LightwaveRF hub and Alexa-controlled smartplugs review
Automated homes, or smart homes, are becoming less a futuristic thing day-by-day. I have tried a variety of app-connected plugs but their main sticking point is that they don’t integrate with anything else.
This is becoming more of an annoyance. For instance, because I have four different brands of IP camera in my home, I have to have four different apps.
If only there was a way of drawing your IoT together. That also works by voice command…
Thankfully Alexa is here (other voice-controlled smart assistants are available).
LightwaveRF is a smart-home solution that offers not only lighting but devices for controlling your heating and power.
Its products can be remotely controlled via a mobile app, PC, remote control or even via Alexa or similar.
As I am in rented accommodation I daren’t start installing smart dimmer switches or plug points so I opted for the smart plug pack.
What I have here in front of me is the LightwaveRF On/Off Socket Kit and the LightwaveRF hub.
The On/Off kit comprises of three smart plugs and a little remote control.
They each have a small blue button no their side. This switches the plug on and off and, with a long press, enables syncing with the hub.
On top is a sync button whilst, around the rear, is the Ethernet and power ports.
The hub measures 101 x 30 x 101mm and weighs 218g. This makes it extremely easy to place.
The kit looks modern and uncomplicated, but looks can be deceiving. Hopefully, not in this instance.
First thing’s first, and that was plugging in the Link hub in to my Sense router and getting power to it.
I ensured that the hub had a clear line of sight. I am grateful that this thing is only small and isn’t ugly.
Once that was done I downloaded the LightwaveRF app on to my phone.
The app allows you to control the On/Off plugs individually. The great thing is that you can turn them all of at once. Unfortunately, you can’t switch them all on in the same way.
To pair the switches to the link you simultaneously press and hold the on and off buttons until the LEDs alternately flash blue and amber. Within the app you can then give that light switch an appropriate name.
You are then given the option to turn off all lights, or below this to turn the light switch on or off. If you have the dimmer version of the plug or a dimmer switch installed, a slider bar allows you to dim the lights as required.
Other tabs in the mobile app allow you to set up Events – presets for when you are home or away that can be applied at the tab of a button when required.
The next tab lets you set timers. You’ll also find a tab for controlling your heating if you have the necessary equipment installed.
You can name the various plugs to indicate what they’re powering. In my case I named the lights: Spike, Twinkle and Reader. Reader is probably self-explanatory, Twinkle are some fairy lights and Spike is a many tendrilled standard lamp.
If you intend to use Alexa to switch things on and off, it is best to name your devices with words that can be spoken clearly and not misunderstood.
Alexa has become part of my daily ritual each morning. She let’s me know if there’s some significant anniversary or occassion linked to the day, keeps me updated with the news and tells me just how messed up public transport is.
LightwaveRF can also be linked to her. Simply download the Amazon Alexa Skill and you are good to go.
Ask Alexa to “…Switch on….” and that plug will turn on. “Alexa, turn off…” and off it goes.
I found that “Alexa, switch on” works better than “Alexa, turn on”. This has worked without hitch since renaming my devices. Initially Alexa was looking for a video player and all kinds of other things.
The little remote is powered by a watch-type battery.
It simply has four rows of numbered buttons. Each row you sync to the device you want it to control. The buttons are on and off.
This means that you can assign each bank to a device type, e.g. Lights. Alternatively, ‘a’ could be for the living-room, ‘b’ the kitchen, etc.
Just in case there wasn’t enough ways to control your home tech, Lightwave also has a web app.
This uses the same login details as the mobile app. First you are presented with a list of rooms.
These smart switches are really great. on your plug sockets that allow you to turn on and off power when required. You might want to turn on the coffee maker 10 minutes before you get home, for example, or turn off power to the TV between certain times when you want the kids in bed.
They enable you to turn power on and off remotely when required. You can even set timers so that your coffee maker switches on 10 minutes before you get home. You could even set them to switch the kid’s telly off at a certain time.
Going away? Set the timers to switch on different appliances and lights throughout the day to give the appearance of people still being in your home.
Looking further in to things, I reckon I could get the system working with IFTTT. I just ran out of time to play with that before I wanted to post this review.
LightwaveRF review conclusion
This is a great system. Even though I have only got the On/Off kit I have a feeling that this will be expanding very soon. I will check with my landlady if it’s OK for me to add dimmer lightswitches and mains outlets.
Once you have the LightwaveRF Link hub, you can simply add options when you want, or can afford to.
Not only does LightwaveRF work, it looks good doing it.
LightwaveRF price and availability
The Lightwave Link is available from Lightwave for £89.99. Once you’ve bought this hub device you can hook up any other Lightwave devices you require.
The On/Off kit with remote is £46.99. This comes with three smart plugs.