iTead Sonoff iFan04-L - They listened!


While chatting on Discord we got on the smart ceiling fan controller options or lack thereof.  Long story short there's a new listing for the Sonoff iFan04 controller.  Could it be?!?!  Did they finally listen to several of us and do a fan controller with 120VAC fans in mind?  YUP!  They sure did.  Is it ESP82xx based so we can put Tasmota or ESPHome on it?  Absolutely!  

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Let's take a few steps back.  So what is it?  The iFan0x controller is designed to address a common problem many people have with wiring.  In older homes there would be one light switch in a bedroom to control the fan and light together.  If this switch was turned off, both the light and fan went off.  Of course in the past 20+ yrs that did change in many areas where they ran an additional hot wire in the bundle and have a 2 gang switch for light and fan.  Instead of a costly rewire the iFan controller steps in to fill the gap.  It's designed to receive the one hot wire and breaks it out two switched wires, one for the light and another with 3 fan speeds. The controller also include a wireless 433mhz remote to control the speeds and light.  

The one big drawback I found is the size of the unit, it might not fit in some fan housings/junction boxes.  Then lastly how do you control it from the wall to follow my rule of "Never remove functionality while adding functionality."  The remote?  Or how about a real wall switch? (see the end of this article)

The previous iFan02/iFan03 worked great except in regions of the world with 120V AC power.  Many of us found the medium and slow speeds were just unusable.  This was due to the fact the capacitors that are switched in were undersized for normal 120V ceiling fans.  There were a couple solutions of using external capacitors or even finding replacement capacitors.  I did a video setup guide of using two Martin Jerry dimmers in a pseudo 3 way configuration to control the modified iFan03 and downlights.  I still use it today and it works great!  But I know unsoldering and soldering big capacitors combined with even finding the right ones is not for everyone.  After the video I contacted a PR lead at iTead and...

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Then the "fun" of 2020 hit..fast forward to 2021 and it's here!  All with the dual 5uF glory inside! Basically the same unit layout but with different sized fan speed capacitors.

I connected it to my ceiling fan and checked the amperage pulls of low, medium and high and all is well just as expected.  Remote works, lights toggle, etc.  Nice job iTead!

My fan was showing 0.17 amps on low. Nice!

What about local integration into Home Assistant?  I flashed mine with Tasmota without any soldering or even a screwdriver for that matter.  There's an ESP8285 onboard which is just an ESP8266 with onboard flash memory.  iTead was so nice to keep the same pin header broken out for us and the button is still GPIO zero to put the device in bootloader mode. It's almost like they want our money or something?


I used some male to female jumper wires from a USB TTL adapter just like you would with the Sonoff Basic.  Make sure you use 3.3volts!  RXD goes to TX on the adapter and TXD goes to RX.  I prefer to use an inline USB switch cable to make it easy to toggle power while holding down the button on the unit for the first few seconds of boot up.


No soldering.  Just slip them in the holes.

Remote works for a little downward pressure to keep the wires in place

Apply the regular Tasmota bin file and attach it to your WiFi. No special templates are needed for the iFan04. Go to Configure Module


Select iFan03.  (NO TEMPLATE NEEDED!)

Configure your MQTT broker and topic.  Set your custom name if you want.



It will automatically pop into the Tasmota Home Assistant Integration without any special YAML code or templating.  It really is that simple and all local!  Probably one of the easiest ones to do in my opinion.  If you need some help, feel free to jump into Discord.



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Check out how I used a dimmer to see the fan speeds at a glance and control the fan and lights.  If you'd like to see an updated redo of this procedure now that things are a little easier with integrations and controllers let me know below.

More photos below...







All in the name of testing

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Comments

  1. Finally! Just moved into a new house and haven't gotten everything setup yet, so this is great timing before I installed all of the iFan03's. I had already swapped out the capacitors, but it's worth $20/piece for the peace of mind knowing my poor soldering job isn't in the ceiling with 120v going through it.

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  2. @Digiblur, did you get the included remote to work after flashing Tasmota? Mine doesn't seem to respond.

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    Replies
    1. Yes. I followed the same as I did with the iFan03, not long after power up I started mashing buttons and it pairs up.

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    2. A few minutes after setting the Tasmota type to ifan03 t started working, thanks!

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    3. I read somewhere else that A/C power has to be applied for the remote to pair.

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  3. @digiblurDIY, have you noticed if setting '3' is not quite full speed? '1' and '2' are much better than the super slow I was getting out of the ifan02 (in the US) with the ifan04L, but '3' doesn't seem to be quite full speed, a little slower than full.

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    Replies
    1. Setting 3 is just pass through. It shouldn't have any impact on speed.

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    2. Check to make sure your fan is on the highest setting if it has a pull string.

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  4. Just got one of these myself. I noticed it's missing the solder traces on the back and the metal shield on the front that are present on the 03. I wonder what the reasoning is for that.

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    Replies
    1. Might not be the right term, but here's the 03:
      https://user-images.githubusercontent.com/18605148/60994965-8c059300-a31f-11e9-88bc-409d2575a6b4.jpg
      and the 04:
      https://preview.redd.it/q7g9x6ocfki71.jpg?width=3024&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=19df8ed3ff25f7699df9d616fec128bbae29c3f1

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  5. Did you solve the issue of a real wall switch with this to control both fan speeds and the light?

    I would prefer not to use mains-powered wired wall switch(s) instead of battery-powered RF remote,

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    Replies
    1. I use a MJ dimmer for this myself.

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    2. MJ dimmer for the lights I asume, but what about a a wall switch to control fan speed of Sonoff iFan0x?

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    3. I use it for both. Indicators on the switch are the fan speeds. I don't need the indicators for the light brightness as I just open my eyes for that. Short and long press for various functions along with beeps for feedback. Works well and is easy for the user.

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  6. I still wish they would release a Zigbee version of this fan controller, and with an optional wired wall switch.

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  7. Doubt that Sonoff iFan03 or Sonoff iFan04 is FCC approved in the USA if remote on all models use 433MHz

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  8. I can put my new ifan04 into flash mode, I have 3.3v measured by DMM, tasmota.py and esptool.py blink the FTD1232 converter's data LEDs connected to my Mac as it tries to connect, I've switched TX/RX forth and back, I've held the button down for various durations while applying power, I carefully soldered solid wire into each of the four holes on the board onto which I clip my USB TTL adapter - all to no avail. Just the dreaded "...Timed out waiting for packet header". I have not tried connecting a separate Power Supply. I am running the latest FTDI VCP kernel extension (2.4.4) and could downgrade... Other suggestions? OBTW: I'm running an old iMac (2009) and OS (High Sierra, 10.13.6)

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    Replies
    1. A couple things to check. Verify your FTDI works via a jumper between RX and TX and a serial loopback test.

      Third. Verify your voltage is still 3v3 or enough when powering the iFan.

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    2. Thank you. Any particular way to perform the loopback?

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    3. I connected a serial terminal app to the serial device (/dev/cu.usbserial-00000000) with TX/RX jumper and no text comes back. I'll do more testing, but appears that the FTDI converter is bad. Thank you very much for your guidance

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  9. i would like to see an updated video of the MJ Dimmer as a button and pseudo-controller of sorts of the ifan-0

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  10. You might want to add an new link here... looks like iFan04 is now available on Amazon US... item id: B09C21LX9R

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