Author Topic: Smart Plugs  (Read 5027 times)

Re: Smart Plugs
« Reply #25 on: 06 January, 2021, 09:45:54 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?

Our living room / kitchen and tv room use Philips smart bulbs for all applications (overhead lights, spots, standard lamps etc). Brilliant. Sorted out the Mrs Pcolbeck likes "mood lighting" and I like it bright when trying to do something issues. "Alexa kitchen 100%"  instant bright light. You can group them so we have "room" that does the whole room and then subsets like "island" or "table" that give more specific control. "Room off" on a night is great as Mrs Pcolbeck insists on many lights and going round turning them all off manually was a PITA (must be twenty).
Had it running like this for two years and no bulb failures as yet.
We use the ones that let you set a colour temperature as well as Mrs Pcolbeck hated the bright white ones I got as a trial. Bit more expensive but let you have more control. Haven't tried the ones that let you do actual colours just the white temperature is adjustable on ours.
We have the Philips bridge to control them (via Alexa) I think the newer Alexa's have a bridge built in but you would need to check if any built in bridge gave you as much control as the Philips bridge does.
I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Smart Plugs
« Reply #26 on: 06 January, 2021, 12:44:54 pm »
Does anybody use smart light bulbs?

I'd like to, if I knew of some that  a) use an open control protocol that doesn't rely on access to the internet  and  b) don't PWM at visible frequencies.

Obviously manufacturers are fairly cagey about (a), as their marketing is all about the convenience of their proprietary apps.  I bought an open source ESP8266-based smart lamp from an Italian company as an experiment, but it never worked properly.

With the exception of Sansi, I've yet to find a lamp manufacturer who discusses (b) at all - it's like the entire industry is stuck in advanced stages of "well, it looks alright to me" denial, and to hell with anyone on the autism spectrum, with a visual impairment, prone to eyestrain, taking photographs or using rotating machinery.

I gave up and built my own LED fixtures.  They're varying degrees of bodgy-looking, have a brick of a PSU/control unit (you can't just stick them in a ceiling rose), expensive, the right kind of smart, repairable, and flicker-free.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Auntie Helen

  • 6 Wheels in Germany
Re: Smart Plugs
« Reply #27 on: 06 January, 2021, 01:04:34 pm »
We have a couple of lightbulbs and they work very well, except we had a phase when 'Bedroom light' kept disconnecting from the network. You would be lying in bed and say "Alexa, switch off Bedroom Light" and she replies "Bedroom Light does not answer." Then you have to get up and actually flick a lightswitch, and then you forget and the next morning when Bedroom Light won't turn on by voice you think it's just being awkward, forgetting you have switched the whole thing off.

Since we changed router Bedroom Light has worked the whole time, so maybe it was a router problem.
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Re: Smart Plugs
« Reply #28 on: 06 January, 2021, 01:48:25 pm »
Are there smart switches?  Possibly better option than bulbs.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Smart Plugs
« Reply #29 on: 06 January, 2021, 01:54:44 pm »
Are there smart switches?  Possibly better option than bulbs.

There are, and they do seem like a better option from a usability perspective, but I think most of them require a neutral wire, and traditional BRITISH wiring doesn't have a neutral at the switch.  Probably need a relatively deep backbox, too.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: Smart Plugs
« Reply #30 on: 06 January, 2021, 03:00:57 pm »

With the exception of Sansi, I've yet to find a lamp manufacturer who discusses (b) at all - it's like the entire industry is stuck in advanced stages of "well, it looks alright to me" denial, and to hell with anyone on the autism spectrum, with a visual impairment, prone to eyestrain, taking photographs or using rotating machinery.

I gave up and built my own LED fixtures.  They're varying degrees of bodgy-looking, have a brick of a PSU/control unit (you can't just stick them in a ceiling rose), expensive, the right kind of smart, repairable, and flicker-free.
I agree with b). VW's tail light (100 Hz, 10% duty cycle) are some of the worst.

I've modified a few lamps with extra smoothing capacitors, with variable success. Some have reduced flicker rather than eliminated, and some now are visibly slow to turn on and to turn off, where I've over-specified the capacitor size.

Many non-Sansi lightbulbs have nothing in the globe bit at all, and the globe bit can be removed without damaging the rest. In many types the + and - that need a capacitor added are then visible.

A large black capacitor in the centre of the globe is surprisingly difficult to see when the globe has been glued back on.
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robgul

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Re: Smart Plugs
« Reply #31 on: 06 January, 2021, 03:03:12 pm »
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?

