Poor Man's Sonoff

Ok, so I have posted questions in the past, and I’ve gotten great help, so I wanted to give back with this post.

Poor Man’s Sonoff can be a bit misleading. The price of a regular sonoff basic is low enough that one would think it doesn’t make sense to buy the parts and make your own. Parts=esp8266 chip, power source, relay, leds, etc.

So yes, if you buy the parts and build “your own” you wouldn’t be saving much money vs buying one made. However building your own gives you much more flexibility. Let me explain.

If you want to have a “manual” switch, you could purchase the “touch” version of the sonoff but here is the problem you are likely to run into. Where your current on/off switch is you probably don’t have both the 120V hot line, and the negative/neutral. That means you would probably have to run a wire from the light source itself down to your switch area so you have both lines that you need. Now if you want to control a light fixture that has both light and a fan, it means now you would you to run at least 3 wires.

The advantage of a “poor mans set up” is that you can have the switches on the wall with the esp8266 chip there, then run cat5 cable up to the ceiling where the light fixture is and set up your relay/s there. Once you have the cat5 you end up with 6 signal wires you can use, and the other two you can use to send the power. Depending on your house set up you can have the power supply either on the switch box area or in the ceiling.

So far I’ve done two houses, my gfs and mine. I did my GFs first and did lots of learning. One thing that I learned, they very hard way (since I had to trouble shoot, take apart, put back together, take apart, etc) is that a good power supply source is VERY IMPORTANT!

I currently live in Mexico so access to power inverters is limited. I found some inexpensive eleaf USB power adapters that had a 5v output, figured I could use them.

Well first thing I noticed was that with those adapters the touch sensors wouldn’t work. Figured no big deal I would just use push button switches that seemed to work well. Well after installing 4 different ones at my GFs house she was always having issues, especially after a power outage. I kept thinking it was maybe a lose wire, bad soldering where the current was bridging. It was basically a nightmare.

Once I replaced those cheap USB power supplies with Hi Links ( 5v Hlk-pm01) all of her poor mans sonoffs have been working flawlessly. I literally spent over 80 hours trouble shooting everything else, before I realized the issue was em cheap USB chargers.

She currently has 4 poor mans sonoffs set up by me at her house. The most intricate set up is the one that controls kitchen light, stairs light, upstairs hallway light, and led lights on the switches. On the kitchen there is a plate with two switches and an LED light. One of those switches turns kitchen light on and off, and the other switch turns starts light on and off. Upstairs there are two more switches with an LED, one of the switches turns stairs light on and off, while the other switch turns upstairs hallway light on and off. Both leds (down/upstairs turn on when all 3 lights are off, and turn off when any of the 3 lights are on).

Hope this info helps some of you, and if you have questions please post as I do tend to get emails from threads I started

Hi @CancunManny thanks for sharing.

I’m not an electrician but this sounds seriously dangerous.

Power for the ESP board. i.e. 5V at a couple of hundred mA average. Should be ok.

I would not power more than one ESP per conductor pair.

By sending power I mean 5v, not 120AC

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