Thread Number: 41909  /  Tag: Other Home Products or Autos
Smart Plugs
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Post# 442528   6/3/2021 at 13:39 (913 days old) by human (Pines of Carolina)        

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The other day, I found an attractive deal on a four-pack of Kasa Smart Wi-Fi plugs on Amazon, made all the better by a credit I had on my account that covered half the purchase price. I think these solve an annoying problem in my house—a dearth of overhead lighting. Most of the rooms have switched outlets instead of overhead lights but they are consistently located in exactly the wrong spot. Take my living room for instance, the switched outlet is the one that all my electronics, including the WiFi router, plug into so I can't use the switch for a lamp; in fact, I've put a cover over the switch to keep it from being flipped accidentally. I have similar issues in all three bedrooms.

Now, with these smart plugs in place, I can control lamps in these problem areas via my phone screen or voice command on my Google Home speaker (feels very Star Trek doing that). No more fumbling through a dark room to find a lamp and turn it on. In fact, I don't even have to be at home to control them.

It's definitely a far cry from "The Clapper" back in the '70s.

Setup was pretty easy. I just had to download the Kasa app on my phone and then configure each plug on my WiFi network. Once that was done, I linked the Kasa app to Google Home to allow my Google speaker to control the lamps. We'll see how well they work over time but I think this will be a big improvement, although with so many devices to reconfigure, I'm sure I'll rue the day I have to replace my WiFi router. Of course, I just had a paranoid thought that now yet another company is monitoring my activities, specifically when I turn my lights on and off.

Post# 442535 , Reply# 1   6/3/2021 at 15:25 (913 days old) by parunner58 (Davenport, FL)        

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Edgar, those plugs are great. We have had Alexa set up for years. Just for lights in each room of the house using the special light bulbs. We go all out for Christmas with over 20+ trees inside. About a dozen of them are lighted. At first my son in law before he passed away had setup an old Radio Shack device for the trees. after a while some of the plugs worked some of the time then stopped then worked again. Some of the trees you would just plug in each night. Last year I bought a dozen of those plugs, setup a group in Alexa called Christmas. now all you have to say is "Alexa turn on Christmas" the trees all turn on without running around trying to get to the plugs on the wall. Now I want to investigate Something for the outside. I already have Light-A-Rama for most of the light show, but need something for specialty Christmas ornaments

Post# 442547 , Reply# 2   6/3/2021 at 16:57 (912 days old) by huskyvacs (Gnaw Bone, Indiana)        

huskyvacs's profile picture
Just get a wireless light switch. Why would you need a phone to use your lights? What happens when your internet goes down for maintenance? What happens when your phone battery is dead? What happens when the company cancels out the app or starts charging you $5 a day just to use it? Imagine having to pay money to use your own lights in your own house, lol

My cell phone is over 16 years old, its a Motorola RAZR. Bright red. It makes calls and sometimes receives something called a "text" and that's it, what a phone is supposed to do. And I can drop it and all that happens is the battery pops out. Just put the battery back in again and its good to go. Only costs me $9 a month for a plan now. I had to find some sketchy hispanic prepaid phone service shop to get it active on a plan because every carrier kept dropping me off. None of the big names would activate it anymore, and Sprint didn't even know what it was when it was their own phone they sold me. lol It's cheap these days, back in the day it used to be $60/mo.

Anyway - wireless light switch...

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Post# 442553 , Reply# 3   6/3/2021 at 18:55 (912 days old) by human (Pines of Carolina)        

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The wireless light switch looks like a pretty cool idea, although the four-pack of smart plugs cost me within a few pennies of what just one of those switches runs. They were on sale for $24 and change and I had a $12.50 credit. That said, I do agree with you that I'm not a fan of having had to set up an account with the manufacturer in order to use the plugs. And the day they try to charge me a monthly fee to use them, I'll box those suckers up and sell them on eBay. But what will more likely happen is the manufacturer will, shortly after the warranty runs out, arbitrarily decide the plugs are obsolete and brick them, even though they're otherwise functioning perfectly. After all, we don't really own our devices; we just license their use.

And yes, I loved my RAZR phone back in the day. I remember a salesman at a big box store referring to them in about 2011 as "the cockroaches of the mobile phone industry" because they were so well made and people tended to hold onto them forever. I also miss flipping it open like Capt. Kirk to make or answer a phone call. I actually got the wrist action on that down pretty good.

Post# 442577 , Reply# 4   6/4/2021 at 10:39 (912 days old) by human (Pines of Carolina)        

human's profile picture
So far so good with the smart plugs in their first 24 hours of use. It was nice last night when I turned off the TV and headed for bed to be able to walk to the hallway and turn on the overhead light there (manually) and then tell the Google speaker to turn off the living room light and turn on the bedroom light. In the process, I discovered that my Google speaker is capable of processing multiple commands in sequence, punctuated with the word 'and'. I wish my students would listen that well.

I like to read in bed for a few minutes before turning off the light and going to sleep so it was also nice to be able to just reach over to my phone on the nightstand and turn off the lamp without getting out of bed and likewise turning it on this morning from the phone.

It is ironic in some ways that the function of a telephone has evolved so far beyond making a simple voice call that some people don't even use them for their original purpose anymore. They are indeed becoming remote controls for our lives. I wonder what Alexander Graham Bell would think about that.

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