We have 3 Hive lighbulbs, all fitted in standard or table lamps.  Every other light in the house is an LED - was halogen but I've swapped them all to reduce consumption and heat generation.  Recessed lights in the kitchen and utility, one bedroom and the hall - all the other lights are wall units with LED bulbs.

The smart bulbs give out a pleasant light and the control/timing is a great feature - we have another standard lamp working from a Hive smart plug/socket as well as 2 other plug/sockets - one that turns off power to all the IT stuff (3 computers, a powered hub, 2 printers plus 2 external drives and a lamp - it cuts the power at 2300 and starts again at 0630) - the other one has our coffee machine running off it - it's a single-group Costa-type machine so is keeping water hot all the time  .... that goes off at about 2030 and comes on at 0530 - when we were both working it switched off during the day too (what is clever is that if we are away and switch it off we can fire it up when we're an hour from home ready to make coffee or tea  :thumbsup:)

archy

  • once asterix
Re: Smart Plugs
« Reply #32 on: 20 January, 2021, 09:03:21 am »
Are there smart switches?  Possibly better option than bulbs.

There are, and they do seem like a better option from a usability perspective, but I think most of them require a neutral wire, and traditional BRITISH wiring doesn't have a neutral at the switch.  Probably need a relatively deep backbox, too.

It's irritating, I very nearly bought a smart switch thinking having just had our lighting circuits rewired(they'd no earth) we'd be bang up to date. But not so. The electricians never thought to add a neutral. I understand newbuilds very often do have neutrals now and our French wiring did too.

I have read that smart switches not requiring a neutral are under development but don't know how they might work.

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marcusjb

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Re: Smart Plugs
« Reply #33 on: 20 January, 2021, 09:27:47 am »
There are in-wall dimmers out there that can work without neutrals - but they are all quite expensive and their minimum load requirement is fairly poor (like 40-50W compared to some options that are now down to 1W with a neutral).

There are different ways to skin the cat in the absence of neutrals - wago the cabling at the switch point, install an inline dimmer in the ceiling and then use a battery powered switch (with battery life being up to 10 years).

Lutron's RA2 Select range work in this way and is a good retrofit solution - not ever so cheap though (and we don't have their budget Caseta range here in the UK sadly).  Rako is a UK-based company with a similar approach.
Right! What's next?

Ooooh. That sounds like a daft idea.  I am in!

Re: Smart Plugs
« Reply #34 on: 20 January, 2021, 09:55:25 am »
I have read that smart switches not requiring a neutral are under development but don't know how they might work.

I have a no neutral light switch (there are quite a few on eBay). You have to install a capacitor in parallel with the light bulb, which lets a small amount of current flow to power the switch. Works fine.

robgul

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Re: Smart Plugs
« Reply #35 on: 20 January, 2021, 10:00:33 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.

Update on the Hive TRV - installation was pretty simple and our desired use as simply an on/off mechanism for the radiator in one room works fine - at the moment it's set at the same temperature as the rest of the house and comes on from 1415 and goes off at 1545 ... to coincide with my wife using the room from 1500-1600 (yoga!)

The one annoyance, which nowhere does it tell you, is that the TRV control ONLY works on the Hive phone/tablet app and not the PC/browser which is my preferred method.


Mrs Pingu

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Re: Smart Plugs
« Reply #36 on: 20 January, 2021, 12:34:42 pm »
I've just bought one of those TP Kasa plugs to use with my office heater that I keep forgetting to turn off. Am hoping it works fine without a hub.
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ian

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Re: Smart Plugs
« Reply #37 on: 20 January, 2021, 12:39:42 pm »
I have the TP-Link Tapo plugs (not really sure how they differ from the Kasa other than cheaper and smaller), they work fine on the existing wifi (one of my specifications was Not Another Hub). Every now and then, one will drop off Alexa (though they're still connected through the app) but that's a minor occasional issue, presumably on the Amazon side.
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Davef

Re: Smart Plugs
« Reply #38 on: 20 January, 2021, 01:00:29 pm »
The hive ones are very reliable, the cheaper ones less so. I have a mixture. For short term things like “Christmas tree off” I can live with a bit of unreliability

Mrs Pingu

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Re: Smart Plugs
« Reply #39 on: 20 January, 2021, 05:42:36 pm »
I almost bought the Tapo plug but the amp loading is lower than the Kasa and as it's for a heater I thought I'd best go with the Kasa.
Do not clench. It only makes it worse.

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Smart Plugs
« Reply #40 on: 20 January, 2021, 07:09:05 pm »
Does anybody use smart light bulbs?

I'd like to, if I knew of some that  a) use an open control protocol that doesn't rely on access to the internet  and  b) don't PWM at visible frequencies.

