Scargill’s Covid-boredom-fighting Idea #1 Smart Kettle

My friend Antonio just pointed me to an expensive Australian “Smart” kettle which heats up coffee in the morning for you. All very nice but not cheap AND not ACTUALLY available right now.. also, simple timers assume you always get up at the same time of day – right now, few people are doing that and people not currently in jobs (or retired) often do not have rigid schedules – why would they. So, I came up with another idea…

Take any old kettle – like mine and put a Smartplug on it, preferably a pretty one and definitely with an easily-accessible button (A Tasmotized plug has the added advantage of a timeout). Next time you use the kettle, turn on the kettle at its base or wherever you do that and when it is done, turn off at the wall (or have it time out) and turn on at the base of the kettle. So, the kettle is ON but not actually getting any power and is now primed for next time around.

Next, before getting out of bed the next morning,. simply tell Alexa to “turn on the Kettle”. By the time you get into the kitchen you should have piping hot water for your tea or coffee. I used an otherwise inflexible non-Tasmota’d Meross Smartplug which works with Alexa and has it’s own off-timer which I set to 2 minutes.

There is always a cheap way to do things, but me being me I took the opportunity to upgrade our living room Alexa to the (currently half price at Amazon) “Alexa Show” hence freeing up an Alexa Echo (gen 3) for the bedroom. If you are reading this and you have never heard of Alexa then you are in the wrong place. No doubt Google Home Mini would do a similar thing with most un-modified Smart plugs – but that’s out of the scope of this short article.

Standard kettle about to be made smart

Enjoy.

And there it is, all done, dusted.

Smart plug driving my Kettle

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15 thoughts on “Scargill’s Covid-boredom-fighting Idea #1 Smart Kettle

  1. I set up an alexa routine that gives me the weather and upcoming appointments when I say “Alexa Good Morning”. I guess I’ll add turning the kettle on as well.
    The nice thing about routines is you can also add delays so if your morning routine takes 20 minutes you can delay turning the kettle for 15 minutes.

    1. do you think it can be done something like saying, turn on or off something in a given time frame? i never tried, have to do that tomorrow… saying alexa to turn on some device for a given time frame, for example, alexa turn on kettle for 5 minutes… this needs investigation 😀

      well, just tried to say mine to turn off my lamp in a minute from now, and didn’t work… same for turning it on for a minute… both where immediate actions, no delay involved… have to try with routines, if they can be parametrized…

      1. This is a routine set up with the alexa app. The routine can activate/deactivate any of your home automation in sequence and with delays. You can use any phrase you want to trigger the sequence.
        As an example, when I say goodnight Alexa turns on the hallway and landing lights, waits 10 minutes and then turns them off again. Unfortunately, the phrase and sequence is fixed once its set up.

      2. Greetings. The optimum way to do this depends on your hub of choice, but here is the general theory.

        Basically you need a way to detect that you have woken up or are getting out of bed, on days when you aren’t woken by an alarm. A good way that many home automation enthusiasts use is a series of weight sensors placed underneath the mattress, or, if you can afford the expensive sensors, underneath the feet of the bed.

        Your hub can now tell when the bed is occupied, and if you have several sensors (one in each corner is good) you can also tell when a person has fallen asleep.

        This opens the door to doing things like automatically turning off house lights and arming security systems when you go to bed, in cases where the silly human has forgotten to do so. Also, it provides triggers for morning tasks that only need to be done once the human actually emerges from the bed, like Peter’s “turn on the kettle” suggestion. Asking Alexa to do it is fine, but imagine if she didn’t need to be asked?

        1. My Garmin (and fitness trackers in general I assume) can tell as soon as I start moving around and am no longer lying down.

          I’ve no idea if it’s possible and if so, how, but that would be so much more convenient than weight sensors surely. Some that frequently measure heart rate could even tell from that too.

          1. I tend to wake up in the middle of the night so I don’t want the kettle turning on just because I’m up (as it does not auto-re-arm). Maybe one of those Amazon buttons or similar, pref with a dim glow… not enough to annoy the wife but enough so I can see it in the dark. Actually I have on my keychain a Sonoff 4-button fob.. but I don’t take my keys to bed… a button on the side of the bedside lamp would be ideal.. I do use the fob when I’m leaving my office late at night to turn on a little bed heater which stays on for 15 minutes just to take the chill off the bed. I guess I could make a point of taking that to bed and leaving it on my bedside cabinet – the bed heater button is only ever used late at night so the button could double up to turn the kettle on in the morning if pressed. Good idea, Peter.

            1. Pete, i use one of these cheap rf433 remotes for this task… battery powered, with 3m adhesive on back, or screws if needed… i intercepted its codes with my tasmotized rf bridge and use this as a remote using rules on the rf bridge itself, calling other sonoffs via websend command, no need of mqtt or anything else, the bridge calls the sonoffs via http directly, very fast and efficient 🙂

              i detailed the rules in this comment: https://tech.scargill.net/sonoff-rf-bridge/#comment-63353

  2. What this method doesn’t achieve is telling you how much water is in the kettle and when it has boiled the water. One other useful feature I have with mine is to be able to set a target temperature if you don’t want boiling water. However the use case is fundamentally undermined if you follow the instructions which say do not leave water in the kettle and do not operate unattended.

  3. Might have a go at at making a sous vide cooker.
    I have some temperature sensors, an old kettle I can use the element from and a smart relay board with Tasmota installed. All I need to find is decent container to use.

  4. Ah, who amongst us oldies remembers being woken by the hiss of the boiling water from a Teasmade in the morning, followed by the light and a hot pot of tea!! Happy days…….

    1. Indeed. My only problem with my new automated kettle project is that I keep forgetting to trigger it before I get out of bed. Possibly the next thing is to have a sensor spot me walking past the bathroom in the morning 🙂 I’d rather it waits until I’m actually awake.

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