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Sonoff for households and gardens

Sonoff Smart Water Valve & Sonoff ZB Water Leak Sensor

Every review should start somewhere. I’ll start this one with: ITEAD what the heck? Could you please unify the release of your products and support it equally on your platform? Let me explain. At the time of the review, the Sonoff Water Valve offered different features depending on the ZigBee bridge used! In hindsight, things were awkwardly logical…

… but let’s start from the beginning.

Sonoff Smart Valve and Sonoff Water Leak sensor

It’s been so wet in the UK this spring, that sales of smart garden devices are almost nonsensical. The summer is in full swing, and not once did I look outside and think to myself: The grass outside needed more water. You can watch my slightly outraged TechDrop below:

As Sonoff SWV (Sonoff Smart Water Valve) and Sonoff SNZB-05P (Sonoff ZB Water Leak Senor are here, I asked my neighbour Nick if I could add even more water to his drenched garden. He said yes, so the review is happening!

The two new ZigBee devices released by Sonoff tackle the most urgent water needs of every household: automating water dispensing and protecting property from water damage. Considering how expensive water damage can be, I’m shocked that given how inexpensive the technology is – we only invest in smoke detectors.

Sonoff Water Valve

It’s a black box that sets you back $26.90 and connects to a water outlet using typical garden hose thread. It comes in two versions to match your plumbing (BSP|NH) – so pay attention when ordering one! It’s powered by 4 x AA batteries (grab some on AmazonUK|AmazonUS) and they are loaded into Sonoff Water Valve via orange magazine – it bears an uncanny resemblance to the battery system offered on SwitchBot Lock Pro.

The black box mirrors fittings on both ends and will offer the same fitting to connect your hose or alternative plumbing. Other than a pairing butting that also doubles as an ON/OFF switch there isn’t much to talk about. Grab yourself a nice flexible hose while you are at it (AmazonUK|AmazonUS), and a grass-watering sprinkler(AmazonUK|AmazonUS) then you are good to go.

It installs in seconds.

Sonoff Water Leak sensor (SNZB-05P)

To complement the release of the valve above, a $9.90 ZigBee sensor is released to protect your house from water damage. A small sensor with 2 prongs seated on a concave surface of the sensor allows water to accumulate and will notify the eWeLink app when there is a problem.

Just like other 2nd-Gen ZigBee sensors, the Sonoff Water Leak sensor is powered by a beefy CR 2477 battery (grab on AmazonUK|AmazonUS) and will last years before you have to change the battery again.

The interesting part of this sensor is the USB-C probe that can be purchased separately for $7.90 I wasn’t exactly sure what to do with it, as the only USB-C port was on the probe itself. Looping it made no sense. Once the product page was available to me, I discovered that the 1.5m braided cable can detect moisture.

Using the cable you can monitor for wet patches across its length or fence off an area you want to keep an eye on. It’s very useful, as it helps to monitor more than one spot when using traditional water leak sensors. There are some small disadvantages. It takes a little longer to wet the braided cable, and once moist, you’ll have to dry it off properly before Sonoff SNZB-05P reverts to “no leaks”.

Clever!

ZigBee Bridge confusion

By the time you get any of these, things should be addressed, but want to express my disappointment. My initial testing had been done using Sonoff ZB Bridge U – the latest and greatest of the ITEAD’s ZigBee bridges.

This was a bad move, as when I paired Sonoff SWV with Sonoff ZB Bridge U, it offered only ON/OFF functionality. Once the product page was available to me, I found out that Sonoff iHost support is coming in July. There was no mention of Sonoff ZB Bridge U on the page at all. If you read my Sonoff ZB Bridge U review, you know that this device is essentially an iHost in disguise. In short: for now, use Sonoff ZB Bridge Pro or NSPanel Pro – I covered both on my website.

Sonoff Water Valve in eWeLink

To add Sonoff SWV (Smart Water Valve), simply scan the QR code from the enclosure and add the product as a subdevice (hold the button for 5 sec to trigger the pairing mode). It shows up quickly and it’s ready to use.

When paired to the correct bridge, it shows the correct device controls. In principle, there are 2 ways of using Sonoff SWV: timed and flow-based. The response time is typical for ZigBee and the device activates quickly. I haven’t noticed any leaks either. My next step was to verify how accurate is the flow meter.

I used a 10L bucket to fill a couple of times – and used the flow mode to dispense 10L of water. Sonoff Water Valve is pretty accurate for garden conditions. Subsequent 10L dispenses were approx 10.5-11L each which is good enough. Playing with the valve posed another question in my head. What would happen if I ran out of battery during dispense?

I unleashed the stream and ripped the battery out of the device. I hoped to see Sonoff SWV shut off water delivery, but the stream continued. Unfortunately, there are no settings to deal with this either, so you’ll have to be mindful of that.

During my short testing, I also open the valve without water flow. After 30 or so seconds, my phone would beep like crazy, eWeLink was letting me know that Sonoff SWV isn’t getting any water – I like this feature.

Shop with Sonoff

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

Final thoughts

All that’s left now is to pray for a lovely summer in the UK and somehow get a hold of my garden to make proper use of Sonoff SWV. Until then, I’ll pluck my Sonoff ZB Water Leak sensor in the bathroom and hope I never have to hear from it again. Have you ever been affected by water damage? If so let me know what happened and how much damage it caused in your household! Use this Reddit thread to let me know.

🆓📈 – See the transparency note for details.

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