Are you smart? Smart technologies

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  • During my last visit to Italy I bought a few smart items


    First some smart adapters for sockets by Meross, which I returned because they were of non use to me.

    Just to be clar, something like this. And the reason was that these were compatible with AppleHome, but they kept losing configuration (a known issue... known once you've bought them and desperately scrambled for advice on the internet, of course).


    43528-84674-meross-plug-1-xl.jpg

    Then a couple of smart switches for air conditioning splits to monitor A/C consumption in our STR, and a contact door sensor to monitor when the STR door is open/closed (just in case someone makes copies of the keys and access the unit after their checkout).


    1pc WiFi Power Consumption Statistics Switch, 16A AC 90-250V, Tuya/smart Life App, Supports Alexa, Google Home Voice Control, Timing Function, Power-off Memory Setting, Status Feedback, Real Time Power Consumption Monitor - cost was about $12 each.


    Besides monitoring consumption, I can also turn it off (but not turn it on!)




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    The contact sensor was about $10 and it is battery powered

    WIFI Door Sensor
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    All managed by a Tuya ZigBee 3.0 gateway that cost about $25


    On Saturday, a technician came to install the A/C smart switches, whereas I was able to install the door sensor myself.


    Through the Smart Home app you can set rules, for example to turn off A/C at a given time or when some condition happens.


    I must admit that I am out of $100 just for the fun of it. I still fail to see how it make me smarter to install these things.


  • I have several Sonoff smart devices. To control outside lights, and a few indoor, on timers or other rules. An electric usage monitor and control of the house boiler and the irrigation well pump, one which is Shelly and one which is Sonoff.


    Both products are very cheap. These and any others I have tested, I only buy if they are one of many which support the install of custom Firmware. The Tasmota open source project with free firmware can overwrite the manufacturer’s firmware, since I do not trust any companies products who do not allow DIY modifications. Need to remove any trace of the company who most likely will go out of business or just decide to stop supporting an old product, or monitor my data, or force into a subscription. Also I want my devices to be able to work without the cloud, only needing my local network and also can run autonomous if the network is down. With tasmota all my devices have the same user interface regardless of the manufacturer.


    Also centrally managed by OpenHab, though I believe HomeAssistant is more popular. Both are opensource. Not needed though convenient to add some web interface, and additional smarts to the whole group of devices.


    Lots of cheap ESPxx chipset devices to experiment more. I have a 433Mhz doorbell and receiver built from the things found on ML. Now with Tasmota to have OpenHab notify and track use.


    Only the OpenSprinkler irrigation controller is not Tasmota compatible, though the hardware and firmware are open source to be DIY friendly and completely transparent of how it works. OpenHAB is able to monitor though and control with some extra coding.


  • I'm definitely not smart when it comes to gadgets. I just found out a couple of days ago that we can listen in to sound in our security cameras. To be fair I suspect it was because the software updated itself that made it work as I'm sure I tried it before and it didn't. Not that it's much use right enough. :rolleyes:

  • Are yours type G as per the illustration? If so, I'm just wondering why you chose them over the Argentine type I - especially since the line and neutral in the Argentine plug are the other way round from the type G.

    No, mine where Schucko, so they would have required also an adapter from Schuko /type E) to European 2 prongs (Type C) (bought separately and about 4-5 USD on amazon.it). The result would have been rather bulky, which is yet another issue I had with them.


    Actually, I bought them because I wanted to be able to turn on/off a radio without lifting my back from the chair. However, since the radio in question was button-powered (a click and release button), the smart adapter was useless as I could only turn off the radio if it was on (the smart switch cuts off power) but it wouldn't power back on the radio since that required pressing a button.


    Older radios, with a physical switch that had to be moved from pos A to pos B, worked just fine. Overall, it wasn't an improvement given it's bulky appearance and limited function, and the cost wasn't pennies. Since Amazon returns are free, I jumped at it and waved goodbye to the smart adapters.

  • An update on my smart devices.


    The door contact sensor went offline after a month of use. It is not a battery issue and I have tried a soft reset with no success. I should try a hard reset but our STR is rented until March, so I will leave that for later (also, it is no use when rented mid-long term).

