Entries tagged as power plug

The state of HomeKit in iOS 10

Apple HomeKit platform goes back to iOS 8. It was not very fleshed out at the time, needing more polishing over the years. Last notable change to HomeKit was made in 10.2, which enabled device notifications. This, along with other improvements in iOS 10, led me to think that HomeKit was finally in a "usable" state. Thus I have invested in the HomeKit ecosystem since early April of this year, around when iOS 10.3.1 came out.

As I gathered enough tangible material to share, I did a 5-part write-up of my HomeKit experience, spanning sensors, lighting, and energy control. I felt that my 5-month experience in a non-American environment may be of use to many people who are considering the platform.

1. Moving to Apple HomeKit with Elgato Eve
2. Philips Hue adds light to the HomeKit setup
3. Controlling 220V Power & Light with HomeKit
4. How much power does HomeKit use?
5. On installing and configuring HomeKit lighting


But now, big changes are coming in the coming weeks. Most notably, the GM(Golden Master, finished version) of iOS 11 will come out in two weeks, as Apple's new iPhone announcement will be made on September 12, 2017. It will contain significant improvements for HomeKit. As noted in the 5th post, Philips will expand the range of Hue products that will be recognized in HomeKit. Elgato has announced five new HomeKit products including lock and smoke detector.

All this means that my iOS 10-based HomeKit write-up should be wrapped up at this point. I'll come back to this topic as the dust settles and I had my hands on the new features and products.

How much power does HomeKit use?

Measuring power consumption on Incipio's light bulb adapter (left) and Leviton switch (right)

Home automation devices have to be on standby at all times to respond to commands. This means that the baseline power consumption will increase as more devices are added. So if you're installing them not just for convenience but for more efficient energy use, you have to be conscious of the level of power that they may entail.

Unfortunately, detailed power consumption data are not usually found in the technical specs, likely because they are not deemed important. I had to take individual measurements to get the whole picture, and here are the results for the HomeKit devices I have.

Company Name Off Min. Max. Rated
Smart Power Plug
Elgato Eve Energy 0.68 - 1.01 2,500 (EU)1
Incipio CommandKit W. Smart Outlet 1.70 - 2.20 1,200 (US)
Koogeek Smart Plug P1 0.92 - 1.60 2,500 (EU)1
Smart Light Switch / Adapter
Incipio CK W. S. Light Bulb Adapter 3.32 - 3.39 1502
Leviton DH15S-1BZ 3.15 3.153 3.27 6004
Koogeek Smart Switch KH02 1.30 1.955 2.60 600
Smart Light Bulb
Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance 0.43 1.7 8.6 10.0
Hue White Ambiance 0.66 1.5 10.2 10.5
Hue White 0.38 1.6 9.2 9.0
(Initial Peak) 13.86
Hue Bridge - 1.12 1.26 2.32
[ Terminologies & Explanations ]

Off: The device is connected to the power but is turned off (i.e. standby mode).
Min.: Device operating under the lowest power mode possible.
Max.: Device operating under the normal or highest power mode possible.
(Minimum and Maximum values are measured with no external apparatus attached.)
Rated: How much the the device is rated to draw electricity at maximum.

1. Or 220V mains. 1,800W for the U.S. mains (120V).
2. For the LED and CFL bulbs. 600W for incandescent and halogen bulbs.
3. The indicator LED light is turned off.
4. For the LED and CFL bulbs. 1,800W for incandescent bulbs.
5. Only one switch is turned on.
6. Steadily decreases to the stable level (9.2W) over the span of 30 minutes.

It became fairly evident that the consumption profile is quite different between manufacturers even though the devices serve essentially the same purpose.
Continue reading "How much power does HomeKit use?"

Controlling 220V Power & Light with HomeKit

HomeKit smart power plugs - Elgato Eve Energy EU, Koogeek P1, Elgato Eve Energy US, and Incipio CommandKit Smart Outlet (from left to right)

Selecting HomeKit devices that control the power, whether they be power plugs/outlets or light switches, is a bit tricky when you're living in a country with 220V mains power. This is because much of them are made to serve the U.S. market, which uses 120V. If they are designed for dual voltage it wouldn't be a big issue, but some devices don't list this capability. A Philips Hue light bulb has 110-130V printed on the U.S. version and 220-240V on the Korean version, but they all support 110 to 240V.

The list of devices that are specifically tailored towards the 220V market is growing, but still sparse. Thus, I sought and picked out the ones that were definitely 220V compatible. In the case of power plugs, products from Elgato, Koogeek, and Incipio fit the bill. Power plug solutions from iDevices are listed and confirmed as 120V only.

Despite the shapes, the smart power plugs shown above all have dual voltage support. Interestingly, the EU version of the Elgato Eve Energy is the smallest and won't block an adjacent outlet, while the US version of the device and the Koogeek P1 are larger and may block an outlet below or above. Incipio's CommandKit Wireless Smart Outlet with Metering is much larger and and longer than the competition, just like its full name. I should also note that only the Incipio devices had a problem with HomeKit pairing, where the process would succeed only on the second try, and leave a phantom entry in the device search screen that won't go away until the iPhone reboots.

Elgato Eve Energy plugs replaced the SKT Smart Home plugs in the distribution board

Elgato's Eve Energy smart power plugs have the most regionally varied line-up, with US, EU, UK, and AU versions, all having 100-240V, 50/60Hz support. The energy monitoring function in the app is also one of the the most sophisticated in the market. So I went primarily with these plugs in my house. I bought the EU version from Germany, but since I order a lot of things from the U.S., there are some US version plugs in the house as well.
Continue reading "Controlling 220V Power & Light with HomeKit"

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