Replacing a Wi-Fi SoC with a Moteino Module in a Belkin Wemo for Increased Functionality

Gigawatts converted a malfunctioning smart plug into a Moteino-powered 'WeMote.'

Cabe Atwell
a month agoSensors

The Belkin Wemo has an irritating habit of disconnecting from Wi-Fi every so often, with the only recourse is resetting the device to get it to function correctly. Engineer Gigawatts knows that issue all too well, as he used the smart plug to power up his Christmas tree, only for it to fail a few minutes afterward. Troubleshooting unveiled that the Wemo suffered from massive packet loss and wouldn't grab an IP address. Not wanting to troubleshoot any further, Gigawatts decided to rip out the Wemo's Ralink SoC logic board and swap it out for something simpler.

Gigawatts notes that there are two separate boards in the Wemo, one providing control and the other handling the high-voltage switching. The boards are connected using three wires, including a 5V DC supply wire (red), a 3.3V logic level relay control wire (white), and a ground (black), which makes swapping out boards easy. While he could have used an ESP8266 module to replace the Ralink SoC, Gigawatts chose to use a Moteino radio development board instead, which is a low-power, Arduino-compatible board outfitted with an RFM69 transceiver.

After successfully installing the Moteino board, Gigawatts then programmed the device with stock firmware designed for LowPowerLab's SwitchMote, and wired-up a momentary push button (behind the Wemo's front button) and a green LED to denote status. After configuring a few parameters, Gigawatts reassembled the casing, and the "WeMote" was born.

Gigawatts has uploaded a detailed walkthrough of his WeMote on his project page for those interested in recreating his build.

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