All posts by DIY Smart Home Guy

Leviton VRPA1-1LW Vizia RF Plus Scene Capable Plug-in Appliance Module, White

The Vizia RF + Scene Capable Plug-in Appliance Module (VRP15-1LW) is ideal for any residential setting that needs remote ON/OFF switching of appliances, motor loads up to 1/2 HP, or freestanding lights, including Incandescent, LED, Fluorescent and Compact Fluorescent loads Typical applications include switching of fluorescent lamps, portable fans, kitchen appliances, indoor fountains and more.

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Dynamic Mounting – Right Height TV Mount Review and Installation

An important part of every smart home is the smart TV. Today we wont be looking at the TV however, we will be looking at the TV mount. Since we have a fireplace with a hallway on both sides, my living room layout has limited options for TV placement. Basically we’re limited to in front of the fireplace or over the fireplace. The problem with over the fireplace is that it puts the TV up too high. And, obviously, in front of the fireplace prevents fireplace use. Not to mention it puts furniture in a place I would rather it not be.
So to solve our problem, we purchased the Right Height Mount from Dynamic Mounting. This mount lets you place your TV above a mantle, and then pull it down to a comfortable height when you want to watch TV. I will show a time lapse of the installation process at the end of this video.

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Dynamic Mounting Right Height Mount

The Right Height TV Mount is made to easily move curved and flat panel televisions up and down whenever you need it to. It works with most curved and flat panel televisions 40in and larger, up to 70 lbs. The Right Height TV Mount frees up square footage in your home by allowing you to mount your TV in spaces that were not possible or too awkward before, such as over the fireplace.

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Connect Amazon Alexa to your Wink Smart Hub

Today we are going to talk about how you connect your Amazon Echo into a Wink Hub. You can connect the Echo to nearly any smart home hub, but since I have a Wink, we will be using that for the demonstration. After we go through the connection and the setup, we will do some demonstrations of how I have the device connected into my smart home by giving some simple commands. My wife will even give it a try with her Thai accent. You’ll be happy to know that my wife and Alexa get along just fine.

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Amazon Echo Out-of-the-Box Review

Today we are going to do a box opening review of the Amazon Echo. Pretty excited about this since I’ve been waiting for it for a while now. Very curious to see how it looks coming out of the box and how easy it is to hook into my home automation system. The main reason that I bought the Amazon Echo is that I wanted to have the voice automation along with my smart home. After reading a lot of review and talking to some people that have Alexa, I thought it would be good for me to get my hands on one.

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Amazon Echo


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Amazon Echo – Black (1st Generation)


Features: Plays all your music from Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and more using just your voice, Call or message anyone hands-free with your Echo device. Also, instantly connect to other Echo devices in your home using just your voice., Fills the room with immersive, 360º omni-directional audio. Play music simultaneously across Echo devices with multi-room music (Spotify and Sirius XM support coming soon)., Hears you from across the room with far-field voice recognition, even while music is playing, Answers questions, reads the news, reports traffic and weather, reads audiobooks from Audible, gives info on local businesses, provides sports scores and schedules, controls Amazon Video on Fire TV, and more using the Alexa Voice Service, Controls lights, fans, TVs, switches, thermostats, garage doors, sprinklers, locks, and more with compatible connected devices from WeMo, Philips Hue, Sony, Samsung SmartThings, Nest, and others, Always getting smarter and adding new features, plus thousands of skills like Uber, Domino’s, DISH, and more

What is AMAZON ECHO?

Amazon Echo is a hands-free speaker you control with your voice. Echo connects to the Alexa Voice Service to play music, provide information, news, sports scores, weather, and more—instantly. All you have to do is ask.

Echo has seven microphones and beam forming technology so it can hear you from across the room—even while music is playing. Echo is also an expertly tuned speaker that can fill any room with 360° immersive sound. When you want to use Echo, just say the wake word “Alexa” and Echo responds instantly. If you have more than one Echo or Echo Dot, Alexa responds intelligently from the Echo device you’re closest to with ESP (Echo Spatial Perception).

