Good afternoon to the esteemed public,
Thanks to Daget’s Author Collaboration Program I was able to get for testing Senseit GSM socket "Leading"
A review of this outlet on GT has already been , nevertheless, hopefully my review will add to the previously published one.
I suppose the review will also be interesting because I tested the connection of the two products (master and slave outlets) to each other.
I have long wanted to get my hands on a device like this. This interest is not idle, last year due to unexpectedly early frosts (October 5, 2014 is still unpredictably early) in my summer house frozen water broke the toilet bowl.
I know how to preserve toilets and other plumbing, washing machines, pumps, pipes and other things for the winter, I do this dance every year, but I usually do it at the end of the season in November, when it is already minus outside. So what happened was a big surprise for me. Knowing that winter in Russia always comes unexpectedly cost me 5 thousand rubles.
For the future, surprises wanted to be avoided, and I wondered what could be done to :
1. To find out that the house got cold;
2. Remotely respond to the information.
So the idea came up to put a device that could turn on the heater for me on command. And the gsm outlet seemed like the perfect solution to the problem. Unfortunately, I thought wrong, but I realized it only when I had the device in my hands. Suddenly I realized that the electric heater in the bathroom, set in "snowflake" mode (maintaining +5 degrees), will cope with the task no worse, except that I will not know that it was cold in the country house.
Nevertheless, since I got the device, I decided to find a use for it. After all, the purpose of any gadget review is to offer the reader a possible scenario for the use of the device, point out the advantages and do not forget to show what the limitations of use are. This will help the possible buyer to estimate how the device will suit him, and the developer – to take the information into account when working on new versions.
The application was the most obvious one: I have several bedrooms and a boiler in my house. All are electric, so I decided to make it so that when I went from work to the cottage I could command the house to prepare me a warm bedroom and hot water. A small thing, of course, but nice.
Since one of the undoubted advantages of the device is the ability to connect up to 10 slave outlets, I myself purchased another outlet at Dudget. First, because I have two bathrooms in my house, and I was planning to use these outlets there at the time, and second, I was genuinely curious to see how the devices worked in tandem.
The receptacle is packaged in today’s classic plain cardboard, with no gloss or other frills. The shape of the box is L-shaped, which apparently helps to save space during shipping and storage and in some ways reduces the costs of the manufacturer and the seller.
The approach is generally commendable, to me – the simpler the box the better, throw it away anyway.
In the photo: two boxes (master and slave) in profile :
And full face :
The package is sufficient. In addition to the socket itself, the manufacturer put in the box instructions, warranty card, temperature sensor and stickers in the size of the socket, which apparently offer to write what it is (or just a menacing "Do not unplug!").
The only complaint is that the instructions are printed in such small print that you can’t read them without glasses (and unfortunately I don’t have glasses – had to suffer quite a bit).
In the picture is all that was in the box.
The socket is neatly made, the PEN protective conductor terminal is on the fork part and on the socket part, so the RCD will work correctly in case of a breakdown on the body. There are shields on the main terminals of the socket, children will not stick a nail in, however, the plug enters easily and without unnecessary effort. It is a big plus for me as I have seen enough sockets where you can’t insert the plug without a hammer and swearing.
However, the disadvantage can be written that because of their size smart socket can not be inserted into a double-socket – or it does not fit, or will not let you insert the second plug:
On the side of the socket are the connector for the temperature sensor, the SET button for grouping the socket (see below), the M button for manual power on (also see below) and a dummy mini-USB connector. About its purpose we can only guess, most likely, it can be used to update the firmware. To my shame I did not find in my country a cable with such connectors, so I could not connect and see what’s there.
A little more about defects and flaws :
The one I sent for testing had a faulty temperature sensor (shown in the picture).
For me it is undoubtedly a trifle, as the sensor that came with the slave socket is enough for me to test, nevertheless my advice: do not go away with an unopened box away from civilization, check everything immediately and, in case of problems, make a complaint to the suppliers. Daget has a very friendly replacement policy, no problems should arise.
Also: these outlets have LEDs. There are three in each. They shine. Bright. During the day – all right, but in a dark room, they are very clearly visible, and personally I do not like to sleep in the dark, and I like it so much that I equipped the windows with blinds. And then there is this kind of illumination. Fortunately, you can turn off the LEDs from the web interface. Unfortunately, you can’t disable the LEDs from your smartphone app.
A little bit about instrument configuration :
A simple initial configuration of the smart outlets can be done using the app on your smartphone. Versions exist for iOS and Android, I used the Android version since my beloved children refused to share the iPad flatly.
Initial configurator page in the app :
From your smartphone, you will be able to name the outlets, select icons, and specify the location (room, place in the room, etc.).
You can also connect a slave socket from the app and give it a name and other features.