    Our smart switches installed in the aircon have been shutting down the units erratically. Either the cables used to install them are not of the correct size and are overheating, or the switches are faulty (both). Our tenant has texted me already 3 times in a month and half to say they were unable to turn on the A/C, and I had to go to the smart app to force them on. This is really worrying as I am not in front of my phone 24/7. What happens if the A/C won't turn on in the middle of the night?


    So, now I am faced with the decision of either trying new cables, new switches or remove them entirely.

    I am quite disappointed because I was expecting more by them. For example, they cannot be used to set a max temperature or to regulate temperature. They can simply monitor the energy consumption and I can shut them down but I cannot turn them on.

    Basically, when I shut them down I am preventing the tenant from turning A/C on (why would I do that?) and when I am activating the switch I am simply allowing the tenant to turn the A/C on using the remote. Basically, they are only useful to open/close a contact, but do not actually control the unit.


    My mother has bought smart A/C units and she can turn them on/off and regulate the temperature from her app, whereas my post-installation smart switches are very limited. I am trying to find out if there are better switches that could do what I expected them to do, or if I should give up. I know I can buy a RF controller that would work as a remote, but I would need one per room and it is yet more money... and for what?


    I am quite disappointed with myself for this waste of money. Besides spending money to purchase the smart devices, I also had to pay a technician to install them. Now I will have to pay a technician to take them down.

    • Helpful

    My mother has bought smart A/C units and she can turn them on/off and regulate the temperature from her app, whereas my post-installation smart switches are very limited. I am trying to find out if there are better switches that could do what I expected them to do, or if I should give up.

    This is the problem with many modern appliances that have electronic switch. Like the electric tea kettles which people want turned on automatic every morning. It is not possible to add any external smart switch to turn on those type of appliances.


    Sounds like you already know the other problem is faulty wiring or certainly possible that the smart switch. The smart devices should be rated 16-20amp for air conditioning and other similar pump/fan type appliances, which is what I think yours are rated. I use Shelly 1pm and Sonoff POW for electric monitoring and some control of 16-20amp devices. These have been fine here in argentina for several years. Other lower rated smart switches for simpler devices and LED lights.

  • Sounds like you already know the other problem is faulty wiring or certainly possible that the smart switch. The smart devices should be rated 16-20amp for air conditioning and other similar pump/fan type appliances, which is what I think yours are rated. I use Shelly 1pm and Sonoff POW for electric monitoring and some control of 16-20amp devices. These have been fine here in argentina for several years. Other lower rated smart switches for simpler devices and LED lights.

    HI aficionado , the switches were rated 16 A and I had checked that in advance before purchasing. The technician also checked that. When he came, he asked for wires to my husband and I remember that he was proud to have larger cables at hand.

    I see that the switches you mention have a safety shutoff, so this makes 3 potential causes for shut down:

    1) cables to install the switches are of the wrong rating

    2) the switch is faulty (but given it happened with both, I am less inclined to think this is it)

    3) power surge that triggered the safety shut off.


    Uhm... I am really undecided as 1) is an easy fix; 2) may be an unnecessary expense, especially if 3) is the real cause. In this case either the apartment wiring is not okay, and removing the switches will mean that my A/C will fry and I should be thankful for the safety shut offs...


    What would you do?

  • especially if 3) is the real cause. In this case either the apartment wiring is not okay, and removing the switches will mean that my A/C will fry and I should be thankful for the safety shut offs...


    What would you do?

    I would still have the electrician visit to ask their opinion of the house wiring, and to verify the smart switch installation. Before that, the switch should have a log of every event including emergency shut-off events. Review those logs.


    Next if the switch has the ability to create smart rules, then create a rule to automatically turn back on after X minutes of being turned off, since there is no reason to ever not supply power to the AC knowing that the AC unit still needs to be activated by a person using the remote. If there is no smart rule, then a more technical step is a cheap raspberry Pi to manage all the smart devices in the house. I have rPi with OpenHab installed. OpenHab or similar can coordinate automatic rules.

    OpenHab, though I believe HomeAssistant is more popular. Both are opensource.