Voice Control YOUR MUSIC

Amazon Echo provides hands-free voice control for Amazon Music—just ask for your favorite artist or song, or request a specific genre or mood. You can also search for music by lyrics, when a song or album was released, or let Alexa pick the music for you. Listen to any song with Amazon Music Unlimited.

Amazon Echo also provides hands-free voice control to Pandora, Spotify, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn. Plus, Echo is Bluetooth-enabled so you can stream other popular music services like iTunes from your phone or tablet. Echo has been fine-tuned to deliver crisp vocals with dynamic bass response. Its dual downward-firing speakers produce 360° omni-directional audio to fill any room with immersive sound.

Far-field Voice Recognition

Tucked under the light ring is an array of seven microphones that use beam-forming technology and enhanced noise cancellation. With far-field voice recognition, Echo can hear you ask a question from any direction—even while playing music.

When you want to use Echo, simply say the wake word, “Alexa,” and Echo lights up and streams audio to the cloud, where the Alexa Voice Service is leveraged to recognize and respond to your request instantly.

Always Getting Smarter

Alexa—the brain behind Echo—is built in the cloud, so it is always getting smarter. The more you use Echo, the more it adapts to your speech patterns, vocabulary, and personal preferences. And because Echo is always connected, updates are delivered automatically.

Just in the last few months we’ve added local search from Yelp, movie showtimes, Samsung SmartThings support, Google Calendar, Audible audiobooks, text-to-speech for Kindle eBooks, and over 100 new skills from third-party developers.

Echo has Skills

Skills add even more capabilities like ordering a pizza from Domino’s, requesting a ride from Uber, opening your garage with Garageio, and more. Enabling skills lets your Echo do even more—simply discover and enable the skills you want to use in the Alexa App.

New skills are being added all the time. You can also see ratings and reviews to learn what other customers are saying about skills in the Alexa App.

Control Your Smart Home

Use Echo to switch on the lamp before getting out of bed, turn on the fan or space heater while reading in your favorite chair, or dim the lights from the couch to watch a movie—all without lifting a finger.

Echo works with smart home devices such as lights, switches, thermostats, and more from WeMo, Philips Hue, SmartThings, Insteon, Nest, ecobee, Wink, and more.

Do More with the Alexa App

With the free Alexa App on Fire OS, Android, iOS, and desktop browsers, you can easily setup and manage your Echo.

Use the Alexa App to connect services you already use like Spotify, Pandora, and Google Calendar. Setup your smart home devices from WeMo, Philips Hue, SmartThings, Insteon, ecobee, and more. See what books are available to read from your Kindle and Audible libraries. View shopping and to-do lists while on the go. Control your timers and set custom tones for your alarms, and much more. The Alexa App is also where you discover and enable third-party skills.

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Amazon Echo is a hands-free speaker you control with your voice. Echo connects to the Alexa Voice Service to play music, provide information, news, sports scores, weather, and more—instantly. All you have to do is ask.

GE12722 Z-Wave Wireless Lighting Control On/Off Switch

Transform any home into a smart home with the Z-Wave Wireless Lighting Control On/Off Switch. The on/off switch replaces your current light switch, uses your existing wiring, and provides Z-Wave wireless and in-wall control of overhead lighting. The switch enables wireless control of on/off functions of direct wire incandescent, LED, xenon, halogen and fluorescent lighting.

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GE Outdoor Smart Switch Review

In this episode, we will review the GE Outdoor Smart Switch. I needed a simple way to control my outdoor fountains that plug into a GFCI electrical outlet. I wanted the ability to easily control from inside my house without having to add new switches or wiring. I also needed something that could hold up to the elements. Within 5 minutes, I had the device integrated into my smart home through my Wink hub, schedules set and wife fully up to speed.

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