We like to test connected objects that are Alexa compatible. After passing under the microscope of our Lab’ the famous Broadlink RM Pro+ which allows you to control your TV by voice without having to look for the remote control, which is nice, we found a similar device in appearance and for less expensive: the smart IR control hub EACHEN. This is indicated as operating under the Smart Life app that many of us know and already have smart devices that are supported by this multifunctional application. But what about its qualities and functionalities? Well, that’s what we’re going to see right now!
Eachen WiFi smart IR control hub overview
We receive our spherical smart IR remote control hub in a mini-package. But it must be admitted that the device itself is very small and will not take up much space where you choose to install it since it is only 10 cm in diameter for 1 cm thick and has a modest weight of 61g on the scale.
The packaging is made of glazed cardboard with a lagoon blue color that is very pleasant to the eye, on the front side an image representing the Eachen hub is… unfortunately covered with a huge label with the product reference stuck in the middle of the picture. A big mistake because it does not enhance the product at all. Too bad about our test!
On the back of the box we find a new label, much more modest this time, indicating its origin: China. We also have some examples mentioned on what our Eacher hub can do with Alexa, Google Home or Siri, as this device is compatible with all three voice assistants. Moreover, the 3-three logos are printed on one side of our cardboard.
Let’s open our box and see if everything is there. Indeed we have everything that is mentioned on the box, but especially the infrared hub that we could almost take to practice discus throwing at the Olympics so round it is! This one is composed of Acrynolic Butadiene Styrene (three polystyrene derivatives), better known as ABS, a plastic material that is translucent in the outer part of the disc while the center is made of slightly granular and black material with a red band around it. On the back of our hub, five small skids are placed around the edge of the black part to stabilize it when it is placed, taking care of the orientation towards your source to be flown. We also find an 80 cm micro-USB cable to connect the device to a power supply (perhaps a little short, you will have to be careful to choose a good location). However, the 5V USB adapter for direct connection to a power outlet is not provided as indicated in the attached operating instructions, which are all in English. And we also find in addition to what is mentioned on the list a small key that will allow us to reset our device if necessary.
- Brand: Eachen
- Power supply: DC 5V / 1A
- Product: Smart IR remote
- Materials: ABS plastic
- IR frequency: 38 kHz
- Wi-Fi: 2.4 GHz / 802.11 b/g/n
- Max. remote controls: unlimited
- Application: Tuya Smart / Smart Life
- Compatibility: Androis / iOS
Installation of the EACHEN WiFi smart IR control hub
Our device running under the famous Smart Life application that we have renamed the “Swiss Army knife” for connected objects of all kinds in order to control them, it will only be necessary to go into it to install our new device. If you are using Smart Life for the first time, you will need to follow our Smart Life / Tuya installation tutorial first, which will tell you everything.
There you go, you have Smart Life installed? Is everything okay? So, we continue our installation….
Once connected to an electrical source, you will need to put your device in pairing mode. The small “key” provided will help you do this (otherwise a paper clip will do the trick). Push the key into the hole for 5 seconds, and your device will start flashing, indicating that it is ready to be recognized by Smart Life.
In Smart Life, once you have clicked on the “+” at the top right, we will indicate which type of device we want to add, in this case, an IR device that is located in the “Other” menu on the left. On the next page, we are asked if our new device is flashing well in order to start the process. After saving our password for our 2.4 Ghz Wi-Fi network, because our device, like almost all of them, only works on this band, the pairing is done. All that remains is to rename our device so that it is easier to recognize.
Let’s now see how to make this device recognize our remote control so that we can free ourselves from the object itself by controlling our TV with our voice. because we decided to install our remote control on our 2nd TV, a Proline.
By clicking on the IR icon renamed room decoder, we will be able to add the remote control by choosing the Television logo. The way to have our box recognized can be done in 2 ways: either according to the brand of the box, or in DIY mode (” Do It Yourself “, or ” made by yourself “) if it is not provided for in the models presented.
We start with the “automatic” mode. The simplest, and we are looking in the list of Proline brands, and are pleasantly surprised to find it. Once our brand has been selected, on the next page a choice of remote control is displayed to make our box recognizable at the Eacher hub. And that’s where the capsizing begins… Only one possible choice (the number of remote control corresponding to the brand is displayed at the bottom right) and for us only 1/1 possible. Okay, maybe this is the right one? Let’s try recognition! It is necessary to put face to face the 2 devices and press 3 keys of the box to see if a recognition is made….. What a nay! Nothing happens despite many attempts. And no possibility to choose another remote control.
Forget it, there is a DIY mode (drag the page of choices of the type of device to configure, it is hidden below). Once DIY has been chosen, we select Television, then again the brand of our TV and on the next page a new recognition possibility is displayed.
There, you have to press for a few seconds on the key you want to learn about your first sound, then release it. A new screen appears, prompting you to press the corresponding button on the remote control. A brief support is enough for the acquisition to take place and for the function to be recognized and even a proposed name (modifiable if we wish). After having restarted the manipulations several times, just save by clicking on “Done” in the upper right corner. Our second TV appears under the name TV2 and the functions learned are visible when you click on Eacher on the home page and then on TV2 (for us), then on “edit” at the top right and finally on “modify the copy button”.
We can now create scenarios in Smart Life that will go back to Alexa.
These are the different functions possible with the EACHEN infrared hub and the recognized remote controls. In manual, all work… Phew, but what interests us is with Alexa! Come on, can we do these vocal manipulations?
Let’s take a look at the Alexa application to see how it has been transposed. Our Screen scenario and TV2 device appear well, it will only be necessary to create two routines with Alexa to be able to turn the screen on and off.
That’s it! That’s it! Now, all that remains is to create all the scenarios we will need (channels, sound, etc.) to bring them up in Alexa and thus activate them the voice… Oh yes but no! Not as simple as it actually seems… Because our TV requires a little long support on the channel we are asking for… and our universal hub Eacher doesn’t know how to handle it. That is a great pity. However, it will be possible to manage a channel change one by one, as well as to turn the sound up or down. That’s something! Note that this device seems to be primarily sold to control air conditioning systems, most of which operate in IR. A feature that we could not test, but that can also be more than interesting.
In conclusion, this small EACHEN IR / Wi-Fi control hub does not take up any space, and fulfils the same functions as the famous Broadlink RM Mini, but under Smart Life and at a lower cost. If you already have devices under this application, it may be interesting because all your devices will be grouped in a single application. But as Les Alexiens already said earlier, putting everything under the Smart Life device can cause your Wi-Fi to overload. The failure to take into account the individual management of the channels on our television for which we need a little longer than normal support cannot be attributed entirely to it, even if we could hope that the mere fact that it is programmed could compensate, as is the case at Broadlink.