Well, I have to say that while I love the move to Apple Homekit for all my home automation, this little life in the pandemic world revealed some real problems with the "cheap" devices. The main problem is that some of these things demand a 2.4Ghz only network. And they don't respond super well to power outages. What happened was that I was able to get them on a dual network (that is a single SSID which supports both 2.4 and 5GHz), but with a short power outage, while Philips was able to get back online (probably because they are 2x more expensive and use a hub to do the Wifi connection, these other outlets and lightbulbs are direct to Wifi devices, so they have way more software stack, that's not a good thing).
So net, net, I've never been able to get one Vocalink Smart Bulb on, but after about an hour of resetting it finally worked. But during the power outage, it fell off the network again. If you have one of these things, then the solution is that you have to rest the Vocalink L3 light bulb. But basically, you have to:
- Turn it off
- Then hit the switch on and off three times
- Create a dedicated 2.4Ghz home network just for these devices
- Connect you phone to it (and make sure it doesn't roam off) because it will use that network to program the thing
- Then go to the Vocalink mobile application and add a new device
- Then you scan the QR code on the bulb
- Wait and pray that it works.
This really didn't work perfectly and you have to try over and over, net, net, it's cheap, but if you want reliability, at least for me the Philips stuff works better.
I got this thing because it does allow you to measure the power output and it goes to the Home application with monitoring. But this one fell off the network too. The only solution is that you have to reset it and readd it:
- Plug the thing in and then push the left button for 12 seconds
- When it starts the blue light blinking slowly it is reset
- Then you go to the Home application delete the old not working connections. Note that unlike Vocalink and Belkin, you don't need to download the Satechi application, you can use Home
- Then hit the + to add it.
- At the top of the outlet is the QR code
- Then you get to sit and wait (and pray) that it connect
- This should take a couple of minutes
- Now you can delete the "dead" Satechi from the Home application.
- In the Home application, you can separate the two plugs and also name them as lights if you want.
Belkin Wemo Smart Plug
Well, this one has been problematic, but the basic scheme is reset and then re-add it. This was super frustrating as the delay to add it take minutes and it repeatedly fails.
- Remove the WeMo from both the Wemo Application and most importantly the Home application. Unlike the Satechi, it doesn't like a duplicate there fails with an strange error message.
- Hold the button down and then plug it in
- Wait while it goes through a long sequence first of white light flashing, then solid orange, then flashing white and then finally after a minute until the light starts flashing alternatively white and orange. This takes a long time so be patient
- Go to the WeMo application choose Add
- And then scan the QR code
- Then it says wait and then you pray that it works.
- The Wemo application will take quite a long time, several minutes to finally return and as a confusing aside, in this setup mode, it doesn't leave anything in the Wemo application.
- I'm pretty sure that like the Satechi, you don't need the Wemo application anymore as the dialog sure looks like a Apple Home app one.
- In the Home application you can name them as lights or outlets. Naming them as lights, let's you say "Hey Siri, turn on the lights in the room" work correctly, otherwise you have to say "Hey Siri turn the power on in room."
Let's hope that someday all this matures, so losing your Wifi or your power doesn't mean you have to factory reset every smart plug and light bulb in your house