HomeHome AutomationThe end of Tasmota? Sonoff SwitchMan M5 Matter

The end of Tasmota? Sonoff SwitchMan M5 Matter

Now available in Matter and White

I was surprised to see the white version of Sonoff SwitchMan M5 Matter wall switches. ITEAD released the grey counterparts long ago to match NS Panel and NS Panel Pro visually. These were pretty standard smart light switches as far as switches go, but to make them work even better – I flashed Tasmota on it, as this is what we all eventually do with eWeLink-bound products. White Sonoff SwitchMan M5 – comes with Matter support and I have some questions! Does it mean that grey switches will get Matter retrospectively? Is there a point in flashing them with Tasmota?

Sonoff SwitchMan M5 in White

These WiFi-enabled smart light switches come in three configurations (1-3 gangs) and three sizes to accommodate different regions (80/86/120mm). In terms of features, Sonoff SwitchMan M5 is a simple and inexpensive smart device to enable smart light control. There is no fancy RGB backlight like in Sonoff TX Ultimate, it’s a no-frill ride to automate your ceiling lights without disabling your wall toggles.

Just like other Sonoff products, Sonoff SwitchMan M5 use 2.4GHz WiFi to speak to the eWeLink cloud, offers LAN mode and brings eWeLink Remote support. They are certified for up to 2200W per gang (lower limit on 3 gang switches) – offering plenty of switching power for the lights at home.

Everything about them on the outside resembles the grey versions, including a little mushy push-button activation. They offer small LED guide lights (controlled brightness) to ease the locating of the switches at night and work as push buttons and toggles.

Wiring up

To make these work, you need to have the Live and Neutral in your switch cavity. What’s disappointing to see is the lack of dedicated terminals for the neutral wire for all the outputs. I had to split the neutral terminal. I get to use Sonoff Wago-style connectors that they offer – and I have to say, I like the configurations they offer. It makes figuring out your connections very easy.

After being shocked in the past by exposed terminals of some relays, I appreciate the white caps that go over the top of the terminals to keep me from accidentally shocking myself to death with mains voltage. Perhaps I should mention that installation should be done by an individual who knows their wires! Its main power, it can kill you!

Once connected, my Kill-o-Watt reported 0.5W in standby mode, which should bring me to approximately £1.38 a year per switch at my current rate of 0.26p/kWh. If you are trying to make energy savings using smart lights, you need to read this article, which shows you how hard it is to make savings this way.

SwitchMan in eWeLink

Scan the code, press the highlighted button to enter the pairing mode and both of my switches paired in less than 10 seconds. It would be quicker if the process weren’t constantly interrupted by Google Home asking to pair new Matter devices. Take a chill pill Google, we will get back to you soon.

Once in the app, there are no revelations – I have access to each toggle from the level of the card to turn the lights on and off. I ventured to the Settings menu, to look for “specials”. Other than support for eWeLink Remote protocol, power-on state and inching, these switches are as bare as they can be.

Oh, I should mention that adding a slider to control the brightness of the guide LED is nice. I could turn it on completely too, and disable the network indicator which is blue (in opposition to channel relay lights being red).

Other than the options above, Sonoff SwitchMan M5 benefits from the usual eWeLink features like access to timers and schedules, integration in the Automation panel which helps with creating routines in your smart home and 3rd party integrations with Alexa and Google Home (in case you don’t want to go with Matter).

SwitchMan M5 in Matter

It’s time to mix things up, dig out my Alexa Echo Hub with Matter support and confirm what we already know. After a short pairing stint, and probably confusing my Alexa in the process by adding the same wall switch that was already exposed via eWeLink Skill, my switches appeared in the Alexa ecosystem ready to be used. Just as expected, the integration is as barebone as possible.

We all know these things will work as wall switches, so the main question I wanted to answer is – when Sonoff SwitchMan M5 is configured in eWeLink with extra features – will it retain this configuration when added via Matter?

When paired to the Matter hub via the eWeLink Share option, Sonoff SwitchMan M5 will retain the additional settings (power-on state, LED brightness), but if you can’t unpair the device from eWeLink without setting default values again.

The end of Tasmota?

I flashed my original Sonoff SwitchMan M5 to free the switches from the eWeLink cloud and add them to my NodeRED-based automation server. Now that Sonoff SwitchMan M5 support Matter, I have to ask myself the question – Do I really need them to be flashed with Tasmota?

Matter protocol makes me angry. Despite the cooperation between all the big players, devices only offer basic functions across ecosystems. All the funky stuff is usually available through dedicated apps and Sonoff SwitchMan M5 isn’t an exception. ITEAD lists all the features that are not available via Matter:

While I do feel like I’m missing out, the truth is, Sonoff SwitchMan M5 is so basic, that I can actually get away without having Special Features available to me. Basic functions are still available via Matter. The biggest downside is not being able to set the Power on State without eWeLink.

Digging inside

The Matter is unlikely to be added to the grey switches, as the process requires certification, but you could get away with using Tasmota-Matter to bypass the issue on old SwitchMan M5 switches.

Let’s dive inside and compare the hardware:

The white switch comes with ESP32-D0WD R2-V3 – while the older grey version sports ESP32-D0WD V3 inside. I couldn’t find any information about the “R2” designation and how much it would impact the compatibility. The datasheet mentioned that R2 offers 2MB PSRAM over the non-R2 version. If I had to make an educated guess the older smart switch should support Matter. It probably does via Tasmota.

If you want to flash the board, then the same principle applies as in my guide to flashing Sonoff SwitchMan M5 in grey! So take a read-through and make it yours!

Shop with Sonoff

Take a look at the ZigBee and WiFi range of the devices compatible with eWeLink:

Final Thoughts

One thing is true, Sonoff SwitchMan M5 Matter is an inexpensive and functional way to automate your lights around the house without disabling all wall toggles in the process. You can get it for as little as $17.99 (configuration dependent) and it’s only twice as expensive as the average non-smart switch in the UK. It’s what ITEAD intended – a very basic and inexpensive Matter-enabled wall switch to smart up your house. If you want something with more flair, take a look at Sonoff Ultimate TX instead. Just remember to apply the N+1 principle when buying your switches and you will be fine! Let me know if you are going to flash your device in this Reddit thread.

🆓📈 – See the transparency note for details.

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