Author Topic: Smart Plugs  (Read 2663 times)

Smart Plugs
« on: December 11, 2020, 12:07:30 pm »
I recently invested in some TP-Link "Tapo" plugs, 3 for £25.  So far, so good. Much easier to set up than my original Amazon one (they have their own app of course). and so much easier to set up routines for turning on and off than using the Alexa app. Of course there is a Tapo skill for Alexa so you can enable voice control as well. Plus they have an override on/off button on the side so if you are out of voice/app range you can still get power.
We are making a New World (Paul Nash, 1918)

Auntie Helen

  • 6 Wheels in Germany
Re: Smart Plugs
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2020, 12:58:13 pm »
We have 10 different smart plugs around our flat. Four of them have a nifty electricity consumption feature so we can see what is drawing the most power (just for interest’s sake as our electricity costs are fixed in the rent payment).

Our biggest user by far is the computer plug for our 2 computers and 3 monitors. About 3.5 kWh per day. Kettle is 0.7 kWh per day on average, TV & sound bar together 0.3 kWh and my electric blanket 0.04 kWh on average per day.

The computers are a bit of a shocker!
My blog on cycling in Germany and eating German cake – http://www.auntiehelen.co.uk


Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Smart Plugs
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2020, 01:09:55 pm »
I went round the house with a plug-in power meter and made a spreadsheet of our baseload.  It's mostly computers: About 150W total of server, router, modem, switches, cooling fans, Ethernet-powered phones and deaf alerters.  Another 12W for the fire alarm, and about the same in network-controlled LED lighting, and again in scrolly LED signs.

No TV or anything, but a couple of hundred watts for our desktops+monitors etc when they're on.

The other big one is the fridge, which is about 100W.  Duty cycle varies according to what's in it, of course.  Boiler is about the same.

I didn't find any unexpectedly high loads, even the shitty microwave only uses about 2 Watts.  I did find that the apparent power of the downstairs Ethernet switch and PoE injector PSU adds up to less than the sum of their individual loads...
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

fuaran

  • rothair gasta
Re: Smart Plugs
« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2020, 01:14:20 pm »
I am wondering about these smart plugs. Which ones are any good?
Is it worth getting ZigBee, instead of WiFi? Would require a separate gateway hub thing.
Are any different brands compatible with each other, so can control them in the same app?
Do any of the apps work without an internet connection?

I want something that can be connect to my Google Home speakers, for voice control, and setting some scheduled routines. Maybe a light turning on will help me wake up in the morning.
So a few plugs would do for now. Though maybe nice to get a few colour changing bulbs as well.

I notice Lidl have some plugs and bulbs in this week. They use ZigBee, they have a bundle with the gateway.

Re: Smart Plugs
« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2020, 01:20:04 pm »
I've opted for some radio-controlled plugs - which work a treat on all those 13amp sockets that are in hard-to-reach places.

Re: Smart Plugs
« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2020, 01:20:21 pm »
Fuaran, I have both the Philips hue hub and Amazon Basics smart plugs.
I think the Amazon plugs are great - just plug them in and work.
The Philips Hue hub is zigbee and you have the use the Philipps app and link this to Amazon .
A lot of the light bulbs in my house are now Hue compatible - there is a brand on Amazon which is cheaper than kosher hue ones but still compatible.

I would look at the Lidl  - it is cheap enough that you could retire it if you wand something more flash.

Re: Smart Plugs
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2020, 01:45:52 pm »
The other big one is the fridge, which is about 100W.  Duty cycle varies according to what's in it, of course.

A pedant writes:
The duty cycle depends on how often you open it and the air temperature surrounding it. Its contents is immaterial unless you've just put a hot thing in.

When I playing with a second fridge for stuffs last summer in 28 C temperatures, the duty cycle was still under 20%, so it's a huge factor in actual consumption.

Re: Smart Plugs
« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2020, 02:22:28 pm »
Four of them have a nifty electricity consumption feature so we can see what is drawing the most power

Can you point me at which product this is, I'm interested!

