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Thread: Appliance level control and monitoring at a reasonable price - Sonoff PoW

  1. #1
    Automated Home Legend Paul_B's Avatar
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    Default Appliance level control and monitoring at a reasonable price - Sonoff PoW

    Those that have followed my posts will probably know that I have long being looking for a solution to monitor and control at the appliance level. Historically this has been an unsolved challenge; finding something that is network connected, monitors power consumption, provides a web interface and doesn't cost the earth has been impossible. However, last month on another thread someone suggested taking a look at Sonoff PoW.

    The module is made in China, where else, but does tick most of the boxes. The final tick box came on discovery that the modules are relatively easy to hack with custom firmware and a very active alternative firmware exists on GitHub. After initial testing last night all appears to work as I had hoped. Integrating into Cortex should be easy because the firmware provides a simple HTML interface (although MQTT would be better).

    Details of the module are available on the manufacturers website, note it is CE certified although many people are commenting that current should be kept below 5 Amp due to the tin tracks on the PCB. It is rated at 16 A, 3.5KW.

    Itead Sonoff PoW

    The custom firmware and instructions to flash the unit are here - GitHub Sonoff-Tasmota Firmware

    sonoff-pow-11.jpg
    Last edited by Paul_B; 24th March 2017 at 11:47 AM.

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    Automated Home Legend Karam's Avatar
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    Yes, interestingly I had seen this myself just a few days ago and wondered the same thing. We had toyed with the idea of using the ESP8266 WiFi module some time ago (which I imagine is what this is based on) but for various reasons did not progress anything with it at the time (may yet do). I'm not such a great fan of WiFi but like with all these things different requirements merit different solutions and though I don't have practical experience of it I'd imagine it can't be worse than a HomeEasy or LightwaveRF type solution for the control side and obviously the metering side has no such equivalent in these. I think I even saw them at a cheaper price than the link you provide !

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    Automated Home Legend Paul_B's Avatar
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    I understand your concern with WiFi and the antenna on the PCB is pretty small. Maybe a better idea would be to send the signal over the powerline? I would love an Idratek module that sits behind a power socket to measure and control power. I believe that the heart of the PoW is a IC chip, HLW8012, which does the power monitoring.

    Paul

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    Automated Home Legend chris_j_hunter's Avatar
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    just to add a few thoughts on the PowerLine / WiFi possibility ...

    we recently added some Devolo dLAN Powerline 550 Wi-Fi units to our set-up, to bring the Android tablets we now have dotted around the house into reliable contact with Cortex ... ie: a master unit connected by Ethernet to our router & plugged into a nearby mains-socket, plus four satellite units providing WiFi hubs in various parts of the house ... these being PowerLine units that use all three conductors, to up the speed & reliability a bit more ...

    in practice, we find they work well, even recovering from power interruptions properly (ie: they don't rush in before the router has got going), but they do from time to time jam up - we've tried many things, but power-off / wait / power-on is needed, sometimes of an individual hub, sometimes of the master unit ... first thought was maybe buffers getting full, but seems to be random rather than more or less regular occurrence ...

    anyway, just to bear in mind !

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    Sounds interesting. I've wanted a unit that can tell me when an appliance is switched on (i.e. consuming power), rather than needing power consumption measuring, but I assume the Sonoff device would also allow this.

    Slightly off-topic regarding Wifi, I've just switched my Wifi from a multiple access point solution to a mesh system. I'm using two Unifi access points to cover the whole building now. It is a great improvement and the system just works. Instead of multiple SSIDs I now have coverage of the whole area with just the single SSID visible and decent signal strength all over. I would recommend it if you want to move your Wifi to a professional quality system. There are various suppliers, including Google of these mesh systems, but I was attracted to Unifi as it is standalone, without needing a broadband connection to manage it.

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    Automated Home Legend chris_j_hunter's Avatar
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    Sonoff do other units, too, so maybe there are other options ?

    Unifi ... interesting ... wonder if just two would work for us, because the frequencies mean near line of sight is needed & our thick concrete walls & floors and even some of our furniture (bookcases) seem to be pretty effective blockers ...

  7. #7
    Automated Home Legend Paul_B's Avatar
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    Sonoff do a range of devices so other solutions might work for others. All, or at least most, can be re-flashed using the repo on GitHub mentioned in my original post. I also use Unifi access points and like the features, performance and constant improvements that are provided by Ubiquiti

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    Automated Home Legend chris_j_hunter's Avatar
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    mesh was new to me, so tried to read-up about it ... and thought this useful on the various ins & outs ...

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/10878/...-and-wifi-mesh

    though (may be wrong) would expect the Unifi set-up will be wired (Cat-6) between units ...
    Last edited by chris_j_hunter; 29th March 2017 at 01:48 PM.

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