[Brian Dipert] over at EDN has a teardown of Belkin’s answer to the Internet of Things (IoT) craze: the WeMo. This little WiFi gadget plugs into an outlet and lets you turn a connected device on and off from a smart phone app or something like Amazon Echo.
As you might expect from a cheap piece of consumer hardware, there’s not a whole lot inside. The digital board contains a Ralink WiFi chip, an antenna etched on the PCB, and a handful of components, including an SDRAM and some flash memory.
The Ralink chip is commonly found in wireless access points/routers, and the WeMo uses that capability for configuration. If you’ve ever configured a Google Chromecast, the procedure is similar. The WeMo creates its own WiFi network that you connect to. Then you can configure it to connect to your preferred network.
A second board has the AC interface which uses a good old fashioned relay to switch the live wire of the AC outlet to the load. The neutral and ground wires simply pass through.
We’ve hacked around the WeMo a few times including how to make fake WeMo devices and how to hack into one using the UART. We even found a tutorial on putting OpenWRT on the things. We’re surprised that we haven’t seen more WeMo hacks — are you holding out on us? Let us know in the comments.
If you haven’t run into a WeMo before, you can see a review of how it works for a user in the video below.