Miscellaneous

CE Smart Home Switches

May 22, 2019

A Great Deal – Or Are They?

I’m constantly looking for new devices to add to my smart home setup so when I was wandering through Costco the other week this little device caught my eye. At only $24.99 for a two pack that was a measly $12.50 per switch and it’s ultra compact and doesn’t require any extra soldering like my cheap Sonoff devices.

Still, I wasn’t sold. We already had the buggy full of groceries and I didn’t really want to add another $25 to the bill when a random lady popped out from around the corner and started going on about how fantastic they are and how much her and her husband love theirs. After that I decided to give them a go and put them back in the cart. You’d almost swear she actuallly worked there with the way she upsold the things.

In any case I brought them home and tried to set them up. The app looked simple enough as were the instructions, but every time I try to connect it fails! It was extremely frustrating and I eventually gave up, only to come back to it a few weeks later. Still, I ran into the same issues with pairing it.

After much research it turns out that these devices can only connect to a 2.4 GHz wireless signal and even though my home wifi was putting out both a 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz signal due to the fact that they were both using the same SSID the device was constantly trying to connect to the 5 GHz signal and failing. I should mention this functionality works flawlessly on all of my other IOT devices so the blame is entirely on CE for not handling this scenaio correctly.

So what is the solution? It turns out my only option was reconfiguring my router so that the two networks have separate SSIDs. This in turn “broke” every other smart device in my home as they were all connected to the 2.4 GHz and they all had to be repaired to connect to the 2.4 GHz network. In the end the CE device connected to the 2.4 GHz network and started to function. I also found I was able to fix my connectivity issues on my phone in the basement by setting it to exlusively use the 2.4 GHz network, so this exercise didn’t turn out to be a complete waste for me.

Now once I had that all worked out these things pretty much worked as expected. I’ve been using them in a few spots around the house and they work reliably, don’t have any considerable delay, and haven’t had them stop responding. So despite my early frustrations I am pretty happy with these.

The Good:

  • Can be flashed with Tasmota or ESPurna firmware
  • Also compatible with Tuya Smart app
  • They’re cheap! According to RFD they have gone as low as $12.97 CAD for the two pack
  • Small/sleak profile

The Bad:

  • 2.4/5.0 GHz compatibility issues, depending on your setup
  • The recommended app is pretty bad

If, after all of that, you’d still like to aquire some of these devices you can grab them off their eStore here. Though just as a heads up I’ve heard they’re $10 more online versus in store.

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