ALEXA Smart Plugs - More questions

There is one oddity, which I have not been able to resolve...
I have fitted a car charger, in my garage, idea is to give the battery
a 15 minute boost once per day. I had this originally working via a
plug in timer, but I have no replaced this with a Smart Plug working
with Alexa/ Smart life. I set it in Alexa to come on at 12:00, off at
12:15 - which works properly, except....
The plug is also switched on at 23:00 - Alexa shows it as on, but there
is no routine in Alexa set to turn it on. As there is no routine to
turn it on, I didn't have one set to turn it back off. As a temporary
fix, I have changed my on/off times to 23:00 to 23:15, but has anyone
any idea why it turns on without a routine at 23:00 please?
The other three Smart Plugs are behaving perfectly, as near as I can
tell.
Next question, also garage related. I have a mains powered air
compressor in my garage, which is quite noisy. I power it up very
ocaisionaly, as needed to check tyre pressure etc.. I used to power it
up, then forget to switch it off, then as pressure in the system was
lost, it would start up maybe in the middle of the night. To stop that
happening, I added a timer circuit - once powered on it remains on for
20 minutes, then turns off.
I'm wondering if I might be able to replace that timer with a Smart
Plug? I ask Alexa to 'turn compressor on', Alexa then turns it off 20
minutes later.
Last question for now - I installed the Alexa PC App on my laptop.
Unless I am missing something, it is of very little use - It allows me
to check the state of Smart Plugs, change the state of them, but that
is all? I cannot see any routines, or edit them. It is unable to
control my Smart TV, or Fire stick/cube/box - it shows all these things
as 'Not accessible from your PC'. The Alexa Iphone App works fine, am I
missing something?
Reply to
Harry Bloomfield, Esq.
I think your pc needs some kind of radio connection. I noted that my phone regularly uses bluetooth to do stuff, though its not exactly saying what!
It may be that the particular combination of wifi and bluetooth and permissions on the windows laptop, means parts cannot function. This is really a question for Amazon though. On the ghost switch on times, Have you tried moving the switch to another location and using one of the others to control the charger? At least that would prove whether its one switch or a bug in the system.
I would not know about the compressor, as long as its in range and can cope with the load, I'd have thought its no different to anything else controlled by a plug. Brian
Reply to
Brian Gaff (Sofa
Many of these smart devices come with their own software which you often have to use to pair with your WiFi before Alexa will discover the device. It is possible to set timers in the default apps leaving Alexa unaware of these actions. It might be that you have inadvertently set a timer in the default app, Alexa will detect the status of any switch or socket even if it does not have direct control of the timer in question. I must admit out of laziness I have often stuck with the default app for my sockets and simply used Alexa as an override.
Richard
Reply to
Tricky Dicky
Trying to use a highly complex and unreliable system that you can't fully control instead of a couple mechanical plugin time switches that'll just work year in year out?
OK one will need the feed to the motor moving post the switch to give the timed on period but that isn't hard. B-)
Reply to
Dave Liquorice
A separate timer the turn on- a mono stable Alexa kicks with a 20 min time out. A 555 with a relay, perhaps adapt one of the modules off EBay?
I think you need to ?pair? the Firestick with the Alexa.
I?m sure I?ve done it but can?t recall the process. I don?t use the feature.
Reply to
Radio Man
+1
Or write the software end to end, so that you have control and can understand what to do when it breaks. And can better train other house inhabitants to do likewise.
This fad for connecting random unsecured devices puzzles me.
If ye must do that, they really need to be their own network, and firewalled internally if they have (because of cloud connections) to live in the dmz.
Reply to
Adrian Caspersz
Actually smart home devices in general are pretty reliable, but one always needs to realise that any changes at Amazon, in this case could affect a lot of things, Say if Amazon as they are doing with health now on Halo, started a premium service that said, OK you can have two devices controllable for free, but you made to pay an x pounds a month per extra device controllable. I believe they are doing something similar with music if its different on two echos etc. I think its only going to get worse when comes in and everything is directly connected to the backbone internet, and hence your isp could start charging each one connected etc. Nothing will be for free, but I'd expect a 'normal' cost as is now to be established with additions for everything when the saturation of devices gets to a critical mass and people come to rely on them. Its the old got you by the short and curlies approach, where the customer pays and pays but never actually controls anything. Brian
Reply to
Brian Gaff
Far, far, simpler just to move one wire in a mechanical time switch. No faffing about designing and building the circuit, makeing/adpating a suitable enclosure, etc.
