Monthly Archive: September 2013

Set Up Was Seemless – Transparent – Facile – Lets See Though How It Works In The Long Run

Initial impressions are that it just works: plug it in, and let the iPhone app find it – and then you can control your home appliances as easily as with a TV remote – or at least any appliance that you can turn on and off. That’s what this switch is: a socket that that you can switch on and off using the iPhone app (although there is an override button on the switch itself). There are ‘smart’ features too: so for example, you could turn on a fan but make it turn off automatically after a predefined period of time. You know, in case it chops up all the air molecules and you suffocate (n.b. it doesn’t, you won’t).

The motion sensor works as you might expect. I thought it too was a switch, but it’s not, it’s just the same size as the switch with a small cylindrical unit that is connected via a wire. There is about a second delay from when the sensor detects motion, to when the information travels through the internet and the WeMo service acknowledges it, and then does something – such as turn on the switch controlling a floor lamp in your dark basement.

For advanced nerd points, you can also use the IFTTT web service to do some pretty interesting things with the WeMo: for example, the motion sensor can be configured send you an instant message to your phone. Could be handy if you have a holiday home you want to keep an eye on – once you get an IM that someone has entered the building, you could activate another switch over the internet that boots up a computer and starts the webcam. Or activates powerful laser or something. Just saying.

Perhaps the most useful thing I have done is use the built-in timer to switch on my George Foreman grill to make me bacon in the morning. I wake up to the smell of crackling bacon. It’s delicious, it’s good for me, and it’s the perfect way to start the day. Then I use the motion sensor to detect that I’ve hopped into the bathroom with a burnt foot.

Note: I had some trouble using the switches and sensors when I left the house, and had to rely on an internet connection rather than my home wifi. However, after a recent firmware update, it all works fine with my Comcast/Apple Airport set-up. I’ll be using the system to start up a computer I need to access remotely when I’m away from home.

If you simply plug it in with a light and leave it at that, that is exactly what you get. BUT, if you really put your mind to it and connect this to the website [...] and put some thought into it, you can create a very neat system to move your home closer to automation. If you are on the fence, give it a try for sure!

A Great Mix: Replacement of A Timer And Remote Control

After setting it up and using it, I realized that the device could easily replace places in the house where I have timers that turn lights on/off on a regular system. In short, I was able to take some lights that normally turn on around dusk, and off around midnight, and make them do that, PLUS function as motion sensor lights from midnight to 6 a.m. If I get up and walk in the kitchen, the lights in the loft turn on for 15 minutes, and then turn back off from midnight to 6 a.m. An added bonus!
The program flexibility is pretty well thought out. It’s a good balance between dummy-proof and customize-able. It took a couple minutes of experimentation on how the software worked, but once I did a program and tested it, functionality and usefulness was clear. I’m a bit of a home automation nerd-wannabe (I love my Nest Learning Thermostat T100577!!) but haven’t really wanted to dig deeply into wiring myself, coding or otherwise wasting a bunch of time on things that are somewhat fun but can be time consuming. By the way, I also love my Dropcam HD Wi-Fi Wireless Video Monitoring Camera. Together, these three devices really give me insight into what’s going on at home, and gives me ability to affect what’s going on at home.
There was only one point of confusion and one point of uncertainty with the kit. When I ordered it, I didn’t look closely and I thought this kit was for two separate controllers, one of them happening to also have a motion sensor. Actually, the motion sensor is its own device, without a plug through spot for a second device. The sensor can be configured to affect other plugs. Ok, misunderstanding corrected.
The second issue I had relates to the initial setup: The devices use a method many do these days: It makes it’s own ad-hoc wifi AP that you connect to with the phone during initial setup. Once you tell it which access point/wifi is yours, it stops that Ad Hoc, and just joins your network. The unit with the plug worked seamlessly. From the instructions to “do this with each device,” I attempted to do this with the motion sensor and faced some issues. An unplug, replug and app cycle later, it started working. I’m honestly not sure what I did wrong. The app prompted me for a firmware update which I did with no issues, and I continued on my way testing the on/off function and setting some rules for how I wanted it to act.
Now that the device is plugged in and working, it did work seamlessly for me from outside home and on regular 3G. The app does provide feedback when the plug has been turned on and turned off. I don’t really need a second plug for my use, but I am really interested to learn if the motion sensor can activate two plugs, or if they’re married and another motion sensor would be necessary.
I ended up with a couple other questions I haven’t been able to answer yet, and haven’t researched: Can multiple users utilize the units if I install the app on another phone? And– is there an account or something? If the power goes off or I have to reset one of the units, will they remember how I’ve used them or will it be setting things up from scratch again?
Overall, this kit adds some simple convenience to home automation that really hasn’t been there yet. It’s not just for geeks, and while it may not be “dummy proof” if you’re willing to be persistent and you really have a use for this kind of functionality, I think this kit is worth the time & money.

