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Problem on Sonoff Touch installation (US)

I bought the Sonoff Touch for US version. I have installed and paired the device, now it is working with eWink. However, this device should never be sold to the US and will never pass the UL certificate. For the following reasons.


1. Basic design flaws. The US electrical wiring for home in wall installation basically takes the Romex or Beamex format and the wires they provided are solid wires(photo 1). The basic design for Touch dose not allow margins for the screws to protrude from the mounting braket. (photos 2 and 3).  In order to install it, the bracket must be filed down with notches like the photos 2 and 3.


2. The latches of the Touch is too week to handle a solid wire installation(photo 4), basically it is about 1/2" from the wall bracket and the wires are exposed, After install the Touch, I have to use wires to tide it down (photo 5). This is absolutely not acceptable in electric code. In the US, plate covers are tide down with screws.


3. Apparently the switch require constant power to provide the wifi function. The US single cable (Romex or Beamex) wall installation comes in three wires, a ground, a neutral and a hot. The switch has provisions on neutral and hot wires, but has no provision for the ground wire. An ungrounded wire was used up to the 1960's but since 1970, it has been the standard for three wire grounded installation. 


4. Most homes has three way switches. Touch has no provisions for a three way switches.



The whole Touch concept is fine, but you'd better come here to learn about electrical system and codes (law). 

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I am sorry, Trevor, as far as I know, Itead has no intention to change its iTouch switch and it won't get UL or Canadian safety approval. Its product still remains in the "Hobbyist" category as far as I am concerned. Although one of the iTouch I have installed has been functioning for over one year. I always kept my old switch for future swap out if I were to sell my house, nevertheless.

I would like to install  single glass mount switch in standard US, Canadian wall gang box but, are the changes already made ??

The standard gang box in Canada are 74 cm x 46cm x 55 cm deep

It must get all Canadian safety standard codes & UL approval

Product must be vertical

Appreciate until these changes are made please mention Product is not suitable for  Canadian & US markets

No installer or contractor would like to be liable for wrong use of improper product


How about the Wemo F7C030? I saw it is selling around $30 on ebay

The TP-Link HS200 is smaller, and uses a pigtail instead of screws. I installed two without issue. I would install another 5, but the price is too high ($40 right now).

I have seen several sellers offering a slightly larger unit for $25. It's labelled the KS-605, and uses screws at the bottom.

Attached is a photo with dimensions, says 44mm wide, and 70mm tall + space for screws sticking out.

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Jack - I'm aware of all the implications.  I wouldn't mind taking the risk so much...  if the damn thing actually fit the way it was supposed to.  That's my point. This looks shoddy inside, so if I was asked by them to pull it out so they could check it even, it would never fly the way it looks.  Not that it would be certified anyway I guess.  I would be willing to pay 50% higher price for one that fit and was certified.  Or more...  Does anyone know of another Google compatible wall switch?? 

Phil, 

If you are renting, I suggest that you should put back the regular switches. Because in case of fire, you might be sued by the landlord or the insurance company for the cause of fire. It is not your property, and the lease does not allow you to modify the fixtures without landlord's permission.


My modification of my own property without using a safe switch may result of refusal of insurance claim, its a risk I have to take.

This all sounds very familiar! It was bad enough that the housing was too wide to fit into the electrical box, but the screws sticking out, preventing installation of the Mount bracket, and hitting the metal of the box? Un believable. I ended up using a Dremel to cut the housing off, attaching the two boards together with 4 soldered wires, and wrapping the whole mess in electrical tape after I connected the mains to the larger board. I was then able to cram the larger board into the box, sitting so the screws were not anywhere near the metal box, even though they were well taped over, and gluing the touch switch to the black board behind the white cover. It looks ok, my wife is in love with it, but it's nowhere near legal. And I'm renting... . I'll be watching this room very closely..

Even with stranded wire, the screws cannot hold the wire and fit into the frame. The worst part are those "hooks" to hold the face plate on to the frame, I cannot make it work and I have a 1998 house with all the electrical update.

Welcome to hell :P


I give up.


I put stranded pig tails on since even the shorter screws would not sit flush when screwing down onto solid wire.

When I finally go to slide the switch into place, it stops short. Seems the body of the switch is slightly too wide to fit into a standard metal box!  I can deal with shorts from the screws, put on insulation, cut out part of the box, whatever. How am I supposed to deal with a switch that is simply too wide  (1.9") to fit into the box!!  This is not some ancient non-standard box, it was installed when the home was built in 2005.

Glad I bought my first one from Amazon as a test, now I can return it with no hassle!




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Here is a discussion by industry electricians on the matter http://www.electriciantalk.com/f5/use-stranded-wire-20907/


NEC banning stranded wire is one of the oldest myths out there that just won't die 


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There is nothing in the US national electric code that prevents the use of stranded wire. It simply states it must be adequately protected where necessary. For instance, when ran in walls, it must be in a raceway or metal sheathing (FMC, etc). This isn't unique to stranded cable either, the same rules apply to solid wire ran in walls without an outer sheath (as in not romex).


When used in a receptacle box, the box provides protection, and there are no further requirements from the NEC, it is perfectly legal. In fact, you'd be very hard pressed to find solid conductors in many commercial applications, a majority use stranded THHN due to ease of pull through conduit and other factors.


One thing to watch out for though is make sure the terminations on the device are rated to accept stranded wire. If they aren't, that's a violation. For instance, a lot of receptacles and switches are only rated for solid wire. That doesn't really apply here though


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I've recently installed several LUTRON and Leviton dimmers, they use stranded wire for their pigtails.

Attached are images showing the stranded wire.






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Regarding the "code" non-compliance. You can do anything you want with your house, whether it is compliant to the code or not, but when you have a claim with the insurance, you will find problems. That is the bigger issue.

IMHO, the use of flex wire in wall is not compliant because of the fire hazard and easily being damaged by insects/rodents. I have to spend a day to trouble shoot a wall socket because rodents chew through the NM, had it been BMX then it could be saved. Figure how much it costs an electrician vs the cost of wiring if you do not know how to DIY. Frankly, I did not DIY for that issue, but the person did the troubleshoot was part of a bigger project so it did not cost me much. 

It's interesting they are supplying shorter screws, but that is only a small part of what is wrong in the design on this switch as was previously stated. I would say that no one at Sonoff took the time to actually install one of these in a US box, or even noticed the design was all wrong. Part of the problem in fitting up is the vast difference in what is out in the field. A house built in 1930 has much smaller boxes than one built in more recent times and this is often exacerbated by the habit the earlier electricians had of using the switch box as a junction. What I was faced with was a box with less than 16cuin that was already packed with 3 old style tarpaper nm wires. If I were so motivated I could have ripped out the box, probably getting involved in a plaster wall repair as well and replaced it with an extended capacity box such as are now available but for some reason that idea did not appeal to me, LOL.

While "the code" prohibits the use of flexible wires in the box one does have to wonder why all our fixtures come with flexible wires and what really is the difference between a wall sconce with flex wire pigtails and a wall switch with flex wire pigtails. My boss, who was a master electrician with a masters degree in EE always said " no problem" but others I'm sure will disagree.
I'm not wrapping any wires around the screw head, but am inserting it and tightening down the screw.
The other thing is that this switch, and all of these sonoffs, are, IMO, over-rated in power handling capacity, in this case the touch I would keep the load to abt. 100w. My experiences with Chinese ratings is one of what may be considered "alternate facts".
My advice on the US version Sonoff touch switches is, Do not buy.

 


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