I've also done some measurements around our place.  Laptop - charging and in use 13W+, router 7.5W approx.
The interesting one is the old microwave.  I stupidly thought the load would vary for different power settings, but actually it just modulates on and off, spending more time off at lower settings.  The shocker was opening the door as it has an old incandescent lamp so it was pulling 20W with the door open; nearly as much as all the new LED kitchen lights.
Our 24 year old small chest freezer was the big user - 3kWh a day.  Soon ditched that for a A++ rated replacement and reduced our overall usage by about 20%!

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Smart Plugs
« Reply #8 on: December 11, 2020, 03:59:21 pm »
The other big one is the fridge, which is about 100W.  Duty cycle varies according to what's in it, of course.

A pedant writes:
The duty cycle depends on how often you open it and the air temperature surrounding it. Its contents is immaterial unless you've just put a hot thing in.

GPWM about ambient temperature.  I don't notice the effect because it changes so slowly (I tend to look at day/weekly graphs to keep an eye on the fridge, which has previous for stuck thermostat).  Putting hot (well, usually room temperature) things in dominates the short-term variation in our fridge's duty cycle.  Door opening is a minor aberration, unless it doesn't close properly.

Hang on, I've got a screenshot from June, let's see what difference ambient temperature makes...




There we go, textbook.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Smart Plugs
« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2020, 04:07:25 pm »
The interesting one is the old microwave.  I stupidly thought the load would vary for different power settings, but actually it just modulates on and off, spending more time off at lower settings.

Pretty much all microwaves work like this; you can hear the magnetron cutting in and out on the lower power settings.

I believe a few now drive it with an inverter, but not sure what advantage that has.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Auntie Helen

  • 6 Wheels in Germany
Re: Smart Plugs
« Reply #10 on: December 11, 2020, 04:31:14 pm »
Four of them have a nifty electricity consumption feature so we can see what is drawing the most power

Can you point me at which product this is, I'm interested!

I've also done some measurements around our place.  Laptop - charging and in use 13W+, router 7.5W approx.
The interesting one is the old microwave.  I stupidly thought the load would vary for different power settings, but actually it just modulates on and off, spending more time off at lower settings.  The shocker was opening the door as it has an old incandescent lamp so it was pulling 20W with the door open; nearly as much as all the new LED kitchen lights.
Our 24 year old small chest freezer was the big user - 3kWh a day.  Soon ditched that for a A++ rated replacement and reduced our overall usage by about 20%!
The ones I bought with the electricity measuring are these:

https://smile.amazon.de/-/en/gp/product/B07B911Y6V/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1&fpw=alm

They work with the Smart Life App, Alexa and Google Home.
My blog on cycling in Germany and eating German cake – http://www.auntiehelen.co.uk


Feanor

  • It's mostly downhill from here.
Re: Smart Plugs
« Reply #11 on: December 11, 2020, 04:38:02 pm »
I believe a few now drive it with an inverter, but not sure what advantage that has.

Just cost, I think.

Heavy iron and copper HV transformers are expensive.
SMPSes are cheap.

Re: Smart Plugs
« Reply #12 on: December 11, 2020, 05:55:30 pm »
The interesting one is the old microwave.  I stupidly thought the load would vary for different power settings, but actually it just modulates on and off, spending more time off at lower settings.

Pretty much all microwaves work like this; you can hear the magnetron cutting in and out on the lower power settings.

I believe a few now drive it with an inverter, but not sure what advantage that has.
The first microwave I had actually did low power with a different winding on the transformer, but it only had two power settings.

An inverter will handle variable voltage supplies better, and can probably run the microwave at reduced power without turning on and off.
Quote from: Kim
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Re: Smart Plugs
« Reply #13 on: December 11, 2020, 06:16:59 pm »
Just cost, I think.

Heavy iron and copper HV transformers are expensive.
SMPSes are cheap.

Cheapo ones have a big transformer. Inverters are only found in premium (mostly Panasonic) models.

