Review: Sonoff 433 RF WiFi bridge


The good folk at Sonoff have sent me yet another gadget to review. This is a slightly curious device - an IP to 433MHz remote. This allows a smartphone to control smarthome gadgets which usually require an RF remote control.

It costs £8 plus postage direct from Itead.

This is similar to an Infrared device I reviewed a few years ago.

It's a cute little box, small and light enough to hide away anywhere. Even under use, it doesn't get hot.

A small black box nestles in my hand

Note - it only connects to 2.4GHz WiFi. That's standard for these cheap gadgets.

Powered by the ubiquitous micro-USB, it comes with a short cable, but no plug socket. I assume you have plenty at home.

A micro USB socket on the side of the box

Blinken lights! Little status LEDs so you know what's going on.

Three LEDs on the side of the box

Software

You need to use the eWeLink app. Like lots of smarthome apps from China, it isn't the prettiest - but it works. The translations on the app and the user guide would benefit from a more professional approach, but it is adequate.

Screenshot of app

The app is quick to respond - but I found that it would occasionally log me out, and I'd have to re-enter my password to continue.

It also supports Amazon Alexa! Incredible for a device this cheap. As I mentioned in my previous review, setting up the eWeLink Alexa skill is a bit cumbersome - but it works!

Buttons!

You also get a keyfob with four buttons on it.
A keyforb with multiple buttons

It is an RF remote which you can pair with the box. Kinda neat if you don't want to unlock your phone to activate something.

Usage

It works - but there's a catch - how many 433MHz devices do you have? I had to dig out some old demo kit in order to play with this gadget. If you've got compatible devices, this is a useful gizmo - but most modern devices have WiFi built in, so it may be worth upgrading older devices if you can.

If you have devices which need 433MHz controls, this is a ridiculously cheap way to add them to your home network. The Alexa control is the icing on the cake.

Teardown

It isn't a review if you don't get to see the guts 🙂

The retail model I've got has populated debug headers and an internal on/off switch.

A PCB

Nice and neat design. I'm told that it should be fairly easy to flash and dump the firmware. For those who care about such things, the main chip is the ESP8285.

Get It

17 thoughts on “Review: Sonoff 433 RF WiFi bridge

  1. LightwaveRF switches use 433MHz so this might work as a cheap replacement for their £60 bridge (which I'm not very impressed with). Did you find out how many devices it can control?

    1. The manufacturer days "16 at most".
      If you have more than that, you should be able to use multiple bridges.

      1. It can only add four RF Remotes, so if we add four 4-button RF Remotes(each button learn with one RF device), we can control maximum 16 RF devices.
        But for others, like RF Alarm, RF Curtain Switch, they are counted as one RF Remote.

      2. Thanks for the review of this. I was very curious when I saw it!

        Any idea why there's a limit to the number of items it can control? Does the device "learn" from other RF transmitters, and only have 16 memory slots? I was hoping it would be like a wi-fi version of the RFXtrx433, which will send any message you program it to, at any time.

        On that subject, if it does learn, is there an option for repeat signals (i.e. keeping your finger on the remote)?

        Thirdly, what's the additional keyfob for? Given this device is a transmitter, I don't get the point of this!

        I use LightwaveRF devices with the RFXtrx433. And I use the openHAB binding to tie it all together. It's a really nice, cheap, and flexible way of retro-fitting dimmer switches to the home. Well, LWRF used to be cheap (20 quid for a double dimmer), not sure if it's still rock-bottom low price like that. Wouldn't choose this method if wiring a building from scratch, but it's a good low-investment way of getting smart dimming into the home.

        1. It Tx and Rx. You can essentially map buttons to functions (rx this, tx that). But it's very much stuck in the RF world, at least with the built-in-software.

  2. Tell me, is it planned to increase the ranges of operating frequencies. 433.92 is no longer programmed.

  3. What do you mean by the “RF Curtain switch” ? This would seem to indicate that the device can “transmit” 433 Mhz signal codes and not just receive ( sense ) them.

    How else would you control a curtain if you didn`t transmit a signal ?

    Great device, I have 4 and am getting 2 more, but I want to now transmit signals to control other devices which
    accept ( receive ) 433 Mhz RF signals.

    Thanks

  4. If I have RF on/off switches that use different codes for on and off, would I be able to control 16 different switches or just 8 (8 X On + 8 X Off)? Does that make sense?

  5. I need a reverse bridge. One that takes rf from a remote push button and connects to my wifi and via the cloud connects to a wifi only switch. I bought a load of the wifi switches but in some places I don’t have a smart phone so would like to use a 4 button remote. I thought the bridge you mention fid that but it is backwards from what I need or did I miss something?

  6. I don’t get why these bridges are sold/seen as a way to (primarily) control RF devices from the IP network, rather than the other way around,

    i.e. Given that RF transmitting switches/fobs etc are so incredibly cheap, and the batteries last forever, a way to bridge RF switch/button pushes (from any 433MHz tx) into Google Home or proper HA commands would allow wall switches and portable remotes anywhere and everywhere they might be useful.

    I thought that’s what I was going to get with my Sonoff bridge, but unfortunately it wants to receive instructions from Google Home, not provide them to Google. Alexa, Philips, or anything else as far as I can make out.

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