Six months ago I was reviewing the AiThinker AiLight, a great looking light bulb with an embedded ESP8266EX microcontroller, driven by a MY9291 LED driver. Just before summer IteadStudio released it’s Sonoff B1 [Itead.cc] light bulb, heavily inspired (probably same manufacturer) by the AiLight, at least on the design.
Now that IteadStudio has become popular between the home automation community you can also find the Sonoff B1 on global marketplaces like Ebay or Aliexpress for around 13€.
A closer look at the B1 uncovers some important differences. But before going deeper into the details let me first say that this post will probably look more like a review, at least more than I use to write. And second, yes: ESPurna supports the Sonoff B1 🙂
Itead Studio has been releasing interesting gadgets for the Home Automation community based on a low price tag and extreme hackability. You can google “sonoff” (the main brand for Itead Studio home automation devices) to get more than a million hits, including official pages, reviews and lots of hacks. The ubiquitous ESP8266 (or its sibling ESP8285) is the core of all those devices, using WiFi instead of the traditional RF messages, replacing a remote with mobile apps or voice commands. But also, using custom firmwares like ESPurna, technologies and solutions like MQTT, Node-RED or Home Assistant. But one of the latests devices from the chinese firm tries to bridge the gap between those two technologies: the Sonoff RF Bridge 433.
I was not the first to arrive at the party but since I discovered the ESP8266 I’ve been enjoying it. Then I stumbled upon the Sonoff and dude was I amazed. They are cheap and so very hackable you cannot help buying them, tear them open and customize them.
Sure they are not CE or UL compliant, yet. My previous post about adding a custom RF module to a Sonoff HT got some visibility as it was published at hackaday.com. Most of the commentors there where concerned about safety measures in the device. The truth is that early Sonoffs looked more like products for the DIY market, not for end customers.
But ITead’s home automation product line is evolving quite fast. It all started with several Sonoff models (with or without RF, with or without temperature and humidity sensors, with or without AC/DC transformer) and the Slampher I’ll be reviewing it soon.