Creating a DIY 433 MHz ESP8266-based Home Automation bridge to switch DIP remote control outlets

A couple of years ago I built a pretty basic smart home application allowing me to control my remote controlled sockets via an Android app or a Web Extension. It’s based on the rcswitch library run on an Apache. The 433 MHz signals are sent by a FS1000A transmitter hooked up via GPIO to a Raspberry Pi. The whole setup lied on the ground in a corner of my apartment behind a curtain next to my network wall jack. Now where we have just moved to a nice new and twice as big home, I needed a solution which could be placed in the middle of all rooms to allow the rather weak 433 MHz signals to reach every receiver. Additionally, I wanted to get rid of having to maintain a full Ubuntu server, which only serves as a light switch for the most part.

Firefox WebExtension used to turn on desk lamp
Firefox WebExtension used to turn on desk lamp

Around that time, I stumbled upon the ESP8266: a low-cost WiFi microchip with full TCP/IP stack and microcontroller capability – ideally soldered on a NodeMCU or Wemos D1 for the maximum level of convenience. Arduino and Wifi: a whole new world of IoT-possibilities. Once you’ve added the board manager to your Arduino IDE, you can use those tiny boards just like an ordinary Arduino. As the Arduino WebServer library can turn a NodeMCU development board into a light-weight HTTP server and the rcswitch library is also available on Arduino, I decided to put both – NodeMCU and FS1000A – into a junction box to create a DIY 433 MHz RF WiFi bridge.

To reach the bridge you should either assign a static IP or use mDNS. Keep in mind that mDNS is not supported by all operating systems out of the box. If in doubt, use a static IP.  To make the bridge accessible from outside your home network, you need to open and forward a port on your router (port 80 by default and can be changed in line 10). It’s recommend to secure any connection made through the public internet. By the time I was writing the script, there hasn’t been a HTTPS server implementation around. However, I found HelloServerBearSSL while writing this article. It looks very promising and is definitely worth a try.

433Mhz RF WiFi Bridge Junction Box opened and closed
433 MHz RF WiFi Bridge Junction Box opened and closed

This project works with simple DIP-switch remote outlets only. It became quite hard to get the “old” DIP outlets as most producers switched to the “new” outlets, which use a button on the receivers to “learn” a signal. There is a NewRemoteSwitch library to deal with them. But as I just recently found one last triple pack in a dollar store, I am stocked until I will eventually move to Wifi controlled outlets.

Enough talk. A typical request contains the five digit system code, five digit unit code and a binary power code separated by comma. You can also concatenate multiple commands using semicolon. A sample request to switch on outlet A and switch off outlet B would look like this:

x.x.x.x/switch?command=10010,00001,1;10010,0010,0

Here is the code. Further down is a download link.

DOWNLOAD: 433MHzWifiBridge Project

 

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