Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and just about every electronic device manufacturer are jumping on the bandwagon of connected devices. They promise us the ability to turn on our toaster from another room, unlock our doors just by shouting at them from outside, and change the channel on our TV through perfectly enunciating a sentence instead of mashing the buttons on our remotes like chumps. And yet, despite all this new-fangled finger-less control, there is an unanswered question: does this technology save us energy in the long run?
For years we’ve been hearing about vampire power and all the devices in our home that sit in standby, waiting for their masters to turn them on, quietly burning power to listen for that signal to wake. Fortunately the One Watt Initiative and general awareness and design for energy savings has cut out a lot of this phantom load. So how does the smart home, which essentially adds a bunch of connected vampires to our base load, end up saving money in the long run? And is it better than other alternatives or just good habits? I put these questions to the test with today’s smart power strips and controllable outlets.
Continue reading “Smart Plugs Don’t Save You Energy, But Don’t Consume Much Either”
As IoT devices become more prevalent in the consumer world, how long will it be before it’s cheaper to buy one, than to make one? Definitely not yet, which means if you want your very own IoT power strip — you’ll have to make your own. Good thing it’s not that hard!
[Dev-Lab] came up with this project which allows him to control several outlets with his phone. What we really like about it is that he designed a 3D printed housing that fits on the end of the power-strip. This keeps all messy wires out of sight, and it looks like it was designed to be there!
The beauty with an IoT device like this is that it doesn’t require any infrastructure besides a WiFi enabled device with an HTTP browser — the ESP8266 module means no server is necessary. An Arduino was used in the project just because it was quick an easy to do. But it really boils down to being a glorified pin expander. This could very easily be fixed by upgrading from an ESP01 to and ESP03 module to get more IO broken out on the carrier board. If you do this, let us know!
Continue reading “IoT Power Strip Lets You Control All Your Holiday Lights”