Load shedding: light bulbs, surveillance cameras… what will your connected objects do in the event of a power outage?

The government announced it. Depending on the voltages on the electrical network – which can be monitored using the application EcoWatt —, French households may experience occasional power outages, or more precisely load shedding. What raise some concerns, although there are ultimately no major risks.

EcoWatt

Do you want to know the electricity consumption of France at a given moment in order to know if we are in overconsumption and if cuts are to be expected? Then go to EcoWatt.

  • Version :
    1.5
  • Downloads:
    1980
  • Release date :
    08/12/2022
  • Author :
    RTE Electricity transmission network
  • Licence :
    Free License
  • Categories:

    Information

  • Operating system :

    Android, Online service All Internet browsers, iOS iPhone / iPad

The duration of these cuts should not exceed 2 hours, and even a freezer should therefore a priori be able to hold until the power returns. However, at a time when our homes have more and more connected objects, we can particularly wonder how they will react by losing not only their power supply, but also their internet connection. And the answer is far from obvious: it varies according to the type of connected object, the presence or absence of a battery and a cellular connection, the settings made by the user or even the manufacturer who hidden behind.

Different behaviors according to objects and manufacturers

Connected objects are controlled in different ways, either via the manufacturer’s application, but also manually. Robot vacuums, for example, can be launched remotely or via a physical button. This is also the case for lights that can be turned on with a switch, a smartphone or even via a voice assistant.

The behavior of the lights is probably the most delicate, because conflicts can appear between the different means of control, as Konyks explains on his site. Just as it is not possible to control a connected bulb from your smartphone if the associated switch is not left in the ON position to power its connection, it cannot be turned on from the switch either if it is off. in the app.

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Konyks has chosen to favor control by the switch and therefore programs its bulbs so that they automatically turn on again in the application when the power returns, at the risk of waking the occupants in the middle of the night if they are installed in a bedroom. . This is also the case for TP-Link. By testing the Tapo LED strip, we were able to observe that after a break of a few minutes, the strip automatically lights up when the energy source returns.

Specific settings for power outages

However, some manufacturers of connected objects allow the user to define a state for the return of the current in the event of a cut. The latest generation of Konyks connected sockets notably supports this parameter. It is found in the possible settings of the application and the user can choose to return to the same state as before the cut, to turn on the socket or to turn it off.

Konyks settings

Three choices are offered to the user in the event of a power outage

© Guillaume Bonvoisin

In the case of Philips Hue connected bulbs, a parameter makes it possible to remember the last known state. However, not all models are compatible and this feature has been introduced by an updateyou must first check that the latest firmware is installed on the device.

Philips Hue settings

Settings in the Philips Hue app

Beware of battery-operated equipment!

To prevent rather than cure, some manufacturers equip their devices with battery backup. Some, by the way, only work on battery power. This is obviously less the case for lights, but in particular for certain surveillance cameras or security systems. These devices are then saved from blackout if a power failure occurs. On the other hand, if they are simply connected to the Internet through the home box, then turned off, they will not be able to send any alerts to smartphones, nor save images without local storage media, before the power returns. So they only work partially. To maintain these features, they not only need to be equipped with a battery, but also a 3G, 4G or 5G modem.

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In a completely different register, we recently tested Xiaomi’s Smart Pet Feeder, a connected feeder also equipped with a backup battery. This allows him to ensure the distribution of kibbles if a schedule is defined, but this also implies that the program can be stored locally. The presence of a memory can therefore be another interesting point to check for programmable devices, but this is not always easy information to obtain.

One could also think of robot vacuum cleaners, but their case is a bit different. If they do indeed run on battery, this is not the case with their charging station which also serves as their connection bridge and anchor point. As soon as it is no longer powered, the connection between the two breaks and the robot, in addition to no longer being remotely controllable, risks going in search of it… at any time of the day or of the night. All that remains is to pause it or turn it off from the on-board buttons.

Tests to be carried out in prevention

If you are not sure of the operation of certain devices during power outages, the easiest way is still to do a test by cutting off the current of the household’s main circuit breaker. Be careful, however, to cut the power supply long enough (a few minutes) for the residual memory of the devices to empty. We have in fact found with connected lighting that a brief outage does not affect the status of the LEDs, unlike a longer offline state.

Wait a few moments for the return of the network to be effective, your box must indeed start and reconnect, and check the behavior of your connected objects: surveillance cameras, vacuum cleaners, voice assistants and especially lights and plugs connected to household appliances . If you still have doubts about certain devices, and in particular the lights you use in a residence that you do not occupy all year round, the most prudent thing is to unplug them to avoid accidental start-up after a power outage. .

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Load shedding: light bulbs, surveillance cameras… what will your connected objects do in the event of a power outage?


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