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Thread: Is there a wifi powerstrip someone knows of that I can use to make a vb program with?

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    Is there a wifi powerstrip someone knows of that I can use to make a vb program with?

    Hello, I was wondering if someone knows of a powerstrip that I can make a Windows 10 program for that I can turn plugs on and off with it and can setup a timer for them that operates on seconds up to minutes that can turn on and off? Also I would like to maybe later create a app for my phone that will work with it. Is this possible to make a program that can do this with Visual Basic?

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Shaggy Hiker's Avatar
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    Re: Is there a wifi powerstrip someone knows of that I can use to make a vb program w

    You want to automate your house through a program. It's been a long time since I've looked into that, and I have no doubt that the technology has both changed and improved. At one point, several years back, you would be looking for something based off of X10. After all, why stop with a powerstrip? X10 devices included outlets, switches, and sensors, so you could turn on or off the wall outlet, not just the powerstrip. X10 was a bit quirky, though, and not well loved, as far as I could see. I do remember that there was something else out there that looked more promising a couple years back, but once again it is a couple years back, and progress happens. Here's where I'd go to start out with:

    https://www.smarthome.com/

    Take a look at Insteon. I don't know how accessible it is, but it may already do everything you want to do.

    EDIT: By the way, it is quite possible that no device exists that meets your criteria. The issue is security. If some system like Insteon or Powermax offered up an open interface, how would they secure the system? They'd essentially be allowing anybody with some coding skill the ability to hack somebodies house. They'd have to ensure that the person would only hack their own house, but they can't do that because they can't be certain that the person who hacked the house did so by writing software that was sufficiently secure. In other words, if you were allowed to write a phone based program that could control your house, and you messed it up such that somebody could hack your phone and control your house, who would be at fault? If the company felt confident that YOU would be at fault, they might offer up such a programmable interface. If they did not feel so confident, then they'd never offer up such an interface for fear of being sued.
    Last edited by Shaggy Hiker; Oct 4th, 2018 at 10:22 AM.
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    Re: Is there a wifi powerstrip someone knows of that I can use to make a vb program w

    The Raspberry Pi can run a version of Windows 10 (not the full GUI version though). Below are some links that might give you some ideas. Some of the hardware may also work with Windows 10 on a regular PC.

    https://lifehacker.com/build-an-enti...rry-1640844965

    https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&...31.QkEG6m_bQII

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    Re: Is there a wifi powerstrip someone knows of that I can use to make a vb program w

    You can probably pick up a WIFI plug on amazon that speaks both Google Home API and/or the Amazon Alexa Smart Home API. Then you could make your windows app that connects to your home cloud via one of those services.

    What I don't completely understand is the complexity of these approaches. Does everything I own have to connect to the internet just to function? Why couldn't you control these devices right from the local network?

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    Administrator Steve R Jones's Avatar
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    Re: Is there a wifi powerstrip someone knows of that I can use to make a vb program w

    Besides software, you also need the hardware that will respond/work with the software...

    Why reinvent the wheel when you can already purchase this stuff in minutes.

  6. #6
    Super Moderator Shaggy Hiker's Avatar
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    Re: Is there a wifi powerstrip someone knows of that I can use to make a vb program w

    I went looking at the Insteon stuff. It's much more advanced than the X-10 I tried well over a decade back. You can do all kinds of things. None of them are useful, but you can do them.

    Actually, that's not quite true, as you can set up a home security system via Insteon. It also connects via Amazon Echo, and possibly Google Home, so that part is already kind of built in. Still, I'm not sure how much you would be able to access via your own application. That still seems like a massive security hole, to me, and I'm not sure how (or even IF) they plug that hole. It may be done in such a way that you have read-only access and nothing more, or you might have even less than that.
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