Resetting Smart Plugs

Anyone have a secret to resetting HomeKit smart plugs? It seems like every year when I try to reset my Meross and Belkin smart plugs for Christmas tree lights and other Christmasy stuff I spend hours trying. To reset my plugs. Even after following the instructions for the companies they still don’t want to connect to the Home app.

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Make sure your iPhone is on a 2.4 GHz only Wi-Fi network. If you have a combined SSID, you can sometimes fake it by going to the far end of the Wi-Fi range so your phone only sees the 2.4 GHz signal and then use a power extension cord, if necessary, to power up the smartplug.

There are some time out limits in HomeKit, but I don’t have the details. Best suggestion is to reboot all HomeKit hubs, hardware reset the smartplug, fully reboot (not just restart) your iPhone, then wait at least 10 minutes before trying to install again.

If you haven’t changed your network, your smartplugs should still be in HomeKit. You can always rename them and move them to another room instead of resetting them.

I have a room called “unused” where I park HomeKit devices that are not currently in use to avoid the hassle of hardware reset and re-installs.

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thanks @SpivR , you seem to have a lot of experience in this area. Your advice has been helpful

I have a similar but different issue. I have two Cygnett Smart Wi-fi powerboards that are HomeKit compatible. The issue is have is that both will go on and offline repeated without any notification. Once they are offline, I cannot use the Home app or Siri to turn them on and off. I was told by their tech support that I had to turn off the 5GHz wifi from my router for these boards to work properly. I am not prepared to do this just to make this two power boards working

So my questions are

  1. Is HomeKit purely based on wifi connectivity, not on bluetooth, thread, zigbee, etc
  2. is there any way to boost the coverage / connectivity. FYI , one of the boards is just 6 inches from my HomePod , which is a stanyby Hub
  1. When originally introduced, HomeKit did not require a hub (technically, it still doesn’t but most everyone ends up with one).

HomeKit works directly with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and wired Ethernet. My own theory is that without a hub, direct interactive control of devices from your iPhone meant using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, both of which are built into the iPhone software so no hub, bridge, or gateway is needed, so Apple chose to only use Wi-Fi and Bluetooth in HomeKit.

Apple allowed gateways from other companies to convert from other wired or wireless protocols into HomeKit, but until Thread, Apple itself didn’t embrace anything other than Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and Bluetooth.

  1. Wi-Fi HomeKit devices dropping off the network has been a problem since the beginning. In recent years, it has gotten a lot better, but hasn’t completely gone away.

It’s really hard to diagnose because there isn’t a single reason why this happens. A few of the things I’ve seen as causes:

Bad product design - flaws in the Wi-Fi hardware, but more often firmware or driver problems with the device. Some problems were fixed with updates, but some problems silently fixed only by revisions/changes to the devices and the hardware inside them.

Poor handling of Wi-Fi 5 GHz. Most devices only support 2.4 GHz because the hardware is a lot cheaper, but also the 2.4 GHz signal has a longer range and penetrates through walls better. Since most devices are low-bandwidth, they benefit from the better range and would not work better with 5 GHz.

But software problems mean some devices get confused and don’t attach to the the 2.4 GHz network properly when a single SSID/network ID is used for both speeds.

Although Wi-Fi is “supposed” to work better with a single SSID, in most cases if you can create an additional SSID for 2.4 GHz network only, many problems with Wi-Fi devices are solved.

Unfortunately, most consumer Wi-Fi, especially the newer mesh products, which otherwise perform a lot better, do not allow splitting bands or setting up multiple network SSID’s.

Eero, the first mesh system, and very popular (I still use them and recommend them to some clients), has a big kludge where they have a button in the app to turn off the 5 Ghz network for a brief time. It works, but is real PITA - they have still efused to allow users the ability to setup a separate 2.4 Ghz SSID network.

The Wi-Fi connection itself doesn’t pass through the HomePod, so if you are using a mesh system, check to see if you can put a mesh node closer to the device.

That would be a possible solution.

A troubleshooting method would be to physically move the device closer to your existing Wi-Fi access point(s) and see if that makes a clear difference over the course of a few days. Obviously, that means you would have to disconnect everything from it and be without its use during the test period.

The other reason for Wi-Fi devices to drop off the network has been firmware bugs with some brands of Wi-Fi gear. Their handling of multicast packets (mDNS) was buggy and after a random period of time (hours, days, or even weeks), the packets were getting dropped cutting off communication with the device.

Apple is the biggest user of mDNS (they invented it and call it Bonjour). Sonos also uses it, and some AirPrint printers, and a few other things rely on it, but in the overall consumer market, it is lightly used.

So these bugs were obscure and the vendors took a long time to acknowledge the problem and fix it.

The mDNS problem was most severe with mesh Wi-Fi systems because they use proprietary protocols to co-ordinate between the mesh units and somehow they were dropping mDNS sometimes.

Overall, IMHO, I’ve seen most of the mDNS problems fixed, but it can still be an issue with older Wi-Fi that is still being used since other than for HomeKit, the gear works perfectly for everything else.

Everyone’s experience is different, but my advice to use wired Ethernet as much as possible and avoid Wi-Fi and Bluetooth as much as possible.

Other wireless systems, Zigbee, Z-Wave, proprietary (Lutron), with bridges have an overall better track record of reliability with HomeKit.

Thread is still new, early results are great, but not a lot of feedback on large Thread networks (30, 50, or more devices) yet and some of the details of Thread border routers from different companies working together still to be figured out.

Big note: networking and smart home stuff is all a heavy does of “it depends”. For every client or person who has had miserable trouble with Wi-Fi, there are many others that say “has always worked perfectly for me”.

Like Steve Jobs and antenna-gate “you are holding it wrong” there is some truth to both sides!

Final note: Bluetooth is great for AirPods, headphones, portable speakers, car links, etc. Just IMHO, terrible for IoT/smart devices and Apple has implicitly admitted it by replacing Bluetooth with Thread going forward.

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thanks a lot, I learned a couple of new things today. However, still finding a way to make my HomeKit devices more reliable.

Ironically, some of my associates swear that removing HomeKit devices from HomeKit, then adding them to Home Assistant and exporting them from Home Assistant back into HomeKit is more reliable.

I understand the process but have not gone down that path yet. It does seem counter-intuitive, but Home Assistant keeps popping up everywhere in the past year.

It’s the HA ‘HomeKit Controller’ plugin that supports native HomeKit devices and then the HA ‘HomeKit’ plugin that exports the devices back into HomeKit proper. I would love to hear if others are doing this and how well it worksl

great to hear that, I have now fully embraced Home Assistant. I found that it is most flexible and with great community support.

I have gone through the process similar but not identical to what you mentioned with the new Ikea Dirigera Hub and some Tradfri devices. They would not natively appear on Home App but the Dirigera Hub did appear on the Home App as a bridge but no Tradfri devices. I tried many time trying to add the same to HA but they do not seem to be discoverable until I remove that from the Home App. Now I can control and monitor most of the Tradfri devices (except the dimmer button) from HA, but they still would not appear on the Home App.

I need to do more work to explore Home Assistant. I have pre-ordered a Skyconnect too. Would be busy once it arrives

Thanks for all the info!! I’m glad I asked the question.

sorry, I have hijacked your question :joy:

It’s all good. I learned something new.

I don’t get it. It recognizes there is a plug on the network but won’t connect. I’ve sat here for an hour trying to get this plug connected to HomeKit and it keeps timing out. I’ve followed all the tips and nothing is working.