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Posts Tagged ‘smart grid’

Orvibo Wiwo S20 Wi-Fi Smart Socket Features US, EU, UK, or AU Plug Types

July 31st, 2014 16 comments

I’ve previously covered several Chinese Wi-Fi smart sockets including Broadlink SP2 also supporting power monitoring, and Kankun KK-SP3, a cheaper, more basic version that can only be turned on and off manually or via timers, and which runs OpenWRT. These plugs have one thing in common: they only come with Australian/Chinese plugs, so if you want to use them in Europe, the US, or United Kingdom, you’ll need an adapter, which may not the the safest things to do, and it’s also inconvenient. Orvibo Wiwo S20 is another model that appears to have the capabilities and a price similar to Broadlink SP2, but available in four flavors with US, EU, UK, and AU plug types.

Orvibo_Wiwo-S20_Multi_Countries_PlugsOrvibo Wiwo S20 is made of fireproof ABS, and is significantly smaller than Broadlink SP2, but the rest of the specifications are very similar:

  • Material – ABC 94V-0 (fireproof)
  • Wi-Fi
    • 802.11 b/g/n
    • Security – WEP, WPA-PSK or WPA2-PSK
  • Power Plug – US, Europe, United Kingdom or Australia plug
  • Output Current – 10A
  • Output Power – 2000W max.
  • Voltage Range – 100-240V AC
  • Power Consumption – ≤0.3W
  • Dimensions – 10.3 cm x 6.3 cm x 3.7 cm
  • Temperature Range – -20 C to 60 C
  • Relative Humidity – ≤80%
  • Weight – 110 grams

This smart socket comes with a user’s manual in English. The  “WiWo” app to connect to your Wi-Fi router, control the device, set timers, scenes, etc.. is available for Android and iOS 5.0+. However, I can’t see any screenshots related to power monitoring, and after installing the Android app, I can’t find any instructions about it either. So “power indicator for your energy tracking” must be there is a LED showing if the device is in use or not… You can control up to 150 socket with your smartphone, and up to 20 mobile devices can control one socket…

I initially found out about the socket via GeekBuying, where it can be purchased for $38.99, and you can select the different plug type by changing the “color”. I could also find it on Aliexpress, where Orvibo has setup their own shop, and sell the devices for about $30 excluding shipping. You can also checkout Orvibo website for more details (I need a proxy to access the site).

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BroadLink SP2 Wi-Fi Smart Socket for iOS and Android Adds Support for Energy Monitoring, Motion Sensing

March 4th, 2014 1 comment

Broadlink SP1, a low cost Wi-Fi smart socket released last year,  allows you to control your electric appliance with your mobile device running iOS or Android. You could turn it on or off, set timers, and so on. An updated model is now available, Broadlink SP2, that adds energy monitoring to the features found in the previous model, to track your historic and live power consumption on your smartphone or tablet, as well as a motion sensor to automatically turn off the lights, for instance, if you are away (Auto Home / Auto Away feature).

Broadlink SP2 and Energy Monitoring

Broadlink SP2 and Energy Monitoring

The hardware specifications are very similar to SP1 except it’s using a case made of polycarbonate plastic instead of ABS, and the device is a bit bigger:

  • Material – PC
  • Wi-Fi – 802.11 b/g/n
  • Power Plug – Three flat-pin plug (Australia type)
  • Voltage – 100~265V @ 50-60 Hz
  • Output Current – 10A
  • Output Power – 2300W max.
  • Dimensions – 12.3 cm x 7 cm x 6.5 cm
  • Durability – > 50,000 On/Off
  • Temperature Range – -10 C to 60 C

The smart socket comes with a user’s manual in English. Just like with SP1, you’ll need a plug adapter or a universal power strip to use the plug, if you don’t live in Australia, China, Argentina, New Zealand, and the few other countries using this type of plug.

The  “Broadlink” app is apparently the same as for SP1 for iOS 5+ and Android 2.2+ and support English as well as simplified and traditional Chinese. The company SP2 page is not very clear, and there are also other iOS and Android apps, but they must be for other products.

You can purchase Broadlink SP2 on DealExtreme for $45.24, but it should eventually be closer to $36, as it’s available for 179 CNY (About $29) on Taobao excluding shipping. For reference, Broadlink SP1 sells for $35 on dx.com.

