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Sonoff Basic R3: Updated Smart Switch

The popular smart switch Sonoff Basic from ITEAD has recently become available in a new version. The Sonoff Basic R3 is the successor of the trusted Sonoff Basic R2. Both externally and internally, changes have been made compared to the previous version.

Sonoff Basic R3
Sonoff Basic R3

What is the Sonoff Basic R3?

First of all, for the readers who are not yet familiar with this device, a short introduction. The Sonoff Basic R3 is a WiFi-controlled switch for IoT applications. You can make “stupid” devices “smart” with it. It can be controlled with the eWeLink app for Android or iOS. This switch is also compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and IFTTT. If you want to know more about the connection and control with the eWeLink app, read the blog “Sonoff S20 Smart Socket: easy home automation“. The procedure is the same for all Sonoff devices.

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Some of the most important specifications:

  • Voltage range: 90-250V AC (50 / 60Hz)
  • Maximum current: 10A, maximum power: 2200W
  • WiFi chip: ESP8285
  • Wireless standard: 802.11 b / g / n with security by means of WPA-PSK / WPA2-PSK
  • Dimensions: 91 * 43 * 25 mm (l * w * h)
  • Working temperature: 0ºC-40º

The previous version of this switch was discussed in the blog “Sonoff Basic: cheap and hackable DIY WiFi switch“.

Smart switch versus smart plug

In which situations would you use a switch instead of a plug like the Sonoff S20?

  • For example, if you want to install or install the switch: the Basic is compact and has screw holes
  • Or when you want to replace an existing switch in a cord
  • Sometimes there is not enough space for a smart plug in a plug block or wall socket
  • You can provide a switch with a watertight housing for use outside or in a bathroom

In most other cases, it may be more convenient to use a plug instead of a switch.

Smart Plug vs Smart Switch
Smart Plug vs Smart Switch

A new appearance

The Basic R3 has been given a renewed and more modern appearance. The housing is now slightly larger, with a sleeker design and an off-white color. The black print has given way to texts in relief. The two separate cover caps have been replaced by one cover and separate strain reliefs. An LED has been added and there are now two: a red for the status of the switch (on / off) and a blue for the network status.

Sonoff Basic R2 (left) and R3 (right)
Sonoff Basic R2 (left) and R3 (right)

Sonoff Basic R3 DIY mode

The microcontroller in the switch is the trusted ESP8285 WiFi chip. This is an ESP8266 with 1 MiB flash memory built-in. But some things have also been changed on the inside. You can find a jumper with which you can determine the mode of the Basic R3:

  • Standard mode: control with the eWe-Link app (jumper open)
  • DIY mode: alternative operation via the HTTP REST API (jumper closed)

Thanks to the new DIY mode, the R3 can also be connected to other home automation and home automation systems such as Home Assistant, OpenHAB and Domoticz. We will come back to this in a later blog.

Tasmota flashing

The new DIY mode also makes it possible to flash the Tasmota firmware on the Sonoff without having to solder. In a future blog, we will try out how this works.

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