Set up a smart powerboard

Having a smart powerboard in your home can make life easier, give you more control and save you money – here's how to set one up.

What you need
A smartphone running either Apple's iOS 9.0 or later, or Google's Android OS 4.4 or later
A smart powerboard
A Wi-Fi network with the 2.4GHz network frequency enabled

Setting up your smart powerboard

Step 1
On your smartphone, download and install the app recommended by the smart powerboard maker. For the smart powerboard we're setting up, there are Android and iOS apps available.

Step 2
Start the app on your smartphone. If you're a first-time user, you'll need to create an account. Make sure you set a strong password to protect your account.

Step 3
Ensure that the power is switched off at the power outlet and plug the smart powerboard in. Then launch the app on your smartphone and press the 'Add Device' button in the top right corner of the display. If using the Smart Life App, choose the powerstrip in the 'Electrician' category from the list on the left.

Step 4
Enter the name of your wireless network and the password required for connection. If your router supports both 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks, you must have the 2.4GHz frequency enabled. If you have both, and the two networks have separate names, make sure you choose the 2.4GHz network.

Step 5
Switch on the power to the smart powerboard at the outlet then press the power button at the top of the device in the centre to turn it on. A blue LED will turn on when the smart plug is receiving power.

If the LED is not blinking when you turn the smart powerboard on, turn the switch off, wait ten seconds, and then turn it back on by holding the power button for five seconds. When the device restarts, the LED should be blinking. Then, press and hold the button for another five seconds and the LED should be blinking at a slower rate. This indicates that the powerboard is in access point mode so you can connect your smartphone to it directly.

Step 6
Then, go to your smartphone's Wi-Fi settings and connect directly to the smart powerboard. It's private network name will be SmartLife-XXXX. Then return to the Smart Life app. The smart plug setup process will continue.

Things you can do with your smart powerboard
Once the setup process is complete, you can rename the smart powerboard. Tap on the powerboard in the list of smart devices and then tap on the three dots in the top right corner. You can then rename the device by clicking the pen icon adjacent to its name.

Each of the four outlets on the powerboard can be controlled independently. For example, if you put the powerboard in your living room you could plug your TV and media player into two of the outlets, and plug a lamp into another. You could then schedule the lamp to turn on at a specific time, and schedule your other appliances to turn off at night to save power.

The smart powerboard also has two USB ports. Those can be enabled or disabled as well. This is useful if you have USB powered devices (such as smartphones, speakers, or eBooks) in your home, office or wherever else you decide to use the smart powerboard.

If you're using Amazon Alexa or Google Home, you can add the smart plug to these home automation platforms so you can control your devices with your voice. While there's no direct support for Apple HomeKit, it can be integrated into that platform using HomeBridge and a Tuya plug-in.

-August 2020

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