Clever, Fun, Useful

Add to that the ability to trigger that device with a motion sensing control. I have a nice stand up lamp in my home office and every morning I walk in and turn it on and at night I always forget to turn it off. So I placed a motion trigger inside the door and told it to activate the lamp’s wemo’s. Then, if I forget to turn the lamp off, I can have to turn off at a preset time or just turn it off from my phone.

Life saving? No… but very cool. I’d see this as being very useful for outdoor lighting, etc. but I don’t have anything like that (yet).

I thought I would try this one out as Belkin usually makes pretty good products. So far I have been pleased with the product. I am giving it 4 stars only due to the lack of more documentation and instructions included with the package. I was able to figure it out with little issue, due to IT background, but for every day users they might be confused on some setup aspects of the product.

To start off with the good, the unit does what it says it will do. After I had it setup I did a first test which was setting up of a standard timer to turn a light on at a specified time and turn it off at a specified time. This worked very well with no issues. The second test was to disable the first standard timer setup and try out the motion sensor. The motion sensor is a separate unit that plugs into an outlet and has an attached motion detector. I setup the rule to turn on the light based on motion and the unit performed as expected. One note, the motion rule will turn on the equipment when motion is detected and then turn it back off in 15 minutes. The instructions do not state this and I only found it on the actual rule itself. The nice part is that you can setup two rules, one to turn the equipment on/off at a specified time and another to turn equipment on based on motion either all day or only during specified times. So for basic turn off/on equipment using both the timer and the motion detector the product passed without issue.

The product did setup fairly easily but additional documentation should be included. Many companies are trying to be like Apple and not provide information based on the product is designed so well that you do not need it but in this case I think additional information would be beneficial for every day users.

I enabled to remote capabilities on the product and that works very well over Wi-Fi and over cellular. There were no firewall issues and the system setup did it all on its own without my intervention. You can turn this feature off but it is nice to be able to remote back to your house, check to see if the equipment is on and turn it off if needed.

Now for the bad side of the product. As stated before, documentation is lacking and some users might be confused on some of the setup. There is some delay in establishing the wireless connections and doing any firmware updates. The product does show various blinking lights while it is updated but there is no documentation included that explains the light status.

Another negative is that the unit has no battery backup for the timer. This would be a nice added feature. Granted old style timers with the spin wheel do not have this as well but based on the cost of this product I think it should be added.

Outside of these two negatives I think this is a good product for what it is intended to do. I’m not sure I would go with the motion detector again as the receiver and the motion detector kind of get in the way of most applications. So far I am not sure where to put the motion detector to really use it so before buying it consider if you really need it. You can add additional control switches for other equipment but those are not cheap so keep that in mind as well. This product in this package only includes 1 equipment controller, along with the motion detector for the controller.

One last thing, the application is for Apple iOS. I did not see anything on the package that stated it was supported by other mobile devices. The product does not come with any software for PC/MAC support so you will need an Apple Itouch, Ipad, or Iphone (version 5.0 or higher) to use this. You cannot setup or use the product with this application that is a free download from the App store.

Perfect For Holiday Lights

I also needed it to be remote controlled. I originally bought a remote control similar to this one on Ebay. It was a different brand. That one worked well for about 2 days. I was able to switch the fountain on or off about 50-60 feet away, even inside. But, for some reason, it decided to stop working as designed. It would only work if I was about 10 feet away. So, I decided to try another type. I came across this one on Once I received it, I plugged it inline with the fountain’s pump, and it has worked consistently every time. It will work with no obstruction to about 60-70 feet away. Inside through a wall, sometimes it will work sometimes not, cause there is a small obstruction in the way where I point the transmitter. But, it does work through walls as stated. Overall, I don’t think you can get any better than this for the price! It was also cheaper than the one for sale on Ebay!

The remote control works just like a garage door opener. You point it at the devise and push the button. It’s as simple as that.

I use one controller for the outdoor lights so I don’t have to run outside on a dark, cold night to unplug them. I use the other for the Christmas tree to avoid tripping over the presents to unplug it. I realize some people may use timers for their holiday lights, but my schedule varies and I only like leaving lights on when I am at home and I always turn them off when I go to sleep.

This remote controller would also make a great exchange gift because it has universal appeal.

Each one operates on a different signal and Amazon isn’t letting you know which one you’re getting. If you order two, you may even get both for all you know. That might be fine for how you want to use them, but I want one to match what I already have. I’d like to know or be given a choice. Wouldn’t you?

I bought several after trying the one. I wish they would sell units which worked on different frequencies.

The pump has a timer which would have been useful for those with regular schedules – ours are not. So, instead of going out to the garage each time to manually turn the pump on/off, we tried this radio controlled switch.

