mobile phone WIFI to access point vtrust-flash which should become available. Use password “flashmeifyoucan” without the quotes.
On the second terminal..
tail -f *log
Back on terminal one, press ENTER and wait for the prompt. You can watch progress on terminal TWO… When terminal ONE returns to the prompt, you’ve done the first step of the hack, now to flash Tasmota.
In terminal ONE you should see something like:
Getting Info from IoT-device
(c) VTRUST GMBH https://www.vtrust.de/35c3/
READ FLASH: http://10.42.42.42/backup
FlashMode: 1M DOUT @ 40MHz
Active Userspace: user2 0x81000
If it is NOT saying “Active Userspace: user2 0x81000 then you need an intermediate step – the following – to be pasted into terminal ONE…
If you DO see the above “Active Userspace” etc., skip to step 3 on terminal ONE.
Monitor what is happening on terminal TWO.
At this point the hack is complete and you should see a “SONOFF-XXX” WiFi access point on your phone, connect to it, navigate to 192.168.4.1 and use the web interface to connect the device to your WiFi network. Be sure to enter the correct ssid and password for your access point. You can always change it later.
Now you can update to the latest firmware in the normal way, for example, this URL for the 2.3.0-based minimal firmware.. http://thehackbox.org/tasmota/release/sonoff-minimal.bin
For the full release – this – http://thehackbox.org/tasmota/sonoff.bin
You could look for a Tasmota template for the device… https://blakadder.github.io/
Now to to your Tasmotized device web page, other, configuration, paste in the template in the top text box, check ACTIVATE, remove any password from the password field and press SAVE.