Obviously manufacturers are fairly cagey about (a), as their marketing is all about the convenience of their proprietary apps.  I bought an open source ESP8266-based smart lamp from an Italian company as an experiment, but it never worked properly.

I have got IKEA Tradfri stuff throughout my flat, apart from one lamp at my desk which is an OSRAM bulb, which has better control of the colour temp (useful for soldering).

The IKEA lamps I can control via either:

- My phone
- shouting at my housemate until he does it with his phone
- Wireless switch unit things
- some Go-lang code on the command line of a raspberry pi, via ssh.

The OSRAM bulb is not paired to the IKEA gateway, and instead talks to the raspberry pi using some sort of usb stick thing. I then use Zigbee2MQTT, which I can then control either through the command line, or via node-red. This allows me control of both colour temp, brightness, and on/off.

It by no means is an open protocol, but it does seem to work well for what I want. One of my friends has flashed micropython into the ikea bulbs, which allows him to control them via nodered and zigbee2mqtt.

Quote

With the exception of Sansi, I've yet to find a lamp manufacturer who discusses (b) at all - it's like the entire industry is stuck in advanced stages of "well, it looks alright to me" denial, and to hell with anyone on the autism spectrum, with a visual impairment, prone to eyestrain, taking photographs or using rotating machinery.

I gave up and built my own LED fixtures.  They're varying degrees of bodgy-looking, have a brick of a PSU/control unit (you can't just stick them in a ceiling rose), expensive, the right kind of smart, repairable, and flicker-free.

I am working on my own LED light, I have some day light high CRI led strip, and some other gubbins. I am debating if I want to use a zigbee controller, or just a pot... I turned on the strip to test it, and made the mistake of looking at it. If I use all of it the way I am intending, I may have to be careful or I'll have aircraft trying to land on my flat...

J
--
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ian

  • not a woman, not an american, not a vampire
Re: Smart Plugs
« Reply #41 on: 20 January, 2021, 09:45:02 pm »
I almost bought the Tapo plug but the amp loading is lower than the Kasa and as it's for a heater I thought I'd best go with the Kasa.

That might be the difference, mine just power lamps. Call me Ambient. Captain Ambient.
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Valiant

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Re: Smart Plugs
« Reply #42 on: 20 January, 2021, 10:55:56 pm »
I have some smart switches that don't require neutrals in my house. They were cheapish too at around £15 when I got them and don't require a deep back box. All were Tuya Smartlife and had no problems with connecting to my Echo. I think they were the Yagusmart brand IIRC. Had them for the best part of a year with no issues other than having to create a separate 2.4ghz network as the combined name and bands confuses them, along with a lot of other smart home bits.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s?k=smart+switch+no+neutral
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Kim

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Re: Smart Plugs
« Reply #43 on: 04 May, 2021, 04:19:10 pm »
Resurrecting this thread because I have recently discovered Tasmota.  Open source firmware for myriad internet-of-shit devices that can make them a lot less shitty (speaking MQTT/HTTP locally, without any of that cloud nonsense).

I commend to the panel the excellent Shelly relays, but they're only really useful inside appliances or if you can do house-owner things like fit deeper back-boxes or do a bit of re-wiring in the ceiling space.  They seem to be a rare example of a smart thing company that gives a shit about interoperability, so you don't even really need Tasmota.

I've taken a punt on some E27 adaptors, which are on the slow boat from China.

Meanwhile a Blitzwolf SHP11 arrived this morning.  Armed with a spudger, a soldering iron that goes up to 11, a TTL/serial converter and an appropriate degree of carefulling, I was able to re-flash it with Tasmota and hot-glue it back together in an electrically safe manner.

It's just an on/off relay (no power monitoring), but it's 16A rated in a UK form-factor, and not to be sneezed at for 9 quid.  :thumbsup:
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: Smart Plugs
« Reply #44 on: 06 May, 2021, 09:31:37 pm »
Having tried and failed to Tamotize a Sonoff switch, I am interested that you, Kim, succeeded. What brand of TTL/serial converter did you use please? Perhaps I should try a Blitzwolf first as a known good to flash device.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Smart Plugs
« Reply #45 on: 06 May, 2021, 09:51:57 pm »
Ah, I recently bought a nice one that lets you switch between 3.3 and 5V with a jumper for this sort of thing...

