IoT stuffs changed the management of our country houses. Today, we can control the external lights from other house and can view the live videos via connected security cameras. Thieves and animals avoid houses which seem to be under control under human. Light-dependent resistor control and motion sensors alone are not great to exert the effect of human control of the house from a different house. Motion sensors are good for the limited number of additional lights. Light-dependent resistor control is good for high-wattage outdoor lights. They are prone to failure in different challenging situations. We already published instruction to build smart plug or smart socket with ESP32 and IBM Watson IoT. These days, various companies manufacture and sell smart plugs and smart sockets. If you compare the build price then DIY and the commercial solution will cost more or less the same. There are users/readers who face the confusion which one to choose between these two categories.
Commercial smart plugs offer certain advantages such as ready to use iOS or Android App, neat design and some sort of warranty. By no means the appeal of the look of certain models can be ignored. On the other hand, the DIY smart plugs with maximum effort with 3D printing becomes costly and labour intensive. What are the use-cases of our DIY smart plugs and sockets? DIY smart plugs are good when :
- The use is temporary i.e. you can re-use the ESP32 and the relay in other projects
- You need to control a lot of things. ESP32 can support a huge number of relay unmatched with any common commercial smart plug.
- You want to build your smart-hub
- You have a lot of electronics including security camera from different brands which offer some over-the-internet control
- You need greater control on the components such as a relay. You’ll not get more than 16A smart plug in the market.
- You want a self-serviceable smart plug
- Features such as control by Alexa is not important to you
- You need robust security
The last point is quite important. You can beat the commercial devices with the DIY smart plug at security. As you have control at the API level, the chance to get hacked forever is remote. DIY smart plugs offer more practical advantages over commercial solutions such as the addition of custom functions. It is needless to say that building own thing is a different fun.
However, when your need is just one socket then it is difficult to beat the commercial smart plugs. I will recommend the commercial smart plugs for control of low wattage electricals such as outdoor lights of your country house whereas complex DIY smart plugs for a supervised usage.