ITEAD: Sonoff SC – Part 1 – First impression

What is it?

A next item in the product range from ITEAD is the Sonoff SC. It is an environmental monitoring device, based on an ESP8266, an ATMega328, coupled to a temperature and humidity sensor, a light sensor, a microphone to detect noise levels, and a dust sensor to measure the air quality.

Why I think it is awesome?

What I like about the Sonoff SC, and all the other Sonoff products from ITEAD, is that they are based on easily available micro controllers, they are made to be easy to hack, with the pins for flashing new firmware easily available, and in my book that is as good as it gets. In case of the SC the pins are even labeled to make it even more hacker friendly. Big thumbs up on this! And at some point, I will also get around to write my own firmware for the ESP8266 and Atmega micro controller, but first, I will try something I haven’t tried before with any of the Sonoff products… I will actually try to power it up before taking it apart! (This didn’t actually happen, but I will get back to why a bit.).

Setup

Setup of the SC was pretty easy. I downloaded the EweLink from Google Play, made an account and logged in. After that I had to hold the button on the SC down for 5 seconds while the app was searching for it. After that it needed to know the key for my wifi, so it could pass it on to the SC and get that online. After that the SC popped up in the app, and worked right away. All this took about 3 minutes, so that went pretty smooth, but something is annoying me…

It keeps telling me it need extra permission… And lets see what it is…

(sorry, my phone is on Danish, but it asks if I will allow the app to make phone calls)

Phone calls? Why would the app need to make phone calls? No, I am not allowing that, and even when setting Android to not ask me again, the app still pops up with its own message about it, which is annoying, when I don’t want to give it permission to something I don’t see the need for.

Sonoff SC in EweLink

When looking at the dash in the EweLink app, it gives a short simple overview, and tapping on it brings up a more fancy screen with gauges. It responds fast and seems to work pretty well so far. Later I might try to actually also use a Sonoff smart switch to control something.

 

The hardware

Usually when I get a device from ITEAD, it have been properly put together and been feeling like a good quality, however, this time I got a bit disappointed, or actually, I got quite disappointed.

Was there something wrong with the components in the SC? No, they were all fine.

Didn’t it work? Yes, it workes fine.

Am I just whining? I don’t think so, and here is the reason why I had to take it apart before turning it on, even when I actually had planned to try it as it were, to see how it was to use the Sonoff products as ITEAD had in mind.

When I took the Sonoff SC out of the package, it was rattling, something inside was lose. I looked down through the mesh in the top, and could see something inside just dangling from side to side, so I thought a mount had broken during shipping, but it turned out to be worse.

When I took the PCB out to get to the broken part, I saw this, two nuts? And the bolts laying lose inside the housing?! What happened here, did they come apart during shipping? I have never seen that happening before.

 

Nothing damaged, except from the DHT11 sensor breaking lose from the hot glue.

Should be easy to put together.

 

And here we are, back together again, with the screws tightened properly and nothing dangling around. Time to put it back in the housing again…

And this is when I realized why it had not been put together properly… The PCB won’t go in when the sensor array is bolted to the PCB… So instead of fixing the problem, the bolts and nuts just got thrown in, and the lid put on?! In my head, that is a clear signal of not caring at all about the product or customer.

Conclusion

The Sonoff SC was very easy to get up and running with the Android APP, but it got some annoying things with asking permission for something it does not need, or should not need.

The PCB is nicely laid out, and the silkscreen clearly marks the pins so it is easy to connect to it and replace the firmware with your own.

But what might be a small thing for some, but a big thing for me, is the fact it does not actually go together properly, and when it was realized in production, the bolts and nuts was just thrown in, and the lid put on. What did they think? That no one would notice?

I will find a way to get around this and put it together properly, but it should not really be needed to do that yourself.

4 comments

  • ITEAD should release a document showing how to assemble it… It’s quite a bit difficult. 🙂
    will do that.

    • Is it supposed to arrive with the sensors hanging lose inside and the bolts and nuts just lose in the case? Because I didn’t see anything warning me about having to take it apart and remove the metal bolts rolling around on top of the PCB before powering it on. Luckily I did, otherwise something could have been shorted out. And I would not expect it to arrive only with some of it put together.

      With the sensor array not fastened, it is pretty easy to put together and take apart, but with it all tightened properly, I don’t see a way for it to go in without using a lot of violence.

  • The permission part is the most scary… Sounds like Chinese espionage to me… Photos and files? Phone calls? What’s up with that?
    Got one of those switches to control our heating blanket in our bed. Works great. But the app is crappy. Slow and cloud based for no good reason but espionage…

    • Yes, I am not sure why they want all that… In total it asks for Pictures, media and files, managing phone calls, and device location. I have denied it access to all of them, and the app still works fine, except from regularly asking for access again, which I deny again.

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