Weirdest uses for a smart outlet

I’ve had my Solid Signal smart outlet for a while.  I’ve had it long enough that the novelty of just turning on the lights with my voice has worn off. So, I thought I’d brainstorm some more interesting uses for the outlet. As you know, I turned a smart outlet into a smart extension cord a while back so I can bring this thing pretty much anywhere I want now.

After all, a smart outlet can turn on anything you want. Pretty much anything can be plugged into it and no matter what you plug in, you can turn it on with your voice using Alexa or Google. So, I looked for things that might be fun to turn on and off.

Honest disclaimer: I’m using stock photos here, because a lot of this stuff is installed at my house and you know, privacy and everything.

In the garage

Putting smart control into the garage seemed like a no-brainer. I have a shop light over my workbench and it’s plugged into an outlet instead of being hard wired. So, I put in the smart outlet and now I get quite a bit more light when I need it.

Outdoor sprinklers

I don’t always need to water my lawn but when I do, I use the built-in automatic sprinklers. I had one of those ancient Intermatic timers to turn on the systems, you know these:

that I was turning on and off by hand. Since the power connection is inside (and these smart outlets aren’t outdoor rated) I wired the connection up to a smart outlet instead and bypassed that dinosaur. Now all I have to do is ask Alexa and the sprinklers turn on.

Save a watt or 20

Thanks to my Kill a Watt, I determined that keeping all my chargers were using power even when I wasn’t charging. There’s a switch on the power strip, but I do try to hide all my extra cables. So the switch is hard to get to. With a smart outlet I can turn on all my chargers at once and turn them off by using a scheduled routine that just powers the strip in the middle of the night for a few hours.

Lite Brite smart aleck

Using an old Lite-Brite that the kids are tired of (after all, a tablet’s more fun) I created some smart-aleck messages and used the Smart Outlet to turn it on whenever I wanted to derail the conversation.

Billy Bass

Now this took some work. Using a matching transformer that put out 6 volts, I created a power adapter that would take the place of the four AA batteries in a long-unused “Big-Mouth Billy Bass.” I then shorted the sensor in the bass so that it would always turn on if it was powered. Finally, I trained Alexa to recognize the name of a person I didn’t like. Whenever that person’s name was said, the bass would go on. This took way too long and  it got on everyone’s nerves in a very, very short time.

What’s your smart outlet story?

What’s the craziest thing you’ve done with a smart outlet? Even if it isn’t one of the Solid Signal ones, leave a comment below and we’ll compare notes!

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.