Home / Home / A Project: Updating To A Smart(er) Home – Part 4: The TP-Link Smart Switch

A Project: Updating To A Smart(er) Home – Part 4: The TP-Link Smart Switch

After getting the bedroom handled, Mari and I became very sensitive as to what the next targets would be.  One of the big offenders were the outdoor lights.  These guys are special.  One light on each side of the garage, and then a 3 light post that I installed last year.  They were different size sockets, and in no way or fashion needed anything fancy.   So the decision to skip special lights and install a switch was made.

I picked up a TP-Link switch from Bestbuy.  I almost got the Insignia brand, but a store rep said that a lot of them were being returned due to how hard they were to use.  Well then… nope. Every time I see TP-Link, I think ‘toilet paper’, but I didn’t let that stop me.

Another reason that these lights are special is because they’re actually not wired into the house.  They’re not completely within code and I have them terminated at a plug that plugs in safely at a power strip.  I was unsure about wire length and route at the time, so I let it go.  How ever, Mari really wanted to play with the tools so this is a great opportunity for her.  We can safely kill power to just that leg and be safe. And that is what we did.

After getting everything open and unpackaged, I became confused.  Your standard single pole switch sits inline of your hot.  That means that the black on one side is from the panel, and the black on the other is to the item.  Always ground as you should.   This switch had two blacks, and a white.  Why does this need a neutral?!  After googling, the answer because clear and I felt dumb.  The neutral wire, in conjunction with a hot from the panel, is what powers the small computer in the switch…. the one that makes it smart?  Derp.   After confirming this, I let Mari have at it.  Some precautionary steps to ensure safety were made and we applied power.  No fire!  No explosion!  A tap on the switch brought the lights on with out a shock.

Perfect!  After that, I used the TP-Link Kasa app on my phone to join it to the network and set up to my tp-link account.  Once the Alexa skill was enabled, I imported it and set it up there, too.  I eventually set it up so that it turns off those pesky lights at 7, since some one likes to leave them on all day.  Problem solved, problem staying solved.

About Ashley Young

I'm a North Carolina transplanted girl reaching my 30's. A few years ago, I procured my first DSM that would eventually mature many of my skills. This website is dedicated to the stories, adventures, and lessons that the car has brought to me over the years.

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