Teckin Plugs with Homekit

Despite a paranoia about home security, I have been using a number of tools to automate lights and devices in my home. Apple provides Homekit, their answer to controlling all these devices. Unfortunately, there seems to be less uptake on Homekit than on the Amazon and Google based solutions.

Previously I used Wemo switches and sensors. When they first came out they were incredibly unreliable and would drop off of the network irregularly. I spent a number of hours on the telephone to Wemo support. Their suggestions ranged from “you need to update iOS” or “you need to regularly turn the devices on and off”. All great suggestions I’m sure, but I was usually 800 miles away from the devices in my other home. Now, the firmware has reached maturity and the switches work reliably. The remaining problem is that they are too big.

The open-source Homebridge software based on Node.JS can be used to get Homekit to talk to devices not yet ready from Homekit. I’ve successfully used this to integrate Wemo devices, Xbox, older D-link cameras and my LG television.

I saw these Teckin Plugs on Amazon and thought I’d give them a go this weekend. They are a good price at £21 for two. Setting them up is not entirely obvious. The best way to set them up with the recommended Smart Home application is to put them into Access Point mode. This is achieved by holding the plug’s on button for about 6 seconds until the light is blinking very slowly. I have not been able to get them to pair in the quick setup mode.

There are several Homebridge plugins that support them but the one that is straightforward to setup is homebridge-tuya-webI won’t go into the installation here, but you can use the Node Package Manager. The other plugins require you to obtain the devices local keys which is non-trivial. I had to add my e-mail address to my account in order to set the username. Here is the JSON configuration for Homebridge.

{
  "platform": "TuyaWebPlatform",
  "name": "TuyaWebPlatform",
  "options":
    {
      "username": "usually your e-mail",
      "password": "yourpassword",
      "countryCode": "44",
      "platform": "smart_life",
      "pollingInterval": 10
    },
},

The plugs work fine with Homekit and just appear in your Home applications once this configuration has been added and Homebridge restarted.

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