It has worked perfectly for us. The direct line path from the switch to the remote control is about 25 feet but the signal must travel through two tiled walls with metal framing, a third metal framed wall, and finally to the switch on the opposite side of the water heater.

My wife complained that the remote control didn’t work for her. She woiuld press it momentarily just enough for the light to flicker. I suggested she hold it down for at least a second. When she did that it worked consistently for her as well.

Nice Little Remote Control At A Good Price!

The distance from our front deck to the fountain is about 50ft. With the one exception noted below, this item has worked everytime on the first click and without interference to other remote controls in use. In my initial temporary installation of the unit, I was not careful to install the remote vertically with the plug-in receptical down as noted in the instructions. Water got into the unit during a heavy rain and the unit stopped working. After drying it out, it worked just fine. This is one reliable, tough product, and well worth the price.

I get pretty sick of getting home from work every night and walking around the room turning on and off the lights, one by one. Now I can push a button before I even pull in the driveway and the lights are on to greet me. I currently have 2 in the room and sometimes if I barely tap the button the lamp closest to me will only work, but that’s an easy fix. The remote even works after our puppy chewed it up! I’ve had them for almost a year now and I haven’t had to replace the remote battery either! I recommend if you don’t want to spend your time walking around your living room.

I installed at the outlet inside my well cover, plugged my 2 low voltage landscape lighting transformers into it and now can control from the house which is about 80 feet away. Works flawlessly. I couldn’t be happier. Only wish I could get one for the rear of the house too, but there is no way to distinguish between multiples, as there is only one frequency.

I have try 3 other different brands remote control outlet, this is the only one perform the best, for around 45 feet and go through walls, still work, haven’t fail once. The channel A I have since a year ago, still going strong on the remote battery. Good product and I recommend it.

I use them to operate shopvacs in the garage piped into the house. This is by far the best. Mainly because there is only one button for on and off, that’s a huge plus. Secondly because the transmitter is strong, durable, has a strong key chain connection, and has great range. I have 2 on different channels of this unit and I love them.

The only reason I 4 starred this was because there is an unnecessary “rim” that extends over the female port. If you have a male cord going into the female end, be sure its not curved or angled or you’ll have some serious trouble getting it in.

If you’re buying multiple of these, make sure you decide between channel A and channel B. If you want both devices to operative via the same remote, purchase both on the same channel. If you want two remotes to control both devices independently, choose one of each channel.

Great Solution If Your Light Switch Is Blocked

The battery compartment of the remote has a flimsy lid and installing the battery between two metal retainer prongs had me get out my swiss army knife.

The main unit seems to be solidly constructed. It’s not 100% solid sate — you can hear a relay click when switching it on and off. It takes about a second to recover form an on OR off state. In other words, you must wait one second to turn it on again after it’s been switched off. And vice versa.

I bought it for my fountain which is at the very back of the yard and is hard to get to. I used to have to go out and plug it in when i wanted to run it which was a real pain. Now that I have this I can turn it on and off from inside the house! I am using it at a distance of about 40 yards. You need to have it be in a line of site for it to work.

So far so good. It has a pretty good range on it and can support almost 1,000w, so it can support a lot. I mainly use it in my shop with the lights over my work bench and it does a great job. I will buy another but as a warning make sure you get the A if you bought the B and visa-versa.

Used to control a 6′ tall multi-level marble fountain sitting on our balcony in a hi-rise Miami condo on the intra-coastal.

We keep the remote inside – about 10′ from where the unit is plugged in to the remote switch. Works the way we want w. no problem. Of course we haven’t had any major storms. Where the switch is located is pretty well isolated but still could be affected by some moisture. If we have a major storm warning where we have to close the hurricane shutters would probably bring the switch indoors.

I have one to work the fountain in the back yard. That one is set to channel A. The other one controls the fountain in the front yard. That one is set to channel B. They work perfectly and they don’t interfere with each other. They sit out there in the weather and function flawlessly. I would definitely purchase one again.

I have another that operates my wood shop dust collector. My first came from Shopsmith. This is the same unit at a better price. I use it to turn on/off an outside water foutain. The seperation between my shop and the foutain allows me to use the same “A” channel. I intend to buy a “B” unit to operate another water feature. This save a lot of hassle plugging in/unplugging the water foutain each night.

I don’t have a stereo system, which usually have their own remote control. I got tired of having to get up and turn the speakers on and off. After reading reviews, I purchased this device. It has worked very well indoors from a a distance of under 15 ft. I like this unit because the box has a short cord and does not cover outlets in my power strip. I have not had any issues with interference from other RF devices. The clicker sits on my coffee table next to the tv remote. It’s not so small that I lose it. I’m happy with this device for indoor use.