Smart plugs and why?

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  • Smart plugs and why?

    I feel like I'm missing out not having WiFi enabled Smart plugs, but maybe it's a case of not knowing what the possibilities are.

    We basically live in a rental house so I have nothing in my small shop to automate. Almost all the lights are switch controlled and not plugged in.

    The only thing I've been able to come up with are plugs for the ISP provided modem and the new coffee maker with no timer. The modem likes to be power cycled ever couple of days or the network starts to drag. Maybe put one on there and add a timer function? I'm only considering that over a regular plug in timer because the power cycle can happen faster (I'm assuming).

    Since this neighborhood is gated and the house is a lot more secure than in the US, I feel no need to set lights on a timer to trick people into thinking we're not away.

    What else am I missing out on?

  • #2
    I have google home and Alexa assistants in the office, bedroom, living room and kitchen and garage

    I have in the house
    • bedroom nightstand lights,
    • living room torch light (stand)
    • Nest Thermostat
    • Display case (entry) lighting
    In the shop:
    • shop vac (on hose swapped between miter saw and router and jointer
    • dust collector (on table saw)
    • Air compressor
    • Ceiling lights (with a wall smart switch)
    • Shop lights (fan and 7 4-foot light fixtures)
    In the garage both lights and the air compressor are on a single group I can turn on and off with a single command. The vac and DC I don't leave running but turn on and off at the beginning and end of specific operations.

    When I am snuggled comfy in bed I can by voice (without so much as lifting my arm or rolling over) check the time, check the temperature and set the thermostat, turn on the room lighting, and shut off the garage if I think I left anything on. Also set alarms, check calendar and ask questions that might be bothering me. And even check my amazon shipments.

    I set the display case lighting in the entry to give some entry lighting without using the bright overhead lights. on at sunset and off at midnight as well as commandable any time I want to show it off.

    I have not "smarted" the four main overhead lights Outdoor, Kitchen, breakfast room and den that we use all the time; three of them are on two-way switches and I don't feel like spending the expense and wiring pain for those (sort of undetermined).

    The torch light control we use a lot as its the light for TV and evening relaxation and also lights my desktop desk.

    The shop, I like it a lot although I have to speak loudly and distinctly when the vac or DC is running. I can shut it down from the house or even bed if I think I left it on.

    So there is a place for these things to be useful... plugs are so simple, under $10 and simple to use. Make sure you get ones both Alexa and Google home compatible.
    One nice thing is you can schedule lights for time or events such as sunset.

    On the downside, every once in a long while a plug will get disconnected from the network and cant be found and I have to unplug and plug it back in (another reason I haven't gotten smart wall switches)

    In the pantry and master closet I have motion sensor bulbs. I had a motion sensor socket but found it took 4 watts standby power all the time to control a 10 watt bulb.

    Clearly you can live without them, but some home automation is very convenient.
    Last edited by LCHIEN; 08-23-2021, 07:53 PM.
    Loring in Katy, TX USA
    If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
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    • #3
      I got a free Google Home when I bought my phone a few years ago. I only have it setup to play the news and weather in the morning. On my phone, asking Google a question by speech to text is pretty good, and the regular web search engine is great. However, I can ask Home the same question that I just typed and it will respond "I can't answer that question right now." (or something like it). I would be happy if it didn't say the answers but instead send the search results to my phone which it will do for recipes.

      Anyway, right now I think I'll be fine without any additional automation. We'll see what happens in a year when I'm back in my own house.

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      • #4
        Our Alexa freaked my wife out when we started getting adds and Utube demos on our iPads and iPhones about products related to our conversations when we were near Alexa. She unplugged it.

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        • #5
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