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