FAQ: Wall plugs (Europe) (pocket sockets)

project_getstarted

#1

Hi,

I’ve been reading up a lot about wall plugs, but i can’t figure out which wall plug to buy. I was surprised to see how difficult it is to find a wallplug that just works (especially for EU).
I see many discussions about wallplugs. Several wallplugs which are known to be good are US version only. There seem to be several good option for Europe still though. But on all of them there is a topic on this forum from users who have problems with them.

TP-Link wallplug: Do we still need a ‘middleman’ device like a raspberry for this? Or is there a better solution out yet? The TP-link would be my favourite option, its small, nice looking and cheap. But i refuse to install a raspberry just so i can control a few wall plugs, i want ST to handle this.

Fibaro: First of all it’s too expensive in my opinion. Plus as with the TP-link there’s several topics on the forum about the Fibaro plugs not wanting to measure electricity or not working at all. Perhaps the power measuring is not very important, but for the price of the Fibaro compared to the TP-Link we may expect it to work.

Or what about Aeon labs: https://www.robbshop.nl/aeon-labs-smart-switch-6?gclid=Cj0KCQjwr53OBRCDARIsAL0vKrO72X28Nuva2E_0EQ-aoIntz59Llj2tF4Ih0sgpyYfwH6nHtUaphpYaAkwaEALw_wcB

Anyone has experience with one of these wall plugs? Or perhaps there are better options available?


Bulbs, switches and sensors, oh my....what to buy (device class features)
#2

The terminology used in the US and you is somewhat different for these devices, which is one of the things that can make research a little confusing. So we generally use the term “pocket socket” in these forums for the ones that plug-in to distinguish them from the ones that are mains powered and the micros that fit inside the wall.

IMG_3924

Zwave and Zwave Plus: Simple, easy, officially supported, available as low as €30

Any certified Z wave or Z wave plus pocket socket should work just fine with SmartThings for on/off/dim and can use the generic device type handler. There are many different brands of these. Vesternet has a good selection. TKB Home is quite popular because it tends to be one of the more inexpensive lines and it comes in most of the different EU plug format.

http://www.vesternet.com/smart-home/lighting/socket-switches-dimmers?tech=832%2C833

Vesternet often sells bundle packs, such as a bundle of five Greenwave Z wave switches for £86, which is £17 per pocket socket:

http://www.vesternet.com/z-wave-greenwave-1-port-powernode-5-pack

You may require custom code if you get a pocket socket that has advanced features, like a color changing nightlight, power reporting, etc. so for those you should check the forums to see if someone has already written a device type handler for it. Usually the fastest way to search will be to use the quick browse list in the community – created wiki. Look in the device type handler section and then look on the list for “pocket sockets.”

http://thingsthataresmart.wiki/index.php?title=How_to_Quick_Browse_the_Community-Created_SmartApps_Forum_Section#Quick_Browse_Links_for_Device_Type_Handlers

Community members have reported some problems with the fibaro pocket socket, and the aeotec can be tricky to pair, in both cases because of the advanced features of these devices.

Either Z wave or Z wave plus will work just fine with SmartThings. Zwave plus is the newest generation and gives you longer range and a few technical advantages, so personally I would tend to choose those, but if there’s a budget issue and you don’t think range is going to be a problem then Z wave classic is just fine.

Any certified basic model such as TKB home, popp, or Greenwave should pair easily and work fine. :sunglasses:

Zigbee: hard to find in the EU, not always reliable it bought direct from China

As far as zigbee devices, there are some very inexpensive ones from China but there have been a number of problems reported with those. Definitely check the forums for review before purchasing any.

WiFi: many inexpensive are brands available on Amazon but most don’t work with SmartThings

If you go to Amazon, there are lots of inexpensive WiFi pocket sockets, but very few of them work with SmartThings. :disappointed_relieved:

If they have an IFTTT channel, you can always use that for indirect control. Dlink has a UK plug with an IFTTT channel, for example:

http://www.dlink.com/uk/en/home-solutions/mydlink_home/ifttt

WeMo and a couple of other brands also have IFTTT channels. WeMo used to have an official cloud to cloud integration with SmartThings, but I just don’t know if that’s still working, there were some problems with it at one point.

Wi-Fi plugs that don’t have an IFTTT channel May require another device as a “man in the middle” server. This can get quite technically complex. So check the quick browse list for any individual brand you are interested in.

So for WiFi, for anything with an IFTTT channel it will be quite simple although there may be some additional lag relative to what you would get with a Z wave or zigbee device. If there is no IFTTT channel, there may be a way to integrate it with SmartThings, but the method varies from model to model and can get technically quite complex.

Summary

As you can see, there are quite a few choices. :sunglasses: I personally would look at the TKB Home zwave pocket sockets for the “just work” solution. They’re better quality than some of the cheapest brands, they should pair and work very easily with SmartThings, and they’re just a good basic device.

Or if you’re looking for a budget solution, again personally I would choose the Greenwave bundle from Vesternet. Since those are Z wave devices they will set up easily, act as repeaters for your other Z wave Devices, and you can buy them from a retailer with quick delivery and a decent returns policy, as well as excellent technical support.

But there are lots of alternatives to consider depending on your needs and budget.


#3

Thanks for that great explanation JDRoberts!

I was mainly searching for WIFI sockets so have not seen those TKBHome ones yet. That’s good to know Z-Wave will pair easy. The Greenwave ones i have seen before. But you link to the UK version which costs 17 pounds and is budget indeed. The European version costs almost double. Concidering that for me they both cost around 40 euros you would choose the MKB’s?

