Making a Smart Home – My log and Notes

Getting Started

I’ve decided to try and convert my house into a smart home and to document my progress as best I can.

After having reviewed smart home technologies I’ve decided to try to use Wi-Fi devices and to avoid Z-Wave and Zigbee.

This should be made easier as I’m going to start with the lighting and wall sockets, and there are plenty of Wi-Fi device options.

My first step was to order a couple of devices and to try them out.

I ordered a sonoff switch (approx £6) and a Tuya Smart socket (approx £12).

This I did before Xmas and managed to get the outside christmas lights to work using the Tuya smart socket with Amazon Alexa in a couple of hours.

After my experience with Amazon Alexa I also decided to use this as my main control.

So Currently my plans are:

  • Use Wi-Fi devices
  • Use Alexa for control

The next stage is to convert some of the existing light switches and plugs to smart switches and plugs.

So I will be looking for some Wi-fi switches and wall sockets.

Update January 2018

I thought I would start with lights. My idea was to simply replace the old switches with new smart switches and that way I would need to do any rewiring.

However I hit a stumbling block straight away.

If you look at smart light switches on Amazon then most of them require a neutral at the switch which most UK homes don’t have.

This article- Understanding 2 and 3 wire lighting systems explains this very well

switch-review

I did find some that would work but not Wi-Fi switches.

light-switch-works-uk

I’ve decided to day the lighting to see if the situation changes as ideally I simple want to replace the old light switch with the new smart light switch and not do any rewiring.

Update January 2018

So I then turn to smart plugs.

My first thought was to replace the existing sockets with smart ones.smart-plug

However after searching on Amazon I didn’t find any that worked over Wi-Fi.

In fact I didn’t find many at all.

Then I started thinking that doing it this way is probably not the way to go.

smart-socketInstead it would make more sense using a smart plug. Smart plugs are relatively cheap, portable and don’t need installing.

There are many on the market costing around £15.

The problem here is with the choice. As I already have one I decided to go with the same make.

This is not out of compatibility reasons. It is because each manufacturer has it’s own App and if you get three from different manufactures then you need to install three Apps to control them.

In addition you need to set up three online accounts even though they might all work with Alexa of Google Home.

Update March 2018

I haven’t got very far yet as I also encountered a home automation system called MI|home which got me distracted.

Although I’m not a fan of proprietary systems I was impressed by the range of products and of the fact that they all work together.

This makes it very easy for non technical users to set up and use.

In addition they are no more expensive than Wi-Fi or Zwave devices and they are available on Amazon UK.

Currently they are UK only. Here is a link to their web page.

There is also a decent review here.

 

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