WiFi controlled outlets

Ron CzapalaRon Czapala Posts: 2,394
I was in Home Depot today and picked up some WiFi controlled outlets called "ECO plugs".
I could not find them on the HD web site - they were by the Christmas lights, timers, etc

Home Depot link: http://www.homedepot.com/p/Unbranded-Grounded-Indoor-Wi-Fi-Adapter-2-Pack-CT-065W/206177754

Here is a YouTube video that shows the setup, timers, etc

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDvPMc0TTh4r3Lpd_dhqW1A



There are two in box for $29.88. They let you control 120V devices from your Apple or Android Smart Phone.

There are various types of timers that can be used with outlet modules.

The instructions were a bit confusing but I found clarification in the Google Apps store:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.kab.unlimit
I think I see why people are having problems with this. The instructions are not written correctly.
You can not get into the ECO settings screen, until the device is connected with your phone.
What it should say is to go to the settings ON YOUR PHONE.
Then connect via WiFi directly to the eco plug.
After that you can get into the eco program settings and connect the eco to the Internet by providing your WiFi password in eco program.
It's pretty slick now. Thank you reviewers so I knew something wasn't right, and it wasn't just me having the issue
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Comments

  • 69 Comments sorted by Date Added Votes
  • I see.
    Something trying to be an also ran to the same technology that Belkin is selling in the same line.
  • iHome also has something similar. The on/off timing rules are sent to a server maintained by iHome and the device is configured to check with the server for changes via WiFi. Their server had some sort of outage on Monday which left the devices "on their own" for part of the day. I think the last on/off time rule is kept in the device, but I'm not sure.
  • Ron CzapalaRon Czapala Posts: 2,394
    edited November 2015 Vote Up0Vote Down
    I see.
    Something trying to be an also ran to the same technology that Belkin is selling in the same line.

    Yes, but at about half the cost of Belkin's WEMO...

  • Mike Green wrote: »
    iHome also has something similar. The on/off timing rules are sent to a server maintained by iHome and the device is configured to check with the server for changes via WiFi. Their server had some sort of outage on Monday which left the devices "on their own" for part of the day. I think the last on/off time rule is kept in the device, but I'm not sure.

    I've been wondering where the timer schedule data is stored - figured it must be on a server.
    If the company goes byebye then I wonder how much functionality remains.
    Maybe simple ON/OFF using your local WiFi router when your phone is within range...
  • Yep, that's what I want. An electric outlet that depends on somebody's server that I have no control over. Which may or may not work when I need it to (if at all in the future). Gotta get me one of those.
    - Rick
  • RDL2004 wrote: »
    Yep, that's what I want. An electric outlet that depends on somebody's server that I have no control over. Which may or may not work when I need it to (if at all in the future). Gotta get me one of those.

    There are many similar devices out there. I bought mine on whim.
    I have many X10 modules and controllers that I have used for years and they are relatively dependable.
    Luckily I found a version of the software that runs on Windows 7.

    I don't think I will use these for any critical applications...

    Being dependent on servers owned and operated by someone else is pretty much standard practice if you use the internet or have a smartphone.
  • Ron,
    Being dependent on servers owned and operated by someone else is pretty much standard practice if you use the internet or have a smartphone.
    Which does not make it a good idea in my book.

    What happens when that fly by night company disappears, all their products become useless. What happens when by internet connection is down? What happens when they get hacked. Which pretty much every one of them is now a days. And so on and so on.

    I'm all for people selling me net enabled outlets, and whatever IoT gizmo, but I want some guarantees. How about open protocols and server software that I can run on my own machines, or on Amazon or Google cloud if I so choose. For starters.






  • Yep, that's what I want. An electric outlet that depends on somebody's server that I have no control over.
    'Seems completely safe to me. I think I'll get one and plug my table saw into it. :)

    -Phil
    “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  • I see.
    Something trying to be an also ran to the same technology that Belkin is selling in the same line.

    Yes, but at about half the cost of Belkin's WEMO...

    Perhaps Ron. Does the thing also sell a Maker Module? Belkin certainly does. They also sell enabled switches and LED based bulbs.
  • Heater. wrote: »
    Ron,
    Being dependent on servers owned and operated by someone else is pretty much standard practice if you use the internet or have a smartphone.
    Which does not make it a good idea in my book.

    What happens when that fly by night company disappears, all their products become useless. What happens when by internet connection is down? What happens when they get hacked. Which pretty much every one of them is now a days. And so on and so on.

    I'm all for people selling me net enabled outlets, and whatever IoT gizmo, but I want some guarantees. How about open protocols and server software that I can run on my own machines, or on Amazon or Google cloud if I so choose. For starters.

    I can't believe how popular WiFi thermostats have become.

    Don't think I want a device that controls my heat and air conditioning exposed to possible hacks, etc

  • LoopyBytelooseLoopyByteloose Posts: 12,537
    edited November 2015 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Consider this...
    You get all and everything in your home on wifi nodes.

