GoControl Z-Wave Dimmable LED Light Bulb Review

GoControl Z-Wave Dimmable LED Light Bulb Review
We gave the GoControl Z-Wave dimmable LED Light Bulb a try with out Vera Edge controller and were pleasantly pleased with the results. The Light bulb easily pairs with the controller by simply putting the controller on discovery mode and turning on the lamp. Upon initial power on, the device goes into discovery mode and once paired with the device, it flashes to let you know it is paired with your hub.

The device is ready for use immediate after that. This is one of the easiest devices to pair we have come across. The 100% setting was definitely bright and can easily replace a 60 watt equivalent light bulb. The Go Control delivers a smooth 2700 kelvin rating soft white light that is easy on the eyes. Our initial application was to use this light bulb in a lamp for a children's bedrooms as a night light. Upon our initial installation we quickly noticed that this would not be a good application as a night light as its lowest level at 1% was still rather bright. Once we added the shade on the lamp, it helped out a tad bit but not enough to make us comfortable. That being said we also understand that a night light is not the purpose of this light bulb so we will not knock it for that, we just wish it would dim a tiny bit more.

Overall the light bulb at its current price of 17.99 is more than ideal compared to its alternatives. The device should synch with any other z-wave controller such as the Smartthings hub, Zipato, Home seer, and Wink just to name a few. We tested the bulb for over a month and did have 3 instances where the bulb would turn on at full brightness over night which was deffinitley not desired specially as a night light. After replacing the bulb with another we have not had an issue. Overall if you are looking for a Z-Wave bulb you should deffinitley take a look at the GoControl Z-Wave Light Bulb as it is proced just right.

Get your GoControl Z-Wave Dimmable LED Light Bulb (LB60Z-1) on Amazon

Technical Specifications
- MPN: LB60Z-1
- UPC: 093863132995
- Base: Fits standard light socket (E27)
- Bulb Shape: A19
- Max. Illumination Output: 750 lumens
- Equivalent Incandescent Output: Equal to a 60 watt bulb
- Estimated Yearly Energy Cost: $1.09 (based on 3 hrs/day, 11¢Wh; cost depends on rates and use)
- Life: 25,000 hours / 22.8 years (based on 3 hrs/day)
- Color Temperature: 2700K
- Power Consumption: 9 Watts
- Dimming Levels: 1 to 100 Steps
- Input Voltage: 108 to 132 VAC
- Input Frequency: 57 to 62 Hz
- Operating Temperature: 0° to 40° C
- Z-Wave Chip: 500 Series
- Z-Wave Frequency: 908.42 MHz
- Wireless Range: Approximately 130 feet (line of sight)
- Z-Wave Repeater: Yes
- Network Inclusion: Standard & NWI
- OTA Firmware Updatable: Yes

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Posted In: Technology

Qubino Z-Wave Plus Flush 1 Relay Review

Qubino Z-Wave Plus Flush 1 Relay Review
The Qubino Flush mount Relay module is a small device that fits inside a standard electrical outlet box and can be used to make a standard power outlet or switch, a smart device. At the time it is the world's smallest Flush Z-Wave Relay available which is rather important specially when you are dealing with limited space in your electrical boxes. The dimensions are 41.8 x 36.8 x 15.4 mm (WxHxD) or 1.65 x 1.45 x .6 inches and weighs only 28 g.

Relay 1

The nature of this device is that of a relay or an electrical device, typically incorporating an electromagnet, that is activated by a current or signal in one circuit to open or close another circuit. In layman's terms, it turns attached load devices on and off but cannot be used to dim devices. Qubino offers a dimming module that can do just that if it is the desired effect. You can control it either remotely through the Z-Wave network hub application, or through wall switches. A bonus is that it also measures power consumption of whatever is attached to the load side of the relay which can help the homeowner understand the energy consumption of light bulbs, or of any device that is attached.

