Review of Zigbee Actuator To Control Water & Gas Taps: Work in Tuya Smart, Google Home, Home Assistant 2022.
In this review, I will again touch on the topic of automatic crane control. We will consider a device – a Zigbee actuator that allows you to open and close existing taps without interfering with the water or gas supply system. In addition to working with water and gas leakage sensors, it can be used for prophylaxis – to eliminate acidification of ball valves.
Where can I buy?
- Interface – Zigbee 3.0
- Working voltage – 12VDC / 1A
- Torque – yes 60 kg / cm
- Full opening / closing time – up to 10 sec
- Management App – Tuya Smart, Smart Life
- Alternative integrations – zigbee2mqtt, SLS
The device is delivered in a modest box made of recycled cardboard, without printing and identification marks, not counting the sticker indicating the interface and the type of power supply connector. Everything is folded tightly, although there is no special storage compartment. But there is nothing particularly fragile here, so there is no need to worry – everything will arrive safe and sound.
The delivery set includes a motor for a crane, a set of fasteners for installation on a pipe, a power supply and instructions.
I came across instructions in English and German. There is some useful information here – the parameters of the device, the way to enable the pairing mode, the scheme of fastening on the pipe.
Power supply for a network with alternating voltage from 100 to 240 V and an output of 12 V, with a maximum current of up to 2 A.
The mounting kit includes two, rather thick, steel plates and a screw holding them together, as well as a metal tightening clamp with screw adjustment.
Structurally, the device is a motor with a swing arm, which is installed on the water supply or gas pipe, and controls the crane installed on it.
On the front part there is a panel with a single button designed for manual control and switching the actuator into pairing mode.
The lower side of the device, this is the executive part, there is a swing arm, which is directly connected to the crane.
For this, two screws are intended, which must be fastened so as not only to hold the lever of the crane, but also to ensure its rotation to the extreme position for both opening and closing.
Stopper with a ring – looks like a pin from a grenade. It is designed to adjust the extreme positions of the swing arm.
If you pull it towards you, then the crane lever can be turned manually – this is necessary for control in the absence of power to the actuator.
Let’s move on to the logical part and start by connecting to the native Tuya Smart control system. Since the device has a Zigbee interface, it needs any gateway compatible with Tuya Smart and Zigbee 3.
To switch to pairing mode, you need to hold down the button on the top of the actuator until the LED located there starts blinking. The gateway then detects and connects the new device. By the way, his picture in the application differs from other gadgets in that it is made schematically.
The actuator has its own plug-in, which can be accessed by clicking on its icon in the general list, or in the list of child devices of the gateway to which it is connected. There are two basic actions, turn it on and off, which corresponds to the open and closed positions of the crane.
There is also a countdown menu, setting which, after its expiration, the actuator is transferred to the position opposite to the current one. Everything is standard in the device settings menu, I did not find anything exclusive.
In Tuya Smart Automations, an actuator, like many of its ecosystem cousins, can be both a condition and an automation action. In the form of a condition, you can track the change in its state, as well as the time interval of the countdown, if activated.
The actions are about the same, only there is no tracking, but setting the state – enable, disable or switch to the opposite, as well as set the interval for the countdown.
In addition to the obvious scenarios – overlapping by the triggering of water or gas leakage sensors and control from the button, you can also set an interval one. The example shown, once a week, on Saturday at 11 pm, turns off the tap for 1 minute and then opens it. This is necessary to prevent acidification of the ball valve.
Due to the fact that the Tuya Smart account can be connected to the Google Home system, the tap automatically appears in it. True, here it looks like a switch, but in its essence, it is a switch, only for water or gas.
Like other switches, the valve actuator control menu has a button, the actions of which are on and off, correspond to the position of the lever of the water or gas supply valve.
You can view the testing of the actuator in video version of the review.
It shows –
- Manual operation. A short press on the switch button moves it to the opposite position to the current one.
- Work through the Tuya Smart app. We must pay tribute – for the entire time of the tests, there were never any delays or problems with the transfer of commands.
Home Assistant – Tuya
As you might expect, the standard integration of Tuya does not transmit any data on the actuator to the Home Assistant, as well as for other devices connected to the gateway. But if you create automations or scripts that control them, then managing them is quite accessible from Home Assistant, and gives you some control.
Home Assistant – zigbee2mqtt
In zigbee2mqtt – there are no problems with connecting the actuator. Integration must be switched to the mode of connecting new devices, hold down the button on the actuator until it switches to pairing mode. An important point – the stick must support Zigbee 3, in this example it is CC2531 with firmware zstack 3
The actuator, despite the fact that it has a stationary power supply, is defined as an end device and is not a router. By the way, this is the first such device in my practice. This is explained by the fact that it is assembled on the basis of the logic of a switch without a zero line, such devices cannot be routers
Integration sees two parameters – this is its state, which can be controlled – on and off, as well as the signal level to the coordinator.
They are in the form of entities, added to a new device, which is registered in the Home Assistant, from the mqtt integration
When testing with the SLS gateway, I used the latest stock firmware as of the date of shooting – December 16, 2020. The latest current firmware is available in the project’s telegram channel.
The connection is similar to the considered cases – the gateway is in the connection mode, and the actuator is in the pairing mode, and after a few seconds, the device shown as a switch is added to the system.
Since the model identifier registered in the firmware coincides with one of the switches, then in this connection option it is displayed exactly like this, and not as an actuator. The system considers it a flush-mounted switch without zero line TS0011, although this in no way interferes with the intended use of the device.
The network map also shows that the actuator is not a router, other devices cannot connect to it, so it does not expand either the radius or the capacity of the current network.
There are two informative parameters, as in zigbee2mqtt, this is the state of the tap and the level of signal quality.
They are also forwarded through the integration of mqtt and discovery in Home Assistant, and can be used in scenarios, both emergency – by triggering the leakage sensor, and preventive, from time to time closing and opening the tap.
Now let’s talk about installation and figure out how to use the fasteners that come with the kit.
First you need to screw the steel plates together. For this, the supplied screw is used, and a plastic fastener is clamped between the plates. This mount provides for the adjustment of the position of the plates relative to the actuator.
They need to be installed in such a position – so that the plates, as it were, clasp the pipe and fix the position of the actuator.
The clamp is threaded through the slot on the plates and serves for the final fixation of the device, which is necessary for turning the crane lever.
What does live testing of an actuator on a water supply pipe look like… In addition to the power supply, which must be foreseen in advance or organized, it is necessary to finally adjust the positions of the actuator and screws so that the valve opens and closes completely in the extreme positions.
I consider the hero of the review a great addition to water and gas leakage sensors. It is the logical conclusion of the automations with their participation and will help to avoid very unpleasant consequences. The main plus is that the actuator does not require intervention in the current circuit and works with already installed taps; the disadvantages include the need to supply power and the presence of a locking lever at the valve itself.