    How does a hacker sort out which device is really worth hacking? Which one is really a computer with files to snoop?

    In other words, your security is enhanced by more wifi clutter. Keep your really important stuff off of wifi or only power up the wifi when you need to.
    Hwang Xian Shen, Puddleby-on-the-Marsh.
    All things considered, I can live and thrive without Microsoft products. LINUX is just fine.
  • JohnR2010JohnR2010 Posts: 400
    edited November 2015 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Heater. wrote: »
    Ron,

    What happens when that fly by night company disappears, all their products become useless. What happens when by internet connection is down? What happens when they get hacked. Which pretty much every one of them is now a days. And so on and so on.

    I'm all for people selling me net enabled outlets, and whatever IoT gizmo, but I want some guarantees. How about open protocols and server software that I can run on my own machines, or on Amazon or Google cloud if I so choose. For starters.

    This is why I go with ZigBee HA based solutions. A ZigBee HA switch is standards based all the way up to the application layer. If you buy a ZigBee Home Automation certified switch you can lookup the packet format to manipulate the switch. All these WiFi solutions are proprietary at the application layer. That is why each one has to have its own smartphone app. That being said I see a ton of these WiFi / smartphone app solutions going in. Heck there have been a few startups that have tried to create battery powered devices that use WiFi. One recently (last spring) had to redesign their solution as the battery life nearly killed their project. But that's another story.

  • Heater.Heater. Posts: 19,852
    edited November 2015 Vote Up0Vote Down
    @Loopy,
    Consider this...You get all and everything in your home on wifi nodes.
    Great, let's over load the available band width and our routers.
    How does a hacker sort out which device is really worth hacking? Which one is really a computer with files to snoop?
    Hackers are cleverer than we.
    In other words, your security is enhanced by more wifi clutter.
    Not in the slightest. Besides the famous saying in security circles is "security by obscurity is no security"
    Keep your really important stuff off of wifi or only power up the wifi when you need to.
    I'll go for that.


    @John,
    ...there have been a few startups that have tried to create battery powered devices that use WiFi...
    Oh my.

    That's why I'm looking into the LoRa idea. Any experience of LoRa ?
  • I suppose this all could be called 'gadgeteer tyranny'. I suspect it all started with duct tape and extension cords.

    The more I study networking and home automation, the more I am happen to go primative with a few light switches and four duplex outlets. These don't require passwords (Thank God!). And I think I will stick with doors that require a metal key.
    Hwang Xian Shen, Puddleby-on-the-Marsh.
    All things considered, I can live and thrive without Microsoft products. LINUX is just fine.
  • Thing is we have to get all out physical things connected to and controllable from the net. How else is Skynet going to take over otherwise?
  • Ron CzapalaRon Czapala Posts: 2,394
    edited November 2015 Vote Up0Vote Down
    I tried a little experiment with the ECO WiFi outlets:
    I set a timer to turn on at specific time and turn off a few minutes later.
    Then I unplugged the power to my router.
    The device turned on the light at the appropriate time and turned it off at the appropriate time.

    Therefore I must conclude that the outlet has memory and a clock. The timer settings were stored and activated properly even thought the WiFi was not available.

    It is more sophisticated than I suspected.

    I also found the web site for the products http://www.kab-cable.com/product.php?CNo=26
  • Heater. wrote: »
    That's why I'm looking into the LoRa idea. Any experience of LoRa ?

    Wow that looks very interesting. No I had not even head of it until just now. Is it a carrier based solution? Will it require a FCC license or will individuals be able to put of a repeater like a WiFi hub? But instead of just covering your house I guess it will cover several square miles. In your project are you setting up the base stations for your devices as you go? It all looks so new wonder what is out there for your device to connect to?

    My wireless focus has been around ZigBee and in the future I plan on spending more time with Google's Thread / Weave protocol.
  • I only heard of LoRa recently. It's a pretty new development but Microchip and Semtech have chips and modules available or coming on line. I think this is going to be big.

    It's unlicensed, you can by modules and dev kits online already.

    I have yet to get to grips with the big picture. On the one hand cell providers and such will be providing coverage and a service you can use through their servers. On the other hand some of the kits you can get now allow operation of point to point units and even setting up your own mesh I think.

    Bear in mind that LoRa achieves its low power consumption and long range by using low data rates. Down to kilobytes per second. Still that is quite enough for many jobs.

    I'm trying to get hold of some LoRa units for the annual Christmas break project....
  • JohnR2010JohnR2010 Posts: 400
    edited November 2015 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Perfect. I wonder what they are doing at the application layer? Have they talked about AllJoyn? IBM is an AllSeen alliance (AllJoyn) member and this looks like LoRa has IBM's backing. Please share your results and thoughts. Looking forward to it!

    I will do the same on the Thread side it may be mid winter before I get my Thread kit. Everyone is telling me to wait until December before I do anything on the hardware side in regards to Thread so I'm waiting. The kit I want to buy is out of stock anyway so just wrapping up a few projects to clear the plate.