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802.11ah Wi-Fi (900 MHz) to Provide Low Power, Long Range Connectivity for the Internet of Things

February 21st, 2014 3 comments

Most devices now feature Wi-Fi modules capable of handling 802.11 b/g/n at 2.4 Ghz (and 5 GHz for dual band Wi-Fi), and newer devices and routers boast 802.11ac connectivity @ 5GHz with increased bandwidth (up to 1.2 Gbit/s in theory, maybe around 400 Mbit/s in practive), and in some case increased range with  beam-forming. But thanks to an article on EETimes, I’ve learned there’s another upcoming Wi-Fi standard called 802.11ah operating in the 900MHz range, with data rates from 150 Kbit/s with a 1 MHz band to as much as 40 Mbit/s over an 8 MHz band, lower power consumption, and a least double of the range of a typical 802.11n device,capable of covering an area of about 1 km2. The target applications are sensors networks, backhaul networks for sensor and meter, and extended range Wi-Fi, as the standard allows long range and more clients at low bitrates.

Smart Grid with 802.11ah - Source:

Smart Grid with 802.11ah – Source: Seoul National Univeristy

This new Wi-Fi standard will compete with other sub 1GHz wireless standard such as Zigbee, and Z-Wave, and it seems to have similar applications as Wi-Fi 802.11af standard operating in the TV white band. Companies such as Broadcom, CSR, Huawei, Intel, LG, Marvell, NEC, Panasonic, Qualcomm, Samsung, and ZTE are participating in IEEE 802.11ah standard which is expected to get ratified by the end of 2015. If you want to learn more about technical details, you could read a publications entitled IEEE 802.11ah: A Long Range 802.11 WLAN at Sub 1 GHz by the Department of ECE and INMC from Seoul National University.

802.11ah_specturmA Greek company, Antcor, will demonstrate its 802.11ah DSP block supporting 4×4 MIMO for home gateways and industrial automation networks at Mobile World Congress 2014, and the first 802.11ah SoCs should hit the market before the end of this year, using the draft specifications.

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Smart Power Strip Controls and Monitors your Electric Appliances with Android or iOS Devices (Crowdfunding)

December 10th, 2013 3 comments

Broadlink SP1 and Plugaway are smart sockets controlled by your mobile device(s) via Wi-Fi, but they only support one appliance at a time. Smart Power Strip will fix that thanks to 4 sockets with independent power consumption meters that are controlled via Wi-Fi by Android or iOS devices.

Smart_Power_StripThe power strip is comprised of 4 independent relays, 2 USB ports, a 120V or 230V circuit breaker, and a dual 2.4 GHz module for Wi-Fi and Home Automation (MESH) technology. It supports 100-250V AC, with a maximum of 15 Amps. The smart power strip will be available for US, EU, UK, and AU standards. That’s about all we know about the hardware.

The mobile app will allow you to turn on/off devices manually, monitor each appliance’s power consumption individually, set timers, and monitor which device is on/off. As long as you have Internet access, the smart power strip can be accessed remotely, and if you forgot to turn on your appliances, you can do so from your car or work. You can also play God, or dad (or mum) the dictator, if you notice your kids are watching TV or playing games, whereas they should really be studying for their final exam.

Smart_Power_Strip_App The MESH network will allow to cascade several power strip together, with one master, and several slaves. I don’t clearly understand why it’s needed, but there must be a good reason that I’m missing.

Eventually you should also be able to control Wi-Fi sensors (motion, light bulb, other Wi-Fi sockets), but this does not seem supported right now. Beside Android and iOS, a Windows Phone app may be implemented at a later stage.

The company has almost got the $100,000 they need to go ahead with mass production, and if you are interested you can pledge $99 (early bird) or $119, adding $30 for shipping outside the US via their Kickstarter page to (hopefully) get one Smart Power Strip for your country in April 2014.

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Broadlink SP1 Wi-Fi Smart Socket Can Be Turned On/Off by Android or iOS Devices

August 29th, 2013 19 comments

Broadlink SP1 is a smart socket with Wi-Fi connectivity that you can control remotely with your Android or iOS mobile device through a specific app in order to turn on and off lights, water heater, and other electrical appliances. This type of product already exists for example with Belkin Wemo, but Broadlink SP1 is cheaper as it sells for $32.90 including shipping, against $49.99 + shipping for Belkin Wemo Switch. So let’s have a closer look.

Broadlink_SP1_WiFi_Smart_Plug

For this type of device there aren’t that many technical specifications, but they are very important as you need to make sure it matches your electrical grid specs, equipment power rating, and socket type:

  • Material – ABS
  • Power Plug – Three flat-pin plug (Australia type)
  • Voltage – 90~245V @ 50-60 Hz
  • Output Current – 10A
  • Output Power – 2200W
  • Dimensions – 8.9 cm x 7.7 cm x 5.8 cm
  • Temperature Range – -10′C to 55′C

The smart socket comes with a user’s manual in English and Chinese.