Unfortunately, that’s about all you can do with a smartphone. The web app gives you more options, namely :
– Perform an outlet reset;
– Define a scenario of action when communication is lost (turn on the device, turn off the device, do not change the state of the device) – this is an extremely useful option, well already by the fact that there is predictability in operation. It is especially useful because if the master socket loses communication with the cellular network relatively rarely, the slave socket with the master socket can lose communication several times an hour for unknown reasons (about this below).
– Enable/disable LED indicators. I already wrote about the usefulness of this option;
– Configure APN for the master socket. In principle, a useful option if the cellular operator is dense and does not know how to work without additional settings on the client device. It worked for me immediately, without the settings in this item, but I still got into it and installed MTS forcibly. Result – sms to the master outlet, brief loss of communication with the master outlet, complete loss of slave outlet information and schedule. In general, be careful what you wish for, don’t touch a working appliance. If the configured outlets will be a hundred kilometers away when you decide to play with this item, next time you can control the slave outlets only after a personal visit to the controlled object.
Controls on and off :
There are several ways to control smart outlets. Let’s look at each of them :
Manual : Pressing the "M" button on the socket changes its state. It was off – it will be on. And vice versa. Nothing complicated. You’ll get a push notification on your phone about the state change, and a window will pop up in the web interface as well. Bonus will be the deletion of the schedule, but, interestingly enough, the outlet will work the last job of the schedule you set up, but lost when you manually turn it on.
Example: We set the power on for 5:30 p.m. on Saturdays. Save it. At 5:25 p.m., press the "M" button to switch on the outlet. The socket is switched on. Switch off the socket with button "M", the socket is switched off. At 17:28 we refresh the web configurator page: we see that the schedule has disappeared. At 17:35 we get a notification that the socket is switched on according to the schedule.
When controlling from the app, it is possible to select all (or just the necessary) outlets, and then you can turn them on with one click. A small thing, but nice.
Remote In the app, you select the outlet, press the "On" or "Off" button, and get the corresponding result. Previously created schedule is lost in the same way, but the system will warn you that the schedule will be deleted. The command takes from 3 to 16 seconds, which is more than acceptable when it comes to controlling heaters.
Remote, via web app : the same as in the case of control via the app on the phone. The outlet turns on, turns off, the schedule is lost irretrievably.
Through the configured schedule : There are two kinds of schedules : by day/time and by temperature.
In the case of day of the week, you can set for each day the intervals at which the outlet will change state (specifying the on and off times). If you want the outlet to turn on three times on Mondays, you create three events for the day of the week "Monday". Not the best of schedulers, but manageable.
If you want the socket to turn on according to the temperature sensor data, you create a corresponding job of this type (and a working temperature sensor, of course). Developers are aware of such a concept as hysteresis, so you need to specify the start temperature of the device and the end temperature after which the controlled device should be turned off. It is certainly a handy feature. It should also be noted that the developers have taken care that the outlet can handle not only the need for heating, but also cooling – in this case the starting temperature when planning will be higher than the target temperature.
I checked the work of the temperature sensor for fun: through the extension cord for headphones put the sensor in the refrigerator and waited. When the set temperature was reached, the socket turned on and a push-notification was sent to my phone.
Unfortunately, it is not possible to process two types of events simultaneously. If calendar, then calendar, if temperature, then temperature. Those who want to achieve the effect that in the cottage which is visited only on weekends the temperature from Monday to Friday night was not below +5, and from Friday night to Sunday night it would rise (if necessary) to +22, are invited to wait for other firmware versions. Which is a pity, of course, the proposed scenario is very typical.
Personally I would also like to add a couple more functions – to manually turn on the outlet would not lead to loss of the schedule, but would lead to the question "what shall we do?" and options to choose from: finish the first scheduled on/off and then return to the cycle, wait for a manual change of state and then return to the cycle, delete the schedule. Even more I would like to process the event "the outlet was turned on forcibly, the owner left for XX kilometers (remember the coordinates of the outlet installation in advance, then track his smartphone by gps-tag)". – Back on schedule or at least ask the owner if it’s worth it.
Control via sms commands : The developers promise to add this way of controlling outlets soon, but at the time of writing this option was unavailable.
Event handling and notification :
Consider how the outlet handles different alarm events :
Power outage (pulled the smart outlet from the regular outlet) – the outlet gives a "last sorry" in 5-10 seconds in the form of a push notification to the phone. Very handy, since I have an outlet located in an accessible location and unfortunately have elderly parents who love to pull all plugs out of outlets before leaving, without exception. Now at least I can call and ask for everything back the way it was. Well, if no one is in the house – I will now know that the house is lost power (it’s important to me, I have not only the heaters are on, but also the refrigerator. A couple of years ago I blew out the breaker, when I was on vacation (why – a separate story), so when I arrived and opened the door of the refrigerator, I was staring at something, not yet reasonable, but already clearly alive and very smelly. If I had then I would have had such an outlet – on being notified by it, I would have asked a buddy to drive over and see what was wrong.
