Manufacturers strive to create the most convenient and comfortable equipment, but not all devices are equipped with smart functions. Such devices can be made more convenient by complementing them with a smart or programmable socket. We will tell you what can be automated, how to use such sockets and what can be connected to them.
What are smart sockets
There are two types of smart sockets: outdoor and recessed. External sockets do not require installation: there is a regular electrical plug on the back, so they can be plugged into any outlet or surge protector as an adapter. Built-in smart sockets outwardly practically do not differ from ordinary ones, they can only be issued by an indicator or a button on the case. Smart plugs have the same task. They serve meals on command or on schedule. Why might you need it? Let’s tell you now.
What are smart plugs for?
Smart sockets are used to save energy and to account for it, automate the operation of devices and remote control devices. For example, using a smart socket, you can automate watering a garden or vegetable garden, lighting a summer cottage or a mini-garden on a windowsill. The device will supply power to the connected device on schedule.
The simplest thing that can be connected is a heater, air conditioner or even a small electric heating boiler. At the end of the working day, you need to remotely activate the outlet, then upon arrival home the temperature will be optimal, especially if the outlet can work as a thermostat.
You can also connect ventilation, a recuperator or an electric window drive to a smart outlet to ventilate the apartment before your return.
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How to turn on the device remotely
The analog switch must always be in the “on” position for a connected device to turn on with the smart plug. Or, the device must have a power-on function. For example, PCs, or rather their motherboards, have such a feature. In the BIOS, turn on the appropriate mode. Now, when power is applied, the PC will start itself, and it will be possible to control it remotely. For example, when you are at work, and you urgently need to download a couple of files from your home PC.
Smart plug control
Smart sockets can be controlled from anywhere in the world. For this, the Internet or cellular connection is enough. There are sockets with a radio remote control, they are called so – radio-controlled. Other outlets such as wattmeter and socket timer are not controlled.
To control the outlet using a smartphone, you need an appropriate app. Often, manufacturers of smart outlets develop them specifically for their models, but there are also universal applications. In the case of a Wi-Fi connection, the devices communicate without problems. To do this, in accordance with the instructions, create a connection and configure its operation. Then you can disconnect your smartphone from Wi-Fi and control the outlet from anywhere.
If you have smart devices from different manufacturers, you will have to use several different programs, which is not always convenient. But you can combine all smart devices using one application – “Smart Home” from “Yandex” or similar services. You can find out what is required in order to organize a smart home system in this material , or get acquainted with the personal experience of one of the smart home users.
Smart sockets provide more options, but it happens that there is no desire or opportunity to use Wi-Fi or mobile Internet. There are programmable sockets for this case. They are powered by a mechanical or electronic timer. The former are configured using a disk and have a time limit: usually no more than 24 hours. Some outlets are able to supply and disconnect power on a schedule, other models only disconnect.
Electronic versions have more settings than mechanical ones: they have both daily and weekly timers. With a weekly timer, you can, for example, set up automatic watering and not go to the outlet every day. You can configure the lighting so that it turns on itself in the evening and turns off at night when you are already asleep. We have revealed the details of how smart timers work in one of our articles .
Smart plug notifications
Some smart plugs can not only receive remote commands, but also send notifications back. Where they will send their messages, in what form and under what circumstances – you can specify through the mobile application.
For example, at the end of a wash, a smart socket can send a notification to the smartphone that the device connected to it has stopped consuming energy, which means that it has finished working. Any scenario can be customized. There are enough sensors and sensors in the socket for all occasions: there is power, and voltage, and consumption, and a timer, etc. Such chips will be useful for those who are especially busy, and for automation lovers, and for simply forgetful users.
Voice control of smart plug
Voice control is one of the most interesting features. In addition to everyday and routine commands to turn on a PC or a heater, you can be a little creative and add magic to the New Year’s holiday with the help of smart sockets. For example, from the phrase “Herringbone, burn!” the Christmas garland will turn on. It will look like a miracle for children.
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Smart plug power
When connecting devices via a smart plug, do not forget about safety. First, you need to compare the power of the connected device with the maximum permissible load on the smart plug. And secondly, although most models have short circuit protection, assess the risks of remotely switching on certain devices when no one is at home.
Cons of smart plugs
Smart sockets are more expensive than conventional ones, but it’s difficult to call this a disadvantage: comfort and convenience are worth it. The main disadvantage in syncing the socket with the smartphone is that it usually requires Wi-Fi with a frequency of 2.4 GHz. This is a popular but outdated standard. If you have a new router operating in the 5 GHz range installed, then there may be problems with synchronization: the outlet will simply not be able to connect. Therefore, it is better to find out in advance in what range the smart socket works.
A smart socket is a very useful home assistant that fulfills your commands with absolute precision: listens, turns on, turns off, protects, notifies, calculates costs and monitors connected devices. Only a smart home system can be more useful, but that’s a completely different story.