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For any of you all who have higher degrees of home automation than I — let’s be honest, that could be anyone — what do you do when your home network goes down?

Last night, for whatever reason, our Amazon Echo couldn’t turn our lights on. I tried the Alexa app to do it semi manually, and it wouldn’t. Somehow Katie got it working. I don’t know what she did but she did it. 

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So what if you have more automation in place than just four lamps and a thermostat and the net comes crashing down? Do you have some kind of kill switch in place that makes it all controllable by normal means? 

Clearly this doesn’t affect the thermostat as that has surface controls. But I can’t suddenly use light switches to turn on lights that are off unless I move furniture and unplug the iHome outlets.

Are safety measures in place? You’d think there would have to be, wouldn’t you?

I don’t want to be attacked by an out-of-control Roomba, do you?

Comments

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Ren

With the exception of a Wink power strip that we acquired well before the Home Automation craze really took off, I've restricted my smart controls to wall switches. This was primarily to because I didn't want to ever be forced to use the automation interface when it would just be more convenient to hit the switch.

kapgar

Is that one of those touch-panel “switches” that doesn’t physically move so there is no real on or off position?

Ren

I've been happy with these two:

Elgato Eve Light Switch, Connected Wall Switch for iOS, Bluetooth low energy
by Elgato
Link: http://a.co/9QFSwY8

Lutron P-BDG-PKG2W Caseta Wireless Smart Lighting In-Wall Dimmer Kit,
by Lutron
Link: http://a.co/farcbeX

The first is a simple touch switch, with a small green LED in the center when in off position, which is nice. Also, it doesn't require its own hub. The second is a fancier dimmer switch with an array of LEDs to indicated the power level. This is actually a package with two of the switches, a hub, and two remotes. The remotes are kind of nice as you can just set them on a side table and they have an additional "favorite" button to automatically set to a preset dimmer level. They can also be mounted in place of a wall switch to simulate having two separate wall switches for the same light.

kapgar

So these are just something that work independently of having a plug?

Ren

These are in place of the existing wall switch. I use these instead of a smart plug or smart bulbs. This allows the lights (or fans, etc.) to be controlled remotely while still allowing them to be controlled by the switch.

kapgar

That sounds pretty nice. Still having trouble getting 1 of 2 working with Alexa again or my wife’s apps at all.

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