  • the switch should have a log of every event including emergency shut-off events. Review those logs.


    It is also possible that the switch has some flaws or “bugs” in the firmware that cause an unplanned reboot. Always keep with updates. The logs might show more information to report to forums related to that product. In case it is a known issue. Setting the smart switch settings to always default to the ON state after reboot is a good idea.

  • My mother has bought smart A/C units and she can turn them on/off and regulate the temperature from her app, whereas my post-installation smart switches are very limited. I am trying to find out if there are better switches that could do what I expected them to do, or if I should give up. I know I can buy a RF controller that would work as a remote, but I would need one per room and it is yet more money... and for what?

    This is the problem with many modern appliances that have electronic switch. Like the electric tea kettles which people want turned on automatic every morning. It is not possible to add any external smart switch to turn on those type of appliances.

    If this product is true I now see that my above statement is completely wrong. BGH and perhaps others sell a solution that combines smart network control with IR to act just like your AC IR remote. serafina is this what you what you indicated when talking about RF controllers? I did not know this type of product exists. This seems to be the solution and there are other brands on ML. http://smartcontrol.bgh.com.ar/smartkit/

  • Just re-read the header on this thread, “Are you smart?” I have to say I’m impressed by how many technology-smart people are on this forum. Kudos!

    Indeed and I'm certainly not one of them. Takes me all my time to figure out what to do when my mobile rings....as my wife knows. Several times she's called me and I haven't reacted quickly enough!!

  • If this product is true I now see that my above statement is completely wrong. BGH and perhaps others sell a solution that combines smart network control with IR to act just like your AC IR remote. serafina is this what you what you indicated when talking about RF controllers? I did not know this type of product exists. This seems to be the solution and there are other brands on ML. http://smartcontrol.bgh.com.ar/smartkit/

    Yes, there are smart controller for both RF and IR (depending on the technology used by your remote controller).

    What a smart switch does, like the one I installed, is to cut off power. It is a mere open-close contact. So, if the appliance is on, I can open the contact and the A/C will turn off. However, when I close the contact, the A/C won't resume operations. It will be simply enabled. Someone still has to push the A/C remote and tell it to turn on.


    So, how do you solve this? You buy a smart devices that can turn your command via app (through Wifi) into a IR or RF signal that will be broadcasted to your appliance. This is how I could turn on A/C in my rental, and even set a temperature. Depending on the A/C brand, a smart RF/IR switch may or may be not compatible. You will also need a hub. When choosing a hub, you enter a whole realm. It can be google, Alexa, Apple Home, Tuya... and then you have to pick smart devices that are compatible with that system. Mine is Tuya.


    The thing with IR, is that it is short range. just like you can't turn on the AC in the living room from the bedroom (because you'd need to walk to the bedroom and point the AC remote toward the split), you will need a smart IR device for each room.

    https://productosintegra.com/producto/control-remoto-infrarrojo-wifi-alexa-google-home-tuya-ir500/

  • aficionado , I have followed up on my plan to get our own home smart and ordered two IR smart controllers (to control A/C units) and a temperature monitoring smart device.

    I found a seller on ML (Integra) and then looked for their own website, where prices were considerably lower AND they even offered "points" to redeem for a discount on your first purchase.


    My idea was to install those in the solarium where my work desk is, as it can get very hot and we had heat-related damages in the past whenever we went away on vacation (fitted sheets rubber bands "baked" and became brittle, rubber prints on t-shirt "stuck" to the drawer's bottom and peeled it when I took the shirt etc.)

    My idea was to turn on A/C in the hottest times so that the indoor temperature remained at 27°C.


    However, I have run into three issues:

    1) I have never been able to execute a scene correctly.

    My scene is "if temperature alarm is ON, THEN turn on A/C device @27°C".

    I get the temperature alarm correctly, but the A/C device stays off.

    I can "manually" turn it on from the app, but I really like the automation part of smart homes as it was supposed to take away a burden/task on me, instead of adding one.


    2) the IR controller doesn't always work, especially if I change the setting too quickly.


    3) The IR controller is just a controller and won't tell me if the A/C is on or off. From the app you can see ON/OFF but it doesn't reflect the actual operating status of the A/C.