Quote
Unlike other microwave ovens, Inverter Technology delivers a seamless stream of cooking power –– even at lower settings –– for precision cooking that preserves the flavor and texture of your favorite foods. Other microwaves mimic lower heat settings by turning the power on and off repeatedly, which can result in overcooked edges and cool spots in the middle. With Inverter, you can poach, braise and even steam more delicate foods, all with the speed and convenience of a microwave. You'll enjoy delicious, healthy cooking results, and all in less time

They also claim it's 3 kg lighter.

FifeingEejit

  • Not Small
Re: Smart Plugs
« Reply #14 on: December 11, 2020, 07:59:44 pm »
The interesting one is the old microwave.  I stupidly thought the load would vary for different power settings, but actually it just modulates on and off, spending more time off at lower settings.

Pretty much all microwaves work like this; you can hear the magnetron cutting in and out on the lower power settings.

I believe a few now drive it with an inverter, but not sure what advantage that has.

It's quite fun running a 700w microwave on a 1kw petrol generator*.


* Assuming you don't own the generator, which the time I was present whne it was done, I did.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Smart Plugs
« Reply #15 on: December 11, 2020, 08:06:09 pm »
Probably best if you don't own the microwave, either.  Unless you got it from freecycle for roasting AOL CDs.

What are they like for power factor?  Maybe using an inverter improves that...
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

ian

  • feat. Undead Jess & Finestre, Queen of Hell
Re: Smart Plugs
« Reply #16 on: December 11, 2020, 08:27:26 pm »
Hold on, what kind of sundry madness is being proposed here? Microwaves that operate at values less than 100%. That's the sort of foolishness that will have you turning guitar amps down from the max.

I know only one setting on our washer, but I'm not allowed to even use that, because just don't. Works fine despite being Italian, just don't try to use it between midday and three pm or during the month of August.

I know, I've merged this thread into the washing machine thread. Cunning.
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TimC

  • Old blerk sometimes onabike.
Re: Smart Plugs
« Reply #17 on: December 12, 2020, 04:52:45 am »
Four of them have a nifty electricity consumption feature so we can see what is drawing the most power

Can you point me at which product this is, I'm interested!

I've also done some measurements around our place.  Laptop - charging and in use 13W+, router 7.5W approx.
The interesting one is the old microwave.  I stupidly thought the load would vary for different power settings, but actually it just modulates on and off, spending more time off at lower settings.  The shocker was opening the door as it has an old incandescent lamp so it was pulling 20W with the door open; nearly as much as all the new LED kitchen lights.
Our 24 year old small chest freezer was the big user - 3kWh a day.  Soon ditched that for a A++ rated replacement and reduced our overall usage by about 20%!
The ones I bought with the electricity measuring are these:

https://smile.amazon.de/-/en/gp/product/B07B911Y6V/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1&fpw=alm

They work with the Smart Life App, Alexa and Google Home.

I can't find any UK equivalent. Anybody else seen one?

Auntie Helen

  • 6 Wheels in Germany
Re: Smart Plugs
« Reply #18 on: December 12, 2020, 07:27:51 am »
Four of them have a nifty electricity consumption feature so we can see what is drawing the most power

Can you point me at which product this is, I'm interested!
The ones I bought with the electricity measuring are these:

https://smile.amazon.de/-/en/gp/product/B07B911Y6V/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1&fpw=alm

They work with the Smart Life App, Alexa and Google Home.

I can't find any UK equivalent. Anybody else seen one?
Seems like this type is only for US or Euro sockets unfortunately. I assume some other manufacturer will pop up and provide them soon enough.

They are more reliable than our other smart plugs, which don’t have energy measuring.
My blog on cycling in Germany and eating German cake – http://www.auntiehelen.co.uk


ian

  • feat. Undead Jess & Finestre, Queen of Hell
Re: Smart Plugs
« Reply #19 on: December 13, 2020, 06:48:46 pm »
I am wondering about these smart plugs. Which ones are any good?
Is it worth getting ZigBee, instead of WiFi? Would require a separate gateway hub thing.
Are any different brands compatible with each other, so can control them in the same app?
Do any of the apps work without an internet connection?

I want something that can be connect to my Google Home speakers, for voice control, and setting some scheduled routines. Maybe a light turning on will help me wake up in the morning.
So a few plugs would do for now. Though maybe nice to get a few colour changing bulbs as well.

