How to Turn On at Sunset with the Amazon Smart Plug
With Amazon constantly updating for the Alexa assistant, users have been eagerly awaiting the sunset/sunrise option.
Let’s suppose you’d like to turn on the lights in your front porch whenever the sun goes down, only to turn them back off a couple of hours later in the evening. With the Amazon Smart Plug, you can do just that.
The Alexa app is free and available on all platforms: Apple’s App Store, Google Play, or Microsoft Store. If you already have the app, just make sure that you have the latest update before moving on to the next steps.
If your lights are already connected to your Smart Plug, you can skip ahead to step 2 of this guide.
1. Installing an Amazon Smart Plug
- Connect the Smart Plug to a power outlet.
- Open the Alexa app and tap on the “plus” icon in the upper right corner of the Home Screen.
- Tap on “Add Device”.
- Tap on “Plug”.
- To finish the setup, find your new Smart Plug device in the list and tap on it.
If you wish to automate multiple light sources, you may need to connect them to two or more Smart Plugs. To be able to control them all at once, you can arrange them in a group through your Alexa app.
2. Turning the Lights On at Sunset
With your lights connected to their respective Smart Plugs, it’s time to create a routine for turning them on.
- Open the Alexa app and tap on the Menu button (three horizontal lines).
- Tap on “Routines”.
- Tap on the “plus” icon in the upper right corner to create a new routine.
- Tap on the “plus” icon next to “When this happens”.
- Tap on “Schedule”.
- Tap on “Sunset”.
- In the Sunset menu, using the “Time Offset” slider, you can choose how many minutes before or after sunset you’d like your new routine to start. Here you can also select the days of the week for running this routine.
- Once you’ve selected the desired options, tap on “Next” in the upper right corner.
- You should be in the “New Routine” menu, where you’d tap on “Add action” and select “Smart Home” from the menu.
- Depending on the arrangement of your lights, you can either choose to control them as a single device, a group, or a scene. For this example, let’s suppose you have a couple of Smart Plugs arranged into a group called “Porch” for convenient control at the same time. Now you can tap on the “Control group” option.
- In the next menu, you will see all the groups you have created, among which is the group “Porch”. Tap on it.
- Toggle the selector to “On”, which means turning the lights on at sunset.
- Tap on “Next” in the upper right corner of the screen.
- You will be back to the “New Routine” menu, where you can see all the settings you’ve added to this routine.
If you tap on the “Save” button in the upper right corner, you’ll have this routine set up to turn the lights on. But, you certainly wouldn’t want the lights turned on indefinitely, right? To prevent that, don’t tap on “Save” just yet but rather proceed to the next section.
3. Turning the Lights Off
To have the lights automatically turned off, you’ll need to set a trigger for that action. You can do that by using the option “Wait”. This option allows you to set a delay before the next action takes place.
- From the “New Routine” menu, tap on the “plus” sign next to the “Add action” option.
- Select “Wait” from the menu.
- Now, choose the time lapsed before you’d like the lights to go off and tap on “Next” in the upper right corner.
- This will take you back to the “New Routine” screen. Add another action for turning the off. Tap on the “plus” sign.
- Tap on “Smart Home”.
- Select “Control group”.
- Tap on “Porch”.
- Toggle the power switch to “Off” and tap on “Next” in the upper right corner.
- This will get you back to the New Routine screen, where you’ll see all the actions added so far.
- Keep in mind that these actions are performed from top to bottom, so you’ll have to rearrange them if they’re not in the proper order. You can do that by simply dragging them up or down – simply tap and hold the “twin bars” icon to the right of each action to drag up or down. The right order in this case would be 1) turn the lights on, 2) wait two and a half hours, and 3) turn the lights off.
- If you’re satisfied with everything so far, tap on “Save” in the upper right corner.
- A “Routine created successfully” notification will appear in the upper part of the screen.
- Tap the “back” icon in the upper left corner to return to the “Routines” menu.
- In the “Routines” menu, you should be looking at your freshly created sunset routine.
- To start it, just tap on the “play” icon on the right side of your routine.
- Upon a successful start, you’ll see the notification in the upper part of the screen.
Automation Is King
With the sunset and sunrise options, Alexa expands the capabilities of your smart house, allowing more everyday tasks to take place automatically. Apart from the cool factor, this ought to help you free up some time in your daily schedule, allowing you to focus on the important things in your life or, if you so prefer, to simply chill for a half hour.
Were you one of the people who eagerly waited for these options? Do you find them useful now that they’re here? Either way, don’t forget to share your experiences with Alexa and other smart home systems in the comments below.