The Qubino relay also supports the connection of a digital temperature sensor that can be purchased separately. The relay module is inherently a repeater so it will enhance your current mesh and improve the range and stability of each device in your Z-Wave network. It's power consumption is just 0.4 W which is among the lower spectrum of z-wave devices. The device also has some additional parameters that can be used by professionals as seen below. More details on these can be found here but note that we did not use any of these for our test.

Parameter no. 1 – Input I1 switch type
Parameter no. 2 & no. 3 – Input I2 & input I3 contact type
Parameter no. 11 - Automatic turning off output after set time
Parameter no. 12 - Automatic turning on output after set time
Parameter no. 15 - Automatic turning off / on seconds or milliseconds selection
Parameter no. 30 - Saving the state of the relay after a power failure
Parameter no. 40 – Power reporting in Watts on power change
Parameter no. 42 – Power reporting in Watts by time interval
Parameter no. 63 – Output Switch selection
Parameter no. 100 & no. 101 – Enable / Disable Endpoints I2 & I3 or select Notification Type
Parameter no. 110 – Temperature sensor offset settings
Parameter no. 120 – Digital temperature sensor reporting

For our review we took on to installing the Qubino relay behind a recessed outlet that we can use to turn on and off an outlet at a specific time each day.

Relay 1

The Qubino Flush Relay came in simple packaging with just the unit and an instruction manual. The unit is very well built and feels like a quality product when handled.

Relay 1

Relay 1

Relay 1

The terminals while small feel sturdy and are easy to screw down using a small precision screw driver. To turn our outlet on and off, we use a scene in our home automation hub while also allowing the same functionality from our smart homes graphical interface.

The installation was fairly simple and took just a few minutes. We first turned off the breaker to the outlet and from there went on to exposing the wires by removing the existing outlet. After doing this we identified the load (Ot), neutral (N) and line(L) wires. Our line and neutral wire was connected to the Qubino relay as identified in its labels on the first two slots. The screws were fairly easy to fasten but required a precision Philips screwdriver to make sure not to damage the head on the screw. The load wire was connected from the third slot and reattached to the outlet. once everything was connected, everything was put back in its place.

Relay 1

Here you see the qubino flush relay mounted behind our outlet ready for a faceplate. As can be seen the installation is clean and the unit does not occupy much room in the electrical box.

Relay 1
When first turned on the Qubino Flush Relay Module enables the inclusion mode for 5 seconds, in order to take advantage of the feature we started the inclusion mode on our Vera hub just prior to flipping the breaker. The Qubino was found and configured within 15 seconds. It was probably one of the quickest inclusions we have ever performed on our Vera Home Automation Hub. The device worked flawlessly and allowed for remote control of the outlet as expected. We simply love this little device mostly due to its size and functionality. The unit retails for 49.95 at various outlets like the The Smartest House or Amazon.

You can find more information on the Qubino Relay

Get your very own Qubino Z-Wave Plus Flush 1 Relay at www.thesmartesthouse.com

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Posted In: Technology

Qubino Z-Wave Weather Station Review and Installation

Qubino Z-Wave Weather Station Review and Installation
The Qubino Weather Station enables you to set up your z-wave hub in a way that will allow your smart devices to respond to climate events and changes. It has been the missing link that can help help you create all climate-related scenes in your smart home. The weather station kit includes a USB key, a user manual, and two thermo-hygrometers for the purpose of gathering temperature and humidity data. Also included is an anemometer which is just the fancy scientific name for a wind sensor as well as a separate rain sensor.

The sensors transmit all collected data to the Weather Station USB Key by wireless RF in different frequencies for different regions. The wireless radio frequency (RF) has a range of up to 100 meters in an open area while the z-wave range is up to 30m indoors (depending on building materials).

