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2021-05-20

OhmPlug

I had talked with OhmConnect support earlier this year about a product that they had mysteriously added to their website without even a picture of the actual device. Just this smiling logo:


It was listed at a higher cost than the TP-Link product line and without any specification, though they are now listed on the OhmConnect Store.

They claimed at the time that the OhmPlug would feature better integration with OhmConnect (Their load shedding business), "a near-zero vampire draw", and "nice energy monitoring capabilities built in."

I was intrigued, but wasn't quite interested in being a beta tester of such a product since there was no picture of the device and while the OhmPlug app existed on the android store it looked... rough.

So several months pass, they release a new store site featuring a small photograph of the plug. So I bought one to review. Then I waited and waited for two weeks while the tracking number I had been given said UPS was still waiting for the package. Suspicious. I reached out to support and they assured me it shipped and would be here any day. I waited another week, no change to the tracking number. So I reached out again and they too agreed that something must have gone wrong so they canceled the order and reissued it. I got a new tracking number and behold the next day UPS said they had received the package. A few days later I received a small bubble wrap envelope with a small nondescript box inside and a packing slip.

Also interestingly the box is smaller than the dimensions on their store page.

The plugs actual dimensions are 1.9" deep X 3.1" wide X 1.45" tall.
If you exclude the prongs, its only 1" deep.

There is an included pamphlet pointing you at  https://www.ohmconnect.com/ohmplug

The back of which includes the specifications and legaleeze. Make sure you "Long oress"

The back of the plug includes the usual interesting bits about the "F2s101-US". Most notably that it is UL Listed. Bonus points to anyone that can figure out who SWE is that this is "Manufactured For". The firmware is made by SmartLife so maybe thats what the S is? I also adore the lowercase x in MAx.



Next I took some readings on the vampire draw (0.5W when off, 1.1-1.5W when on). This is a bit higher than the TP-Link devices which are about 0.4W off and 0.8W when on. So already, if you don't intend to use the energy monitoring feature on this device, I would not buy it.






So lets add our plug. Opening the app, there is a splash screen I couldn't get a picture of with the OhmConnect logo stretched excessively vertically.


Clicking Add Device asks you for a wifi password and nagging you to make sure you are on 2.4Ghz. Its a little inconvenient but par for the course with smart devices. But then I saw this:


And I'm like "Uh.. No". Apparently I have a neighbor with a bluetooth enabled wake up light. I fought with this for probably half an hour before realizing that what is happening is the OhmPlug is WiFi only and this "Wake Up Light" is bluetooth. Apparently pairing a bluetooth device takes precedence and you CANNOT pair the OhmPlug unless you can get away from the device or you just disable bluetooth.

After doing that it tells you how to press the button to put it in pairing mode and then it is no problem. 

Note that if you hold the button again it blinks slower and goes into some kind of firmware recovery mode. This is how I identified the firmware vendor as SmartLife.


I did a quick test charging some batteries. The kill-a-watt was reading 1 watt different from the app which makes sense since the OhmPlug draws 1 watt when on.


Next I performed a SuperScientific™ experiment with my TP-Link plugs which have a small but known power draw. They revealed that the OhmPlug does agree within 1W of the Kill-A-Watt with one ANNOYING caveat. The OhmPlug cannot read anything less than 3W. Anything less and it just says 0W. Also annoyingly the app seems to stop refreshing randomly which if you are trying to see how much power something uses in different modes is really annoying. There is also a 4 second or so delay on the reading in the app which compounds the problem.


We'll have to see how its daily counts of watthours compares to the kill-a-watt. I would like to get daily totals as that is something the kill-a-watt cannot do. I'm hesitant since on one screen it says I've used 0.04kWh today but the other says 0.00. 

In short I probably wouldn't buy more than one. The app leaves something to be desired and I'm disappointed by the 3W minimum reading while it draws over 1w while on (Why do none of these companies use latching relays??).

2 comments:

WordStar said...

I wasted a whole day trying to setup an ohmplug and then trying to link it with the smart device controller I prefer. The OhnConnect app is terrible. Your discovery that the software was actually Smart Life saved the day. I downloaded Smart Life app, setup the plug and linked smart Life to Alexa Thank you for your work.

Thomas said...

Ya, TP-Link has their own energy monitoring plug now that some day I'll have to try out. It's also silly that they claimed it would have better support than the TP-Link in ohmconnect and after months of notably worse support they went to using the same scheduler based approach they use with tp-link.

At this point I just use it to track how much grid energy I'm putting into my offgrid solar setup to make up cloudy/smoky days.