Reply to
Dave Liquorice
Wouldn't it be cheaper/simpler/more reliable simply to get a battery charger that can be left permanently connected? They're pretty cheap now. I have one for my 'bike (which is more likely to be left for long periods than the cars) and also one for the ride-on mower. They are both left permanently connected and keep the batteries in good condition. The 'bike one (on previous bike) was in use for many, many years and I only replaced the bike battery once in 14 years.
Reply to
Chris Green
Then you run your own BLINK server.
Alexa is an enabler, to sell Amazon products. The Smart Home features are a loss leader to try add get you to buy things. Provided you only buy what you want they fail and the fools who buy stuff they don?t need pay for your Smart Home etc.
Reply to
Radio Man
FSVO "pretty reliable". That for me means at least ten years with no or very little mainetenace or loss of features.
Not just Amazon. Our Panasonic TV was sort of "Smart", it had iPlayer, YouTube, and a few other things. Panasonic have dropped/severly reduced stuff they provided and haven't kept up with iPlayer so even though the screen and picture quality is still as good as the day it was bought to a lot of people it's now "broken" and would have to be replaced. Nintendo also dropped their online stuff for the DS. I expect there are mnay other examples of kit becoming useless 'cause the make drops the service it relies on.
Anything that relies on "the cloud" and/or an internet connenction to function is at risk of either just been turned off or getting left behind for no good reason.
It's not "free" now, google, amazon, etc make their billions by selling the data they harvest from you in retrun for a few titbits. You are the product they are selling. Remember these Alex, etc, thingies chat away to their masters all the time telling them the what/where/when of *every* event they know about. Some might say who cares if Amazon know the bedroom light was switched on, which is fair enough. But we are creatures of habit, once you have enough data points and start mining/pattern matching allsorts of useful information can be gleaned. Combine that with physical location information and information gleaned from other users, your "anonymous data" is anything but annonymous.
Oh yes, get 'em hooked and reel 'em in.
Reply to
Dave Liquorice
Or one of those small solar panels. Have one (about 4 x 12") for the genset battery, keeps it topped up even in winter with the panel facing east.
Reply to
Dave Liquorice
In article snipped-for-privacy@news.individual.net>,
In the days when drill etc chargers weren't smart I did build a timer to switch off the entire charging station I have in the workshop (a small area on a shelf where the chargers live) With a few presets, including one for basic Ni-Cad charging times. It's still in circuit - but not really needed now.
Reply to
Dave Plowman (News
on 19/09/2020, Chris Green supposed :
I have got numerous chargers and smart chargers, the thing is - even a smart charger or controlled charger will cause evaporation of the electrolyte. I have had batteries wrecked before, when left on smart chargers. So I now bring batteries up to a full charge, with a controlled charger, but on a regular schedule.
Reply to
Harry Bloomfield, Esq.
Tricky Dicky laid this down on his screen :
The default App is one called Smart Life that had an on and off timer set for 20:15 / 20:30, from when I was messing with it. The are both disabled, still there but grayed out - I have yet to find a way to wipe them completely. I just have one on, one off set in the Alexa app.
Smart Life is also the name of the Alexa extension for my Iphone, which interfaces Alexa to work fully with the plugs.
- Maybe that is what is missing from the PC, to enable Alexa to gain full control of the plugs?
Reply to
Harry Bloomfield, Esq.
If you take this smart plug apart you'll discover it's simply an ESP8266 microcontroller and a relay (and a power measurement chip if it supports that). If you install open source firmware like Tasmota on it, you still get a wifi-remote-controllable, timer-able, plug. You just lose all the layers of apps and cloud services and APIs that serve to make these things extremely fragile. And whenever Tuya or Amazon get bored it'll stay working.
The only thing that doesn't give you is control of things 'from the cloud' when you're away from home. A VPN or tunnel will fix that.
Theo
Reply to
Theo
Dave Plowman (News) laid this down on his screen :
Well, perhaps not, but I still have a time-clock powering my multiple chargers. It comes on for 20 minutes each day, just to top their batteries up. One of the batteries is a combined starter, tyre inflator, which is 20 plus years old and its SLA battery still tests as 100%.
I never charge my tractor mowers battery, when it is turned off, it is really turned off. Besides, it is a long way from mains power. Always starts at the first attempt in spring.
Reply to
Harry Bloomfield, Esq.
The tuya servers are in control of your plugs, the alexa servers ask the tuya servers to do things that you set via the alexa app on your phone.
Sounds like there are still some settings on the tuya servers that the alexa servers are unaware of.
Reply to
Andy Burns

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