A Brain Transplant For An Uncommon Smart Bulb

By now it’s a hardware hack that’s become common enough to be unremarkable, taking a smart light bulb or other mains switchable appliance and replacing its firmware with an open-source equivalent such as Tasmota. But what can be done when a new device is found to have a microcontroller unsupported by any open-source equivalents? If you are [Luca Dentella], you don’t throw in the towel and buy another one with a known processor, instead you reverse engineer it enough to give it a brain transplant of an ESP8266 module.

The Fcmila branded smart bulb in question was found to have a relatively unknown Chinese SoC, the Opulinks OPL1000. Since this couldn’t even raise a serial port it was more trouble than it was worth to write software for it, so instead he spent a while reverse engineering its schematic and electrical protocols, before grafting in a Wemos D1 ESP8266 board. He’s made a video about the project which you can see below the break.

Thankfully the majority of smart bulbs on the market seem to use more familiar hardware that can be flashed with relative ease.

5 thoughts on “A Brain Transplant For An Uncommon Smart Bulb

  1. I’m more amazed that there are bulbs that *aren’t* using the same tasmota-compatible ESP chip all the rest are… Seems like it wouldn’t be worth the effort to develop a bulb not using it!

    1. Unfortunately Tuya, the company behind the module and ecosystem of a vast majority of cheap smart bulbs, changed their SoC away from ESP8266 to an undocumented ARM-based part sometime last year.

    2. This is how China inc is capturing user data by forcing user around the world to use their servers in China.
      So, what is this worth to China Inc ??
      Don’t know cause people will not admit they have been hacked.

      1. Yes, I’m always amazed by the price of connected devices such as the Xiaomi thermometers than are cheaper than unconnected ones… It always look to me as price dumping to get into there ecosystem & connect to their servers.
        I’m always wondering what kind of data is sent back home & what is done with it…
        By the way, what info can a thermometer connected to my local network grab & what info can be deduced about my household ?
        Honest question, I have no idea & would appreciate answers from savvy ones…

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