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REVIEW - Amazon Echo Dot / Alexa

Discussion in 'Geeks and Gadgets' started by wmrcomputers, Jul 9, 2017.

  1. Perrier

    Perrier Banned

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    Nice one , best get my order in then :D
     
  2. Gramaisc

    Gramaisc Forum O. G.

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  3. wmrcomputers

    wmrcomputers Stafford PC & laptop repair specialist

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    Just received my next 2, so will be wiring one into the main light fitting and pushing into the ceiling cavity out of the way, and the other going on the electric fire I think. 2Kw so it's just capable of switching it.

    If you have any difficulties setting up let me know. Best advice, download the EWeLink app and set an ewelink account ready, and also enable ewelink fan in Alexa skills ready. It will speed up the process later ;)
     
  4. Perrier

    Perrier Banned

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    will do :up:
     
  5. wmrcomputers

    wmrcomputers Stafford PC & laptop repair specialist

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    Well my fire is now voice switched, but ceiling light will be a little trickier so that can wait till I have more free time.
    I'm like a kid at Christmas!!!!!!!! :D

    EDIT... They do electric curtain rails, right? ;)
     
  6. Jonah

    Jonah Spouting nonsense since the day I learned to talk

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    Yeah they do sell electric curtain rails. Seen them on Twitter. Takes about 6 hours* to close your curtains though.

    *slight exaggeration but it wasn't fast.
     
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  7. Alee

    Alee Well-Known Forumite

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    How do these wire in ? Do u just chop into the positive and negative ?
     
  8. wmrcomputers

    wmrcomputers Stafford PC & laptop repair specialist

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    Essentially, yes. There are terminal screws for positive and negative in at one end and out at the other. It doesn't allow for an earth passthrough though, so you have to ensure to keep any earth cable intact, or reconnect it alongside these using a traditional terminal block.

    Here is one I've wired into a basic table lamp which doesn't have an earth...

    IMG_1814.JPG
     
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  9. wmrcomputers

    wmrcomputers Stafford PC & laptop repair specialist

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    Also, I forgot to mention for others reading this that as with most smart devices, these aren't JUST for use with Alexa. You can use the mobile app too to switch things on and off while not at home (as long as you have mobile data). You can also put any connected lights on timers etc too - which is handy for when the house is unoccupied.
     
  10. Alee

    Alee Well-Known Forumite

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    Thank I'm gonna get me some of these
     
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  11. wmrcomputers

    wmrcomputers Stafford PC & laptop repair specialist

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    I honestly can't recommend them enough. Awesome little gadgets for the price. I'm even wondering whether there might be a market for these including installation and set up. I might put the feelers out with a few leaflets
     
  12. acpoynton

    acpoynton Well-Known Forumite

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    I've had a little look and at £10 (ish) for 2 it would be a great way to convert house to a smart house.
     
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  13. wmrcomputers

    wmrcomputers Stafford PC & laptop repair specialist

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    I've just rigged my third Sonoff wifi switch up to the ceiling light fitting in the front room. I originally hoped to push it up into the ceiling cavity but that was a no-go. I've ended up attaching it to the ceiling right at the side of the light fitting - so it's exposed, but who looks at the ceiling, right?

    Still alot cheaper than 3 philips hue bulbs for a 3 lamp fitting though. It's just a shame that all these wifi light switches being sold in the UK are bloody useless for UK use!

    EDIT:- Sonoff units would be pretty easy to wire in to a basic ceiling rose light fitting - inline with the hanging cable. A big enough lamp shade would ensure it's not really noticed.
     
  14. Perrier

    Perrier Banned

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    i decided to leave these , although they do the job and are very cheap to buy , i use a broadlink so effectively i could buy any wifi plug and tell broadlink rather than the cloud service the sonoff uses, therefore keeping everything within my network.

    still a great product though :)
     
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  15. wmrcomputers

    wmrcomputers Stafford PC & laptop repair specialist

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    I totally see where you're coming from, but it's the difference between £5 and around £20 that is the swinger for most people.

    On this subject, there seemed to be a server downtime this morning lasting a couple of hours, and from threads online it seems it last happened around 9 months ago. However, you can simply push the small button on the sonoff instead under these circumstances, and with such as my ceiling light fitting, I have set that one to default to ON when power is applied, so the light switch will operate it as normal if there's an outage without needing to access the button on the sonoff device.

    PS - For Alexa to control your devices, it must use Broadlinks cloud service as well as Alexa anyway surely?
     
  16. Perrier

    Perrier Banned

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    No , but it must use a "gateway" of sorts.
    breaking it down , an old tablet or mobile acts as a "go between" ... so broadlink uses the home network to send with alexa.
    ( phone or tablet left on with app running and left in a cupboard or drawer ) the app is only the communicator that changes the language that alexa will understand.

    so , as long as i purchase anything thats on the right frequency ( i 'think' its 433Mhz ) then broadlink can work with it and send commands to alexa to tell it to power on/off , volume up/down , change LED light to red or green etc.

    This guy on youtube can explain it much better than me , sounds hard to do but once you have set it up its pretty easy

     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2017
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  17. wmrcomputers

    wmrcomputers Stafford PC & laptop repair specialist

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    I see where all that comes from - but to me personally (and probably a lot of other people who just want to control a few devices) this is way too much kit to not only set up, but also have sitting around. For a start we'd need a spare tablet to remain switched on all of the time as well as the broadlink kit as well.

    What works for you works for you - which is great. Myself personally would rather take the chance at £5 a device requiring no other equipment whatsoever - and suffer occasional downtimes maybe a few times a year. If the entire server was shut down by iTead (that make Sonoff) then the worst case scenario is that X appliances multiplied by a fiver has to be thrown away - but that's extremely extremely unlikely and even then wouldn't be enough money lost to lose any sleep over.

    I'm sticking with my little white Sonoff boxes. They're easy to fit in-line on the devices own mains cable, small enough to tuck away and hide etc. And once again ONLY A FIVER. I have to block capital that one as I still can't believe myself how cheap these things are.

    Of course the level of control that your system has is even greater (adjusting volume etc) but I'm not quite that bothered when a TV has a remote control anyway. To myself it's for the things that you would usually have to get up to do when about to watch a film, like simply switching a light off or the fire on.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2017
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  18. wmrcomputers

    wmrcomputers Stafford PC & laptop repair specialist

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    There is also a Sonoff device called the "Slampher" which is an E27 / Edison Screw lightbulb holder that does 433MHz as well as wifi. It's a good option for people with a basic light fitting that they want to use with any standard bulb still. On eBay they're around £14.80 from a UK seller, and £9.49 from China if you're prepared to wait.
     
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  19. Perrier

    Perrier Banned

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    Oh , dont get me wrong , im not dissing them at all.
    IF i had not already got the broadlink , the sonoff are absolutely the way to go.
    ...in fact , on reading up on the sonoff , i found it can be re-flashed and work with the broadlink as well ... but need to get my head around that one first ;)

    Broadlink have actually released a new app to do away with the need of a go - between , but at the moment only available in the US.

    will keep you posted @wmrcomputers .
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2017
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  20. wmrcomputers

    wmrcomputers Stafford PC & laptop repair specialist

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