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Wemo Insight Switch, Wi-Fi smart plug, control lights and appliances from your phone, manage energy costs, works with Alexa
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert

Pros: +
The WeMo Insight is designed for ease of setup and use, it features a compact design with neutral aesthetics, and is an affordable entry into home automation.

The WeMo Insight offers remote access control, letting you control your WeMo devices or set the timer scheduling wherever you have internet, from home even while out of town.
The WeMo also has a nice run time meter, that also measures the monthly cost of running attached devices or appliances (you can set the cost per kwh during the set up process, or go back and edit the value later)

The WeMo app is available on iOS/android which grants control and scheduling of the Insight from your smartphone or tablet. The app can control multiple WeMo Insight smart plugs and you can set each with its own schedule. The app also supports other compatible devices from WeMo or Nest.
The app has some impressive features, you can set multiple timer schedules in one day, set the device to Away Mode (turns the Insight smart plug on and off at random “natural” intervals), or set the smart plug to sunrise/sunset mode, where it will automatically power on or off at the beginning and days end. Another nice feature is that it can even send you a notification if someone powers on or off the Insight outside of the schedule.
While the WeMo app isn’t available on the Windows Store, I did find a few unofficial apps supporting the WeMo on the Windows Store. I tried one of the free apps ‘Domi’ (ad-supported) which provides basic power switch control right from a Windows 10 PC, however; it does lack any further control schemes besides powering the WeMo on or off.

• Easy to setup and use(*see cons).
• WeMo app is intuitive and easy to understand.
• Remote access.
• Power Usage Meter displays usage and estimated monthly cost.

Cons: -
The activation process was frustrating in my experience:
Initially I placed the Insight in an adjacent room to my router, followed the instructions and prompts on my smartphone. When I found the Insight in the available networks (with both my router and the WeMo reporting full signal strength), the app just would not connect the smart plug to my network. After retrying the process at least 10 times thinking there was an error with the app or my phone (restarting my phone, my router and the WeMo multiple times in the process ), I decided that the problem was either radio interference or a defective unit.

The solution that worked for me: I moved the Insight from the next room from the router, into the same room as my router, plugged it in to an outlet with a direct line of sight to the router, no further than 9 feet away. Started up the app on my smartphone, found the Insight network and was able to get it to join my network almost instantly.

This process was really frustrating, and nowhere in the instructions was there any information about placing the plug in close proximity to your router when setting it up.
I still don’t know if it was radio interference, lack of signal strength or a glitch in the system. Not being able to activate just one room away from my router seemed very odd.
After activating the plug with my network, I was able to place it anywhere in my home, with no connection issues.

Other Thoughts: ~
The WeMo app is made with ease of use in mind, each of the scheduling features are laid out as individual rules, as such it is very easy to create a schedule tailored to your needs. For example to make a schedule to turn the Insight on, you would create a new “rule”, choose the time and days you would like the device to turn on, and repeat the process making another rule for powering off the Insight. You could theoretically keep adding as many rules as there are minutes in the day (untested), if you so desired.
Other “rule” options are setting an auto-off timer which can be customized, or for sending notification when the Insight is powered on or off.
The app also supports other WeMo devices, as well as Nest devices. It can support devices with motion sensing and can send a notification of motion if desired.

Once you tailor the WeMo to your needs, it becomes an excellent entry into home automation. The app is straight forward with simple, easy to understand controls. You can set and forget with a schedule and or use the app as an on demand switch. Its a great addition to a space that lacks wired light switches, or even to set a schedule to turn a light on for you. Perhaps you want to turn on a fan on a hot day, or a heater on a cold afternoon, set up lighting for house plants...

Overall this Insight smart plug has been fantastic, and has performed flawlessly once set up. I did run into a snag trying to activate the device at first, but I have had no issues at all since activating it. The device has had several firmware updates since initialization, and has been stable and reliable. With all of the features available it’s easy for me to dismiss the activation process folly that I experienced. I would recommend that if anyone has a similar experience to mine, to simply move the Insight smart plug closer to your router.
This is an easy recommendation to anyone looking for easy, simple home automation or a Wi-Fi enabled smart plug.
4.5 eggs.

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Linksys CM3016 16x4 686 Mbps DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem Certified by All Major Cable Providers
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert

5 out of 5 eggs Linksys CM3016 16x4 Cable Modem 12/31/2016

This review is from: Linksys CM3016 16x4 686 Mbps DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem Certified by All Major Cable Providers

Pros: +
Easy to set up
Activation is straight forward and self contained, no phone calls were necessary
Set and forget.
Solid stable speeds.
Gigabit Ethernet port.
DOCSIS 3.0
16 downstream channels, 4 up.

Cons: -
No control panel access, the software and system updates on this modem are controlled remotely by your cable company, Comcast in my case.

Power cord is approximately only 5 feet long with the modem I received, which could be an issue of convenience with some installations.

Other Thoughts: ~

Setting up this modem is simple and straight forward, the only thing you need to do besides having to wrench on the co-ax and plugging in the power cord is activate the modem with your provider.
With Comcast this was very easy to do, once powered on, open a browser on a connected PC, smart phone or tablet. you will be prompted for your cable account number and telephone number associated with your cable account. Then wait for 5 to 15 minutes while this modem activates.
I did notice for a few days after activation the modem didn't feel as fast as the one Comcast sent, even though the speed tests that I performed were nearly the same. Eventually this modem seemed to settle in and run just as well. This is where control panel access would have been nice to see what is going on, at least to see the connection and diagnostic logs.