    In regards to the application layer on Thread there are three application layers to pick from ZigBee Clusters, Weave, and AllJoyn. I was going down the route of ZigBee clusters on top of a Thread radio until just the other day when Google released some of the details on Weave. It looks like with a Weave enabled device you get free access to store your device's data in Google's cloud. That is a big deal for me as I don't want to create and manage the back-end infrastructure I just want to make devices. I know people will have concerns about the data being in Google's cloud but that is the future. I bet there will be a cloud component to all these IoT solutions. If it is reliable, secure, and affordable I think people will jump in.

    The next couple of years are going to be very interesting!!
  • skylightskylight Posts: 1,915
    edited November 2015 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Ive got a couple of silver crest ones and recently bought some wiwo ones.
    The silver crest ones are reliable and also work over the internet reliably

    the wiwo ones are temperamental at home and don't want to work over the internet.
  • For those of you that are still interested this item is on clearance at home depot ($7.48), which isn't a bad price considering you get 2 controllers. I picked up a few of them, but many of the home depots that showed them in stock online had none in their store so YMMV.

    Another interesting tidbit of information, it appears that it has an esp8266 chip in it (see the fcc link below, specifically the user manual):

    https://apps.fcc.gov/oetcf/eas/reports/ViewExhibitReport.cfm?mode=Exhibits&RequestTimeout=500&calledFromFrame=N&application_id=3kplZodxi/QnEt1UzYZy+g==&fcc_id=PAGECO-PLUGS

    So it should be possible to reprogram it. It'd be nice to not have to go thru a 3rd party server to use this.

    I also attached a picture of the inside of mine, the ESP breakout doesn't appear to be a standard one (esp07, esp12, etc). I'll do some further reading into the FCC docs later this week to see if I can determine the pinout of the ESP board.
    1548 x 2064 - 757K
  • Another interesting piece of information: there are 2 versions of this wifi plug, ct-065w (the one home depot sells) and ct-065w advanced (the advanced model does power monitoring). The main board has silk screening on it that says PLUG WIFI and PLUG WIFI+Watt. This leads me to believe that they may be using the same board for both models.

    Also, there are 3 unconnected pins on the main board (VS, VC, and PC) and 3 unconnected pins on the esp daughterboard (VS, VC, and PF). Anyone know what PF and PC stand for? I wonder if these are the connections needed to enable the power monitoring function?

    FYI, currently the only connected pins between the daughterboard and main board are labeled -, +, and Y.
  • I suspect the reason for the online server is so that you can get to it from anywhere on the Internet without a fixed IP address for your home network.
  • Well the Home Depot website says I just snagged four packs. Nearest store is out but the one near my place of work about 40 miles from here claims to have four, so I saw "add to cart" for in-store pickup and figured why not. Paid with PayPal and it says they're mine. I probably wouldn't have bothered but since getting into NodeMCU on the ESP8266 it's a little too good a deal to pass up. It would be a good deal for a programmable MCU controlled outlet even if it didn't have wifi. I guess I'll find out tomorrow if they're really there.
  • Got them! Let the hacking commence!
  • localroger wrote: »
    Got them! Let the hacking commence!

    Great!

    Upon further inspection, I can see a 1 silkscreened next to the upper left pin on the esp board (next to c2, can be seen in the picture I posted) I wonder if this corresponds to pin 1 in the user manual posted on the fcc website? I'm hoping to get a prop plug connected soon to see if anything interesting comes up on the serial port.
  • I need to look at that manual! I took the shield off and rung things out. Asssuming the daughterboard pins are numbered like the pins on a Prop Mini, with 1 and 18 near the antenna and 1 on the left, this is what I got:

    1 = GND
    2 = Power 3v3
    3 = Reset Switch (doesn't seem to be connected to the ESP chip)

    7 = MTCK/GPIO13 power switch
    8 = MTD0 / GPIO15 Y control to main board for relay
    9 = GPIO2

    10 = GPIO0
    11 = GPIO4

    13 = U0RXD
    14 = U0TXD

    18 = GND

    I haven't tried communicating with it yet, and there is a chance I miscounted a pin somewhere, but I'm pretty sure of this.
  • Wow, that user manual pinout is weird. I got my pinout by testing continuity with pins on the board and the ESP8266 chip itself. I might have been off by one here or there but that's just all over the place. It's not mirrored or alternating like a header instead of up and down, it's just completely different except for keeping the GPIO's in the same order they are on pins 12-16 of the IC.
  • There doesn't seem to be a match between your findings and the user manual, very strange.

    Also, I noticed the reset button isn't accessible to the user, there's no opening in the case for it. I haven't tried to use it yet but it should be connected to one of the gpio pins to initiate a reset to default parameters.
  • The reset switch doesn't seem to connect directly to any of the pins on the ESP8266. I suspect it is triggering a more complex reset circuit which also resets the chip on powerup or undervoltage.
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