Saturday 30 November 2019

Hacking smart plugs for fun and profit

Smarter, the smart way...

You'd like to have your home a bit smarter but not spend a ton of money and you don't like the fact that you have to trust an unnamed 3rd-party company with your data and more importantly access to things that can trigger kinetic actions in your household.

Chinese company Itead is the maker of well known Sonoff devices (do not confuse with audio gear from Sonos). They have a vast range of wifi controlled relays, in various formats and sizes - overall very cool stuff. There is a really nice video on youtube that will give you more idea about what I mean by this.
One of the best parts of Sonoff devices is that they use ESP8266 as the main driver chip and attach relays to it, so being ESP8266 based they are very hackable! That's just what we need!

These days, Itead and others are making smart devices using the same tested pattern and rebrand them under hundreds of names. You will find on Amazon various devices using the same management app (usualy eWeLink or Smart Life), which means OEM devices - good for us!

Since 2019 more and more devices switch from ESP82xx to Realtek chips - the OEM ecosystem is also a curse. For example in 2018 I bought Teckin SP27 smart plug - worked perfect... bought some SP27 and SP23 this week and they run Realtek, so DO NOT BUY those if you want to reflash :-)

What works? I got this set and as of late November 2019 it was still ESP82xx based. Others reported at the same time that this is also working. Basically depends on which batch you get and a bit of luck :-)