Nest

DizzyBlue

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Ok so my sister have me a Google Nest mini thing she's upgraded hers her home has oodles of smart devices she very tech savvy, me errrr tech definitely not my strong point but I thought I would give this thing a whirl. Debating putting the birds lights and a few house lamps and the fish tank lights on to it for control.... First I know I am going to have to get smart plugs for the devices I wish to add. But before I leap into the unknown and end up having a technical brain cell frying session is there any advice from members who already have these in control?
 

Scott199

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I would start with a bulb or two, I’ve got most things voice controlled now but it took a few attempts to find stuff that “just works”

we’re using Amazon Alexa for our stuff, something like Philips and such needs a hub and then will only run Philips stuff, not sure about google but you want stand alone bulbs and plugs and they connect using your wifi, so anything you want to control has to be in wifi range.

light switches are easier than bulbs but require wiring. So bulbs are simple but not expensive n the long run.
 

DizzyBlue

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Thanks Scott199 will bear that in mind will go for light switches rather than bulbs :thumbsup:
 

JackAndRob

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We have smart plugs, bulbs, switches and cameras, all controlled by Amazon Alexa. To control them, you have to add a "skill" to Alexa and I imagine that Google is similar.

Bulbs:

Plugs:

Cameras:

In-line switches:

Door/window sensors:

Light switch:

Powerline adapter:

None of these devices need a hub. They connect directly to your WiFi router.

The issue with some light switches is that they require a neutral wire. The wiring in a lot of houses doesn't provide that. Also, the smart switches can be deeper that regular switches, so you have to use spacers to raise them. I'd go for smart bulbs - much more convenient - but they are quite large (tall) and may not fit in some fixtures. Also, replacing switches needs some knowledge of house wiring. Get an electrician to do it if you are not familar with this type of thing (or you might die!). Another reason to get smart bulbs.

I used the in-line switches listed above to smartify three flush fitting, dome ceiling lights that have LEDs rather than bulbs. The switches fit inside the dome and have worked perfectly. We got the domes to make the living room and kitchen bird safe as the birds were forever landing on the previous fittings :)

The light bulbs above have bayonet fittings, but ones with screw fittings are also available.

All of the kit listed above can be controlled via Alexa/Google but it can also be controlled via your phone, whether you are at home (on your home WiFi network) or away. They can all be controlled automatically using routines, in Alexa speak. Google will have something similar, so if you want lights to go on and off and specific times (or even at sunrise/sunset), it is possible to set that up.

Most of these devices operate on 2.4G WiFi and they are set up using your smart phone. If your WiFi router also has 5G, you will need to disable it (leaving only 2.4G active) to set them up as your smart phone needs to be on the same network. Once set up, you can enable 5G again. This is one of the most common reasons why people say they cannot get the device to work as they don't know how to set them up on their routers.

Furthermore, if you start adding a lot of devices, your router may struggle to accommodate them all. Most routers supplied by ISPs are simple devices that can only manage a small number of devices. You may already have several - phones, tablets, computers/laptops, TVs, set top boxes, games consoles, etc, etc. You can help your router by adding additional access points. We have three dotted around the house which also improves coverage. They are connected to the router using powerline adapters - networking that uses your mains electricity wiring.
 

DizzyBlue

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I'm a tad old school ..... my phone I don't have connected to my wifi don't see the point as only have it with me when I am out. My laptop and my kindle are only ever switched on one at a time and then I disconnect as I switch off. I don't have my desktop connected to the internet (by choice) the TV errrr old school don't need to up grade unless it packs in no games consoles in this house either .... because :oops:the parrots don't need them. Other than stated that's it on technology here. Got cameras but they aren't connected to wifi either.... don't even have a doorbell as it only encourages visitors! :risas3:
 

JackAndRob

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Pretty sure that you will need a smart phone connected to your home network to perform the initial setup of the Nest and your smart devices (light bulbs, switches, etc). None of my gear has PC software that will do it and all of it relies on being connected to the home network for local and remote operation. Once the setup has been completed, it is possible to do some stuff via PC using a web browser. You don't have to have your phone connected to the home network all the time, although I don't know if it is the phone that executes the timed routines that switch lights on and off. The routines could be run by Amazon's servers. It works. I haven't dug that deeply.

Rather irritatingly, Alexa on PC (via web browser) often says you can only do something via the phone app or smart device. For example, I cannot add an alarm or timer to an Echo Show or Dot via the PC. I have to do it by issuing voice commands to the device, but I can edit or delete the alarms via the PC once they have been added!

They are called smart devices, but they are quite stupid, or the way Amazon have implemented the control isn't as intuitive and convenient as it should be.

I can control all of the devices using point-and-tap on the phone apps and set up routines etc. Voice commands to Alexa Echo and Dots are sometimes slower, but useful if your hands are full :)The phrasing of voice commands can sometimes be tricky. I often have to rephrase a command until it works, but I have slowly got the hang of it and worked out what Alexa needs, in terms of key words and phrases. Google Nest will probably be similar.

