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Author Topic: Universal ESP8266 based WiFi light/appliance controls  (Read 26458 times)

dhouston

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Re: Universal ESP8266 based WiFi light/appliance controls
« Reply #45 on: April 01, 2016, 03:14:51 PM »

Itead gave me a link to post my review but Firefox refused to connect because of security certificate issues.

I emailed them a brief review but pointed them here for more details.

We'll see what, if anything, comes of it.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2016, 03:17:57 PM by dhouston »
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Tuicemen

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Re: Universal ESP8266 based WiFi light/appliance controls
« Reply #46 on: April 01, 2016, 04:17:59 PM »

Apparently a SDK is to be released late April.
Hopefully this will provide a alterative way to connect.
If it still requires a cloud connection the SDK is useless.
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Tuicemen

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Re: Universal ESP8266 based WiFi light/appliance controls
« Reply #47 on: April 01, 2016, 04:21:35 PM »

I'm able to log into their forum now so  I'll fire of a few posts.
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dhouston

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Re: Universal ESP8266 based WiFi light/appliance controls
« Reply #48 on: April 02, 2016, 07:49:29 AM »

I'm able to log into their forum now so  I'll fire of a few posts.
I suspect the reason Firefox balked at the link I was given was that I had not logged in. Once logged in, I saw the link but others have already made most of the points I was going to make so I'll wait and see if Itead responds.

Once I finish a few other projects (I'm finding that I can't juggle multiple projects as I used to do - I don't know what will happen when I get old.), I'll set up the Sonoff relay so I can get my 'scope on things to see the signals passed from the RF receiver to the 8-bit MCU, etc.

I can design a replacement receiver for 310MHz using a Microchip/Micrel chip with a 14-pin Atmel ATtiny MCU and a slightly larger EEPROM (for timers, macros, etc.). I'll use an ATtiny chip supported by ZBasic (generic license needed). With the ESP8266 already supported by ZBasic (free version), it will simplify programming. Then we'll have a complete system we can program ourselves, avoiding Itead's cloudy skies.

It will have the same pinout as their existing 433Module so I guess I'll call it 310Module. I'll get Itead to fabricate/assemble the prototypes. They can then produce them in quantity if desired. If they prefer to stick with the current MCU, I can design that PCB as well and they can program it and the ESP8266 as they wish.

BTW, any smartphone, tablet, etc. can send RF using a small dongle connected to the headphone jack (works best with stereo). The average frequency of an X10 RF data envelope is between 1-2kHz. I did this many years ago and have notes somewhere. I believe I also posted details to a PICBasic forum if I cannot find my notes.
  
« Last Edit: April 02, 2016, 08:35:58 AM by dhouston »
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Tuicemen

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Re: Universal ESP8266 based WiFi light/appliance controls
« Reply #49 on: April 02, 2016, 08:09:20 AM »

I think everyone that is interested in these should at least go and check "liked" for suggestions made that appeal to them..
A suggestion with 20 likes is more apt to get implemented then one with 1 like. ;)
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dhouston

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Re: Universal ESP8266 based WiFi light/appliance controls
« Reply #50 on: April 02, 2016, 12:13:01 PM »

I'm trying to think through what's needed in an RF receiver design that can be pin-compatible and X10 RF compatible.

The receiver used in my light socket and, I believe, in the relay has a 256 byte EEPROM, the small chip to the right of the MCU in this photo.


I plan to use an ATtiny84A MCU with 512 bytes of internal EEPROM and can add more externally, if needed. I'm not sure what's needed so am open to suggestions.

The ESP8266 WiFi chips in these devices can do P2P but I'm not sure if there's a limit on how many 'peers' one can have. It may be possible to assign different X10 addresses to multiple devices and use P2P communication to execute macros. And, each device could store its own timers, internally. With Internet access, dawn/dusk could be updated every night in the wee hours. While the possibilities are not endless, I'm not sure where the end might be and need input from X10 users who might like to make use of these devices in order to get a handle on EEPROM size.

With something like my planned CM15A2Z or Ultimate X10 Controller...
https://www.laser.com/dhouston/cm15a2z.html
https://www.laser.com/dhouston/ultimate-X10.html
older PLC devices could be included in the system. (NOTE: Both the above devices have evolved. I'll update the web pages in a week or two.) Or, it might be possible to add an RF transmitter to a 'master' device (or devices) and it could repeat commands to TM751/RR501/etc. to convert to PLC.

Both the ATtiny and ESP8266 can be programmed with ZBasic. The ATtiny requires the paid generic license while ZBasicESP8266 is currently free. I'm not certain, at this point, whether the ATtiny is field upgradeable like the ESP8266.  
http://www.zbasic.net/

The RF receiver will use a Microchip/Micrel wideband SH receiver IC. This is better with X10's LC controlled RF transmitters which may not be centered on 310MHz. The receiver can be converted to 433MHz by changing the resonator.

