Smart Home systems are one of the many wonders of the Internet of Things (IoT). Having the ability to better manage one’s home and appliances through a mobile phone is beyond convenient. I’ll admit that I often thought of these systems as more of an expensive party trick. These were devices that I thought would only be available to the very very few who could afford the cost of smart home kits and installation.
My opinion of these Smart Home systems changed however when Nations Hardware brought up some devices they have. These devices were a lot smaller and less daunting than I had first thought.
Some of these devices can even be installed by those who are DIY inclined.
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Sonoff smart switches
Nations Hardware has a number of Smart Home systems and devices in stock. These range from ones I am sure we are all familiar with, Google Home, Nest Hub and Nest Mini. They also had a variety of Sonoff smart home switches, internet and mobile phone controlled smart plugs and light switches.
The ones I took particular interest in was the Sonoff smart home switches. Sonoff smart switches act as intermediaries or relays between your power source and the device(s) you want to control. That could be a single light, appliance or multiple systems. The switches can be placed out in open, hidden behind your wall plug or panel.
There are a variety of switches, depending on the application or the number of appliances you want to control. They range from one channel up to four channels:
- MINI DIY 10Aamps (1 channel)
- POWR2 (1 channel 15A and Max Power of 3500W)
- R2 4Channel (10A/2200W per Channel)
- T2 3 Gang (Wall-mounted switch)
- T2 1 Gang (Wall-mounted switch)
Let’s take the Mini DIY for example.
This little device has one channel going in and another going out. The relative simplicity of it is that you can install one of these yourself.
The device comes with a manual that gives you all the information you need in order to wire it and have it connected to your home Wi-Fi. Sonoff also has a mobile application called eWeLink app (iOS, Android) that you can use to control. The application allows you to:
- Turn the appliance or device on or off,
- Schedule when that device should be on or off
- LAN control
- Real-time status of the appliance connected
- Share the controls of the switch with anyone you choose
An added benefit is that the switch can also be controlled through a Google Assistant, Nest Hub, Nest Mini or Alexa. This means that voice commands can also be used to control the switch. If you want to venture into smart home systems the DIY Mini is a good starting point. It’s also possible to have a number of these devices connected to systems that you can control through the app.
The Sonoff POWR2 one channel on top of just switching a device on and off. It also allows the measurement if realtime electricity consumption statistics of the appliance connected to it.
Sonoff wall mounted switches
If you are looking for something to replace your wall switches, Sonoff has a range of T2 Smart switches. These switches are range from 1 to 3 switches (gangs) that are mounted light switch replacements.
The Sonoff TX T2 wall switches are also compatible with the eWeLink app, as well as be controlled with Google Assistant or Alexa.
How about if you want to control even more appliances and devices
The Sonoff 4CH Pro allows for 4 devices connected through one switch. On top of all the features that the smaller devices have the 4CH Pro has:
- RF (radio frequency) remote control for each channel, so you don’t have to use the app to control a device on a channel.
- Interlocking feature, that can turn one channel off when another is turned on.
- Inching mode, which allows you to turn a device for a set short period of time (1-16 seconds).
More channels mean that you can control even more devices. The range of devices and their power demands mean that it’s recommended to have one of these installed by an electrician. The 4 channel can be used to control lighting in different parts of the house, appliances and motorised systems like gates and garage doors.
Like all the other smart switches you can use them in combination to expand the number of appliances you will have remote access to. You can have the 4CH Pro managing some appliances and systems as well as a few one channel switches in other areas of the house.
These devices can be useful in saving energy, with the smart scheduling features you can control when appliances like lights are on and off. The real-time status feature can also help see which appliances are active and inactive. Depending on the number of these switches you have attached to your appliances you can track your home’s power usage through the eWeLink app.
Since they are compatible with voice command systems like Google’s Nest Hub and Alexa you can bypass the app entirely. These smart switches could also add to security. In the event that there is a disturbance in the house, I can imagine it would be convenient to have remote control of lights when navigating to investigate instead of struggling in the dark to find a switch.
How much will each of these smart switches cost?
The prices for these smart switches were less daunting than I expected (but those were just my expectations and they were really high). The DIY Mini will set you back US$19.00, the POWR2 is ten dollars more at US$29.00 and the Sonoff Pro R2 Ch is the most expensive at US$59.00.
The TX T2 wall-mounted smart switches are at US$39.00 for the 3 switch and US$29.00 for the single switch. Nations Hardware also has the Google Home Mini and Nest Hub going for US$59.00 and US$149.00 respectively.
Nations Hardware will show you around these devices and give you advice on their setup and installation.
You can find Nations Hardware’s contact details in the link here.