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smart devices around the home

grog68

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A few weeks ago I picked up a couple of little wifi Sonoff switches (not wall switches) that can be put inline of the power cable to then switch on the item remotely, set timers etc. I wired one up to an extension lead which was simple enough and now I can turn on whatever is plugged into it from the other side of the world if I wanted to.

I was then thinking what the hell, I could connect these up to the main lights. Again I thought simple enough to put them inline before the power gets to the ceiling rose. But then I wasn't happy with that idea as the light switch must be on for them to work so I started to look at smart wall switches. I'm on a tight budget so don't want to spend £100's on them

What a nightmare that idea is. In most cases simple on/off smart/wifi light switches require a neutral feed going to the light switch, which isn't standard for houses in the UK (apparently some new builds do now). You can get smart dimmer switches but then this means you need to make sure you have dimable bulbs and their not cheap to get here. Why is it so complicated here. I've since found that you can use rf light switches which have their own battery and don't even need to be wired up to anything so I am thinking of going down that route.

In the end, I've ordered two smart bulbs, Phillips in B&Q are £30-£50 each, or get Sonoff ones from china, dimmable, colour changing etc and 2 E27 Sonoff smart bulb sockets (for use with normal bulbs) that just screw into the ceiling rose with no wiring . All of which can be operated from the same app on the phone, no smart hub required etc. I plan on adding the rf switches later, once I have played with what I have ordered but by introducing rf I then need an rf hub (I think) to link them to wifi.

At this point, on 4 smart lights and 2 switches for other devices I have spent less than 2 philips smart bulbs would cost.

The phone app that is used for Sonoff devices stores all timers etc on cloud storage. To some this causes a concern that maybe the Chinese will use the info to hack into your system and grab information you don't want them to have. Sonoff devices are flashable and can be flashed with your own code and their is stuff out there that can be flashed onto them. I'm tempted to have a go at flashing them but it's not a matter of plugging a usb stick in and rebooting LOL, you need to solder header pins onto the PCB and via a small device plugged into your computer flash them and add your own code. Some do it because they are paranoid and don't want to use the cloud, others do it because it gives them more flexibility, ie the app only allows for 8 timers to be set or something.

Now I am after peoples thoughts/experiencies, I've bought from china before, had phones from there more than once, so the paranoia side of things does not really concern me to much, but I was wondering if anyone used Sonoff devices? have they flashed them and if so what benefits have they gained from doing so?
 

grog68

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well one of the bulbs I got didn't work and got a refund for it. So I now have 3 smart lights, an extension lead with lamp connected that's got the sonnof smart switch inline , my son got me a ring door bell for my birthday and the better half got me google home.

I decided to basically forget using the apps that came with everything apart from actually setting them up originally, using stringify and ifttt I have set two lights on timers, and when the doorbell detects motion the hallway light comes on. all of the lights can be manually operated via voice control thanks to the google home.

I then started playing and now have two of my enigma2 boxes also controlled via the google home, I can say 'OK google turn the front room tv on' or 'ok google turn the front room tv to channel 509' etc and it does it, operating on/off, volume control and changing channel. yes using the remote is quicker but hey who cares about that lol, the aim is to link it with the lights so when lights come on/off then tv's do same etc. Again I know the boxes have power timers which are easier to set up but hey who cares lol.
 

Cortina

Forum Supporter
im a fan of Sonoff products, so far I have the immersion heater connected, all outside lights front and back , kitchen lights & extractor fan with a sensor to turn on when humidity gets to a certain point, (boiling spuds turns it on quickly!) all media devices in living room along with 2 lamps, next on the list is to automate the blinds on the windows. All these are controlled by Alexa at home or by the app anywhere in the world, handy when away on hols, to give the impression your home by turning lights on and off, of course all can be set by timers or scenes using the ewelink app. so far after more than a year all have worked without any hickups. And no chinese lads have interfered with any of it.....I think ! Perhaps id be more worried if I was using Russian products, there IT seems more interested in data collection.
 

