Home Automation - Smartkit

Dolby

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About 2 or 3 months ago, I started looking for (affordable) home automation for my own home and evaluated any brand and product I could get hold of. I found that many brands available locally were scattered, not actively promoted and difficult to find - although most are fantastic! I chatted to a friend regarding possibly consolidating and selling these brands in a single space ... and the smartkit idea was born.

Long story short - www.smartkit.co.za is now live

A bit more info : We'll also be doing the hobbyist-type of automation (Arduino, Pi, MQTT, senors, dev boards etc) and will have a forum/blog for the occasional updates from either us or any of the brands. Additionally, in that blog we'll put up videos up some common questions received on real word performance. For example, the two questions we've received frequently are related lag on relays ... so we took a real world video.

The site is going to dynamic and will change according to what you guys want - so, please, feel free to mail [I]info@smartkit.co.za[/I] or PM me direct - whether product recommendations / queries / teething issues / suggestions or anything you wish.

Thanks
 

AntiThesis

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*bookmarked*

Looks good - hope I can figure out some stuff to get from there and start the HA journey :p Do you have guides?
 

envo

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The only thing I need automated in my home is already automated by the remote I have in my hand....*watches more episodes of whatever the hell isn't related to I.T*
 

Dolby

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Do you have guides?
I'd say plan before you buy things you don't need and - as many of these systems can't operate together - you'll have to stick to a single brand which works best for you. I'm using the Sonoff kit my place (S20 wall socket / POW to measure consumption and a host of Basics) and cost just over R1,000.00.
 

The_MAC

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I'd say plan before you buy things you don't need and - as many of these systems can't operate together - you'll have to stick to a single brand which works best for you. I'm using the Sonoff kit my place (S20 wall socket / POW to measure consumption and a host of Basics) and cost just over R1,000.00.
How does the Sonoff Eco-System work?

I see it uses the eWeLink app, looks a little dodge with all that chinese writing..
 

Goobie

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Do the Sonoff and Qwikswitch modules all run off cellphone apps or can I access a build in webserver in a way?

PS: I already use an Opensprinkler and it is fantastic
 

Dolby

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So there are two of us involved.

The other is the more technical and the one looking at the likes of modules, Arduino, Rasberry Pi, MQTT servers etc listed here. I've asked him to drop and it explain in a little more detail his plans going forward.

These would, however, be your breakout boards http://www.smartkit.co.za/product-category/development/breakout-boards/ and IoT boards http://www.smartkit.co.za/product-category/development/iot-boards/

But answering the above - as standard (ie no customer firmware) the Sonoff kit runs though and can be controlled via :

- Android/IOS app
- Google Home / Amazon Alexa (all the modules)
- 433mhz remote (two of the modules)

You can also fall back to operating through a standard switch. In the words, the switch needs to left on for the smart function to work but you can set 'Power On State : On'. When the switch loses power and switches on again, the light is on (if that makes sense - otherwise, I'll take a video)
 
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phaktza

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*bookmarked*

Looks good - hope I can figure out some stuff to get from there and start the HA journey :p Do you have guides?
Hi AntiThesis,

The is quite a bit of documentation available on the Sonoff wiki. Additionally we've done a few installations ourselves, or at least with the help of an electrician, and can offer help as best we can. We've started a forum which will hopefully grow in the next few months to encompass an queries.
 

phaktza

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How does the Sonoff Eco-System work?

I see it uses the eWeLink app, looks a little dodge with all that chinese writing..
Hi The_MAC

Sonoff transmits data to a cloud platform through the WiFi router, which enables users to remotely control all the connected appliances, via the mobile application eWeLink. The cloud server of Sonoff is Amazon AWS global server.

The eWeLink app is reliable, but it will come with the same concerns as any IoT device regarding privacy (i.e. is someone gathering or watching my info?). Remember the Echo range of devices accomplish their services in exactly the same way.

If you feel really uncomfortable with this, you are always welcome to replace the firmware and run an internal MQTT server like Home Assistant. Disclaimer: this will void your warranty and you will be unable to reinstall the proprietary firmware. With that said, I am all for changing the firmware, but you need to be aware of the repercussions.
 

phaktza

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Do the Sonoff and Qwikswitch modules all run off cellphone apps or can I access a build in webserver in a way?

