Daily Archive: October 7, 2013

Great Remote Outlets, Work As Expected

We’ve had the pump running on a timer but that’s pretty inefficient and inconvenient when we want hot water during the hours the pump isn’t running. I bought this little unit and had it running within 5 minutes. I downloaded the Android ap and even though its still in Beta it functioned just fine. It took a couple tries to get it right, but was really easy/intuitive. Now I can turn the pump on/off from my smart phone, even when i’m not on WIFI (as long as I have data connection on my phone). I’d recommend this device for anybody who needs power automation from their phone! It’s genius!!

After opening it we immediately started using it… we were going on vaction the next day. Works fantastic and exactly as it’s advertised! My ONLY complaint about it is, it won’t turn ON manually if you previously turned it off via WeMo. And if you turned it off manually then it won’t turn on via WeMo.

For example: I pull up in my driveway, take out my phone and turn on the livingroom lamp via WeMo before entering the house. (Awesome!! I get to enter a lit room.) When getting ready for bed and charge my phone, I turn off the living room lamp via WeMo. (Wonderful!! I didn’t have to walk across the house to turn off the light.) I forget something in my purse that is on the table by the front door, walk over and try to turn on the light so that I can see inside my purse. (Crap! The light doesn’t turn on because I turned it OFF remotely via WeMo.)

I love this product and plan to get a few more for other electronics and/or appliances in the house.

The range is great, I plugged several in around the house and was able to control all of them from anywhere in my house (though it’s a fairly small house). The switches on the front allow you to switch on and off each outlet without the remote, and the status LED’s show power and whether the outlet is on or off. One thing I find a little disappointing (the reason I didn’t give 5 stars) is that the switches are toggle switches. Each button has only one switch under it (I took the remote apart to sniff the protocol). This means you can’t send ON or OFF, only able to switch between ON/OFF with one button. If you want to be able to switch devices without being able to see them (for instance, turning off an attic fan or outdoor light) get a different kit. I have yet to determine whether or not there is ON/OFF built into the protocol that the remote doesn’t expose to the user.

As mentioned before, I took the remote apart and probed the radio output with my oscilloscope. The transmitter is a 433MHz unit and could probably be mimicked with a generic 433MHz transmitter unit from SparkFun (have one on order, will test it and post results). The protocol seems simple enough, but I haven’t got a transmitter to reproduce it with. Should be very simple to implement with an AVR microcontroller. My goal with this is to control these outlets from my PC, but without toggle it could become a problem.