How to Use a Smart Power Strip and Connect It to Alexa and Google Home

Featured What Is A Smart Power Strip How Does It Work

In this guide we will learn to use a smart power strip for its applications that help convert ordinary devices to smart ones. By connecting it further to Alexa and Google Home apps on Amazon Echo and Nest/Home range of speakers, you can visualize all of your ordinary charging points on a phone or tablet, and control them through app and voice instructions.

What is a Smart Power Strip

A smart power strip is an IoT device that has two or more individual plug points connected to Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Zigbee, or any other networking protocol.

Are you using an ordinary power strip or extension cord to connect different devices such as phones, laptops, or speakers? They can prove a lot more useful when those multiplug sockets are smart by design.

Smart power strip looks like a regular power strip.

In a typical smart power strip, each and every plug point should be individually controlled and visible on a central app. Adding voice capability through Alexa and Google Assistant makes the extension device accessible without an app.

A smart power strip's online switches visible on a companion app for Android.

A smart power strip is somewhat similar to a smart plug device, in that both convert dumb gadgets to app-visible entities. However, unlike the smart power strip, a smart plug only connects to one appliance at a time.

How to Use a Smart Power Strip

Learning to use a smart power strip is very easy. But you need to get the connection settings right, so closely follow the instructions to ensure smooth compatibility with your home Wi-Fi networks. If you encounter an error such as timeouts or network discovery issues, repeat these steps.

This is a simple usage demo for a 10A smart power strip. Follow the instruction manual for your specific brand and model.

1. Connect a Smart Power Strip to iOS/Android App

All smart extension products are connected to a manufacturer app on Google Play or App Store. Download the app for your own phone/tablet/iPad as specified. Finish the registration formalities and log in to the downloaded app.

Launch screen of Smart home app for smart strip product on Android phone.
  1. To add new devices in the smart home app, click “add device” or a “+” sign icon. Again, it varies from manufacturer to manufacturer.
Add device or plus sign in companion app for smart power strip (Android version).
  1. You will have to provide your phone’s location access to the smart home app.
Location permissions granted for smart power strip in Android app.
  1. You may be asked to enable Bluetooth on your phone so that the smart power strip can tap into nearby devices.
Smart home companion app advising to enable Bluetooth to add device in Android.
  1. Enable nearby device access for the smart home app.
Nearby devices permission granted for smart home app dealing with power strips for Android.

There are two ways to add devices in a smart home network: through automatic scanning of nearby devices or adding manually. Let’s check the second method.

  1. You might see a category of smart devices in the manufacturer app. Click “power strip”, “extensions” or something similar.
Add power strip manually to a smart home companion app on Android.
  1. Enter your home Wi-Fi network name and password to connect the power strip to the Internet.
Enter Wi-Fi SSID and password under selected 2.4 GHz connection in Android.
  1. If told to reset the extension device, follow the exact manufacturer’s instructions. In many cases, you will need to power off the device and long press the reset button after a few seconds.
Reset indicator blinking message in companion app of smart power strip on Android.

The following shows a device reset button on a Wi-Fi power strip. By long-pressing it once, the indicator lights start blinking rapidly or slowly as specified in the manufacturer’s manual.

Close up of a device reset button on a smart power strip with lights blinking rapidly.
  1. Wait for the power strip to connect to your home Wi-Fi network. It can take anything from a few seconds up to a few minutes.
Smart power strip connecting to Wi-Fi shown on companion app for Android.
  1. In some cases, you may experience a device timeout error if the reset instructions weren’t followed correctly. Make sure you got the Wi-Fi password correctly. It should also be at a desired Wi-Fi frequency, and the indicator lights should be blinking as expected.
Device timeout errors in smart power strip companion app for Android.
  1. If the reset was done correctly, you should be able to successfully add the smart power strip to the home Wi-Fi network.
Smart power strip added to a companion app on Android.

Once the smart extension is visible on the smart home screen, you can adjust its icons as shown below.

Smart power extension visible in a smart home app for Android.