    Worst of it all, it seemed to work correctly at first. We were driving to Mar del Plata, I got notified of the high temperature in the solarium and turned on the A/C. Then, at 7 pm I remembered to turn it off and hoped it worked.

    Next day, I did the same thing, but on the 3rd day of our vacation, after turning on A/C, both the IR device and the A/C went offline, so I was unable to control it (troubleshooting required to go near the devices using my smartphone, but I was 500 km away). So... I got the A/C running 24/7 for three days straight.


    ====

    In our STR I keep getting the notification that the power went away and then it was restored. This switches the smart device off and on, interrupting the A/C operation.

    As per your suggestion, I implemented the rule that whenever the smart device went OFF it should be turned back ON, however the A/C won't turn on as it requires pushing the A/C remote buttons physically.

    I was able to explain this to our tenant and she was very understanding, but this is WORSE than without smart devices.


    I think the issue is that the power is fluctuating too much and the smart devices are being turned off, while the appliances would normally stay on.

    Where are your smart devices installed, aficionado ? In CABA/which neighborhood? Or abroad?

  • 2) the IR controller doesn't always work, especially if I change the setting too quickly.

    If you are now home for a few days, I suggest you test each piece of your system on their own, without needing coordination of the other parts. Start with the IR controllers. Can you program them to control the AC based on time, e.g. turn on every 15 minutes and then turn off 5 minutes later, and repeat all day and while you are there to verify it works %100 of the time. Repeat tests to be autonomous without the cloud or internet, so you should turn off your WiFi router after you have programmed a test scene. Ideally there is a scene to send an IR OFF command X minutes after an ON command, instead of absolute times for OFF commands.


    A possible Smart thermostat test is to trigger an audible alarm if that is possible with the scene programming. Next a scene to send you an email. Email notifications are better than notifications that require the tuya app. Finally to control the IR remotes, first with a time based scene if possible, then the temperature based scene.


    Once the individual components pass their tests, have the temperature sensor hub control the IR to ON OFF using similar time based tests. Then temperature based tests.


    Those tests should be successful always. Any failure means you need to add some additional monitoring. A power monitoring sensor on the AC would be a 3rd component, that would complicate your scenes e.g. “IF power Watts did not change 30 seconds after a ON/OFF, then do something….”


    An ideal smart system works autonomously without the Tuyo cloud or internet once the scenes are programmed and verified to work. To test without Tuyo cloud, change your Tuyo password. Finally test with your WiFi router turned off. If the thermostat has a way to send email via an independent SMTP email server (gmail will let you), or more technical independent data monitoring would send MQTT data to external server.


    Another addition to the system is UPS battery backups on the WiFi router. Most times, though not always, if the power turns off in the neighborhood there is still working internet.


    Over time you have the option to be more DIY with a dedicated computer running always with HomeAssistant free open source software. That has Tuyo software modules that can coordinate with your Tuyo devices. There is a huge community of people who spend time on that forum who have experience with the same problems you might be having with Tuyo devices and/or the HomeAssistant setup. OpenHAB is similar which is what I use, though maybe less popular. A U$D 20-$40 raspberry pi or old laptop could be the dedicated computer. The long term goal is to not be dependent on the Tuyo cloud or the App. I never trust some non-opensource 3rd party. ¡No Tuyo, Google, Apple, or Amazon clouds! In my case I trust my Sonoff and Shelly devices, but I do not trust their cloud.


    Maybe one day a DIY temperature sensor built with DHT22 from ML as a redundant temp sensor. Or to really play without needing to solder this is a good kit on ML.

    My scene is "if temperature alarm is ON, THEN turn on A/C device @27°C".

    Why is there the last part of that scene “@27C”? The IF is “temperature alarm” so the trigger part should just be IR ON or OFF (and send you an email). You should definitely be able to get this scene working. Tuyo support or Reddit or HomeAssistant or OpenHAB forums are places to browse


    I am not in CABA. I am in the interior of Argentina. Feel free to send DM or continue in this thread. Later I can reply to your other question about your STR apartment issues.