The USB Key just converts the telemetry it gathers from a wireless RF signal to your Z-wave network. The unit is capable of gathering the 10 measurements by default. It receives data for temperature, wind chill, velocity, wind gust, wind direction, humidity, rain rate and battery level for each Sensor. It is designed to act as repeater in order to improve range and stability of z-wave network as well. It is important to note that at the time of this review, the Qubino Weather station is only supported by HomeSeer, SmartThings Hub ( With a required custom device handler), Zipato Zipabox Smart Home Controller, and the Zipato ZipaTile Home Automation Controller. Our tests were all conducted with a Smarthings hub, if your hub is not mentioned, you may want to check with the manufacturer for support. Many manufacturers such as Vera will add support if enough users want the feature. The kit comes with pre-installed batteries, upon initial installation you must open all the units by removing the screws with a Philips head screwdriver and discarding the clear plastic tab that protects your unit from wasting batteries while in its packaging. You must do this on all sensors. Our YouTube video goes over much of the detail of the installation so make sure to watch it as things get a little tricky. The inclusion of this module to your z-wave network is a little cumbersome specifically on the smarthings hub but at least it does support which we can't say for the Vera for instance. Our weather station came from thesmartesthouse.com which offered a link to the Smart Things Hub custom device handler that is required for installation. Note that for standard devices such as light switches this step is not required so this differs from a standard z-wave device installation.
It is pretty neat that you can use the Qubino weather station to see weather data at home from anywhere in the world. The weather station can be used to trigger scenes that can close the shades and turn on the AC if its too hot outside. It can turn up the heat if its too cold. You can also set up scenes to disable your z-wave controlled sprinklers if it has rained recently. Overall we really enjoy the weather station and our only wish is that more hubs would support it. Take a look at our video for more details and a close up look at the working unit.






Get your very own Qubino Weather Station At www.thesmartesthouse.com

Correction: Our video states that the weather station is $200.00 but really retails for $239.95. They happened to have a sale the week the review was created.

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RAD Garage Storage Heavy Duty Bike Hoist Lift Review

RAD Garage Storage Heavy Duty Bike Hoist Lift Review
Chances are you are looking for some genius idea to get your bikes organized in your garage that won't break the bank. We too were on this challenging task and recently came across the RAD Garage Storage Heavy Duty Bike Hoist Lift.

RAD Bicycle Hoist




We were pleased with the product and would recommend it. The RAD bicycle mount is going for about $14.00 on Amazon at the moment. Upon installation, the hoist delivered its promise of being able to hoist the bike with no issue. That being said, we made some minor modifications to allow us to use it in a more comfortable fashion.

First off, the installation manual is not the most friendly, it is one double sided sheet with a few images but not very clear instructions. Basically it tells you to attach to a hoist in your ceiling but doesn't really tell you how to find them.
We would recommend a stud finder which would add to the cost but if you have one then you are golden. The screws that come with the hoist are absolute garbage as they strip too easily. We wouldn’t use them to hold our bicycles and ended up using tapcon screws because we had a box of them laying around. The actual pulley system is pretty good considering the price and honestly you can't build one yourself any cheaper if you tried. It is a solid piece of metal and has a decent construction. The locking system is very basic but functional if installed correctly. The rope that comes with the system is made of braided vinyl, it is plenty long so you shouldn't have any issues there no matter how tall your ceilings are. In a while when the rope starts to deteriorate we will replace it with a nice Paracord Rope.

After installing the RAD hoist we started to lift up the first bike, and noticed that the hook that attaches to the rear seat was slipping off. We didn't feel too comfortable with it so we came up with this brilliant idea to use 18" Husky Hang-All Velcro Straps found at the Home Depot.



In order to complete our idea we removed the hooks from the RAD Hoist and replaced it with the 1/4" x 2" Stainless Eye Bolt and a nylon Nut to make it harder for it to come loose.



With these modifications, we feel this is the ultimate bike hoist and although its a little more expensive, it is worth the extra money. The modified hoist ended up costing about $25 dollars per bike. Here is the finished hoist with modifications and two hanging bikes. Note that these modifications are not necessary, and only provide for more convenience. Below are some images of the modified hoist.









The Good
- Cheap bike hoist system
- Helps clean the clutter


The Bad
- Screws should be stronger
- Hook system is hard to use on bikes that don't have a cupped seat that the hook can grab on to
- Subpar instructions

Get your own RAD Bicicle hoist on Amazon.

