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A smart plug is a power receptacle that plugs into a traditional electrical outlet, it then integrates it into your smart home network, thus, providing you control over whatever you plug into it from an app on your smartphone or with your voice if you have a virtual assistant, for example, Alexa.
What Can a Smart Plug Do?
A smart plug has the ability to transform even “dumb” devices into a part of your smart home network, thus providing you greater control as well as customizable options just by plugging the device in. Table lamps, the clothes iron, along with the coffee maker get an IQ upgrade with the smart plugs. For the most features as well as the best reliability, you should look for smart plugs that connect to Wi-Fi either directly or using a bridge or dongle that plugs into your router.
What is a Smart Plug used for?
Let us get in sync with the latest smart plug features:
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- Few, for example, Amazon’s Echo Flex, have virtual assistant support built-in so you can speak directly to the smart plug instead of using an app to control the smart plug.
- Wi-Fi connectivity grants you the ability to remotely control devices plugged into smart plugs with your smartphone.
- Voice control options allow you to use Alexa, Siri, or even Google Assistant to control the devices plugged into the smart plug unit. Few models of the smart plug might require a bridge or dongle for this capability.
- You can use your smartphone to set timers that turn devices on and off at scheduled times.
- You will be able to track information about energy use as well as the cost of use for a device using the plug-in in real-time.
- Few models include a separate remote to operate the smart plug unit without needing your smartphone for simple on/off functions.
- You could schedule smart plugs in your home or office to turn on or off at specific times.
- Smart plugs designed for outdoor use provide you the ability to control (as well as schedule) items plugged in outdoors such as holiday lights along with decorations.
- You can set smart plugs to restrict as well as prevent latent energy consumption by devices while they are turned off.
- Smart plug strips work much like a multi-plug surge protector, they can send you notifications if a power surge occurs. Or it can also alert you when the number of devices connected to the strip poses a safety hazard.
What Is the Amazon Smart Plug?
The Amazon Smart Plug is the e-commerce behemoth’s take on the popular smart home tech. It is small and unobtrusive, and you just need to plug it into a regular outlet. The smart plug is small enough to keep a second outlet free, or, you could even add two smart plugs to a two-duplex outlet.
On the side of the plug, you will be able to spot a manual on/off switch. There is a small LED on the front of the smart plug to let the user know that the plug is receiving power from the outlet.
After you plug in the smart plug, then plug in whatever you want to control. You can open the Amazon Alexa app for iOS or Android on your device. Tap on the Devices icon in the lower-left corner, then click on the + icon. Finally, tap on Add Device, then Plug to finish the process.
Even if you do not own an Echo smart speaker, the Amazon Smart Plug could still be a part of your home. With the app, you will be able to set routines as well as schedules for what you would like to automate.
If you wish to use the Amazon Smart Plug to control lights and lamps, you can take advantage of the great Away Lighting feature. Using the Alexa app, you will be able to activate the feature that will turn lights on and off at random times to make it look like someone is home even when you are not.
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This feature is part of the Alexa Guard service that offers additional security options for your smart home.
If you do own an Echo speaker, you will be able to control anything connected to the Amazon Smart Plug with just a simple voice command. For example, if you wish to turn on a coffee maker in the morning, you can just tell that to Alexa.
The only noticeable downside of the Amazon Smart Plug is that it can only be controlled by the Alexa app or an Alexa-compatible device. So, the device cannot be used with competing smart home platforms, for example, Apple’s HomeKit or even Google Home.
Note – The Amazon smart plug cannot be used outdoors, it needs to connect to a 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi network to operate.
How to connect a Smart Plug to Alexa?
If you connect your smart plug to the Amazon Echo, you will be able to ask Alexa to control your non-smart appliances. To connect your smart plug to Alex, follow the steps below:
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- First, you need to plug your smart plug into an outlet.
- Download the app that works with your smart plug. You will be able to find the proper app on the App Store or Google Play Store by searching for the name of your smart plug device, or even the manufacturer.
- Then, set up your smart plug in the application. The majority of the apps will ask you to create an account with a username along with a password. Find your device in the app, then follow the instructions to set it up.
- This usually involves you pushing a physical button on your smart plug until it starts flashing. Then the device will be discovered by the app during the setup process.
- After you set up your smart plug in the app, you will have to set it up with Alexa if you wish to control it with voice commands or if you want to create a routine with the Alexa app.
- You need to launch the Alexa app.
- Tap the menu on the Alexa app, this is the icon that looks like three horizontal lines, this is situated in the top left corner.
- Tap on Skills & Games.
- Tap on the magnifying glass to search for your smart plug skill, you need to search for your device name or the company name.
- After you find the correct skill, tap on Enable To Use.
- Continue to follow the instructions displayed to set up your smart plug. You might have to take additional steps to enable your smart plug app. Follow the instructions if you wish to connect your Alexa to the smart plug.
- You will be asked to link the account you created in the app to the Alexa Skill, then you should wait till Alexa discovers the device.
- The setup is finished when you are able to see the smart plug “is set up and ready” in your Alexa app.
How to Reset a Smart Plug?
Are you wondering why your Smart Plug Not Working? When a Smart Plug stops working, it is usually due to a connectivity issue. Either the smart plug is not able to connect to your network for some reason, or the network settings are incorrect, or they may be outdated. If you have tried removing obstructions between your smart plug and your wireless router, and are sure that the smart plug has the correct network information, then you could reset the plug to fix your problem.
Note – The following steps are for resetting an Amazon Smart Plug, a few steps may vary depending on which Smart Plug you use.
- You have to make sure the Smart Plug is plugged into a working power outlet, then press the button on the side of the Smart Plug.
- Hold the button until you see the LED light on the Smart Plug turn red.
- Then, you need to wait for the LED to start blinking blue.
- When the LED begins to blink blue, the plug has been reset. To continue using the smart plug, you will have to set it up again.
How to Reconnect My Amazon Smart Plug?
After you finish resetting your Amazon Smart Plug, it will have to be reconnected to your Amazon account before it can work. To do so, you will need to set it up in the Alexa app, follow:
- First, open the Alexa app, then tap on Devices.
- Tap on the + icon.
- The Amazon Smart Plug popup will appear, tap on Continue.
- Tap on NEXT.
- Tap on SCAN BARCODE.
- Note – If your barcode is missing or damaged, tap on DON’T HAVE A BARCODE, then follow the on-screen instructions.
- You will have to use the camera on your phone to scan the barcode on your Amazon Smart Plug.
- Note – You will have to unplug the Smart Plug to scan the barcode.
- Plug the Smart Plug into a wall outlet, then wait till Alexa discovers it.
- Tip – If Alexa does not immediately find the Smart Plug, press, then hold the button on the side of the plug until the light blinks red, then blue.
- Wait till Alexa sets up the Smart Plug.
- Tap on Next.
- Tap on SKIP to start using the plug immediately. Or you can CHOOSE GROUP if you wish to assign it to a smart home group.
- Note – You have the ability to add the plug to a smart home group later or move it to a different group at any time.
- Tap on DONE.
Is a Smart Plug worth it?
Now, the answer to the question is subjective, if you are someone who wishes to be able to remotely control your “dumb” devices if you want to add it to your smart home experience, then the answer is yes. If you happen to be someone who is not well-versed with technology, Alexa, and everything else, and you feel manual is the way to go, then smart plugs aren’t for you.
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