These new devices will be capable of control by WiFi and X10 RF but not PLC. While I'd love to see switches, wall outlets and modules that are WiFi & X10 RF compatible with dimming, etc., that will depend on Itead Studio (or some other player).

I think we've all seen that WiFi is the wave of the future - this a way for X10 systems to surf that wave.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2016, 12:26:59 PM by dhouston »
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Tuicemen

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Re: Universal ESP8266 based WiFi light/appliance controls
« Reply #51 on: April 02, 2016, 01:33:33 PM »

I don't believe this needs to much function.
Many functions could be performed via third party software.
Since timers are already configured in the Sonoff this isn't need and I've read a suggestion that dusk dawn was asked for so this most likely will get implemented as well.

I think all that is needed is:
1: Ability to configure\change a X10 address(though if not compatible with the existing frequency that isn't required and you could use addresses in excess of the 256 now available with X10)
2: Option for ON
3: Option for Off
4: Maybe a momentary On/Off option ???


I may think of other options which I'll add later
« Last Edit: April 02, 2016, 02:42:04 PM by Tuicemen »
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dhouston

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Re: Universal ESP8266 based WiFi light/appliance controls
« Reply #52 on: April 02, 2016, 04:05:14 PM »

I've been doing a bit more research and it seems there are problems with P2P or mesh networks (both Espressif and Itead indicate it's possible but ZBasic only supports Station Mode) so it may be necessary for a local controller to address each device in a manner similar to X10 except much, much faster via WiFi or X10 RF.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2016, 04:54:15 PM by dhouston »
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dhouston

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Re: Universal ESP8266 based WiFi light/appliance controls
« Reply #53 on: April 02, 2016, 07:32:01 PM »

I popped the hood on a Sonoff relay w/RF and it does use the same RXC6 RF receiver pictured earlier in the thread.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2016, 06:57:57 AM by dhouston »
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dhouston

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Re: Universal ESP8266 based WiFi light/appliance controls
« Reply #54 on: April 03, 2016, 11:19:07 AM »

This may be both easier and harder than expected.

The RXC6 RF receiver board (which is available on eBay so it's probably not Itead's design) uses...

SYN470R 300-450MHz IC
Syno Electronic Development Co.,Limited  
http://www.datasheetcafe.com/syn470r-datasheet-receiver/

EFM8BB10F8G-A-SOIC16 8-bit microcontroller (8051 core)
Silicon Labs
http://www.mouser.com/ds/2/368/EFM8BB1_DataSheet-533965.pdf

24C02BN  256 Byte EEPROM
Atmel
http://www.atmel.com/Images/doc0180.pdf

The SYN470R appears to be a copy of a Micrel chip I would have chosen. The 16-pin version from Syno can be either fixed or sweep mode. Itead is using fixed mode with a crystal because CE limits require it for Europe (so most 433.92MHz transmitters are SAW or crystal controlled). Sweep mode offers wider bandwidth (best for X10 RF in N. America) and can use a ceramic resonator rather than a crystal. Ceramic resonators can be special ordered for decent prices even with a high MOQ. I bought them for my Micrel 310MHz receiver but they are, unfortunately, a different frequency.

The EFM8BB10F8G-A-SOIC16 is widely available, very inexpensive, and possibly works with Bascom51, or mikroBasic for 8051. It has a bootloader for field upgrades. I would prefer to use another microcontroller but the Itead schematics are very difficult (for me, at least) or inaccurate (DO, D1, D2, D3 do not make sense to me) so it may be safer to just copy the one in my light socket and relay.

The EEPROM is standard. I'd use a bigger one as the cost difference is negligible.

So, I can duplicate their circuit and design a 310MHz version (or they can just change the crystal to a ceramic resonator and use sweep mode for 310MHz). Whether I can program it depends on whether I can find a Basic compiler for it. I have a mikroBasic AVR license but would need a new one for the 8051 version. I would prefer to use an Atmel or PIC microcontroller but that would require Itead's cooperation. And, that may depend on how many 'likes' Tuicemen gets on their forum.

Itead is selling a 433MHz receiver that appears to be their own design. Whether they intend to use it instead of the RXC6 and whether it can use sweep mode is unknown (to me). I've added one to my cart along with a 4-button remote to be included with some PCBs I'll order shortly.
https://www.itead.cc/rf-receiver-module-433mhz.html


It would be much better for Itead to supply 310MHz X10RF-compatible devices than for users to have to hack the 433MHz version. It wouldn't add significantly to their costs and they could find a substantial market. If they and Authinx could bed down and add WiFi+310MHz to switches/modules, I think they would both profit handsomely.