Note: not every smart IoT device requires you to connect to the Internet by pressing the reset button. Here is an example of a smart air purifier which automatically connects to home Wi-Fi.

2. View and Monitor Your Switches in Real Time

One of the best uses of smart power strips is that you gain visibility into any dumb devices connected to them. If you want to view your causal electronics such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, PC, and speakers, and operate their power settings remotely, it’s finally possible to do that through smart power strips.

  1. If your smart Wi-Fi extension allows you to rename it, do it so that you can remember the setting on other devices, and Alexa/Google Assistant.
Changing the name of your smart power extension in the companion app for Android.
  1. You should be able to view all the individual switches on your smart power strip, with individual controls on each switch.
Online switches visible for a smart power strip/extension on Android phone app.
  1. You should also be able to rename the individual plug points to things that you can easily remember. In the following example, the fourth plug point from the power switch is being renamed to “Laptop switch 4” as it connects to a laptop adapter.
Renaming the switches of a smart power strip in its official Android app.

The following example illustrates renaming a smart power strip switch to “Android phone” as it connects to a phone’s charging cable.

Renaming a switch as Android phone in Smart Power Strip's app.

3. Turn Your switches ON/OFF automatically

With all the switches enabled on your app, it’s a cinch to turn them on and off whenever you want. The switches being turned off will appear dimmed on your phone screen, and likewise, those that are turned on will appear brighter. In the following example, the switch for “Android phone” is turned off and the ones for Google Nest mini device and laptop are plugged in.

Turn different switches on and off for a smart power strip/extension on the mobile app (Android).

4. Do Energy Monitoring

Some smart home apps with smart power strips often allow you to do energy monitoring through that device. Do you want to know how much electricity your favorite devices consume every month? Keep them connected to a smart plug/power strip and it will give you accurate readings.

Monitor electricity consumed on smart power strip on its companion app.

5. Add Power Schedules and Routines

You can easily add power routines and schedules to your smart power strip for each and every individual switch. In the following example, I added a schedule to turn on Nest Mini device every morning at 7-36 AM.

Add daily schedule to a smart power strip's Android app with smart mode.

To expand the uses of smart power strips, connect them to smart speakers such as Amazon Echo via Alexa and Google Nest/Home via Google Assistant.

How to Connect Smart Power Strip to Alexa

In order to connect a smart power strip to Alexa, you should already have connected it first to the manufacturer’s app as shown in above instructions. After that, follow the steps below.

  1. Ensure that the Alexa lights are blinking blue which means they’re in listening mode. If they’re spinning blue for too long, that’s a sign of trouble.
Smart power strip is connected to power outlet and flashing.
  1. Go to Alexa “Skills & Games” in your iOS/Android app, and search for the manufacturer’s skill. It should resemble the company’s logo.
Search for desired Alexa skill to connect smart power strip in Android.
  1. Enable to use the smart power strip skill in Alexa so that it can connect to your Amazon account.
Smart home Alexa skill enabling for use in Android app.
  1. You might require a separate authentication through a third-party IoT platform such as Tuya Smart, or any other. Click “Agree and link” to proceed.
Agree and link smart home account with Alexa on Android.
  1. Wait just a few seconds for the smart home skill to be added to your Amazon Alexa account.
Smart home skill for power strip added to Alexa account on Android.
  1. You will see an Alexa is looking to connect to devices status which requires you to wait for quite a while, up to a minute.
Alexa displays messages it is looking for devices to connect to.
  1. As a smart power strip has multiple switches which are individual connections, Alexa recognizes each of them individually and connects to them one by one. You will see this status in “N devices found and connected.”
Multiple devices found and connected in Alexa app of Android for smart power strip switches.
  1. Add the connected devices one by one in the setup menu.
Different connected device switches visible on Alexa smart strip.
  1. Select the room or location in which the plug is based. Choose any option and you can modify it later easily.
Room selected for smart power switches added to smart power strip on Alexa app.