Unless you live in Australia, China, Argentina, New Zealand, and the few other countries using this type of plug, you’ll need an adapter, or use an universal power strip.

The company provides “Broadlink Smart Plug” app for iOS that’s compatible with iPhone 3GS to iPhone 5, iPod touch (3rd, 4th and 5th generation), as well as an Android app (apk). I’ve tried the app in Android, and the UI shows up in English. For some reasons, during installation, the applications requires permission to access the camera… Without the plug, I can’t obviously try much in the apps, but according to the FAQ in Chinese, it lets you configure the smart sockets (Up to 100 units), turn them on and off, and set up to 7 timers. For security, there’s a “lock function” that only allows your device to control the sockets.

You can find more information (in Chinese), including a promo video, on Broadlink SP1 page. In China (Taobao), the device sells for 159 RMB ($26 US) + shipping.

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Texas Instruments HG3352 Home Automation & Energy Gateway Reference Design

February 4th, 2013 No comments

Texas Instruments has recently announced HG3352 Home Gateway Reference Design that can connect to home energy systems, or/and home automation systems. This reference design, powered by TI Sitara AM3352 Cortex A8 processor, supports ZigBee, Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth, and Ethernet connectivity to allow developers to create home gateways that can interface with multiple systems, products and applications within a smart home.

2 HG3352 Reference Designs and one Interactive display Showcased at DistribuTECH 2013

2x HG3352 Reference Designs and 1x Interactive display Showcased at DistribuTECH 2013

Here are the key features and benefits of TI HG3352 Home Gateway Reference Design:

  • SoC – TI Sitara’s AM3352 ARM Cortex-A8 processor running Linux OS
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3
  • Storage – 2GB NAND Flash memory
  • Connectivity:
    • Single ZigBee device (CC2530) supports ZigBee Home Automation and ZigBee Smart Energy standards.
    • WiLink 8.0 solution supports Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Bluetooth low energy in a single chip.
  • 6-channel power management integrated circuit (TPS650250) with dynamic voltage scaling provides high power efficiency.
  • Expansion headers give developers flexibility to support power line communications (PLC) and other wireless standards.
  • Enabling 6LoWPAN IPv6 wireless connectivity allows developers to create gateways that can connect to new Internet-enabled devices.
Texas Instruments Home Gateway Block Diagram

Texas Instruments Home Gateway Block Diagram

HG3352 Home Gateway Reference Design samples are now available (to selected customers?), but the reference design will eventually show up in TI’s eStore for $449 US in Q2 2013. To get more information, visit www.ti.com/gateway-pr-lp.

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Freescale Announces Kinetis KW20 Cortex M4 MCU with Built-in Zigbee Transceiver

June 5th, 2012 No comments

Freescale announced the addition of the Kinetis KW20 to its Kinetis microcontroller portfolio. The Kinetis KW20 is based on ARMCortex-M4 core and MC13242 RF transceiver to deliver a single chip Zigbee solution for the Internet of Things and power applications such as smart energy, smart metering and building control.

Freescale Kinetis KW20 Block Diagram

The company explains that their new wireless MCU family aims to “address the increased processing and memory requirements associated with future ZigBee Smart Energy 2.0 and Internet Protocol specifications”. The KW20 supports dual personal area network (PAN) to enable a single device to communicate wirelessly on two ZigBee networks. This feature eliminates the need for multiple radios required to connect different home automation and smart energy networks.

Kinetis KW20 wireless MCU features:

  • ARM Cortex-M4 processor core
  • Up to 512 KB of flash memory and 64 KB of RAM
  • Cryptology accelerator and sophisticated tamper detect
  • Integrated IEEE 802.15.4-compliant radio (MC13242 RF transceiver)
  • Low power consumption

Freescale will provide several tools for software development on the platform including:

  • BeeKit wireless connectivity toolkit
  • Eclipse-based CodeWarrior IDE
  • Freescale MQX software solutions and associated middleware,
  • Tower System modular development platform for rapid prototyping.
  • Third-party tools such as IAR Systems Embedded Workbench IDE.

Alpha samples of the Kinetis KW20 wireless MCUs (KW21D256V, KW21D512V and KW22D512V) and the MC13242 RF transceiver will be available in Q3 2012, together with software and ZigBee protocol stacks

Freescale will showcase the KW20 wireless MCU family at the Freescale Technology Forum, on June 18-21 in San Antonio, Texas, and at Smart Grid Paris, on June 21-22.

For more information, you can visit www.freescale.com/KW20. If you are interested in this type of applications, you can also read Freescale Home Energy Gateway Reference Platform post for further details on system design and software.

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