Using With Sonoff S20

esphomeyaml can also be used with Sonoff S20 smart sockets. These devices are basically just an ESP8266 chip with a relay to control the socket, a small button on the front and a blue and green LED light.

../../_images/sonoff_s20_header.jpg

Sonoff S20 Smart Socket.

This guide will step you through setting up your Sonoff S20 and flashing the first esphomeyaml firmware with the serial interface. After that, you will be able to upload all future firmwares with the remote Over-The-Air update process.

Note

If you’ve previously installed Sonoff-Tasmota on your Sonoff S20, you’re in luck 😀 esphomeyaml can generate a firmware binary which you can then upload via the Tasmota web interface. To see how to create this binary, skip to Step 3: Creating Firmware.

Since firmware version 1.6.0, iTead (the creator of this device) has removed the ability to upload a custom firmware through their own upload process. Unfortunately, that means that the only way to flash the initial esphomeyaml firmware is by physically opening the device up and using the UART interface.

Warning

Opening up this device can be very dangerous if not done correctly. While the device is open, you will be a single touch away from being electrocuted if the device is plugged in.

So, during this entire guide never ever plug the device in. Also, you should only do this if you know what you’re doing. If you, at any step, feel something is wrong or are uncomfortable with continuing, it’s best to just stop for your own safety.

It’s your own responsibility to make sure everything you do during this setup process is safe.

For this guide you will need:

  • Sonoff S20 😉
  • An USB to UART Bridge for flashing the device. These can be bought on Amazon for less than 5 dollars. Note that the bridge must be 3.3V compatible. Otherwise you will destroy your S20.
  • Computer running esphomeyaml HassIO add-on.
  • Screwdriver to open up the S20.
  • Soldering iron and a few header pins to connect the UART interface.

Have everything? Great! Then you can start.

Step 1: Opening up the Sonoff S20

The first step is to open up the Sonoff S20. Note that you do not have to run the original firmware supplied with the Sonoff S20 before doing this step.

Warning

Just to repeat this: Make absolutely sure the device is not connected to any appliance or plugged in before doing this step.

While the device is not plugged in, turn the back side so it’s facing you and unscrew the three black screws holding the back of the case together with the front.

../../_images/sonoff_s20_screws.jpg

There are three screws on the back of the Sonoff S20.

After that, you should be able to remove the front cover and should be greeted by a bunch of parts.

../../_images/sonoff_s20_parts.jpg

Step 2: Connecting UART

We’re interested in the main part of the S20 with the green PCB. On the bottom of the PCB, you will find four unpopulated holes. These pins have the UART interface used to flash firmwares onto the device and debug issues.

../../_images/sonoff_s20_pcb.jpg

The UART interface of the Sonoff S20.

So, in order to flash our own custom firmware, we’re going to need to somehow connect the UART to USB bridge to these pins. The only way to make a good connection here is by using a soldering iron and soldering on some pin headers. On older models of the Sonoff S20, you were able to get the whole PCB out. Newer versions, however, glue the PCB onto the case to avoid people flashing custom firmwares. If the latter is the case, you will need to just solder the pin headers from above - it’s a bit difficult, but possible.

When you’re done, it should look something like this:

../../_images/sonoff_s20_uart.jpg

Now go ahead and connect the pins to your UART bridge, making sure the S20 is not plugged in as before. Also beware that some UART to USB bridges supply 5V on the VCC pin if it’s not explicitly labeled 3.3V. It’s best to just use a multimeter and double check if it’s unclear.

Note

On some older S20s, the RX and TX pins are swapped (sometimes even the written silkscreen is wrong). If your upload fails with a error: espcomm_upload_mem failed message it’s most likely due to the pins being swapped. In that case, just swap RX and TX and try again - you won’t break anything if they’re swapped.

Step 3: Creating Firmware

The Sonoff S20 is based on the ESP8266 platform and is a subtype of the esp01_1m board. With this information, you can step through the esphomeyaml wizard (esphomeyaml sonoff_s20.yaml wizard), or alternatively, you can just take the below configuration file and modify it to your needs.

If you go through the wizard, please make sure you manually set board_flash_mode to dout as seen below. The version of the uploader used by esphomeyaml should automatically detect that the Sonoff S20 uses the dout SPI flash chip mode. But, as some users of other firmwares have said that other flash modes can brick the device, it’s always good to specify it explicitly.

esphomeyaml:
  name: <NAME_OF_NODE>
  platform: ESP8266
  board: esp01_1m
  board_flash_mode: dout

wifi:
  ssid: <YOUR_SSID>
  password: <YOUR_PASSWORD>

mqtt:
  broker: <YOUR_MQTT_BROKER>
  username: <YOUR_USERNAME>
  password: <YOUR_PASSWORD>

logger:

ota:

Now run esphomeyaml sonoff_s20.yaml compile to validate the configuration and pre-compile the firmware.

Note

After this step, you will be able to find the compiled binary under <NAME_OF_NODE>/.pioenvs/<NAME_OF_NODE>/firmware.bin. If you’re having trouble with uploading, you can also try uploading this file directly with other tools.

