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Belkin  F7C043fc  WeMo Maker - Home Automation for the Tinkerer & DIY'er, Wi-Fi Enabled and WeMo App Controlled
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

3 out of 5 eggs Endless possibilities, but a little flakey… 01/26/2015

This review is from: Belkin F7C043fc WeMo Maker - Home Automation for the Tinkerer & DIY'er, Wi-Fi Enabled and WeMo App Controlled

Pros: Really cool when it works. I was able to turn pretty much anything that could utilize a relay-like connection. Lights, my garage door opener, door sensor, etc... Really cool that you can use IFTTT (If This Than That) coding; this will make it even more fun in the future and being able to do more with it (simple program scripting to allow you to do more with the unit). Nice to have the button right on the front of the unit for testing purposes (to make sure that it will work before you try it with your phone or tablet). I was also able to test it with a touch lamp, and it worked great for that device. Each press of the button on my phone would set the lamp to "LOW-MED-HIGH." Really cool! The actual device seems to be built well and I also like that it has a mounting option. (note, I've had this product for about one month)

Cons: This device really did not offer a friendly first time experience. The instructions are down-right inexistent and the unit would not work properly for me until I performed two hard resets and a firmware upgrade. Make sure you upgrade the firmware straight away! The Phone interface (app) is a little clunky and seemed to work better on my phone than on my tablet. This was on an Android device. Seemed to fare better on my wife’s iPhone 5, but still a clunky experience, sometimes it would work and sometimes it did not. Really bummed that it can only control ONE DEVICE, for the price, it would be nice to see this thing control more than one, maybe 4? That would be nice! The device seems to be pretty sensitive to location; when I had it in my garage, there was some kind of interference, so I had to make sure that it was moved far away from my garage door opener. I then had to make long cable runs to the WeMo to get things going. I also had to extend the power supply, since the brick and cord they give you are on the short side. Testing of the remote access features took time, there was quite a bit of Lag, sometimes only 5 seconds, but other time it could be more than 30 seconds. Maybe it was my cell network or maybe had something to do with the WeMo…? Teething issues with the device?

Other Thoughts: PLEASE, PLEASE, realize that this device is for someone that likes to “tinker” and has a decent understanding of networking and electrical ability. YOU CAN GET HURT with electricity if you do not know what you are doing. Make sure that you have someone around that knows a few things about setting this thing up with AC power that could hurt you. Having said that, REMEMBER that this thing is designed for LOW-VOLTAGE devices… And, low voltage devices CAN interact with high(er) voltage devices, like a garage door opener, so you really need to know how and what you are doing to set this up, I cannot stress this enough. Also keep in mind that the this thing is pretty much a single relay that can handle 1 AMP of current at a maximum of 24 volts (DC). The instructions are pretty bad with this device, but luckily there is a GREAT community of folks on Belkin’s forum. GO THERE FIRST! (Google it) There are some really nice guides and plenty of posts on there that will get you started or answer any lingering questions that you may have. This thing really is a good first start, and I’m sure that they will improve on it. Stuff like this is not going away any time soon, If anything, we’ll see more and more devices that can be controlled over a home network / internet. IF, you have experience and like to work with Raspberry Pi and / or Arduino then I think you will like what the WeMo has to offer. Just take a hard look at the forums and maybe YouTube to get some more ideas. Having said that, if you just want to turn on your lamp so that kitty can find his way to the liter box, just get the Belkin WeMo Switch… So, ultimately, this thing is going to appeal to a limited audience, but the people that understand what they can do with it, will enjoy it. (even with the slight issues) There is still a LOT of room to grow and it will be interesting to see what other connected devices Belkin can think of. I’m going to knock off a few eggs, mainly for the out of the box experience (lack of instruction and firmware issue).

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Seagate STCT8000100 8TB NAS 2-Bay Network Storage
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

5 out of 5 eggs No frills but a work horse for sure! 12/17/2014

This review is from: Seagate STCT8000100 8TB NAS 2-Bay Network Storage

Pros: Well packaged and ready to go right out of the box. 3 Year Warranty!!! Most NAS devices only come with 1! Seagate must trust this product! This NAS had the (2) 4TB drives in it and they were formatted so I was literally up and running in about 5 minutes, no joke. (if starting from scratch with other NAS devices, the building of the array can take HOURS!) Web administration was good, the interface is simple to use but lacks the frills of others (Synology). Rsync for network backups was also very easy to setup. I liked that since I have other NAS devices on my network. Apple Time Machine backups worked fine as well and that too was pretty straight forward and easy to setup. This device has PLENTY of options, it is nice to see that Seagate did not hold back on that. It would work fine in corporate environments. File transfer speed on my gigabit lan was also quite good, averaging 60MB/sec. The only thing faster would be a dedicated server which would cost much more money. This little box is hard to beat for the price and I think that a small business or household that needs redundant storage should take a hard look at this device. I was also able to plug in a 3TB USB2.0 external hard drive to perform backups which also worked quite well. While not the best looking out there, the device is pretty functional, on the front there is a button that you can press that will automatically start backup jobs. I think that is a really great idea, so that if you need to leave the office early, you can start a backup job early just in case. Typical email notifications worked well, but you do need to set them up, which may or may not be easy for some people. I've seen other NAS appliances that do better hand holding, but this Seagate is not bad at all.

