Skyfan! (with IoT)

Had the electrician over today, for what should have been a reasonably short visit but ended up being a rather long ordeal (mostly for him).

You see, some time ago, I started the process of replacing lightbulbs that we use the most with LEDs to try cut down on our night-time energy usage (even though there’s a fucking great 24U elephant in the garage in that respect, replacing incandescant bulbs and fluro tubes is much cheaper in the short term), so I replaced the bulbs (2x60W) in the ceiling fan in my office. You see, it’s probably the worst offender, as much of the year even with the curtains open my office is much too dark to work comfortably from (would be fine for a bedroom, not for an ergonomic office). Seems a reasonable place to start, yes?

Well, I put non-dimmable LEDs in it, and they were flickering. In the process of trying to determine why (we later figured out there was a dodgy connector inside the fan itself), I managed to twist the entire fan, finding a loose wire, shorting it, and destroying the fan speed controller. When he came out at that time to determine that, the electrician fixed me up so I’d have lights again, but when I close my doors to have a meeting the office gets terribly stuffy, so I simply must have a fan!

We could replace the controller for some $80AUD plus labor to install it, but then I’d still be stuck with the dicky light fixtures, so fuck it let’s just replace it. The electrician raves about “Skyfan”, a product from a company based down near where I grew up… they’re quiet, energy-efficient, blah blah blah. So we ordered one, and figured we’d get one in the master bedroom as well because summer kinda sucks with no ceiling fan in the bedroom (every other room but the master has one, for some reason).

So he came out to do that… got the office fan installed in no time flat, perfect. We got the little “smart controller dongle” for them as well, which is just more Tuya stuff (not even rebranded in this case), so it was cake to set that up on Home Assistant as well:

DP Function
1 Fan ID
3 Fan Speed
8 Fan Direction
15 Light ID
16 Brightness

Set the DP value type to int (not sure if this is required tbh), minimum and max fan speed are 1 and 5, same with brightness. Can’t change the color mode (probably could, don’t give a shit), but otherwise it works perfectly. Did have some minor grief with one of the fans turning on every time I saved settings in localtuya, but after I switched the fan on and back off via the remote, it’s worked fine since.

So the master bedroom starts. He brought lumber just in case, but it turned out they hung the light where there was already a beam supporting it anyway, so hanging the fan was easy. Hook everything up, and he was just about to close everything up, when he did the RCD test to make sure the ground still worked and… nothing.

So after nearly an hour of investigation, and at least another hour of repair work… nearest we can tell is that when the AC was installed, the ground circuit for the lights was pinched. It somehow wasn’t enough to trip the RCD on the lights, however it did burn it out (the RCD smelled of ozone and was non-functional even on the test button). We fixed the ground wire by reconfiguring how the cables ran (as we didn’t want a two-way switch on the fan any more due to having the remote and the smart bullshit), replace the RCD and we’re in business… everything functions as it should and we can get a safety certificate for the work (at which point I’ll pay the bill that’s probably slightly inflated due to the extra labour involved).

But the smart shit’s pretty cool. I still haven’t worked out how I’m gonna do physical buttons in places yet, and apparently legally I must keep the physical switches as isolators, which sucks. I might see if I can put white stickers over them or something so we can break them if we have to isolate the equipment but so you don’t accidentally hit them stumbling into a dark room.

With tuya local and the tuya cloud firewalled from each of the devices there’s zero perceptible lag, it just works exactly as you’d expect it to do (as long as my K8s cluster hasn’t fallen over). Sole complaint if I had to pick one is that we have the remotes on the wall near the doorway, for turning the lights on, and the remote seems to have it’s own set of settings (presumably the remote is one-way) and so it syncs the settings it has with the light… so if you turn the brightness to 1 via HomeAssistant, then turn it off, then push the light button on the remote and the remote is set to 5, you’re blinded… but we don’t really change those settings that much so I can live with it.

As far as the fans themselves? Yeah we’ve not really used them much but they live up to the hype - very quiet on eco mode, still move heaps of air, and they get lost in the noise of power consumption when you turn them on and off so they must be reasonably cheap to run.

Horsham, VIC, Australia fwaggle



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Horsham, VIC, Australia

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