Safe Sonff alternative


#1

Hello Superhumans!

I’m looking for a Sonoff alternative that will not void my home insurance when built into a wall. My requirements are:

  • Be able to use the existing wall switch (like the Sonoff can wire it to a GPIO pin and keep it working as before)
  • Allowed in US (MA) electrical code
  • MQTT controllable (or other integration with Home Assistant)
  • No cloud required!

I like Sonoff because I can reflash it to remove its dependency on a working internet connection. I’m less happy with it because, since it’s not certified, it will cause my home insurance to void the insurance if something bad were to happen.

I don’t mind if it’s more expensive but I do mind walled gardens. A walled garden I can hack my way out of is perfectly fine :slight_smile:

Any ideas?


#2

There are obviously some commercial products out there but as far as I know they all:
A) require an internet connection
B) require a neutral wire at the wall switch (my house doesn’t have them) (Maybe Leviton doesn’t but I’m not interested in it)

There are also the smart bulbs but they largely take away “local” control without needing to get your phone out to turn on the lights.


#3

I was reading this review after posting:

and found this option:

Might be a viable alternative for someone like me who doesn’t have a neutral wire. I could even hack the remote into my home automation system and get around the whole internet required thing…


#4

I will say first off, just because I don’t want people thinking I am some sort of twit (besides the ones that already know it for certain), i am not an electrician. With that said, for something as low voltage as a smart switch, I wouldn’t hesitate to grab the ground as my neutral in a switch box. Being as it is all bonded together in the panel and it is SUPER low voltage, the risk of lighting someone up that touches the ceiling light fixture is pretty much nil.


#5

The voltage will be mains level (110/220) on the ground wire. The current would be defined by the final circuit design and would likely include the current for all the lights in the system. One would definitely not be favored by their insurance company for doing such a thing… that being said, it should work electrically; just highly not recommended.


#6

Thanks @aspork42! I’m looking at the list you’ve quoted. I’ve been looking at Z-Wave as an option as well. It’s not wired, but commercially available and the switches are normal enough that the WAF is positive.

With a Z-Wave USB stick it should be possible to integrate them into home assistant and it won’t void my home insurance (also a big factor in the WAF, honestly).


#7

Holy crap! I am feeling a whole lot stupid at the moment. I was looking at the circuitry for the smart switch with the assumption that the ONLY purpose for the neutral in the switch was to complete the control circuitry within the switch and that it did not include the actual lighting circuit itself. Just as.in the Sonoff circuitry where the brains are a secondary circuit path that controls a relay for the mains level voltage. Had that been the case, the wattage required to operate that brain would be negligible compared to mains operation for the lighting and would feed virtually nothing onto the ground leg. Boy did I get that wrong. Sorry. I didn’t research it deep enough before opening my mouth… er… fingers.