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Posted In: Tools

Frog Pod Bath Toy Scoop by Boon

Frog Pod Bath Toy Scoop by Boon
If you have little ones in the house, you probably have what feels to you like hundreds of bath toys in the shower. For my wife and I it got out of hand so we were looking for a solution to keep things a little tidy. We found this frog in our local toy store and gave it a shot.

We installed it in the bathtub and quickly found it to be a blessing in disguise. Sure it looks like an innocent little frog but this guy is capable of converting into a scoop that can help with the clean up routine after the kids shower. More than that the kids think its fun to use and end up using it as a toy as well. The Boon Frog Pod sticks to the wall using a double sided tape. The tape is good for a while but after about 6 months we ended up having to replace the tape with another 3M tape because the frog came crashing down off the wall. We feel we were being a little aggressive with he frogs capabilities but still it should be expected usage. We typically hold three bottles with shampoo conditioner and bath gel on top plus all the small toys inside.

Frog Pod Boon Shampoo


Frog Pod Boon Scoop


Note that the frog is not made for large toys but instead made for smaller items. The frog pod is rather large at dimension of 19" x 16.5" x 7" inches but we feel its a good size to hold smaller toys. Any smaller and it just wouldn’t be worth it.

The Good
- Holds plenty of small toys
- Makes extra space for shampoo bottles
- Clings to the wall and doesn't require space.
- Holds toys that while allowing for excess water to drain out & avoid mold

The Bad
- Tape didn't last very long
- Rather large footprint

All in all we liked the frog pod and would recommend it, your kids are also sure to love it. Get your very own Frog Pod on Amazon.

We also like to note that there are at least two versions of the Frog Pod. The older one pictured here allows for the storage of bottles above while the new one eliminates that and leaves a larger toy container with a slightly smaller footprint. Both are still available for sale although the older one is getting tougher to find.

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Posted In: Toys and Games

Amazon Echo Review with demo using HA Bridge

Amazon Echo Review with demo using HA Bridge
The Amazon Echo is a hands-free speaker you control with your voice. It can connect to your bluetooth devices like your phone or tablets for the purpose of streaming audio. The echo is capable of playing music, giving you the latest news, sports scores, and weather, among other things. In a way its like Siri or Google now but not as refined in some aspects.

The echo has seven microphones that feature far field technology so it can hear you from across the room—even if you are playing music.

The build quality of the device is nice, there really isn't much too it, it looks like a Pringles chips can wrapped in black plastic. There are only two buttons on the unit and a rotating volume control on top with a light ring for visual feedback. It is aesthetically pleasing to the eye but can easily be missed if it is off to a corner. The Echo must be plugged in to an electric outlet to work and cant be dragged from room to room without taking the power supply with you. It does not have an auxiliary out so you can't connect it to your media center or external speaker big bummer for us.

You can easily manage your Echo with the free Alexa App on Android, or iOS platform as well as most desktop browsers. From there you can connect services you already use such as Pandora, or Spotify. The echo also comes with support for Amazon Music, Prime Music, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn.

From the App you can also set your home and work locations for traffic updates, and also news or sports scores you would like to hear on your flash briefing.

You can also create shopping lists and to-do lists. These items will show up on your Alexa app so no matter where you are they will be available to you.

You can set timers and alarms On the Amazon Echo, and all of these can be managed via the Alexa App as well. There you can change things such as alarm tones by picking from a predefined list.

The Alexa App is also where you discover and enable third-party Alexa skills. There aren't too many and we weren't really impressed by them but we imagine that they will get better just like the Google Play store did when it first began. The one skill that we can find a real use for was the metronome but that's only if you are a musician.