PS: I already use an Opensprinkler and it is fantastic
Hi Goobie

Sonoff transmits data to a cloud platform through the WiFi router, which enables users to remotely control all the connected appliances, via the mobile application eWeLink (Android and iOS). The cloud server of Sonoff is Amazon AWS global server. You can also use the 433Mhz remotes.

The short answer is no, Sonoff products make use of proprietary software and AWS. Some products can operate without an Internet connection, but will connect immediately once the connection becomes available.

The long answer is yes, of course! Disclaimer: this will void your warranty and you will be unable to reinstall the proprietary firmware. With that said, I am all for changing the firmware, but you need to be aware of the repercussions.

We will shortly be attempting to integrate both Qwikswitch and Sonoff products on a single platform by changing the Sonoff firmware and utilising the Home Assistant MQTT platform (Qwikswitch can make use of Home Assistant out the box). This will allow us to control various devices by different manufacturers though our Alexa devices (or Google Home). We will also be considering creating a limited app to make things easier on our customers - though you will still have to change the Sonoff firmware.

In the very near future, Sonoff will also support IFTTT - which might make interoperability an option without voiding your warranty or "hacking" the devices.

Please let us know about OpenSprinkler - it would be great to have a review/testimonial of the product!
 

Cicero

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I've got 2 Amazon Echo's and a couple of Sonoff's around my home. They are dead simple to set up, and the sonoffs are super cheap which is great.

Only problem for me, is that sometimes the Echo's say the sonoffs aren't responding, but then they toggle on/off anyway a few seconds later. Its such a minor issue, all they really need to do is rethink their timeouts.
 

Dolby

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Very similar system to mine - I have the 2 Dots and a few Sonoff Basic / POW / S20 connected. The thing with the Dot is voice control is lagged due the physical distance, but in most cases it really doesn't matter and super conveniet.

I was impressed with the virtually zero lag when using GSM though!

[video=youtube;vOeW4Qw_qVU]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOeW4Qw_qVU[/video]
 

mh348

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I'm looking for a device to open/close a gate motor and possibly my 2 garage door motors. I had a look at several products such as, GSM Commander, DTS Gcom500, Centurion Gswitch & MyGSM but haven't decided which to use. If you have a better solution I could buy a kit from you.

Can the Sonoff kit be used to open/close the gates/garage doors? My gate motor is a DTS & uses an ET remote, my garage doors also use ET remotes using the DC Blue Plus receivers. From the ET site it states the remotes run on 433.92 Mhz.
 

lsheed_cn

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ET remotes use rolling code with a seed using the Keelock algorithm.

You could program something that supported Keelock as a spare remote and signal.
Otherwise adding another transmitter /receiver pair to the open/clock relay i/o pins on the DC Blue would work

The Sonoff is essentially a ESP8266 wifi module + a relay, not really what you need, although in theory you could make it work.
 

Dolby

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For those with Amazon Alexa and thinking about smart home, you can see the video below of the latency. Often, the convenience does outweigh the lag though - but good to know. The main issue appears to be OK confirmation at the end.

Something great that I've done is link it to my devices and grouped all into 'House'. I can then turn on or shut off everything by saying 'Alexa, turn off the house' - quite nifty if your going going sleep.

[video=youtube_share;qvXZ5hbxPZo]https://youtu.be/qvXZ5hbxPZo[/video]
 

Dolby

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Also pretty neat is grouping - I created a group called 'House' and assigned outside lights, patios and various rooms. I can then turn on / off the whole house by saying 'Alexa, turn off house' and can actually monitor on teh app what is on / off.

[video=youtube;lMsOC8fh_W4]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lMsOC8fh_W4[/video]
 

phaktza

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ET remotes use rolling code with a seed using the Keelock algorithm.

You could program something that supported Keelock as a spare remote and signal.
Otherwise adding another transmitter /receiver pair to the open/clock relay i/o pins on the DC Blue would work

The Sonoff is essentially a ESP8266 wifi module + a relay, not really what you need, although in theory you could make it work.
I thought of using the Sonoff RF Bridge - but it can't handle rolling codes.

There is a possibility of adding a unit between the receiver and motor - I know mine are independent of eachother?
 

patrick123

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Well you guys seem to be in the know. is there a comparison chart for the Amazon Echo, Dot, and Google Home. I want to get one but cannot find any Google answers comparing all three.
 
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