I notice Lidl have some plugs and bulbs in this week. They use ZigBee, they have a bundle with the gateway.

Before I got carried away with washing machines, I meant to say that I also have the Tapo plugs (because they were cheap and I've been happy with previous TP-Link stuff). They use the house wifi and have their own app. I presume they work without an internet connection, provided the wifi is there. They integrate with Alexa, so I can say 'Alexa, TV time' and the living room lamps come on and the others go off. And 'Alexa, bedtime' is evidently the big turnoff for her. I have two lamps on sunset timers which saves the faff of forever changing the previous manual timers. Easy to set up, just plug them in and wave your phone in their vicinity.

It's all very first world, but this thread has reminded me that I was going to get a couple more.
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fuaran

  • rothair gasta
Re: Smart Plugs
« Reply #20 on: December 23, 2020, 08:49:57 pm »
I bought the Lidl gateway, and a couple of plugs. Easy enough to setup. Seems its made by Tuya, so can use their app instead of the Lidl branded version. Have linked it to Google Home, so works fine with voice commands.

Have one lamp set as part of my wake up routine.
I'm using the other plug for Christmas lights, so I don't have to crawl behind the TV to switch them on.
Tempted by the LED strip, its getting some pretty good reviews, much cheaper than the Hue equivalent.

An interesting review here, including comparisons to the Hue stuff. And yes, it is all Zigbee, so should work with Hue or Amazon Echo etc. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVtGpdykGUM

FifeingEejit

  • Not Small
Re: Smart Plugs
« Reply #21 on: December 23, 2020, 11:19:34 pm »
Probably best if you don't own the microwave, either.  Unless you got it from freecycle for roasting AOL CDs.

What are they like for power factor?  Maybe using an inverter improves that...

It is a really crap cheap one that came with the motorhome, and I'd already cooked by tea on a propane burner.

The genny basically spun up and down its rev range constantly.

1kw Honda 4 Stroke thing.
Think the input required on the micro is 1200kw...


Valiant

  • aka Sam
    • Radiance Audio
Re: Smart Plugs
« Reply #22 on: January 06, 2021, 08:24:10 am »
I am wondering about these smart plugs. Which ones are any good?
Is it worth getting ZigBee, instead of WiFi? Would require a separate gateway hub thing.
Are any different brands compatible with each other, so can control them in the same app?
Do any of the apps work without an internet connection?

I want something that can be connect to my Google Home speakers, for voice control, and setting some scheduled routines. Maybe a light turning on will help me wake up in the morning.
So a few plugs would do for now. Though maybe nice to get a few colour changing bulbs as well.

I notice Lidl have some plugs and bulbs in this week. They use ZigBee, they have a bundle with the gateway.

Zigbee units are cross compatible if you have hubs, some Alexa units have it built in. Ideally you want zigbee as its local controlled but also eases the lod on your wifi network.
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robgul

  • Cycle:End-to-End webmaster
  • cyclist, Cytech accredited mechanic & woodworker
    • Cycle:End-to-End
Re: Smart Plugs
« Reply #23 on: January 06, 2021, 09:25:53 am »
We've had Hive on our heating for a while together with some plug/sockets and light bulbs - all works pretty well . . . I'm just waiting for delivery on a Hive thermostatic radiator valve to try - reviews are mixed but that seems to be the TRV side that's the problem rather than the simple "on/off" which is what I want them for - to isolate specific rooms at scheduled times (e.g bedrooms during the day)   We'll see if they're any good.

I did try an Eqiva valve that doesn't require a hub as it's Bluetooth - after 4 hours of trying to set it up. it doesn't so it's winging it's way back to Mr Bezos.

We'll see on the Hive - not cheap but it's part of the overall single system.
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Re: Smart Plugs
« Reply #24 on: January 06, 2021, 09:32:30 am »
I am looking at buying a couple of tp link kasa 105 smart sockets to test with Google home and  if successful I can see a place for similar trv units.

Does anybody use smart light bulbs?