I like the “set and forget” attitude with this modem, but having no control panel access proved to be a minor inconvenience.

Understanding what the upstream and downstream channels mean when deciding which cable modem to choose is relatively easy. Basically you divide the maximum rated throughput and divide by the number of channels (686/16 = 42.8Mbit/sec) so each downstream channel is rated at 42.8Mbit/s each. Upstream is a slightly narrower channel which is capped at 30.5Mbit/sec so the maximum throughput would be 122Mbit/sec (30.5x4) upstream.
(although this modem is capable of surpassing most ISP speeds advertised, the connection will still be capped at the speeds advertised by your provider).
This modem should have enough throughput for most residential or small business scenarios, selecting a modem with more channels would probably only make sense if you had a gigabit bandwidth package or if your connection was hosting more than the average number of users for a residential installation.

Aesthetically this modem has a nice matte black finish on the sides of the body, with piano finish on the front and rear of the housing. The housing has an interesting subdued design on the side that almost appears to imitate a ripple in water. The LED indicators are soft and do not light up the room or excessively grab the attention of my eye.

Overall this modem has performed flawlessly during my testing, and would make an easy recommendation to anyone looking for a modem in the 16x4 range. The lack of access to diagnostics or network diagnostic logs is only a small inconvenience, which does not undermine performance or stability.

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APC BE600M1 Back-UPS 600 VA 330 Watts 7 Outlets Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) with USB charging Port
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert

Pros: +
• 5 Battery backup outlets
• All outlets protected with surge suppression.
• USB charging port (1.5A)
• PC power monitoring software (PowerChute)
• LED power mode indicator (AC, battery backup)
• Muted aesthetics, not an eye catcher.
• 45º angled power plug is great for crowded outlets or power strips.
• Seamless backup power in the event of power loss.

I set this battery backup for use with my PC and monitor, and has been a great addition to my set up. The PowerChute software provides almost real-time power consumption and estimated battery run time on power failure. The PowerChute software can be configured to shut down your PC for you in the event of power loss, at a set interval of time.
For my hardware scenario I set the software to 5 minutes on battery before shutting down my PC, given my current PC hardware configuration.
Current specs:
i7 5820k
x99 motherboard
GTX 1060 6GB OC
16GB DDR4 1.35v (2x 8GB)
2 SSD’s, and one 3TB WD black HD.
1x BD/DVD optical.
4 140mm fans, 2 120mm fans
630W 80+ gold rated PSU

This battery backup is sufficient for my use, as even under load (gaming) the software reports that I should have more than 6 minutes of battery run time. At idle the PowerChute software reports that I should have 18+ minutes on battery, which is plenty of time to save work and shut down should I choose to extend the battery run time before auto shutdown.

Some other nice features of the PowerChute software is that it can report daily cost of operating attached equipment, total energy usage per month in kWh and interestingly estimated carbon dioxide emissions per day. Perform firmware updates, run self diagnostics, set hours at which alarms are active (if you dont want to be alerted to an alarm at 3 a.m.)
What I’ve checked most often is the current energy consumption and load on battery backup. I was surprised to see that my system uses much less energy than I thought, with an average of 115 Watts at idle, and 265 +/- Watts under load, this is including my 144Hz monitor drawing 23 Watts.

I really like the addition of a USB charging port, which also provides power on battery.
This is a great way to charge your phone in a power outage, a 1.5 amp capacity should be enough for most phones and most tablets.

Cons: -
The UPS I received had a strong chemical odor, which dissipated after about a week.
(I may have been unlucky with the unit I received, but if you are sensitive to chemical smells, you might consider unpacking and leaving this unit in a room that you don't frequent, for a few days)

The PowerChute software is available as a download from APC, the easiest way to find it is to follow the address from the included instructions. If you try to navigate to the software from apc.com it can be confusing if you’re not sure what you’re looking for, as most of their products are geared toward commercial applications.

Other Thoughts: ~
The capacity of this backup should be a good match for most PC users needs, but of course not everyone has the same power needs. I would likely choose a higher capacity backup for more demanding systems. My current configuration has about 6 minutes run time under load, which is a thin margin, for a 5 minute auto shutdown on battery power. However; in the event of power loss, I should have plenty of warning.

Although I configured this backup for use with my PC, there are many different scenarios that you could use this backup.

Using this as a dedicated battery backup for a modem and router, could provide internet access during an outage (if there is no damage to the lines or external events that would prevent access). Even attaching Wi-Fi enabled power outlet(s) aside from the modem and router could provide power to emergency lighting controllable from your smart phone or tablet.
You could even attach a USB powered light to the charging port for emergency battery backup lighting.

I wish this back up was considered portable, but lead-acid batteries can be a bit dangerous, so I wouldn’t pack one in your hiking backpack. Charging it up and carrying it to the back deck to power a radio should be fine (just make sure its not going to rain).

Overall this has been a fantastic backup through out my testing. The PowerChute software was more informative and useful than I expected, and the USB charging port was also a welcome addition.
The pros far outweigh the cons, and would be an easy recommendation to anyone looking for a decent battery backup with this capacity. 5 eggs.

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Matt G.'s Profile

Display Name: Matt G.

Date Joined: 04/05/06

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  • Reviews: 65
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  • First Review: 04/07/06
  • Last Review: 01/11/17
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