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Recommended WiFi electrical outlets?
Old 07-10-2017, 02:07 PM   #1
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Recommended WiFi electrical outlets?

We recently mounted a TV in our screened in porch, which only has 1 outlet. The outlet is on the opposite end of the porch so running an extension cord from one end to the other wouldn't look very good. Right now, we have the TV plugged into the end of a string of hanging lights. The lights are on a timer so the TV is powered only when the lights are on.

We thought one option might be to buy a WiFi electrical plug that we could control using either our phones or an Amazon Dot.

Does anyone have any experience or recommendations for a WiFi electrical plug? Or are there other options I'm missing?

P.S. I'd rather not pay the cost of an electrician installing a new outlet.
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Old 07-10-2017, 02:40 PM   #2
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My thinking: Plug a WiFi plug into the existing outlet. Plug the string of lights (which also connects the TV) into the WiFi plug. Now I should be able to control the WiFi plug using a cell phone app or Amazon Alexa. No?
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Old 07-10-2017, 02:40 PM   #3
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A WiFi outlet has to be plugged into a standard wall outlet (or some of them replace the standard wall outlets), so I don't think this is going to do what you want.

You are currently using the light string as an extension cord, which may or may not be safe. Those outlets at the end of the light string are typically intended to daisy chain another light string; I'm not sure they're rated for a TV.

If you don't want to call an electrician, then the only choices you have here are to get an extension cord and tack it down neatly or move the TV so it's closer to the outlet.

edit: Ah, I see, you posted an explanation while I was typing. Yes, you could control the lights with the wifi outlet instead of a timer. However, that still leaves you with a TV plugged into a light string. I still think you should investigate whether that's safe or not.
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Old 07-10-2017, 02:53 PM   #4
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However, that still leaves you with a TV plugged into a light string. I still think you should investigate whether that's safe or not.
+10

Everything depends on the rating of the ligth string. If it is a string for standard incandescent bulbs (like used at construction sites), it may be OK. But if a string of Christmas lights, you may be creating an electrical hazard.
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Old 07-10-2017, 03:13 PM   #5
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By "1 outlet", you mean there's only one place to plug anything in (rather than the standard "duplex" receptacle that has 2 places to plug things in, stacked above each other)--right?

- Depending on the box that is behind the plate, it may not be difficult at all to convert this to a standard duplex receptacle (with 2 places to plug things in)
- You don't need a slicky Wifi outlet in order to control an object from afar. If you don't want to do any wiring, just get a wireless RF switch like this one. (edited to add: jazz4cash posted later that this model wasn't a good one, get a different type). Stick the transmitter switch wherever you want it (it looks like a wall switch, will need new batteries every few years). This way there's no reason to have/turn on your phone, it uses no WiFi bandwith, you can still control things if the router crumps out, you don't have to re-teach the switch when you get a new router, etc. If you need a three-prong outlet for your TV, be sure to buy a remote switch (whether wifi or regular "single purpose") that will takes those.

Also, if there's any potential that this screened in porch might get wet, or if required by code, you might need an "in use" weather cover that closes over the receptacle to help keep water out. And a GFCI outlet might be a wise move (or required) too. They don't cost much, and will prevent shocks.
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Old 07-10-2017, 04:00 PM   #6
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Smarthome - Home Automation Systems, Products, Kits, Hubs & Ideas will have lots of options for you.
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Old 07-10-2017, 06:05 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samclem View Post
...
- You don't need a slicky Wifi outlet in order to control an object from afar. If you don't want to do any wiring, just get a wireless RF switch like this one. Stick the transmitter switch wherever you want it (it looks like a wall switch, will need new batteries every few years). This way here's no reason to have/turn on your phone, it uses no WiFi bandwith, you can still control things if the router crumps out, you don't have to re-teach the switch when you get a new router, etc. If you need a three-prong outlet for your TV, be sure to buy a remote switch (whether wifi or regular "single purpose) that will takes those. ...
Or even lower tech, no batteries, simple/elegant user interface for cheap:

https://www.amazon.com/Remote-Switch.../dp/B000GAS3HG

https://www.amazon.com/Lighted-Switc.../dp/B008NCDUKY

Or this if you need 3-prong:
https://www.amazon.com/Prime-Wire-Ca...GCKPWWC7HCQ0DJ

Or just a simple power strip with a switch. Why complicate things?

-ERD50
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Old 07-10-2017, 07:01 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samclem View Post
By "1 outlet", you mean there's only one place to plug anything in (rather than the standard "duplex" receptacle that has 2 places to plug things in, stacked above each other)--right?

- Depending on the box that is behind the plate, it may not be difficult at all to convert this to a standard duplex receptacle (with 2 places to plug things in)
- You don't need a slicky Wifi outlet in order to control an object from afar. If you don't want to do any wiring, just get a wireless RF switch like this one. Stick the transmitter switch wherever you want it (it loks like a wall switch, will need new batteries every few years). This way here's no reason to have/turn on your phone, it uses no WiFi bandwith, you can still control things if the router crumps out, you don't have to re-teach the swithc when you get a new router, etc. If you need a three-prong outlet for your TV, be sure to buy a remote switch (whether wifi or regular "single purpose) that will takes those.

Also, if there's any potential that this place might get wet, or if required by code, you might need an "in use" weather cover that closes over the receptacle to help keep water out. And a GFCI outlet might be a wise move (or required) too. They don't cost much, and will prevent shocks.


A lot of bad reviews for the unit linked. I bought one and it died < 6 mos.
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Old 07-10-2017, 07:58 PM   #9
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I remember going to old apts and feeling extension cords under my feet that ran under the carpets.
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