One of our favorite features is the connected home. By default the echo can control devices from WeMo, Philips Hue, SmartThings, Insteon, and Wink by just searching for them. We however don't have any of these as our main controller is a Vera Edge hub which is similar in nature to the Smrart Things hub. Luckily we found a developer on github that had created a home automation bridge that makes the echo think devices on the Vera are Philips hue devices and with that we are able to control our devices. You can get that info here https://github.com/bwssytems/ha-bridge. Note that this is not for the faint at heart and will require some work. This is the feature that we feel makes the Echo most valuable.

You can also lower the volume, raise the volume by just asking. And this is a tool the entire family can use like helping kids with homework or getting conversions for recipes in the kitchen.

You can even use apps such as if this then that to give you even more control of your devices.

If you want to stop Alexa from listening you can hit the mute button at any time and she won't hear a peep.

We feel that the Echo is a device full of promise, the voice recognition is amazing and very accurate. The built in functions are somewhat limited but we can see these getting better in the future. We feel that the Amazon commercials make Alexa seem smarter than she really is. If you don't set her up via the alexa app lots of things just won't work.

Alexa only knows where you live and work so you cant really ask her things like how is the commute from American airlines arena to Miami international airport ...
At the moment there is no open API which is a bummer for developers, other than that we find it is a cool toy and somewhat helpful assistant.

The Amazon Echo goes for 179.99 on Amazon. There is also a new Amazon Echo dot now that goes for 89.99 and the only thing missing from this one is the speaker but it features an auxiliary port that allows you to connect to external devices.

For the full review and some demo's of the actual Amazon Echo see our You Tube Video Review below.






Get your Very Own Amazon Echo onAmazon.

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Orbit Max 8-Pattern Nozzle Review

Orbit Max 8-Pattern Nozzle Review
If you are looking for an excellent quality nozzle for your garden hose, look no further. The Orbit Max 8-Pattern Nozzle is sure to tickle your fancy. The Orbit Maxgarden hose nozzle has a solid uni-body construction with only two moving parts. There really isn’t much to go wrong with this nozzle. We have been using the Nozzle for over a year at a minimum once every weekend for gardening, cleaning the patio, and cleaning the pool pump primarily but this nozzle has withstood the test of time. We liked it so much in fact, that we replaced all our nozzles with the Orbit Max.

The Orbit Max has a smooth thumb-control lever that adjusts the on/off as well as the flow of water you need for the job. The nozzle is very comfortable to hold and operate for any size hand. We love the different patterns and toughness of this product. Although we wouldn't go throwing it around on purpose, the design allows for much punishment to the nozzle without affecting performance.

Below are a few pictures that illustrate the 8 different pattern sprays.

















Get your very own Orbit Max Nozzle on Amazon.

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Posted In: Tools

SpeakStick Portable Bluetooth Shower Speaker Review

SpeakStick Portable Bluetooth Shower Speaker Review
If you are looking for a portable speaker for the shower you may want to take a look at the SpeakStick. We recently received a unit for review and took it for a spin. The SpeakStick is packaged in a
circular plastic case, it comes with just the label for the product description, and a mini usb charging cable. Please note that there is no charger included so you will either need to plug this little guy into a computer or a usb phone charger if you have one.

Our test period was seven days for about 30 minutes of use each day. The SpeakStick was about 15 feet away from the bluetooth transmitter which was a Samsung Galaxy Note 4. The SpeakStick had a stable connection throughought our testing and was able to stream music without a hitch through a solid wood door. The Audio that is produced by the mono 3" tall by 2" wide SpeakStick is not to be envied, but for its purpose and price range we feel it is a good buy.

The SpeakStick is capable of skipping ahead to the next track, going to the previous track, or pausing the music all together. We found it strange that we didn't see any buttons to increase or decrease the volume but after a little google searching we found that if you depress the next track or previous track buttons for a long time it will adjust the volume accordingly. We feel that just for this reason the device should have included a manual as we could see how someone could get frustrated thinking the speaker is not capable. We found the phone capabilities to be rather subpar, we were able to hear the other party but every time we would speak to the other party would say that we sounded like we were under water or muffled. We tried this test again outside of the shower after letting it dry thinking that some water may have gone in the hole for the microphone but the results were the similar. If you are looking to talk on the phone while in the shower, this probably isn't a great choice for you.

