Sometimes you wish a certain thing would be controllable right? A “dumb” (aka ordinary) device that’s plugged in an electrical outlet? Well good news this can be done at a basic level. Is this section a bit redundant because it’s discussed elsewhere on the site? Yes but might as well concentrate some notions in a same page.

If you want a regular device say a Christmas tree to turn on and off at specific times, it can be done, so can any electrical device you can leave “on” by controlling its electrical supply. Fair warning, if you plan to add many of these and your Wi-Fi router can’t do more than say 25 devices without losing performance, I highly recommend you look at ZigBee or Z-Wave devices, as they operate on a separate technology and range is usually very good. Costs about the same as Wi-Fi devices too as well, make sure you have a hub that controls this stuff.

There are a few ways to do this:

  1. Smart plugs: you simply insert them in the receptable and then plug in say the Christmas tree. Voila. Not very hard is it? Plus during the “sale times of the year” they can get really affordable, plus some work outdoors. Look at any reputable brand like Kasa (by TP-Link), plenty of choices out there.
  2. Smart receptacles: this is even better in some scenarios, where nothing is plugged in the receptacle but the device to be turned off and on. Now you may need to figure out what your wiring is and if you don’t have the skills do call an electrician for assistance. Leviton makes this model which is quite interesting and works in a 3-wire setup (load, neutral & ground), Kasa makes one too with this type of wiring. This is where I do avoid “weird brands”, I’d rather pay a few bucks more and be sure I have a quality product.
  3. Wireless smart switches: these are hidden in-wall and you can add a “middleman” type device between a light switch and the electrical wiring which can be useful. I need to try these as I have an idea for the house here. Sonoff makes some which do not require a neutral if your house is wired like mine, many other brands are available as well.

If you have more information you wish to share or have questions don’t be shy and drop me a line!

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