TCP Connected Automated Home Lighting System Starter Kit (Review)
I have loved home automation products for as long as I can recall. When the X10 stuff first came out, I bought a $100+ starter kit that included lamp timers, a control unit, a motion sensor or two, and a remote control. There were possibly other components included that I can’t recall, but it was expensive and I never got any of it to work. Until I received the TCP Starter Kit, I hadn’t been hopeful home automation products impressing me enough for a purchase.
It only requires a few minutes to install the bulbs, gateway, and to setup your app to control them. It’s so easy that I didn’t have to read the instructions, although I recommend that you do so.
Install the bulbs just as you do any other bulbs. Plug the wireless gateway unit into your network router or a switch via the included Ethernet cable and plug the unit into a power source. With your lights turned on and your gateway powered up, install the TCP app, that’s searchable and downloadable from your app store.
I like that you can actually take a picture of your light fixture with the light on to represent the connected light that you’re using. In the video, I demonstrate using the app, turning on, turning off, dimming, and brightening the lights.
I have one of my two TCP connected lightbulbs installed in my front porch light fixture and the other installed in a lamp in my living room.
One question that I’m sure you have is, “Can I control my lights when I’m not at home or within range of my wireless gateway?”
The answer, according to the documentation is, “Yes.” However, I’ve not been able to get it to work, so I personally can’t say for sure either way. If it does work, that’s a great feature. Who doesn’t want to be able to turn on his or her lights remotely so that the lights are on when you come home in the evening? I’d love to have that feature.
You can create a Smart Control, which is a program to control your lights in a particular way. Default ones included are: Home, Away, and Night. You can add and customize your own. I have setup and used this feature and it works quite well. It requires a little experimentation to get exactly what you want, but you have a lot of options and presets to help you along.
Why it’s Frugal: The Kit is frugal because it helps protect your home inexpensively. For as little as $70, you can have a little peace of mind that your lights back home can be controlled on a schedule or randomly by your own hand. The bulbs are rated for a 20+ year lifetime. Plus, you can add dozens of lights to your network to make your home fully automated and to look as if someone is there 24×7.
As you saw and heard in the video, I stated that the ability to control your lights without using the switch is a great feature. My reason for saying this is that often I like to see who’s at my front door without allowing that person to see me near the door. That gives me the advantage should that person be a potential intruder.
I like the TCP Connected Automated Home Lighting System. I think that even having two controllable lights at your disposal is a huge safety boost for you and your family. And for the starter price of $70, it’s not bad. You can add extra lightbulbs at around $20 each. That sounds like a lot until you realize that these bulbs are rated for 25 years of use.