The Good


- USB connector
- Nice appealing look and feel
- Great price currently 19.99 on Amazon
- Loud enough for bathroom use while shower is running
- Battery lasts for weeks unless you take extremely long showers. (We only tested for approximately 30 minutes a day 7 days straight)
- Small footprint

The Bad


- No instructions
- No indicator on the device to let you know you can change volume, we found that it is possible if you just keep the next/previous tracks button pressed!
- Sound quality is not good but for the price and actual use you really cant ask for more.
- Since there are no instructions we couldn’t identify if it was water proof or water resistant. We did not try submerging it in water as it looks like it is only water resistant.
- Quality on phone calls was not good.


Overall the speaker does what it's supposed to and looks rather appealing so it wont be an eye sore in your bathroom. The SpeakStick also comes in various colors so you may even be able to match it with your decor. We also found this little speaker to perform quite well when being used as a speaker for your Phone GPS if you have an older vehicle or one without integrated Bluetooth. This allows you to play your music on your car stereo while not missing your next turn.

Get your own Bluetooth Shower Speaker SpeakStick on Amazon

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Posted In: Reviews

Trend Enterprises Math Wheel Review

Trend Enterprises Math Wheel Review
Here is a neat little tool you can use to help your kids excel in math at school at an early age. My daughter was in first grade last year and her teacher swore by them so we gave them a try. Turns out the teacher was right, my daughter loved them and even asked for them whenever it came time to do her homework. Sure there were times when she wouldn’t want to do it but my wife and I did notice the difference when we were quizzing her with these.

We have already purchased the next set, and do plan to use these for our other children. It's a great tool at a great price. The math wheels come in addition and subtraction for recommended ages of 6 and up, as well as multiplication & division for ages 8 and up.

Get your very own Trend Enterprises Math Wheel on Amazon

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Posted In: Toys and Games

iClever 6-Port 50W 10A USB Travel Wall Charger Review

iClever 6-Port 50W 10A USB Travel Wall Charger Review
We recently received this unit for review and have been using it for a little over a month. At first we didn't really see much use for this device but it grew on us. The 6 port iClever USB Travel Wall Charger
features 6 usb ports all with the SmartID technology that identifies what type of device and charges the device at up to 2.4 amps. The device is capable of having all 6 ports produce the same output current which means you can charge multiple tablet devices or phones simultaneously.

We were able to test charging two ipads, a note 4 , and an iPhone simultaneously while still having several ports available for charging other devices. The devices all charged up as quickly as they would have with the charger they came with. The exception being the note 4 which didn't identify the charger as a fast charger but still charged at the regular speed. Note that Samsung has a new technology that allows for quicker charging. Aside from that we were very pleased with the device.

We feel this device comes in handy for travellers specially when you can only find one outlet in the airport but might need to charge your family or co-workers phone(s) or tablet(s). We noticed it's usefulness today as one we had to go to a hospital and were faced with the only one wall outlet available dilemma. The iClever did it's job and we were even able to let a stranger plug in his kids tablet so that he can continue playing his Rayman jungle game. In this instance the three devices plugged into the iClever Travel Charger were not only able to continue to be used but actually charged even as the devices were being used. This was the moment we realized what a great investment the product was.

The iClever USB Travel Wall Charger
has a small footprint but can get easily tossed around because it doesn't weigh much. It's a bit larger than a stack of cards and has a 5 foot power cord which is long enough.

You will need to provide your own usb cables as none are provided with this device. Finally the device does have an indicator light that let's you know when it has power and is available for charging.

The Good
-Good build, feels lie a quality product
- The price is right. Currently $25.99 on Amazon
- Ports can be used simultaneously

The Bad
- Couldn't fast charge newer samsung devices ( it was able to charge just at the regular speed)

- Device should be a little heavier to not allow it to be pulled around too easily

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