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Wink Relay Smart Switch/Sensor

Discussion in 'Smartphones, Computers, Gaming and Networking' started by Jay Brown, May 15, 2017.

  1. Jay Brown

    Jay Brown Active Member Donor

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    Since I purchased a Nest Thermostat, one of its shortcomings compared to the Ecobee 3 was its lack of sensor usage. Because I live in a townhouse, I'm dealing with two separate temperatures for the upstairs and downstairs living areas. While researching for any compatible sensors, I ran across the Wink Relay.

    This device takes the place of one of your wall switches, and includes a touchscreen interface that allows you to connect to other smart devices such as a Nest, Ecobee, Philips Hue lights, Amazon Echo (Alexa), Samsung Smart Things, etc. Currently it is not compatible with Apple Home Kit.

    The touchscreen consists of an Identical set of buttons to control the same commands as the physical buttons, and you can control your Nest or Ecobee Thermostat, and your Smart Lights around the home.

    The Wink Relay also has a temperature and humidity sensor, but I'm finding the indoor humidity sensor to be off by 15 go 20 points compared to the Nest. With the added temperature monitor, I now have two readouts for two separate floors.

    The Box contains the Wink Relay, Power Box, instructions, a Screw Driver, Wire stripper, Wire connectors, screws, and two back plates. Single or Double Gang box compatible, but you must have a Neutral wire available. Find your Load, Line, and Neutral wires if they are not labeled, and connect them to the Wiring Power Box. This wiring power box will then screw into the wall, and the Wink Relay attaches to this box. There are three sensors on the back of the Relay, and they all serve the same purpose. The back plates add a bit of customization to your set up, and are used if you need the relay installed to the left, right, or center of your wall mount.

    Wiring was pretty standard, but encountered a problem with the first setup. One of my switches is connected to the living room ceiling fan, and while I got the relay to work, any time I would activate this light switch, the Relay would short out and reboot. I've read online where some customers were having similar issues controlling a light and ceiling fan combination with the Relay. So I removed the relay and found a simple switch that controls one of the lights which illuminates the stairs. Once I got the Relay properly wired, the light switch worked without having the Relay short itself out.

    Configuring the Wink Relay with other Smart Devices is the standard, log into each account, and Devices and services such as Alexa , Philips Hue, and IFTTT will link to the system. Configuring the two physical buttons can be set up with a "walk through". During the set up, the system will ask you to touch one of the buttons, then ask what you want it to do. Do you want it to turn on your light in its conventional mode, or do you want it to assign the button to a smart light or custom smart command.

    The Wink Relay connects via wifi (802.11n 2.4 only) and like any other device, at least 2 updates were required. There is an IOS and Android app available and serves the same purpose as the Relay. There is a motion sensor which wakes up the Relay when nearby, giving you current Temperatures for the inside and outside, your custom touch screen switches, and can be modified to display your Thermostat readings, or humidity readings.

    You can create routines or "Robots" to allow for multiple smart devices to perform a task, such as if you have a Nest Protect Smoke alarm, and it detects smoke in your house, you can set your Smart Lights to blink or do whatever task you configure it to. This is a bit redundant, for you can perform these tasks using IFTTT.

    A Wink Hub is Available, similar to the Smart Things Hub, but it is not needed. The Hub is a Central unit that connects all of your devices, but with an Amazon Echo, or IFTTT, you can perform the same tasks without the Hub.

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    Now here comes the cool part. Because the underlying OS is Android, you can "tweek" the Wink Relay to use the Android Interface, and install your own apps. This method also takes advantage of the built-in Bluetooth service. For example, I can install Amazon Cloud Music, Audible, or Tune In Radio, configure the Relay's Bluetooth to connect to my Marantz Receiver or Echo Dot, and the audio from the Relay will come through my speakers or the Dot. This all can be accomplished while installing the Mobile Wink Relay app, and with a few widgets, the same information given through the native app can be seen now through Widgets on the display.




    The Android OS is 4.3, which is very old, but side loading compatible apps and getting around the OS is no different from any Android Phone or Tablet. I uploaded apps to my Google Drive account, then used the built-in browser to access my Wink Drive folder on the web. This allowed for me to install the apps in one sitting. Not all apps will work, and although they are compatible for Android 4 and above, the hardware and memory management is dated and I do not believe this version of Android is running ART.

    I'm still learning how to use the system but I do see a lot of potential for everyday use. The Device itself does feel cheap, all plastic. In its conventional state, the Wink interface is pretty fast and responsive. While there are other devices out there, Smart Things being the big one, the Wink can perform the same basic tasks, and with a little customization, it can do things that it was not intended to do. Overall I'm happy with the product, but again, performing the "tweek" opened the door to a lot more features.
     
  2. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Active Member

    Do you use IFTTT much? I've got it set to warn me if my fire / CO detectors go off but that's about it so far.
     
  3. Jay Brown

    Jay Brown Active Member Donor

    Yes, it have a couple of recipes configured with my Harmony Hub, Hue Lights, Nest, and Google Assistant.

    When the temperature is below 76 degrees, the fan turns on rather than the AC, for example.

    With ifttt and a Google Assistant compatible phone, you don't need Google Home.

    Sent from my LG-H830 using Tapatalk
     

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