My apologies for subjecting forum members to a design class. Things may seem simpler once Itead releases the SDK they have promised by the end of April.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2016, 06:32:08 AM by dhouston »
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Tuicemen

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Re: Universal ESP8266 based WiFi light/appliance controls
« Reply #55 on: April 06, 2016, 09:39:39 AM »

Going threw the Itlead Studio forum I see it mentioned again if there is a significant interest in a suggestion they will consider implementation.
I urge everyone to at least go and click like for this suggestion: http://support.iteadstudio.com/support/discussions/topics/11000002347
An added comment will keep it a top the list of suggestions. ;)

On another note: I've thought of a use for the low voltage module at my off grid place.
The back up generator there has a auto start function which uses 12 volts.
This works very well except in the winter months where extreme cold temperatures can cause the generator auto start feature to fault out.
I believe I can use one of these low voltage modules to reset the auto start since a simple off back on procedure removes the fault.
Of course if X10 support was added to these it would add more possibilities and easier software implantations.

Dave, since these also have a spot for a RF board I'm extremely interested in your work on the RF receiver.
 >!


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dhouston

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Re: Universal ESP8266 based WiFi light/appliance controls
« Reply #56 on: April 06, 2016, 11:04:05 AM »

Of course if X10 support was added to these it would add more possibilities and easier software implantations.

Dave, since these also have a spot for a RF board I'm extremely interested in your work on the RF receiver.

I wasted most of last weekend going through the Itead Wiki, trying to figure out things. I believe this is another case of poor translation - they said Wiki when they really meant Wacky. Two products that make up much of the documentation have been discontinued. Neither of the schematics I found (Sonoff RF, RF receiver) are accurate - both show pins/connections that do not exist in the actual hardware. I've been trying to understand the use of D0,D1,D2,D3 and (after struggling with some documentation on the RXC6 receiver) have concluded they represent the four buttons on the RF remote and that the RF receiver merely records the codes at each 'pairing'. At this point, it seems to be a braindead application given the enormous potential of the ESP8266.

Anyway, I do have a remote and Itead's version of the RF receiver coming by slow boat with some more PCBs. I've also ordered a few of the RXC6 receivers, a few RF chips (like the one in the RXC6) plus a few dirt cheap ATmega328 MCU chips. (I suspect the RF and MCU chips are counterfeit.) and have asked for pricing and MOQ for the Ceramic Resonator needed for a wideband 310MHz receiver. If the RF & MCU chips work, I can design an RF receiver that understands X10 RF with an Arduino compatible MCU with the same form factor and only slightly higher cost than the RXC6. But, lacking a schematic of Itead's main boards for Sonoff & Slampher, I'm not sure how they communicate with the ESP8266 chip.

I can prototype this @ 315MHz using off-the-shelf resonators and adding a 315MHz SAW resonator to a Palmpad. Then, if Itead, Authinx, whoever is interested in going forward they can special order the receiver resonator needed for 310MHz in quantity. And, I added the low voltage device to my order so I can use it for testing.

Finally, I've been told via email that someone from Itead will contact me regarding my X10 compatibility email. I'm not getting my hopes up at this point, especially given that I've never heard from Authinx, but am keeping my fingers crossed.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2016, 12:39:39 PM by dhouston »
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Tuicemen

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Re: Universal ESP8266 based WiFi light/appliance controls
« Reply #57 on: April 12, 2016, 09:58:36 AM »

The (safe voltage) low voltage versions open so many options for Home Automation.
Since these can use 4-24 volts DC to operate and not only turn on/off things at this voltage but also AC things I plan on ordering several of these to play with.
With x10 support added to these via a RF module I can have solar powered HA of almost anything.

I'm extremely surprised that only dhouston has voted for the addition of X10 support thus far. :'(
 B:( Maybe it is the fact that you need to log on to vote! ??? ::) :'
http://support.iteadstudio.com/support/login
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bkenobi

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Re: Universal ESP8266 based WiFi light/appliance controls
« Reply #58 on: April 12, 2016, 11:02:48 AM »

I don't have an account or else I would vote.  I hate signing up for so many forums knowing that spam bots will start calling soon enough.

I didn't realize that these worked with both AC and DC up to 24V.  That means sprinkler systems as one example.

Tuicemen

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Re: Universal ESP8266 based WiFi light/appliance controls
« Reply #59 on: April 12, 2016, 11:42:41 AM »

I don't have an account or else I would vote.  I hate signing up for so many forums knowing that spam bots will start calling soon enough.

I didn't realize that these worked with both AC and DC up to 24V.  That means sprinkler systems as one example.
I understand many have the same feelings regarding forum sign ups in fact many have an address just used for forums.


Only the safe voltage version is AC or DC and I believe the save voltage version still requires a low voltage connection to work for AC switching.
A sprinkler system is a good example as is low voltage lighting.
I have several old solar landscaping lights which I've kept the solar panels from(cheaper to by new units then replace the batteries)so I plan to experiment with these.
 >!
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