Converting a TP Link Router to Mission Control for Cheap 433MHz Home Automation

[Jean-Christophe Rona] found himself with some free time and decided to finish a project he started two years ago, reverse engineering cheap 433MHz home automation equipment. He hopes to control his space heaters remotely, in preparation for a cold and, now, robotic winter.

In a previous life, he had reverse engineered the protocol these cheap wireless plugs, garage doors, and electric window shutters all use. This eventually resulted in a little library called rf-ctrl that can toggle and read GPIO pins in the correct way to control these objects. He has a few of the more popular protocols built into the library and even wrote a guide on how to do the reverse engineering yourself if you have need.

Having successfully interfaced with the plugs to use with his space heaters, [Jean-Christophe] went about converting a cheap TP Link router into a command center for them. Since TP Link never expected anyone to hammer their square peg into a mismatched hole, it takes a careful hand at soldering and some enamel wire to break out the GPIO pins, but it’s well within the average skill set.

The end result is a nicely contained blue box with a little antenna hanging out of it, and we hope, a warm abode for the coming winter.

9 thoughts on “Converting a TP Link Router to Mission Control for Cheap 433MHz Home Automation

    1. Well done sir. We’ve never heard that argument before. It’s a real eye opener.

      I have a couple of similar outlets. I just struggle with with the inability to read the current state.

      Sonoffs are a pretty good compromise being just slightly more expensive and wifi connected. Also very hacker friendly if the standard functionality doesn’t meet your needs. I’m in the process of replacing some homegrown esp8266 remote controlled outlets.

  1. Nice. Exactly why I bought one of those several years back. Still sat in the cupboard of one-day…

    Did get as far as finding/enabling the free gpios and driving a Nokia 1202 display over SPI, but got sidetracked by the 433 side of things – neither rfm12b or cc1100 could cover all the fsk devices I wanted to control/sniff

  2. I have one of those little boxes. I used it as a virtual LAN extender + WiFi repeater. Then like the no-name black Chinese box it replaced (which could no do both LAN extend and WiFi repeat simultaneously) it got to where it just would not keep the wireless link going reliably.

    So I found a Cisco Linksys EA2700 (75 cents at a yard sale) and put DD-WRT on it. Got my virtual LAN wire plus its own WiFi separate from the other AP it’s pretending to be an Ethernet extension of. Runs rock solid. Still have the 75 cent sticker on it.

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