You will see a status in Alexa such as “my smart power extension has been added to a living/sitting room.”

Extension added to a room in smart app containing Alexa skill for smart power strip.
  1. Add all the switches/plug points one by one in Alexa app till all of them have been added successfully in the network.
All devices set up message in Alexa app for Android.

You should be able to view each and every switch/plug point on the “all devices” menu of your Alexa app. Click any of them to view their details.

Multiple smart power strip switches visible in All Devices of Alexa app for Android.

The following shows a plug point connected to an Android phone, visible now on the Alexa app. To turn/off this device, you can now use a simple voice command such as:

  • Alexa, turn on/off the Android phone on my smart extension.”
  • Alexa, turn on/off the laptop switch on my smart extension.”
  • Alexa, turn on/off my Google Nest speaker.
Power if off on one of the switches used in Alexa app for a smart power strip (in Android).

If you are facing issues while connecting Alexa devices to Wi-Fi networks, follow the simple troubleshooting steps shown here.

How to Connect Smart Power Strip to Google Home

Connecting a smart power strip to Google Home app on an Android or iOS device is also very similar to Alexa. In this case too, ensure that the manufacturer app is already connected to your home Wi-Fi network, and all the switches identified.

  1. Click the prominent “+” button on the Google Home app home screen to add new devices to the network.
Click plus sign on Google Home app homescreen for device additon.
  1. Select “set up device” in the “Add and manage” options.
Set up device for adding to Google Home on an Android app.
  1. Select “works with Google” under set up a device options.
Click Works with Google for setting up a device in Google Home app.
  1. Look for the desired smart home app in the search menu. It should resemble the company logo of the smart power strip.
Search for new app to be added in Google Home.
  1. Link the smart power strip account to your Google account by following the authentication instructions in the next few screens.
Link smart home account in Google Home.
  1. You might need to link up through an intermediate app such as Tuya Smart by finishing an authentication puzzle.
Tuya Smart an IoT platform used to link smart home account with Google Home.
  1. Choose the desired smart home strip app among the entire list of apps. Again, this option may vary depending on your brand and model.
Smart home app chosen under Tuya platform for smart power strip to be added in Google Home.
  1. Authorize Google to receive the account credentials of the smart home brand.
Authorizing Google to control smart home devices in google Home app.
  1. It should take just a few seconds for the smart home brand to link to your Google account.
Linking smart home accounts to Google Home app on Android device.

Once connected, you can view all smart switches/plug points neatly on Google Home app and turn them on/off from here.

Connected switches visible for a smart power strip on Google Home app (Android).

If you long press any of the smart extension switches, you can set up additional controls as available on Google Home app.

Smart Power extension is On after long press in Google Home app.

Just like with Alexa, you can use Google Home/Nest Mini speakers to add voice instructions to the individual smart power strip plug points:

  • Hey Google, turn on/off the iPhone on my smart extension.”
  • Hey Google, turn on/off the Bluetooth speaker on my smart extension.”
  • Hey Google, turn on/off my Nest Mini speaker.
Nest Mini and other connection cables connected to smart power strip.

Run into any “something went wrong” glitches while operating Google Home/Nest Mini range of speakers? Follow the detailed steps in this guide.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are automatically switched outlets on power strip?

An automatically switches outlet in a power strip turns on/off based on a schedule or routine. You can set and control them using the manufacturer’s app or on Alexa app for Android and iOS.

Can I plug a power strip into a smart plug?

Yes, you can connect a power strip into a smart plug provided they have similar ampere settings. So if you have a 10A power strip, it should easily connect to a 10A Type-D smart plug. Check other device specifications for compatibility.

Can I connect to a smart power strip without Wi-Fi/Internet?

Yes, you can connect to a smart power strip without Wi-Fi/Internet provided it supports an alternate connecting protocol, such as Zigbee, Matter, or Thread.

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Sayak Boral

IoT-addicted since early 2016. Love to explore the challenges, opportunities and trend insights into what is becoming the third wave of Internet.