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So you make almost every dumb device intelligent



  A fan, a smart switch, and devices from Google Home and Amazon Echo.
Josh Hendrickson

Intelligent appliances offer voice control, smartphone apps and powerful automation features. But why spend hundreds of dollars on the latest models? With some inexpensive smart plugs, you can give your dumbbells the same features at a fraction of the cost.

Fools are the best

  A mechanical switch on a fan.
Josh Hendrickson

Smart plugs work on a fairly simple principle. You put one in a socket and connect something. It cuts off the power to turn off devices, and restores them to turn them back on. When you control a power outlet in your home with a light switch, the principle is essentially the same. However, the same principle also limits the type of devices a Smart Plug can control.

Devices and fittings have either a mechanical or an electronic switch. A mechanical switch interrupts the power supply. An electronic switch stores the current status and changes to the opposite status when the power switch is pressed.

The latter is a problem because the "current status" is stored with power. If you lose power at home, the unit is turned off by default and the next switch is set to "On".

RELATED: Not all devices work with smart sockets. Worth knowing

Mechanical switches are usually tilt or rocker switches, while electronic switches are usually soft push buttons. If you are not sure whether your device has a mechanical or electrical switch, you can test it in a few seconds. First switch on the device and then pull out the plug. Count to five and plug it in again. When the device turns on, it is compatible with a Smart Plug. If you had to press a button after connecting to turn it on, a smart plug will not work with this device.

Smart plugs are an excellent option for some window or portable air conditioners, fans and heaters. Curling irons and straighteners, Christmas lights, lamps, humidifiers and dehumidifiers and more.

RELATED: How To Make Your Mute Window Conditioner Smart

What You Need

  A Z-Wave Wi-Fi and Smart Outlet Outdoors.
Josh Hendrickson

To get started, you need a smart plug. They come in many shapes and sizes and prices vary. Some have additional features like power monitoring, but most have compatibility with Alexa, Google Home, or both. You can skip this feature and save money, unless you need special energy monitoring.

Intelligent plugs are available in Wi-Fi, Z-Wave, ZigBee and even Bluetooth formats. Bluetooth is not recommended for range reasons. If you have a Smart Hub, a Z-Wave or ZigBee plug is a good choice as it provides faster local control. Otherwise, Wi-Fi smart plugs are the most accessible option.

Belkin makes a relatively cheap Wi-Fi Smart Plug for about $ 20. If you want to wait, Wyze launches a $ 15 Wi-Fi Smart Plug-Two Pack later this year (September 2019). Our sister site Review Geek contains some other recommendations that you should probably consider.

Unfortunately, Europeans have far fewer opportunities. Ikea is possibly the most reliable and well-known European smart plug provider. They offer a version for France and the UK. However, you must buy additional items, such as B. a hub.

If you own an echo or google home device, make sure the purchased smart plug is compatible with it (most will work with at least one if not both). , If a Smart Plug with a Speech Assistant does not work, you should skip it.

You also need a smartphone or tablet and an app to set up your smart plug. Depending on which connector you have selected, you must connect it. Smart Wi-Fi plugs require a Wi-Fi router, and Z-Wave or ZigBee plugs require an intelligent hub.

RELATED: The Best Smart Plugs

How to Set Up

To get your Smart Plug working, plug it into a power outlet. If it's brand new, it should immediately switch to pairing mode. If this is not the case (or a repair is required), most smart plugs have a physical button that you hold down to switch to pairing mode. Typically, smart plugs also contain an LED that indicates whether it is on, off, or paired.

If the Smart Plug is in pairing mode, open the associated app on your smartphone or tablet and look for "Add Device" or a similar item option. When the device is paired, give it a catchy name. It's usually a good idea to name the name according to what it controls, such as: B. "curling iron" or "lamp". If you choose a good name for your smart plugs, Smart Plug's voice control helps control and test it to make sure it works.

How to Control Smart Plugs with Your Voice and Smartphone

Most Smart Plugs include Voice Control with Alexa, Google Home, or both. If you want voice control, you must add the device to your voice assistant.

Open the app for Alexa, tap the Hamburger menu in the top left corner, and then tap Add device. Select the connector category. Select the manufacturer and follow the instructions to link your accounts.

 The device setup menu in the Alexa app.

The process is similar to Google Home. Open the Home app and tap the Add button. Touch "Set up your device" and then "Work with Google." The Google Home app displays a list of manufacturers. Find the right one and follow the linking process.

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After connecting your Smart Plug to Google or Alexa, add it to a Google room or Alexa group. Voice control works best when you group your devices properly.

If you do not use a language assistant, your Smart Plug app is the best way to control it. In the app you will find On, Off and other features. If you use a voice assistant, you should control your device using the Google Home or Alexa app.

Both apps have similar power-on and power-off options. If you use Google Home or Alexa as a single app instead of the Smart Plug app, you can easily control other smart devices (even third-party smart plugs). This also means that you do not have to remember which app controls what.

RELATED: How to Control Your Entire Smarthome with an App

How to Configure Schedules and Automations

  Page
The Alexa and Google Home apps are great for creating simple routines.

You can now set up your Smart Plug to automatically perform actions. For example, you can choose to turn on an old, non-smart lamp at sunset, or you can run a dehumidifier for a few hours each day.

If you do not have a Google home or echo device, you can create schedules in the Smart Plug app or your Hub app if it's Z-Wave or ZigBee. Each app is a bit different, but look for a feature called timer, routine or schedule. Usually, you can add one or more connectors to a routine. They indicate a switch-on and switch-off time as well as the days on which the routine is to be executed. You can also choose to disable a smart plug but not activate it, and vice versa.

You should build your routines in the Google or Alexa app if you have a Google Home or Echo device. Again, select which connector you want to create a routine for, and then choose a turn-on time, a turn-off time, and the days on which the routine should run.

If you create your routines in Google or Alexa app instead of the plug-in app, it allows you to include other smart things in your routines. For example, you can create a schedule that will turn off all smart plugs and smart lights and close the door every day at 10:30 pm. If you do not use a Smart Hub, your Smart Plug app will not be able to do all that.

If you use a single app to control everything, it's also much easier to remember where to go if you need to adjust or change a routine.


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