Tried turning off my phone first, then the smart outlet. Waited five minutes after the "last goodbye" of the outlet, then turned the machine back on. Push notification came, so at least turning off the phone briefly won’t cause loss of information about smart outlet power issues.
Loss of communication with gsm network for the master socket, loss of communication of the slave socket with the master: I have already written above that the type of reaction to the event is configurable from the web page. In addition to the reaction type, you can set the time after which the action should be executed. For example, "if the slave loses communication with the master for more than 8 minutes, the load should be turned off".
The presence of the appliance connected to the smart outlet, the disconnection of the appliance, the power consumed by the appliance, deviations from the typical (statistically accumulated) parameters of power consumption – the parameters are not monitored, which is a pity. I’d like to be able to see that the heater is still plugged in, that the heater is still there when the socket is switched on and not the table lamp, that the heater hasn’t gone off (in principle, I have fuses in the switchboard, which of course won’t let the heater start consuming 5kW instead of the normal 1.5, but the extra control would be nice).
Other events and notifications : the developers have tried to cover the widest possible range of events that the system will inform the user about. A total of 11 types of events are available (if I’m not mistaken in my calculations) that will trigger push notifications on the phone. These include loss of power, loss of master-slave connection, and load on/off (as well as the reason : schedule, button on, reaching temperature, etc.). What is nice, it is possible to set a critical temperature, when it is reached, you will get a notification. For example, you can request push about reaching a minimum of 3 degrees above zero (time to go to drain the water from the pipes) and a maximum of +65 (time to call the fire department, there is definitely some shit going on in the house). All types of notifications can be either on or off, it’s handy.
Wintering : I put the smart socket in a bag for the sake of interest, then put it in the freezer overnight at -18 degrees. In the morning I took it out, waited until it warmed up to room temperature and turned it on. It turned on without any problems. This made me very happy.
Slave receptacle :
As said before, the socket is in the same housing, the differences from the main socket are minimal: a white circle instead of green around the socket, and Net instead of GSM on the corresponding indicator.
Connecting the slave socket from the android app is fairly simple, done in three steps on the screen and one press of a button on the slave socket. When tethering, both devices need to be positioned as close as possible to one another (apparently, so that the signal is guaranteed to be recognized), then the slave can be carried to its permanent location.
Within the same house the connection between devices is established perfectly, tried to separate devices between the first and the third floor, the signal passed.
The master socket monitors the connection to the slave, catches loss of connection and notifies with the same push notification to the user’s smartphone.
The system also sends notifications about the resumption of communication.
If the connection between the sockets is unstable, you will get a mountain of updates (pay attention to the frequency of the notifications):
You can put up with it, or you can try placing the outlets closer together (well, or disable notifications, also an option).
Communication, unfortunately, is lost regularly, notifications of loss of communication with the slave outlet I sometimes received a dozen per hour. I think that this is a problem with the communication protocol of the sockets: if, for example, a ping from the master to the slave didn’t reach it, then instead of asking again or waiting for the next one, the status changes to "unavailable". Unfortunately, the availability status takes precedence over the user’s command, so you cannot give a command to an unreachable device to be delivered when communication resumes.
433MHz is a great range for these solutions in terms of range, but the developers need to work on the implementation.
The overall impression of the device is good. Unlike many other variants (GSM-controllers like CCU-825, Xital etc.) the proposed solution although offers to solve a very narrow range of problems, but the threshold of entry – almost zero, when you are ready in less than an hour, setting scenarios simple and clear.
What I liked in general :
– Nice packaging;
– Adequate packaging;
– Convenience of schedule setup;
– Possibility to turn off the led indicators;
– Ease of tethering slave outlets and range;
– Rich selection of push notifications;
– Convenient smartphone app;
What I didn’t like :
– Poor task scheduler. Inability to create any complex scenarios;
– Uneven functionality in the settings between the web app and the smartphone app;
– Loss of the configured schedule when manually tampering with the device;
– Regular loss of communication between master and slave (yes, communication is restored, but it is still stressful);
– Inability to use the socket in Pilots and twin sockets – you will lose one to two adjacent sockets;
– Your socket will serve you exactly as long as Senseit supports its servers. This is the most significant drawback.
Nevertheless, the pros outweighed the cons for me and the ability to come to a warm house with hot water I got with these devices.
I sincerely hope that the developers of the device won’t stop and finalize the functionality with my wishes in mind.
Many thanks to the readers of GT for their attention and to Dudget for providing me with this device for testing.
As always, Daget provides Geektimes readers with a promo code to purchase GSM sockets at a discount : GEEKT-GSMRZ The discount is valid for 20 days from the date of publication.
The author would appreciate questions and comments on the topic of the article.
Thank you for your attention.
Another review of the Senseit GS2 M GSM outlet
Good afternoon to the esteemed public,