Cons: Internal CPU temps averaged 149 degrees which I thought was a little on the toasty side. The interface, while functional is not really that pretty like some other NAS devices. There is some decent "drag and drop" functionality for adding users which works nice, but most of the interface is clunky. Seagate needs to look at updating the interface. Having said that, most people are just going to dump files on this thing and go, so interface might not be a concern. Lack of "apps," Seagate has some, but nothing stands out as a must download. I was intrigued about their surveillance app so I downloaded that one and was going to see if I could get my IP camera hooked up to it. It was a downright ugly experience. I had to guess at the user account since it did not work with admin. Once I was in, it was so unfriendly and ugly looking that I uninstalled it immediately. I think it is great that they are including something like this, but the interface is very bad. I am comparing this directly to the Surveillance Station that Synology uses. Seagate has a long way to go if they want to be able to compete. Internal hard drive temps were around 100 degrees. Not terrible, but it would be nice to see them be a little cooler. Heat is ALWAYS the enemy of any computer device. The fan on this NAS wasn't too loud, but I would have hoped that it would keep the hard drives a little cooler than 100.

Other Thoughts: Having said all that, this thing is still a beast (in a good way) I tossed over 1.23TB of data on it and it didn't whimper at all. I think that the CPU is pretty beefy on this NAS and I appreciate that! While the styling and web interface leave a little bit to be desired, this thing still is all business and that is okay! If you are looking for a relatively good priced NAS and need to backup your precious data (which you do!!!) I would take a hard look at this Seagate NAS. At the end of the day you want something to be reliable and easy to administer and I think this NAS will work for just about anyone, it is just slightly rough around the edges, but by no means isn't worth buying. The NAS category seems to be growing each and every day, so it is nice to see some players like Seagate enter the market.

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Synology DS114 Diskless System Network Storage
  • Owned For: 1 month to 1 year

5 out of 5 eggs Fancy Piece of Hardware! 11/28/2014

This review is from: Synology DS114 Diskless System Network Storage

Pros: Hands down, one of the best NAS devices in the market today. EASY setup and deployment on a small home LAN or SoHo environment. It can be used in a corporate LAN as well, just will require a little bit more work depending on how complex the network is. Easily, one of the BEST interfaces I've EVER seen. TAKE NOTE HERE OTHER NAS MFGs, Synology has got it down! Slammed a 3TB Seagate hdd into this device and I was rocking in no time. The apps that can be downloaded are really nice and well thought out. The community (forums) is also an excellent resource and the company is constantly staying on top of issues and release firmware / updates should problems arise. User setup and creations of shares will take literally 10 minutes and you will be good to go. Also, this device is GREAT for Audio and Video streaming, you have to see it to believe it, really! Also, their IP camera app for recording is FANTASTIC and rivals super expensive software packages!

Cons: Setting up Time Machine for Mac is a little tricky, but it can be done, just follow the setup guide from Synology. This device only holds ONE hard drive, so your precious data WILL NOT BE DUPLICATED! If you want to backup your data (BELIEVE ME YOU DO) attach an external USB hard drive or spend a few more bills and get the one with 2 drive bays. If accessing this thing remotely (think outside your network) you are going to want to open the correct ports on your firewall / router or signup for their "Quick Connect" service, which I have not checked out yet... Don't really need to, as much ISP gives me a static IP address, but yours may not...

Other Thoughts: I really like how I can stream movies off this little box. It has pretty good speed on my LAN (1000Base-T) depending on what I'm transferring. I normally see speed over 60MB/Sec, which is pretty impressive for this little guy... Remote administration is fantastic and easy to do (locally). Honestly, this thing can do pretty much everything that you would want. Did I mention that you can stream your IP camera's to it and record all that data! Very impressive. When I upgrade my security setup at home, I'll just dump all my camera data to the Synology and buy some extra camera licenses and I'll be good to go. So if you need a solution for IP security camera's, this thing can not be beat! The interface alone is worth the price of admission. I look forward to see what future advancements that Synology will come up with, but their product is very hard to beat and I'm sure the other "guys" are watching them closely.

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Max F.'s Profile

Display Name: Max F.

Date Joined: 10/06/05

  • Reviews: 49
  • Helpfulness: 23
  • First Review: 06/14/07
  • Last Review: 01/26/15
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