With the variety of smart devices now becoming a part of our homes, you may have wondered how hard it would be to hack them to do your bidding. While solutions like IFTTT and other hacks can be used to personalize behavior, what if you want to customize the firmware itself? One bulb in particular was especially tempting as a hacking target, the AiLight, by AI-Thinker — maker of the revolutionary ESP8266 WiFi module.
As you might suspect, the bulbs themselves use an ESP8266 for control, and if you pop off the diffuser/cover and connect a few cables, you have full access to the programmable goodness inside. Unfortunately, the internals of this bulb aren’t the easiest thing to work around, so hacker ‘c-’ got to work and designed a programming jig for it. Although a 3D-printed version of this accessory was already available, c-’s device instead uses a milled PCB to precisely hold the connecting pogo pins in place. Alignment is assisted by short lengths of 14-gauge wire that plug into a pair of holes on the bulb, and an FTDI module is used for data transfer.
It’s a relatively simple device, but turns a rather tedious task into one that appears to be much easier. It even features a cutout in the middle for the antenna. For lots more info on the light itself, check out this separate post by Xose Pérez, AKA ‘Tinkerman.’ Notably, he’s using soldered wires for experimentation, but wouldn’t have to with this jig!