Step 4: Uploading Firmware

In order to upload the firmware, you’re first going to need to get the chip into a flash mode, otherwise the device will start up without accepting any firmware flash attempts. To do this, while the device is UART bridge is not connected to your USB port, start pressing the small push button in the middle of the PCB. Then plug in the UART bridge into your computer and just keep holding the button pressed for 2-4 seconds. The S20 should now be in a flash mode and should not blink with any LED.

Now you can finally run the upload command:

esphomeyaml sonoff_s20.yaml run

If successful, you should see something like this:

../../_images/sonoff_s20_upload.png

Hooray 🎉! You’ve now successfully uploaded the first esphomeyaml firmware to your Sonoff S20. And in a moment, you will be able to use all of esphomeyaml’s great features with your Sonoff S20.

If above step does, however, not work, here are some steps that can help:

  • Sometimes the UART bridge cannot supply enough current to the chip to operate, in this case use a 3.3V supply you have lying around. A nice hack is to use the power supply of NodeMCU boards. Simply connect 3.3V to VCC and GND to GND on the pins. Do not attempt to plug the device into a socket to overcome this problem while troubleshooting.
  • In other cases the TX and RX pin are reversed. Simple disconnect the device, swap the two pins and put it into flash mode again.

Step 5: Adding the Button, Relay and LEDs

Now we would like the S20 to actually do something, not just connect to WiFi and pretty much sit idle.

Below you will find a table of all usable GPIO pins of the S20 and a configuration file that exposes all of the basic functions.

GPIO0 Push Button (HIGH = off, LOW = on)
GPIO12 Relay and its status LED
GPIO13 Green LED (HIGH = off, LOW = on)
GPIO1 RX pin (for external sensors)
GPIO3 TX pin (for external sensors)
esphomeyaml:
  name: <NAME_OF_NODE>
  platform: ESP8266
  board: esp01_1m
  board_flash_mode: dout

wifi:
  ssid: <YOUR_SSID>
  password: <YOUR_PASSWORD>

mqtt:
  broker: <YOUR_MQTT_BROKER>
  username: <YOUR_USERNAME>
  password: <YOUR_PASSWORD>

logger:

ota:

binary_sensor:
  - platform: gpio
    pin:
      number: GPIO0
      mode: INPUT_PULLUP
      inverted: True
    name: "Sonoff S20 Button"
  - platform: status
    name: "Sonoff S20 Status"


switch:
  - platform: gpio
    name: "Sonoff S20 Relay"
    pin: GPIO12

output:
  # Register the green LED as a dimmable output ....
  - platform: esp8266_pwm
    id: s20_green_led
    pin:
      number: GPIO13
      inverted: True

light:
  # ... and then make a light out of it.
  - platform: monochromatic
    name: "Sonoff S20 Green LED"
    output: s20_green_led

Above example also showcases an important concept of esphomeyaml: IDs and linking. In order to make all components in esphomeyaml as much “plug and play” as possible, you can use IDs to define them in one area, and simply pass that ID later on. For example, above you can see an PWM (dimmer) output being created with the ID s20_green_led for the green LED. Later on it is then transformed into a monochromatic light.

And if you want the thing that’s connected through the output of the S20 to appear as a light in Home Assistant, replace the last part with this:

switch:
  - platform: restart
    name: "Sonoff S20 Restart"

output:
  - platform: esp8266_pwm
    id: s20_green_led
    pin:
      number: GPIO13
      inverted: True
  # Note: do *not* make the relay a dimmable (PWM) signal, relays cannot handle that
  - platform: binary
    id: s20_relay
    pin: GPIO12

light:
  - platform: monochromatic
    name: "Sonoff S20 Green LED"
    output: s20_green_led
  - platform: binary
    name: "Sonoff S20 Relay"
    output: s20_relay

To make pressing the button on the front toggle the relay, have a look at the the complete Sonoff S20 with automation example.

Upload the firmware again (through OTA or Serial) and you should immediately see something like this in Home Assistant because of esphomeyaml’s automatic MQTT discovery. (You’ll of course have to add them to groups if you have a default_view set):

../../_images/sonoff_s20_result.png

Step 6: Finishing Up

Now you’re pretty much done with setting up the Sonoff S20. The only steps left are to remove any cables within the housing and make sure everything in there is clean. If, for example, you used wires to connect the UART console, you should definitely remove them to avoid a short with mains.

Sometimes the soldered-on header pins can also interfere with the button. It’s best to remove the header pins again, as you will hopefully not need to use them again because of esphomeyaml’s Over-The-Air Update features (+ the OTA safe mode; if your node reboots more than 10 times in a row, it will automatically enter an OTA-only safe mode).

If you’re sure everything is done with the S20 and have double checked there’s nothing that could cause a short in the case, you can put the front cover with the button on the base again and screw everything together.

Now triple or even quadruple check the UART bridge is not connected to the S20, then comes the time when you can plug it into the socket.

Happy hacking!