I’ve recently taken the time to purchase an Amazon Echo. Well, an Echo, Echo Plus, & Echo Spot to be my alarm clock. Initially, I was only going to use them for music through the house, timers, list management, and along with verbal random Alexa questions. They worked great for that, but then I figured it’d be nice to control some of the stuff in my house by voice. The Echo devices really do a nice job of picking up my voice – I can be in my kitchen while my Echo Plus is in the living room with a wall between us, and if I speak loudly it’ll pick up everything I say. With that being that case, I shopped around for prices on electrical socket plugs that were Echo compliant. I ran across quite a few, but the one I ended up with was an electrical socket dongle that goes between the plug and the socket.
The brand name I went with is Teckin, and received 4 for $33.99 off of Amazon. After receiving them, they weren’t exactly a,b,c to install but they work great. Here’s how it went:
Before anything, Enable the Smart Life skill on your Amazon Echo device. In the Amazon app on your phone, in the Home screen press the button in the upper left corner that looks like horizontal lines” then choose “Skills & Games” in the pull-down menu that appears. In the search bar, type “smart life”, and in the search results the first one should be “Smart Life” by Tuya Inc. Pick that one, and select “Enable Skill”. There, you now have the ability to use Smart Life on your Echo device(s).
Just an aside, pretty much how it works is Smart Life is run by another company that handles the plugs (or whatever else), while Amazon Echo talks to the application behind the scenes with the “skill”. The Smart Life application will ask for the wifi password during installation, for this very reason.
1) first step was to install a software on my phone called “Smart Life”. It may sound simple, but I have an iPhone and there are quite a few softwares named “Smart Life” and that can make things tricky. The good thing is there is a QR code on the box, and pulling up the camera application on the phone then lining up the square with the QR code will allow it to detect the proper app and give you the app store posting for it.
2) Pull up the app after it installs, and create an account through there. It’s for the Smart Life application, and they link the plugs directly to it.
3) Plug one of the Teckin plugs into a socket. Take a look at the plugs on/off switch on it’s side – it will either be constant blue or blinking. If it is not blinking, push the button for 5+ seconds until it blinks then let go.
4) In the application, do a scan for electrical outlet, and give it 30 seconds to a minute to run a detection. It should pick it up. That’s the Smart Life part, which is pretty straight forward.
5) Open the Alexa app, & hit the Devices button on the lower right. (looks like a house with dials in it) Then hit the plus symbol in the upper right, selecting “Add device” in the pop-up menu. In the setup screen that appears, choose “Other” at the very bottom, then in the next screen click “discover devices” at the bottom.
Sometime in the mix, the Smart Life application will ask for your login information, prompting for a phone number and a password. During this time, use your email address instead of phone number. This is a bug in the software and it took me a while to figure it out myself.
After all of that, the devices are available within the Alexa app. Rename them by simply selecting them within the settings and editing their name.
I’m personally very happy with them. I have lights handled by them in almost every room. (“Alexa, turn on living room light”). The part I’m really loving is powering off my computer desk when I leave, completely. No more monitors blinking and waiting to be turned on, I simply power down my computer then “Alexa, turn off computer” and bam… off go power to monitors and computer. This saves money in the long run with trickle-power going to them through the hours they aren’t used, along with giving them a longer life as well.