Home Assistant Home Automation WiFI Z Wave

Upgrading your home security with August Smart Locks


Well it finally happened, I decided to take the plunge into the world of smart locks. More specifically, the August Smart Lock Pro Generation 3 with Connect Wifi Bridge. I have actually been looking into it for a while and I had the opportunity to purchase a first generation August Smart Lock on clearance at Walmart for $50. That was such a great deal that I thought it had to be a lie. So I passed it up. Fool!!

In all reality it was not that big of a deal. A few years ago, August Smart locks were only able to be managed via Bluetooth. Meaning you had to have your phone (or tablet) with the August Smart home app near the lock to be able to use it. This would not have been an ideal long term solution as I would not be able to remotely manage it.

Moving on to present day, the catalog of items available from August has expanded, to say the least, to include WiFi and Z-Wave as options for management and integrations to include platforms like Voice Assistance (Google Home, Alexa, and Apple Home Kit), and Smart home platforms such as Home Assistant (which I use in my own home).


Upon opening the box I have to say I was pretty surprised at how little there was inside. You get a lock, a bracket, the connect bridge, a door sensor, a little baggie with plastic tubes, and masking tape… and that is about it. Now that I write it down it seems like a lot of items, however the way it was packaged made it seem so insignificant. One thing not in the box that took me for a loop was the lack of instructions. There was a slip of paper that instructed me to download their app.


So following the “instructions” I downloaded the app which then walks you though the process of creating an account. Once you are logged in, you will be given the option to add a device. From here it is pretty much follow the steps on the screen as it walks you through mounting the lock and connecting it to your device and then downloading and installing firmware updates.

This is where I had a problem, because your phone has to connect to the lock via Bluetooth which means you have to stay near the lock while it updates. This can take some time depending on how close you stay to the lock.

Once the firmware has been updated you will be then prompted to setup the Connect WiFi Bridge which was pretty quick and straight forward.

Troubleshooting Issues

So because I am impatient I may have messed up the firmware update the first time which left my smart lock in an inconsistent place. This also gave me the opportunity to call tech support. Which was an interesting experience. Since I registered my cell phone number when I created my account, when I called, I was greeted with “Hello, Kenneth”. After navigating the call tree I was then told that the hold time was 59 minutes. I dropped the call and just did a factory reset on the lock.

First Impressions

I have to admit that it is pretty cool once the lock is installed and app is connected. It is very easy to unlock from your phone, and you are able to invite other members of your family to use your lock with relative ease. Even the transition from Bluetooth connected to WiFi happens seamlessly. So far I am giving this product my stamp of approval. I will do an update on this once I get it fully integrated into Google Home, Alexa, and Home Assistant.

I hope you found this post helpful and if so please consider sharing this with your friends and family who might me interested in purchasing a smart lock.

Home Automation

Is this $5 Smart Bulb the Best bang for your buck??

So I was walking through Walmart the other day and on the end cap between Hardware and Electronic (a very fitting place for this) I found this little nugget of Gold!

For just $5 ($4.66 since it is Walmart) I was able to add this puppy to my collection. The Merkury Innovations Smart WI-Fi LED Bulb which appear to be made by Greeni.

You can purchase the same one on their website located here and the color one for $12 here.

Now I must admit that my expectations were really low considering the cheapest LED smart bulb I had ever encountered before was the IKEA TRADFRI which starts at $12 a bulb.

Upon first inspection the bulb itself felt like it should and is about the same weight as the TRADFRI. Upon plugging it in the light turns on like normal and then starts to blink… I assume this is a pairing mode. The instructions want you to install a smart controller app called Greeni App which looked oddly enough like the same screen that Smart Life or Tuya use.

Having a few products that work with Tuya I thought what the heck and opened my app. As soon as I did it found the smart bulb and asked if I wanted to add it to my managed devices which I did and because of that it was automatically added into my Google Home…. Bonus Point!!

From my app I was able to control the brightness and even turn it on and off which is awesome.

For now I am very happy with this decision and I think if you want to get into the smart home market this is a great way to start. All you need is the Device and WiFi. Now if you want to get fancy with automation and rules you can start to do that from the app, however there are limitations.

If you are interested in learning how to do more complex automation reach out to me using the Contact us form.

Home Automation WiFI

PSEG has a Market Place?!

So it has been brought to my attention by my lovely wife that PSE&G has a Market place. If you are not from NJ you might be asking what is PSEG? PSE&G or Public Service Energy Group is the local power supply company the services NJ and Long Island NY. Now you might be asking what are they selling on this market place. Well as it turns out, they are selling Smart Home Devices! Particularly Smart thermostats from all of the big players like Google Nest, Ecobee, and Honeywell. They even have some pretty good deals on there for people who may not have the capital to invest in one of the big names.

My Wife found an Emerson Sensi, which is a WiFi smart thermostat that will integrate with your Google Home, Amazon Alexa, and Smartthings hub for $0. All you have to do is pay tax and shipping which comes out to be $11.

Needless to say she ordered it, and I will be doing a review of it when I get it in.

Here is a link to the PSEG Market Place, check it out and see if there is something you would be interested in. If you need help, just drop me a line.

I hope you find this post helpful and if so please share it with your friend.