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#43: What is Tuya?

This is part 1 of the mini-series “The definitive guide to Tuya Tasmota conversion”.

Tuya is an important part of the DIY home automation ecosystem, but it’s easy to underestimate everything that it can do. In Part 1 of this mini-series I explain what Tuya is, and why it’s so attractive to appliance manufacturers. Why don’t they all just make their own apps and IoT infrastructure? There’s more to it than you may realise!

Device manufacturers could build their own IoT platform from scratch, but it’s a huge job. There are many pieces to the puzzle, and you can’t just build it once and then leave it. You have to commit to 24/7/365 operation, with round the clock staff to make sure your system always works.

Tuya makes a range of modules to suit different purposes, grouped into families based on the radio type. They have families for:

  • WiFi
  • Bluetooth
  • Zigbee
  • Narrow band IoT
  • LTE-4G

Each family has multiple modules with different physical shapes and I/O options, so that manufacturers can select the one that best suits their needs.

The names of the module families indicate the radio type included on the module, and the manufacturer of the microcontroller that’s included. For example, the “WBR” series supports WiFi (“W”) and Bluetooth (“B”) and has a Realtek (“R”) microcontroller onboard. Once you understand the naming convention, you can look at a Tuya module and have a good idea of what it can do.

Tuya modules are available fully certified in many parts of the world, so they’re a great source of hardware that’s officially approved for use. However, the Tuya firmware ties devices to the rest of Tuya’s infrastructure, so hobbyists often replace the factory firmware with an Open Source replacement such as Tasmota.

But there’s a catch. Tasmota only runs on ESP8266, ESP8285, and ESP32 microcontrollers.

Early Tuya modules were based on the ESP8266/ESP8285 microcontroller, and had the family name “WE”. These included the TYWE1S, TYWE2S, and TYWE3S.

Both to save cost and to prevent their firmware from being replaced and keep users locked into their ecosystem, Tuya have moved away from Espressif microcontrollers. Many older products still ship with TYWExS modules because they were designed before the move to other microcontrollers, so if you can find products with these older modules then it makes things much easier for you.

In the next few videos I’m going to show you how to convert Tuya devices to run Tasmota.

Finally, if you’ve found Tasmota to be useful, please consider supporting the project by making a small financial contribution. Links for that can be found on Tasmota’s “Contributing” page.

And if you’ve found this tutorial to be useful, please consider supporting SuperHouse. Thanks!

3 thoughts on “#43: What is Tuya?

  1. Isn’t silicon labs the group that controls ZWave? The Zigbee alliance (now Connected Standard Alliance) the ones that govern Zigbee?

  2. Hi JonathanThank you very much for this much anticipated series (for me anyways!)

    Will get my pop-corn and soldering iron ready for the next instalment.

  3. Can you advise which devices/manufacturers/brands use Tuya internally ?

    For instance, I suspect but am not sure if the Bunnings: Orion / Arlec Grid Connect stuff is based on Tuya ?

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