Setting up a smart home can be a costly affair, if every device needed an expensive proprietary smart switch you would spend quite a bit of money. With a very tiny amount of soldering and some custom firmware, the Sonoff Basic model can be turned into a locally controlled MQTT enabled WiFi smart switch for about $7 each. These tiny little esp8266 based boards can be spliced into a power cord to add WiFi control to anything.
I have about a dozen of these and they work great. Because of how cheap they are, I have started adding them to some ridiculous devices. Today’s DIY WiFi retrofit: my coffee mug warmer.
I want my mug warmer to come on automatically when I enter my office in the morning, but only if I’ve made coffee already. But first, I need to flash some new firmware onto my Sonoff.
Continue reading →
So many good uses for these chips, here are a few I’ve made and some I still intend to.
- ESP Easy – by far the easiest way to connect a bunch of cheap sensors to an esp8266. I have about 6 of these doing various things.
- Bed Occupancy Sensor – FSR sensor for pressure and a simple automation to determine bed occupancy
- WiFi Candle Using multiple WS2812 addressable LEDs to create a simple lamp that flickers like a candle.
- Notification Flag – Raise a flag based on a simple condition. Would be nice to combine in tandem with…
- Mailbox Sensor – Notify when mailbox is opened.
- DIY Milight Hub – I’ve been using this and it works great. Control as many cheap Chinese RGB bulbs as you want.
- Simple Water Alarm – If water shorts the wires, it wakes a sleeping esp8266 and sounds the alarm
- Door/Window Monitor – Along the same lines, a simple magnetic switch monitors the status of a window or door.
- Smart Power Strip – Retrofitting a power strip with 2 banks of controllable outlets, using 3D printed parts.
- Weather Station Display – Another super cool 3D printed project that plugs in and displays info on a small screen.
My favorite form factor of the esp8266 is the Wemos D1 Mini. Tiny, all the inputs you need, and there are many premade ‘shields’ for it so you can stack components.