Outdoor Switch has many possibilities but falls flat on delivery.
A couple of years ago we installed an above-ground swimming pool in our backyard. It’s been a really nice addition to our home, but we have to run an extension cord to the pump from our patio and it becomes cumbersome to deal with if we need to shut it off at night or for any other reason. For this reason, and many others, I was excited to add the iDevices Outdoor Switch to our household of smart things. I’ve had decent luck with other iDevices products and thought this would help alleviate some of the annoyance of outdoor electrical items.
The iDevices Outdoor Switch has the same basic functions as other iDevices products. It allows you to control and monitor electronic from your mobile device. The big perk about the Outdoor Switch is that it was made for the outdoors and can withstand many of the natural elements it faces. The device is rain-tight tested (rain, sleet, and snow) and has a rugged design. It features dual outlets — standard electrical plug – and comes with mounting hardware for easy installation. Once connected to the iDevices app, the Outdoor Switch is HomeKit compatible and will work via voice control. Like other iDevices products, there is no hub required for use of the switch.
iDevices has a nice system set-up for installation and connection of its devices. Once you connect the product to power, the iDevices app recognizes it and immediately takes into set-up mode. This process should only take a few minutes. First, the app will attempt to talk to your Wi-Fi network and then connect the switch to that network. You will need to enter your password, but if the device talks to your network, it should be up and running. I ended up having some connection issues with my Outdoor Switch.
I started the installation by selecting the location where I wanted it to ‘live’. Once that was decided on, I used the provided mounting equipment (a wood screw) and mounted the Outdoor Switch near my outdoor power outlet. This area is on my patio which is only about 20 feet from my living room. I have a WiFi satellite in that room and typically don’t have any issues with connection to my iPhone, tablets, or laptop if I’m sitting on the patio. Unfortunately, the Outdoor Switch could not connect to my WiFi network from the patio. I tried several times and even tried a factory reset of the switch. Nothing worked. The switch worked as an extension cord for a time, but after we had an unexplained power outage in our neighborhood, my pool’s pump – the only thing plugged into the switch – would shut off after a few hours of use. We typically leave it on for at least 6 hours at a time, but the switch kept cutting the power for some reason. Once I plugged the pump directly into the wall, it was fine and hasn’t kicked off yet.
Wanting the Outdoor Switch to work, I decided to try taking the switch indoors to see if it would connect. Lo and beyond, after a few attempts, the switch finally connected to my WiFi network. The downside to this is that this device it meant to be used outdoors. I’ve never been able to get it to connect to our home network correctly when it’s placed outdoors.
I love the concept of the Outdoor Switch and the design of it is great. It really is a heavy-duty piece of equipment, but I believe the technology on the inside of it needs an upgrade. After I had so many issues with my unit, I searched for other consumer reviews online and found similar problems. If the device isn’t close enough to a WiFi signal, then it won’t work. While that seems like a common sense piece of information for a WiFi enabled product, when something is made to be outdoors it should have a signal boost to ensure that an indoor network can reach it. On one consumer site, 41% of the users who submitted reviews had similar issues to mine. To me, this is not a defective unit – the product needs to be improved.
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