Occasionally, your devices will experience a hiccup. Many of these issues are straightforward to resolve. I’m here to walk you through the process of repairing smart home devices.
Every day, smart home gadgets gain popularity, which means adoption is increasing. The global smart home market is estimated to surpass $53 billion by 2022. However, what happens when the ever-growing array of extremely complicated smart home technologies that pervade our houses fails? After identifying the six primary reasons these new gadgets fail, I’ll walk you through the process of repairing smart home devices in an easy-to-understand, non-technical manner.
It’s self-evident why smart homes have become so popular. Apart from their numerous benefits, they actually enhance the modern house by reviving “dumb” equipment and appliances. While some features—remote capabilities, for example—may appear to be trivial comforts to those who have never used them, the reality is quite the contrary.
Consider a smart garage door opener. Why would somebody, of all things, require their garage door to be connected to the local network and the wider internet? That is because connectivity enables users to remotely operate and interact with their garage door.
After leaving for the store, a user’s phone may ding with an alarm that they neglected to close the door; they can then use a mobile app to quickly close it before criminals notice your car or new tools.
Smart houses perform admirably and significantly improve the quality of life for the average homeowner. That is, when they function.
Occasionally, there is a hiccup. Something is incorrect. Perhaps Alexa will not sync with other devices. Alternatively, a smart switch or bulb may decide to deviate from its pre-programmed timetable. Or the smart hub software that controls your gadgets is unable to locate adjacent devices, even though you are certain they are nearby and in good working order.
In any event, if you’re stumped, here are six measures to assist you in repairing smart home gadgets.
1. Inadequate connectivity
Numerous issues arise as a result of a poor or low-quality connection to the local network. While some gadgets connect via Bluetooth, the vast majority connect via WiFi. Both of these wireless approaches are susceptible to quality concerns.
To begin, verify that neither the servers nor the distant network are having difficulties. Numerous smart home platforms are powered by Amazon’s S3 infrastructure, which means that when it fails, a large number of associated sites and services fail as well.
A poor quality connection or unpredictable bandwidth—caused by intermittent WiFi—can result in a range of issues you may not be aware of. To be sure, there are the obvious drawbacks, such as the inability to remotely connect to devices or send commands via mobile. However, some devices will cease to function totally if their connection to the hosting company’s servers is lost. They may require manual reconnecting.
The best course of action in this instance is to either upgrade the router or install a “mesh router system” that stretches the wireless signal throughout your entire home or even property. Additionally, you’ll want to keep your router away from any other equipment that could create interference, such as stereo and entertainment systems, televisions, and other Wi-Fi devices. Finally, evaluate the density of physical impediments between the router and the devices it connects. Are there any stone or metal impediments along its path? Again, a mesh network or simple router relocation can resolve this issue.
Individuals frequently cling to the router and modem combinations provided by their internet service provider (ISP), which can create complications. Even if these gadgets are branded, they frequently lack adequate wireless connectivity. Simply have this in mind. Perhaps your devices are a little too intelligent for your default router.
2. Hardware Defect
A significant hardware failure is one of the worst things that can happen to any electronic gadget. A blown fuse, melting capacitors, or malfunctioning circuit boards can all result in major hardware problems, and you may be unable to repair smart home devices on your own in these instances.
Unless you have engineering or hardware development knowledge, repairing such a malfunction may be practically impossible without sending the damaged equipment in for repair. Additionally, be aware that attempting to perform DIY repairs on an electrical equipment may void the manufacturer’s warranty in some situations.
The hardware and internal components’ quality is determined by the materials used in manufacturing. When a business scrimps and uses substandard circuit boards or components, major problems might occur. It is critical that these devices and appliances are constructed with high-quality materials.
There is little an end-user like you can do in this situation aside from utilizing an active warranty or contacting an IT repair provider.
3. Absence of Power
Certain gadgets, particularly those that require specific installation, such as smart thermostats, may occasionally fail to power up. This issue can be challenging to resolve due to the unique nature of each device.
In this scenario, the most obvious culprit is the power source. Perhaps the item requires batteries and none are installed, or perhaps it has a rechargeable battery that need charging. However, when it comes to installing or mounting devices, the issue may be more significant, such as faulty wiring or connections that are completely missing.
Fortunately, the majority of gadgets contain some type of LED indicator that indicates whether or not they are receiving power. When a smart video doorbell is installed, for example, an indicator on the front may blink to tell the user that power is being supplied.
Additionally, do not forget to re-energize a breaker if it has been turned off – this is a common error that many people make.
4. Unexpected Activations
Voice commands are advantageous because they enable users to communicate precisely with Alexa or Google Assistant without fumbling with a phone or app. Occasionally, though, devices equipped with voice support will activate at random.
This is frequently the result of the usage of a common wake word, which may be mentioned in a television show or during a casual chat.
The good news is that many smart speakers and voice-activated devices allow users to set or adjust the “wake word.” Verify yours before determining that your device is faulty.
For example, you can browse to Settings > Your Echo > Change Wake Word in the Alexa app and select one of the alternate options. Google Home and Apple HomePod, as well as a slew of other voice-enabled platforms, provide comparable functionality.
5. Messages of Error
It’s critical to keep in mind that we’re discussing electrical equipment. As a result, they may encounter specific failures involving their internals, software, or related systems. For example, the Wink Home Hub may display error messages if the Wink network is unavailable—not the local network.
While it is impossible to include every single problem message and its associated repair, there is a common approach to error messages. Note the problem message that appears on your device—it may be a code or an alphanumeric identifier—and then contact the company’s website for assistance. Often, a help site is built that lists a range of error codes and their associated solutions, similar to this one. The FAQs are a nice place to start, and if you don’t find what you’re looking for there, try searching for the error message and the device model number.
6. Unlocking the Full Potential of Your Device
While certain products, such as the Google Home or Amazon Echo, perform flawlessly out of the box, this does not always imply customers get the most out of their purchase.
For example, Google Home provides weather, shopping, and traffic updates based on the user’s present location. If consumers do not navigate to their device’s settings and update this information, they may obtain results or recommendations that are not in their immediate vicinity.
More importantly, this demonstrates that users may need to delve into the settings menu—and occasionally even into the more sophisticated options—to guarantee the device is operating at peak performance.
Alexa, or the Amazon Echo, is another excellent illustration of this. By installing a range of Alexa Skills, you can unlock a plethora of new capabilities and functions. She may provide more specific personal information and alarms, explore new platforms beyond Amazon or Google, and communicate with other smart home gadgets.
It’s not always straightforward to detect, much less fix, smart home gadgets. If you’re stumped, consider contacting an online community for assistance.