Which UK power strips can be flashed with Tasmota?
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Tasmota is, just like ESPHome, a popular alternative firmware for ESP8266 based devices which gives you local control and doesn't rely on any cloud services. Many types of devices, ranging from light bulbs to wall switches to shutters, can be flashed with the Tasmota firmware. In this article, we will be specifically looking at power strips for UK plugs (BS 1363). As an added bonus, I will categorize each UK power strip as either an easy to flash with Tasmota or not so easy to flash with Tasmota device.
Tasmota was created by and is up until this day maintained by Theo Arends. While ESPHome has only caught on in the last two or three years, Tasmota was first on the scene in 2016. Due to its age, Tasmota is considered to be more stable than ESPHome, and it supports many more devices out of the box. Tasmota does have the disadvantage (though others would definitely call it an advantage) of not directly integrating with Home Assistant. Instead, you have to use an MQTT broker to so and have the MQTT integration set up in Home Assistant.
Pleased be aware that you will be using any of the tools mentioned in this article at your own risk. ESPHome, Tasmota, and TUYA-CONVERT can't guarantee that your UK power strip won't be bricked in the process of flashing. Though you might find help in their respective communities, none of the developers offers any form of hardware support. You are also likely to void your warranty by opening up any of the products and soldering wires or pins to them.
Tasmota flashable UK power strips: The easy (OTA) options
Despite Home Assistant being more of a tinkerer's tool, many of you will not want to take a UK power strip apart to flash it with Tasmota. After all, it is connected to wall power, and you don't want anything to go wrong. Luckily, there is an open-source application named TUYA-CONVERT which will allow you to flash certain Tuya devices over-the-air (OTA).
Tuya is a Chinese company which offers free-to-brand turnkey smart home solutions to anyone. As Tuya's offer is easy to use, basically anyone can slap their own name on a Tuya product and sell it worldwide. That is why Tuya claims to have produced around 11,000 devices for over 10,000 vendors in nearly 200 countries. All of these devices use Tuya's hardware, firmware, and cloud services despite their respective apps being slightly different and branded accordingly.
There are currently two Tuya-made UK power strips available which can be easily flashed with Tasmota without having to loosen a single screw. The YAGALA Smart WiFi Power Strip (SWB3) has three AC outlets and two USB “Fast Charging” ports (I wasn't able to figure out their wattage). The AC outlets can be individually controlled, while the USB ports can be controlled as one unit. The AOFO Smart Wifi Power Strip (4AC+4DC) has four AC outlets and four USB outlets (5V, 2.4A). As with the YAGALA UK power strip, the AC outlets can be controlled individually and the USB ports as one unit.
If you find any other UK power strip which mentions the Smart Life app in its description there is a high likelihood that you will also be able to flash it using TUYA-CONVERT as it is one of the apps many Tuya products use. However, there is no guarantee it will work, as the two UK power strips mentioned above are currently the only products I've been able to find that have been tested. You will also find a write-up on how to convert a UK power strip with TUYA-CONVERT sold under the brand names Teckin and Tunbox here.
Do not connect the UK power strip to its app
It's fair to say, that Tuya isn't exactly the biggest fan of TUYA-CONVERT. In the past, firmware updates for Tuya products have been released that blocked TUYA-CONVERT from working its magic. Luckily, the developers quickly found a workaround which is as of today reported to be functional.
It is entirely possible that Tuya will at some point in the future push out another OTA firmware update which will once again render TUYA-CONVERT useless. For that reason, it is vital that you don't connect your UK power strip to the app at any point as it will attempt to install any available firmware updates.
How to use TUYA-CONVERT to flash Tasmoto on to your UK power strip
You will need a Linux computer or virtual machine to get TUYA-CONVERT working. Currently, there are no builds for Windows or macOS. Any old Raspberry Pi or even a Raspberry Pi Zero W you have laying around should do the job. The second thing you need is a secondary Wi-Fi device (you can simply use your smartphone). Once you have everything ready you can follow the detailed steps in the GitHub repository on how to flash your UK power strip with Tasmota using TUYA-CONVERT.
Tasmota flashable UK power strips: The not so easy options
There are few further UK power strips on to which you might be able to flash Tasmota using TUYA-CONVERT. However, there is no guarantee (unless you can find a report confirming that it is indeed possible).
One you definitely should avoid it the Hyleton 336 Power Strip as it will have to be taken apart and flashed manually. Options which might be flashable with TUYA-CONVERT are the Xenta 3 AC 6 USB, the Nozdom 3AC+2USB, the Home Awesome Smart Power Strip, the TCB WPS4WUK, and the XS-A25 Power Strip.
TUYA-CONVERT is not limited to just flashing firmware build with Tasmota. Any .bin can be flashed using it. Thus, it is possible to flash any of the devices mentioned above not just with Tasmota but also with ESPHome. You would hover have to build your own firmware using ESPHome in YAML. If you are willing to do that you can find out what GPIO pins control which relay on this website.Alternatively, if you already have flashed Tasmota on to your UK power strip and want to make the switch to ESPHome you can do so using the Tasmota web-interface and .bin file built with ESPHome.
About Liam Alexander Colman
Liam Alexander Colmanis an experienced Home Assistant user who has been utilizing the platform for a variety of projects over an extended period. His journey began with a Raspberry Pi, which quickly grew to three Raspberry Pis and eventually a full-fledged server. Liam's current operating system of choice is Unraid, with Home Assistant comfortably running in a Docker container. With a deep understanding of the intricacies of Home Assistant, Liam has an impressive setup, consisting of various Zigbee devices, and seamless integrations with existing products such as his Android TV box. For those interested in learning more about Liam's experience with Home Assistant, he shares his insights on how he first started using the platform and his subsequent journey.