Den – Installing a smart socket

As part of the Den Automation range, they ship a 2 gang smart socket. It has the ability to be switched on remotely, to determine what’s plugged in and to even monitor the energy usage of the item plugged in.

I pre-ordered a few of these units as I saw them being used to turn my TVs off at the wall, rather than use their own standby. I currently achieve this using a few Sonoff Plugs flashed with Tasmota firmware. These are great, but are ugly as hell.

To get the ball rolling, I wanted to test out Den’s Smart Tag feature, the one that knows what is plugged in. I thought this best on a socket that is regularly used. For me, that’s one in my bedroom where my wife plugs in her hair dryer and hair straighteners. I thought this would be a good testing ground!

Installation was very simple. **** DON’T ATTEMPT THIS UNLESS YOUR CONFIDENT YOU KNOW WHAT YOU’RE DOING! REMEMBER TO ISOLATE EVERYTHING AT THE FUSE BOARD AND CHECK THE SOCKET IS DEAD BEFORE TAKING THE COVER OFF. GET A QUALIFIED ELECTRICIAN IF YOU HAVE ANY DOUBT ****

A classic, but dumb, double gang socket!
Simply wiring with two lives, two neutrals and two earths
The inputs on the Den Socket
The socket installed and looking good!

With the socket installed, I tested the manual operation to ensure everything was okay.

The app doesn’t really deal with empty screens all that well!

The pairing process starts the same as the switch. Hold the Den button for a few seconds until the light starts blinking and start the process in the app. It paired very quickly.

Once it was connected, it showed that two sockets individually. Tapping the little socket flicked the physical switch on and off. The sockets don’t have the same 45 second recharge time that the light switches have since these sockets have constant power. A limitation of the lack of neutral in UK light switches. Den still deserves credit for solving that in their light switches.

Once I’d finished this part, the app prompted me to add some smart tags.

The Den Socket comes with five Smart Tags. You can see this in my unboxing post.

I found my wife’s hair dryer and straighteners and popped a tag onto each plug.

I think plugged in one of them.

The part at the bottom is interesting – if the appliance is left on for a specified number of minutes, Den can turn it off automatically. They use hair straighteners as their example for this, so I turned it on, setting ten minutes.

I repeated the process for a hair dryer.

These two items then show up in the Appliance section of the app. It knows *where* it’s plugged in and when something is unplugged.

I haven’t tested the notify if left on feature yet, so I’ll post something when I get a chance to test that.

I was also disappointed to find out that the energy usage feature isn’t currently available. I would have expected them to include something pretty basic (current watt consumption or similar). I’ll update this post when they release that.

I have two more of these units to install. The next one goes onto the TV in the sitting room. I’m going to pair my Den Remote with those sockets, making it easier to control the TV.

I’ll do another post on that in the future.

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5 thoughts on “Den – Installing a smart socket

  1. Thanks for this.

    Have you tried – or know of anyone trying – to sniff the protocol?

    Local script control is a must for me and I don’t think Den are prioritising their API… Which might turn out to be remote.

    1. You’re welcome. Hopefully you’ve found it useful.

      I haven’t tried sniffing on the network, never dawned on me, but you’ve piqued my interest now! I’d love to have it connected to my Hass.io raspberry pi. I’ll see if any time arises over the next few days and try it out.

      Their remote will probably be externally controlled. like you say. However, the Hub can be operated locally. This is one of the selling points that caught my eye. My Virgin Media connection went out one evening and prompted me to test my setup. I didn’t try out their Timer function – I wonder if that gets in the Hub and would work without Internet access. Another thing I might try.

  2. I looked into this with a Proxy and the API is nice and clean. I can see the list of devices, rooms etc. and the commands issues to turn stuff on and off. Unfortunately, this is all via their cloud API. The app doesn’t think I’m on the same WiFi network for some reason, so the local network behaviour isn’t being triggered.

    I’ll document their API in a post and try and write a little app to control it from my laptop!

    1. Great stuff, thanks 🙂

      Do you think it might be worth a port scan of the Hub to see if it’s running a HTTP server? If we’re lucky that might be a similar API to the external one.

      Or running the Hub via the proxy – maybe it maintains an outbound connection using long polling or something and the incoming traffic structure might match its local API.

      1. Hi Neil,

        I ran a port scan and got back about a half dozen open ports. I believe two of them are HTTP ports, but I’ve not been able to get a response from either one directly, but the port scanner did manage to get a HTTP response from both (one seems to be a plain socket and the other has SSL). I’ll try over the weekend.

        T

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