steptoe

TK Veteran
Forum Supporter
im a fan of Sonoff products, so far I have the immersion heater connected, all outside lights front and back , kitchen lights & extractor fan with a sensor to turn on when humidity gets to a certain point, (boiling spuds turns it on quickly!) all media devices in living room along with 2 lamps, next on the list is to automate the blinds on the windows. All these are controlled by Alexa at home or by the app anywhere in the world, handy when away on hols, to give the impression your home by turning lights on and off, of course all can be set by timers or scenes using the ewelink app. so far after more than a year all have worked without any hickups. And no chinese lads have interfered with any of it.....I think ! Perhaps id be more worried if I was using Russian products, there IT seems more interested in data collection.
Just wait until you come back from your holidays to discover your house has been taken over by a squatting Chinese herb farmer :ROFLMAO: :ROFLMAO: :ROFLMAO:
 

ASHHBI

TK Veteran
Forum Supporter
I was an early adopter of smart home devices.
My first was the Heating controls from British Gas which was rebadged as Hive.
Then about 5 years ago I went to the Gadget Show at the NEC and came across LightwaveRF.
I got a good introductory deal on the Hub and some plugs.
Over the years I slowly built my collection( slowly because it’s expensive) on Lightwave and Hive products.
My latest purchase was the Yale Conexis L1 smart lock. Unfortunately the Yale App is very basic and not great.
Then I came across the Samsung Smartthings Hub. I eventually incorporated all my smart home devices into one place on the SmartThings HUB. It has taken a bit of googling to set it all up but it was fun opening my front door for someone whilst
I was abroad.
I wouldn’t like to add up what I’ve spent over the years. :X3:
 

Cortina

Forum Supporter
I was an early adopter of smart home devices.
My first was the Heating controls from British Gas which was rebadged as Hive.
Then about 5 years ago I went to the Gadget Show at the NEC and came across LightwaveRF.
I got a good introductory deal on the Hub and some plugs.
Over the years I slowly built my collection( slowly because it’s expensive) on Lightwave and Hive products.
My latest purchase was the Yale Conexis L1 smart lock. Unfortunately the Yale App is very basic and not great.
Then I came across the Samsung Smartthings Hub. I eventually incorporated all my smart home devices into one place on the SmartThings HUB. It has taken a bit of googling to set it all up but it was fun opening my front door for someone whilst
I was abroad.
I wouldn’t like to add up what I’ve spent over the years. :X3:

I was toying with the idea of fitting the Yale Conexis L1 smart lock. but was put off by bad reports and a total put down by the guy that fitted my new front door..
What do you make of it ?
I understand you don't want someone shouting in your letterbox at Alexa to open the door, but you can lock it via Alexa,
and full control on the app, is it worth the money,
there are a lot of cheaper options out there, but mostly for dead bolt locks which are not as common here in Ireland for front door use.
 

ASHHBI

TK Veteran
Forum Supporter
There are some good video’s out there regarding the Yale Conexis Lock L1. Yes the reviews are mixed but I fitted mine myself but followed the instructions to the letter as well as watching some good video instructions. I know there are some bad reviews but I must have been lucky because mine works perfectly. I put it down to people not fitting it correctly.
The lock on its own works well with the Yale app, tags/cards for basic locking and unlocking.
I added the zwave module and connected it to the SmartThings hub and it expands its features. Eg push notifications of who has come in through the door(you allocate tags and cards to a family member name). You can also operate it remotely from the SmartThings app.
There is a little more battery drain with the zwave module and mine lasted 5 months. But I hammered it with testing.
As for Alexa opening it up the answer is No. By default this action is barred In Alexa. You can ask Alexa if the door is locked and it will answer you but will not open it. I believe there is a work round you can do but I’ll leave it at the default.
The only thing that people don’t realise is you can only lock the door if you physically lift the handle. Once you lift the handle it automatically locks.
As for your question as was it worth the money then unless you like your home gadgets like me then I would say it’s probably not.
But my family now love it. No more keys and if you forget your fob you can use your phone to open the door.
Hope this helps.
 

Cortina

Forum Supporter
cheers,
I think I will reconsider this,
your probably right, not fitted 100% and it wont work 100%, this is the reason I think for the bad reviews,
also going to look at The Yale Keyless Connected smart door lock for the wooden door with the night latch type lock..
iv a 2 door front with a porch, pvc door 1st then the old type wooden 1.
All totally unnessesary , but I just like gadgets...:wink:
 
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