Grouping devices together is very useful e.g. our outside flood lights are in a group so that they can all be switched off/on with one command or one routine (e.g. at sun rise/set). All of the lights in the kitchen (ceiling and under-cabinet) are in a group. The ceiling lights are in another group so that they can switched independently from anything else. Individual lights can be switched independently too. It took some careful planning, but if the whole system is well designed it can work really well.
 

DizzyBlue

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My iPhone is the most frighteningly de-apped phone known to mankind! I deleted it to minimal requirements as I kept getting too deep thinking on it :oops: right I feel another visit to sister is required so she can download and enable what I will need. She's always mortified by my shunning of IT stuff that I don't feel has a bearing on my life until I suddenly need it :risas3: especially as she's an IT consultant :aplastao: poor lass such a cross to bear! One day she will catch on and not give me gifts of a technological nature ;)
 

JackAndRob

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My 77 year old Mum has Amazon Echo. She mainly uses it to listen to music and loves it - I have her set up on my Family Music Unlimited account.

She also uses it for kitchen timers. She has no other smart devices.

I got an Echo Show for my sister too. She mainly uses it for music and kitchen timers too. I also find the timers very useful, especially for roast dinners. I'd never get the timing right otherwise, as I am normally a one-pot wok specialist!
 

DizzyBlue

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That fills me with hope that I will be able to use it if once sorted it's not going to be a case of readjustment all the time and faffing around cheers Jack&Rob :)
 

Scott199

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That fills me with hope that I will be able to use it if once sorted it's not going to be a case of readjustment all the time and faffing around cheers Jack&Rob :)
maybe just get the google thing and learn to play with it for music and such, then just add a single bulb to the situation and get that working, then a plug on a lamp or something that doesn't matter. then onwards and upwards from there.

I made the mistake of putting the first bulbs on the stairs and toilets, thinking "they get left on the most"
But they disconnected quite a bit, so you would get "Alexa turn on stair lights" and Alexa would say " sorry stair lights not responding"

So I changed them to hallway and lamp (lights we don't use much) until I found certain bulbs that just worked, now we have most lights and most sockets connected and all work pretty well 9/10 times.
 

DizzyBlue

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:thinking:
Interesting conversation with stepdad on the subject.... Do I not feel it's more "big brother watching"?
I didn't until he said that!!!
Going to have to look in to what analytics are collected not that I do anything illegal but I do hate those target shopping ad things they drive me nutty when they are trying to second guess what I want.... For heavens sake I can't decide never mind them standing a snowflake in hells chance :pilot:
 

JackAndRob

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maybe just get the google thing and learn to play with it for music and such, then just add a single bulb to the situation and get that working, then a plug on a lamp or something that doesn't matter. then onwards and upwards from there.

I made the mistake of putting the first bulbs on the stairs and toilets, thinking "they get left on the most"
But they disconnected quite a bit, so you would get "Alexa turn on stair lights" and Alexa would say " sorry stair lights not responding"
That's a good suggestion. I guess that's how we started as my wife, Yin, got me an Echo Dot for music. Once I'd added a couple of bulbs and seen the potential, it escalated quite quickly :D

The "not responding" thing could be a WiFi coverage issue. That's one reason why I added more access points. You may have several connections configured on your phone - it will just chose the best one that it finds. You may have your home network, ones you use when away from home, pubs, restaurants, hotels, work, etc. These smart bulbs, switches, cameras, etc can typically only connect to one SSID, so if you add access points to your home network, give every one the same SSID and password. All of your WiFi devices will connect to the access point with the best signal, wherever that is. I have three additional access points spread around the house and they all have the same SSID and password as the primary router. They are connected to the network using powerline adapters so that I didn't need to run network cables running all over the place:

Access point: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B084BGKJZT
Powerline: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0734B71N6
 

Scott199

Regular Member
That's a good suggestion. I guess that's how we started as my wife, Yin, got me an Echo Dot for music. Once I'd added a couple of bulbs and seen the potential, it escalated quite quickly :D

The "not responding" thing could be a WiFi coverage issue. That's one reason why I added more access points. You may have several connections configured on your phone - it will just chose the best one that it finds. You may have your home network, ones you use when away from home, pubs, restaurants, hotels, work, etc. These smart bulbs, switches, cameras, etc can typically only connect to one SSID, so if you add access points to your home network, give every one the same SSID and password. All of your WiFi devices will connect to the access point with the best signal, wherever that is. I have three additional access points spread around the house and they all have the same SSID and password as the primary router. They are connected to the network using powerline adapters so that I didn't need to run network cables running all over the place:

Access point: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B084BGKJZT
Powerline: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0734B71N6
to be honest for me I think it was the actual bulb as I bought another make and they've worked fine for months now, yet the hallway ones constantly disconnected, I have two hallway lights, both different makes and one works fine the other is hit and miss.

I ended up going with stuff that had "certified for humans" on and they've worked great.
 
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