When we buy new shiny toys, we usually open them up to at least have a look. [Scott Gibson] does the same, apparently. He found an ESP8266 module inside the EcoPlug brand WiFi-controlled wall switches.
The original device was intended to be controlled by a (crappy) app. He sniffed the UDP packets enough to send the on-off signals to an unmodified device, but where’s the fun in that? [Scott] gave it an upgrade by replacing the ESP8266’s firmware with his own and now he’s got a much more capable remote switch, one that speaks MQTT like the rest of his home automation system.
There’s not much to the code — it just does what you’d think it does. And that’s the beauty of open standards and our community of open-source hardware hackers. It’s easier than ever to take commercial crap that doesn’t do what you want and “fix” it.
There are other ways to crack the home automation egg. On the ESP8266 front, we’ve got even cheaper products for you to hack and even complete-DIY options. Before the ESP8266, firms used to put complete Linux routers into switches, if you can believe that, and they’re hackable as well. But kudos to [Scott] for looking at what he had, and making it into what he wanted.
Thanks [Milos] for the tip!