11/05/2020

Xiaomi Smart Humidifier

Once again another Xiaomi product. This time a smart humidifier i.e. a device you fill with water and it squirts out a fine mist. It's smart as it can be controlled from Mi Home app (iOS and Android). It connects to the "Internet" via WiFi.

Setup is pretty straight forward, turn it on and then scan in the Mi App or scan the QR code on the instructions and you'll be taken into the app within the smart humidifier section. Once it's in config mode, it will transfer the WiFi settings to the device, update the firmware and then add the device to a room.

The Mi Home app does allow automation so the humidifier can be turned on if the humidity (from another sensor) drops below a certain level. It would be nice if Xiaomi supported Alexa integration, but currently they don't seem to. There are 4 settings on the device, light, medium and dense fog and auto where the unit will detect the humidity and produce for appropriately.

Not all the Xiaomi devices are available in the UK and it's only possible to add devices in that are sold in the region you've set the app to. Unfortunately a lot of devices that are available from import sites, aren't available in the UK so the fix is to set your region to Mainland China and all devices will appear (it's still possible to use the app in English).

As well as humidifying the water, there's a UVC light source that sterilises the water as it passes through, so any nasty bugs shouldn't survive the journey (not tested). It holds 4.5L of water which is enough for about 12 hours use and it will shut itself off (and the LED turns from Blue to Red and in app) if the water chamber is empty.

The only downside seems to be that if there are PM2.5 sensors, they'll pick up the mist / water droplets and report them as pollution and reading can go well over 1,000 ppm (which is pretty polluted) and that may cause issues if automating on pollution levels.

Can be had for about £50 importing from your friendly Chinese site (inc shipping).

10/05/2020

Xiaomi Air Quality Sensor

Today's Xiaomi review is of the Air Quality sensor, it's about 10 by 6 by 3 cm with a 10 cm capacitive colour touch screen with a resolution of 800 x 480.

There's a PM2.5 particulate laser reflective sensor and Sensiron TVOC/CO2a and Temp/Humidity sensors which are used to measure the air quality. TVOC is a measure of total volatile organic compounds which cover a range of substances from detergents through flammable liquids and gasses. The CO2 values aren't actually measured but approximated through various calculations on the sensor.

This is not a professional device, so the readings will be reasonably accurate, but don't base anything medical on the readings.

It's WiFi connected and connects back to the Mi back-end services and can be controlled by the Mi Home App. In the Mi App it's necessary to change the region to Mainland China of the device won't be found (or lost if configured in Mainland China and then say switch to Europe, but it will come back again if the region is changed back).

There are a variety of display modes which show average values of sensor readings and a clock of course which is set using Internet time sources so stays accurate. Even though the region in the app is set to Mainland China, a local timezone in the device can be set, so the correct time will be displayed (some other Xiaomi devices will show Chinese time).

An especially useful feature is the BLE gateway which can monitor other Xiaomi Home Bluetooth connected devices, collect their data and send it back to the Mi Home servers. So say there's a Xiaomi Home temperature/humidity sensor in another room that the Mi Home app would connect to, the BLE gateway can download its data, send it to Mi Home and then it's accessible via the Mia Home app from anywhere. This is actually pretty useful if there are other smart devices in the home and say the temperature is quite low, then turn the heating on so it'll be nice and cosy when you get home.