*digs through email*

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/253513002243

Worked with the Shelly 1 and the SHP-11 using Tasmotizer, wiring as per the destructions here.  In spite of the diagram being labelled 5V, I tried it at 3.3V for magic smoke reasons, and it worked fine at 3.3V.  As usual with ESP things, you have to tie GPIO0 to ground at power-on to enter programming mode.  Easier to leave that connected during programming, then disconnect it and power-cycle to see if it boots up properly.  Obviously the relay won't clunk without mains power.

Getting into the SHP-11 is a case of spudgering the obvious seam: The plastic face from which the mains plug pins emerge is flat and a couple of mm thick, with the main body glued around its edge, so you need to spudge inwards parallel to the pins to break the glue, rather than too much levering outwards (there aren't any tabs to release, once the glue breaks the case just lifts off).  Once you're in, contacts attached to the live and neutral pins are soldered to the board.  I set the iron to 450C and added a bit of leaded solder and they came out without too much drama, though sticky-up components mean there isn't a lot of room to manoeuvre the iron.

Having paid slightly more attention to the BlitzWolf website, it suggests that the SHP-11 has power monitoring that isn't enabled by that Tasmota template.  After fiddling with the SHP-10 template and only getting nonsense readings I decided that I'd wait until the second one I ordered arrives and pay a bit more attention to the circuitry once I crack it open.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: Smart Plugs
« Reply #46 on: 06 May, 2021, 10:35:36 pm »
Kim I read that as you ended up using 5V logic levels? I have  been using a  TTL 3V3. Will order your recommendation. Good vfm@£2.84 with useful tx and rx LEDs.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Smart Plugs
« Reply #47 on: 06 May, 2021, 10:48:11 pm »
No, I used 3.3V, that wasn't very clear.

Yeah, I've got a couple of the 5V-only converters with no blinkenlights kicking about, and being able to see that something's happening is a welcome improvement.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Smart Plugs
« Reply #48 on: 07 May, 2021, 06:25:55 pm »
Second SHP-11 arrived.  There's a BL0937 in it, but apparently not in the same pin configuration as the SHP-10.  I've managed to stumble on the correct configuration for the CF and CF1 pins to get sensible voltage and power readings, but I haven't worked out where SEL is supposed to go yet, so current and reactive power remain elusive.  Will do some reverse-engineering to work out which pin is which on the frustratingly unidentified ESP module later...

ETA: Cracked it.

I've created a pull request on github to update the wiki with my findings, but in the mean time, here's the template:
(click to show/hide)

*Really* not to be sneezed at for 9 quid.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Smart Plugs
« Reply #49 on: 10 May, 2021, 09:34:13 pm »
Further adventures in tasmotizing:

Blitzwolf LT-30 E27 socket adaptor

It's just a relay for switching lights on and off.  Regular readers will know that I installed a several of very bright Sansi E27 lamps on account of being one of the few brands of LED lamp that are properly engineered not to flicker, so it being E27 was only a minor inconvenience.

The main objective here was hands-free operation of the kitchen light, in order that  a) barakta doesn't have to turn the light off with her nose on the way upstairs due to lack of hands  and  b) I stop getting chain oil on the switch.  Bonus points for automating the other lights between the sink and the bike chains...

This one's dead easy.  Proper screws, no spudging, nice clearly marked 0.1" programming header on the board.  All you need are some dupont cables and a blob of blu-tac.  Upload the firmware, and job's a good'un.   :thumbsup:

Training ourselves out of turning the kitchen light off at the switch is a work in progress.  This is why I'd have preferred to use a Shelly.  All you old people with your own houses don't realise how lucky you are.


D06 contact sensor

From the department of so cheap it would be rude not to.  This one's a bit (okay, a lot) more involved.  Getting into the case is a matter of a quick flick with the spudger, to lull you into a false sense of security.

The battery-powered architecture is such that a ubiquitous 8-pin microcontroller powers up the ESP briefly in order to communicate when the contact state changes.  So the first thing you have to do is remove a 0 ohm 0406 resistor and (depending on PCB revision) sever the track below it with a scalpel, in order to break the serial line between the two micros.  Then you can tack some wires onto the pins of the ESP, and flash the (special, low power) firmware.  I then strongly recommend disconnecting GPIO0 and performing the rest of the configuration with external power still present, as it's much easier when it doesn't keep going to sleep.  Note that you won't get any response from the 8-pin micro until that link resistor is replaced (possibly with a Mk 1 solder blob).

Doing something useful with Tasmota's rules left as an exercise for the reader.  The dummy relay approach to storing contact state across power cycles seems to work well, though.

This is probably a good time to remind people that polypropylene-friendly hot glue is vastly preferable to self-untapping screws for attaching things to PVC window frames: Quick, strong and easily removed with a squirt of IPA.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...