EU Greenwave pocket socket (PowerNode 1):
https://www.robbshop.nl/greenwave-tussenstekker-met-stroommeting-schuko

The Greenwave does offer power reporting which is a plus. And there is also a Powernode 6 which is very nice. But every store i check shows a “sold out” sign. It seems like they are not produced anymore or atleast completely sold out. For the number 6 goes the same about it being easy to connect to ST because of the protocol it uses?


#4

A multi socket zwave device uses a different set of commands and will not necessarily work with SmartThings straight out of the box, it might need custom code. So I can’t consider those devices as easy as the ones with only one socket. And you are right, the greenwave six socket strip has been out of stock everywhere for about a year, we are all waiting to see if Greenwave comes out with a new zwave plus version or not.

For Me personally, I would choose TKB over Greenwave as the TKB are a little better quality from an engineering standpoint. But the greenwave are fine for a budget device, many people have them. If the two models cost the same and have the same features, I would get the TKB. But that’s just me. :sunglasses:

Any single socket certified Z wave or zwave plus pocket socket should be easy to use for basic on/off/dim with SmartThings.


#5

In this case i will just purchase a few of the TKB ones and have something decent. The difference in price to me only means i will use them in a different way. I will soon buy the TKB sockets and use them where i need them. But if i could get those Greenwave UK prices (17 euro) i would just buy a whole bunch of them and put them on every single lamp or device i have just for the power reporting.

I see 2 versions of the TKB sockets. One of them with power reporting. This one will also be fairly easy to pair with ST? I would like to see a power tile on my action tiles dashboard:)

TKB Pocket Socket with power reporting:
https://www.robbshop.nl/tussenstekker-z-wave-plus-en-stroommeting-tkb-home?sqr=tkb&


#6

It will be easy to pair as far as getting basic on/off/dimming. To get the power reporting you need advanced features. See the following thread:


(James Scholes) #7

I’m using the UK Tplink HS110 here with a cloud-based DTH from @Gutheinz so it’s doable, but if I’d known beforehand they didn’t support SmartThings I probably wouldn’t have bought them. I don’t (yet) have any need to buy more pocket sockets, but TKBHome come up again and again as a good option


#8

So the TKB pocket sockets arrived today. It was really plug and play. Easier as i expected since actually the app did all the work.
But now i decided to reset the smartthings hub and empty my Samsung account. I now switched to a Smartthings account instead. The hub and everything got installed correctly on the new account, but now i can’t find the pocket sockets anymore! Anyone can tell me what i can do to fix this problem? Many thanks.


#9

They still think they belong to the old configuration. You will have to do a general exclusion on each of the pocket sockets individually to clear the old information, and then they will be ready to add again to the new configuration.


#10

Thanks once again JD! The excluding part worked perfectly. But after that i could still not find the sockets though. While searching for them i again needed to click several times and it was done. But before it was not neccessary to do that. Thanks again! Next step getting them to report power usage.


#11

Hi JD,

Did you say you use these TKB pocket sockets yourself? So far im very happy with them, They never disconnect and the power reporting works perfect. But what about the annoying blue light it has? Did you or anyone else find a solution for this? When off the sockets show a bright blue light. Would be better if the light goes on when the socket actually is on. Or even better not showing any light at all. I already wrote their customer service and asked this question. But their professional reply was “Who are you?” (yes, they actually put in the effort to send that as a reply).


#12

The issue of when the indicator light should be lit on a pocket socket or Wall switch turns out to be one where different people want different things. :sunglasses::level_slider:

Some people want a “night light” mode where the LED indicator comes on when the pocket socket is off.

Some people want a “synchronize” mode where the LED indicator comes on when the pocket socket is on.

Some people want the LED indicator to never turn on, but it turns out that is against code in many places so that won’t always be available. In these jurisdictions network devices are supposed to have a “functioning indicator” to show that they are networked, but the code doesn’t always require which mode it is.

1. Can the indicator light parameter be changed, and if so, which parameter is it and what values can you use?

Anyway, if yours works differently than you want it to, then the first step is to find out whether the indicator light “parameter is configurable.” Parameter is the code inside the device that tells it when to turn the light on, and configurable means you can change it. And of course you have to find out which parameter to change and what the options are.

The good news is that on this particular device it should be configurable to switch from night light mode to synchronized mode. But you probably won’t be able to have it off all the time.

The parameter numbers and values will vary from model to model, but I believe that in this particular case you want to have parameter 1 set to the value 1.

( how do I know that? To be honest, I just remember what other people have said about it. You can try googling and see if anything shows up. You can look for a user manual, although they don’t always list the parameters. You can write the manufacturer and ask. If you bought the product from Vesternet, you can always contact their tech-support, they are excellent.

Anyway, according to the following article it is what I remember: parameter one is value one, so that’s where you should start I think.

But if it is configurable, someone somewhere should know what the value options are. You just have to poke around until you find the information. :sunglasses: )

2. Now configure the device to change the parameter to what you want it to be

Once you determine that the parameter is configurable, the next step is to go ahead and change it. See The FAQ for that process:

And that should do it. If by chance that doesn’t seem to be the right parameter for this particular setting, then you should contact the manufacturer to find out which parameter it is and what the values are.


#13

Thanks for the great information. It works great now! Just installed the device handler you referred to and changed the parameter and the light is now adjustable. For me it did not work to set parameter to 1 to 1. I had to set parameter 1 to 0.


(Jon) #14

Sonoff S20’s look like a bargain. Ive seen them drop as low recently as £13 on Amazon Spain. There is a device handler and Smartapp available for them BUT you would need to flash them. However flashing is easy.