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Smart Plugs: The Surge Protection & Power Strip Guide

Close-up shot of a surge protected UK 'extension cable' (power strip) using SurgeGuard technology, made by Masterplug.

Smart plugs are plugged into your wall sockets, and then you plug devices into them. The smart plug’s power can then be controlled with your smartphone app (or Amazon Echo/Google Home), meaning that you can turn the plugged-in device on/off with ease. But these smart plugs typically control just a single device, and often don’t … Read more

Ring Doorbell With Narrow Installation: Here’s What To Do

A narrow door frame with a wall jetting out, which would block a lot of a Ring's video capture.

The Ring Doorbell is easy to install (according to the marketing): attach the mounting bracket, hook the doorbell over it, fit the security screws – and you’re done. Simple. Then the wide angle lens will capture a full view of your visitors, including their faces. Great. But what happens if you have a narrow or … Read more

Smart Thermostats With Geothermal – What To Be Careful Of

Rolls of conduit/UPVC pipework on the edge of a building site.

The Nest Learning Thermostat proudly talks of supporting 95% of heating systems, whilst Ecobee also says that it supports “most” systems including geothermal. But do they work properly with geothermal, the green heat pump-based alternative? A properly sized geothermal heating system shouldn’t need frequent changes to its thermostat. Smart thermostats make constant changes to the … Read more

Getting started with Connected Home over IP

Zigbee Alliance Connected Home over IP webinar screenshot, showing how multiple leading smart home providers have "converged" to help make this standard.

An announcement in December 2019 was welcome news to many in smart home circles: that all the major smart home manufacturers and developers were getting together to produce a standard way for smart devices to speak to each other. This is called Connected Home over IP. Connected Home over IP will see Amazon, Apple, Google, … Read more

Is The Google Mini Dual Voltage? (And Why This Matters)

Official UK power adaptor for Google Nest Mini 2nd generation, showing: "AC adapter Model G1030 Input: 100-240V-0.4A 50-60Hz Output: 14V=1.1A LPS"

If you are travelling or you bought a cheap Google Mini from abroad, you might be wondering whether you are safe to use your Google Home device in another country. Yes, the Google Mini is dual voltage – it supports input electricity from 100V/120V (depending on model) up to 240V. Therefore you should be fine … Read more

Why does my Amazon Echo make random noises?

Phone screenshot showing all activity on registered Amazon Echo/Alexa devices.

Having a smart voice assistant like the Amazon Echo is great due to all the smart home features it offers, but sometimes it seems to ‘wake up’ by itself and play a random noise or sound. Sometimes this sounds like a genuine notification (even though there’s no reason for the notification), whilst other times the … Read more

12 Awesome (And Easy) Ways To Achieve Home Automation

A marketing image of the 2019 ecobee SmartThermostat black model with the temperature being displayed on screen.

Home automation can be achieved in a range of ways. With so much smart tech available nowadays, you can pretty much look around your house and find ways of automation everything you see. But having loads of choice is both a blessing and a curse: it’s easy to never automate anything around your house because … Read more

Full Guide: What Is Home Automation And How Does It Work?

A mobile phone screenshot showing all devices controlled by the Amazon Alexa app, including Fire sticks, Echo Dots and Echos.

“Home automation is the future”, they say. But what exactly is ‘home automation’? We might think of a coffee maker that automatically brews your coffee when your alarm goes off, or a light bulb that emits different color light depending on the time of day. Home automation does include these things, of course, but it … Read more

New Video – How To Play Free Music (With Zero Ads) On Your Google Mini

YouTube video thumbnail - play free music on Google Mini (no ads) - four awesome methods.

I have posted a new video on YouTube covering how to play free music (with zero ads) on a Google Mini/Google Nest Mini device, which is part of my ‘Does the Google Nest Mini Need a Subscription?‘ article: Video Transcript Hey YouTube, it’s Tristan from Smart Home Point here. I wanted to speak to you … Read more