Still going and SmartPlugs

Using your AlertMe, British Gas Hive, Safe & Secure or Iris system.
ChrisB75
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Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2013 6:55 pm

Still going and SmartPlugs

Post by ChrisB75 » Mon Nov 11, 2013 6:59 pm

Hi
I'm new to this forum and ordered an AlertMe starter kit today. I'm a bit worried though because they don't have any smart plugs in stock and I can't find anywhere else that sells them - is AlertMe still going ok or should I cancel my order?
Thanks very much
Chris

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roobarb!
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Re: Still going and SmartPlugs

Post by roobarb! » Tue Nov 12, 2013 5:31 pm

ChrisB75 wrote:I'm new to this forum and ordered an AlertMe starter kit today. I'm a bit worried though because they don't have any smart plugs in stock and I can't find anywhere else that sells them - is AlertMe still going ok or should I cancel my order?
I'd give them a call - they're certainly still up and running (in fact, the new Hive system from British Gas is another AlertMe product). They're not so great at updating their own site though, because they mainly resell to businesses now.

You can order SmartPlugs from British Gas as well, although they're not selling Safe and Secure any more and have removed most things from their site at the moment. Just been on the phone to BG about this actually; they're saying the devices should still be listed in the shop, but for the time being you can order by phone. Their price list is here.

I personally think the energy starter kit is a total bargain when compared to other devices that allow for remote plug control and energy monitoring, but don't expect any further development of the product beyond what it does today.

Having said that, I'm just in the process of updating to Alerty for iOS 7 (slow work!) so maybe I'm a biased wishful thinker! ;)
Alerty - control your AlertMe system with my third-party app for iPhone and iPod Touch. Available on iTunes!

ChrisB75
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2013 6:55 pm

Re: Still going and SmartPlugs

Post by ChrisB75 » Wed Nov 13, 2013 2:18 pm

Hi roobarb
Thanks for the reply and info, much appreciated :D I totally agree the starter kit is a bargain and I received it the next day! :D I phoned the AlertMe 08 number and was told they will be restocking the smartplugs, phew! The main reason I went for AlertMe is the published APi that I'm having a play with as we speak. Not great results so far - whatever I send through Hercules gets the response HTTP/1.1 200 OK{0D}{0A}{0D}{0A}, even if I send "sausages" so somethings not right there :roll: :lol: I'll keep going.... I couldn't find what port to use so I've been trying 80, maybe its that.
You'll no doubt see plenty of cries for help from me soon.. :)

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roobarb!
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Re: Still going and SmartPlugs

Post by roobarb! » Wed Nov 13, 2013 3:43 pm

Awesome, always nice to have more people on board!

If you're having a play with the API, check out this PHP interface, my Perl interface and my (very basic) Python interface. The Perl one uses the old v2 API, but it still works fine. The v5 API is the current one, so if you're writing something yourself that's the best one to go with.

There's also an AlertMe to PlotWatt Python script out there, in case you're in need of some inspiration. The data logging done by the AlertMe system really does lend itself to being exported to other services and the API provides some nice methods for doing it. :)
Alerty - control your AlertMe system with my third-party app for iPhone and iPod Touch. Available on iTunes!

ChrisB75
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2013 6:55 pm

Re: Still going and SmartPlugs

Post by ChrisB75 » Wed Nov 13, 2013 8:27 pm

Heh roobarb, thanks for the welcome and suggestions :) I only recently started looking at python, well linux, after getting a Rasberry Pi so my knowledge is very limited. What I really want to be able to do is send http commands from Demopad - do you know if this is possible? I've emailed AlertMe customer services about this and posted on Demopad's forum.
Cheers
Chris

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roobarb!
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Re: Still going and SmartPlugs

Post by roobarb! » Thu Nov 14, 2013 12:38 pm

ChrisB75 wrote:Heh roobarb, thanks for the welcome and suggestions :) I only recently started looking at python, well linux, after getting a Rasberry Pi so my knowledge is very limited. What I really want to be able to do is send http commands from Demopad - do you know if this is possible? I've emailed AlertMe customer services about this and posted on Demopad's forum.
It's a system I'm unfamiliar with, but I would imagine that you would need something in-between the app and the AlertMe API. That is, unless the app can handle JSON queries and store an authentication key for you. It would need to be configured to use the appropriate API calls though.

The API is really very good - you send GET, POST or PUT commands over HTTPS after authentication and it sends back the data in JSON format. Nice, standard RESTful sort of stuff. The only thing to watch out for is that some of the calls are slow. It's often much quicker to return lots of information in one go and have the receiving device do the processing, rather than getting the API to do it for you.

The Pi is a great platform; it would take some work, but you could set it up as your middleman for that Demopad app. Send the requests to the Pi and have it cope with authentication and returning values in a sensible manner for the app. It'll be a learning curve, though - I guarantee it! ;)
Alerty - control your AlertMe system with my third-party app for iPhone and iPod Touch. Available on iTunes!

ChrisB75
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2013 6:55 pm

Re: Still going and SmartPlugs

Post by ChrisB75 » Thu Nov 14, 2013 7:32 pm

Hi and thanks for the info - I realised since that using Hercules, I was trying to connect to the AM hub on my LAN!!! D'Oh! :oops: Thing is, ever since I've been trying through Google browser using https://api.alertme.com/v5/login/MYUSER ... ORD/Laptop (obviously putting in my details) but it aint having it!? Constantly get {"error": {"reason": "NOT_AUTHORIZED"}}
Any thoughts?
I'm not impressed with AM customer services, sent various messages but not a sausage! :x

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roobarb!
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Re: Still going and SmartPlugs

Post by roobarb! » Fri Nov 15, 2013 11:02 am

ChrisB75 wrote:Hi and thanks for the info - I realised since that using Hercules, I was trying to connect to the AM hub on my LAN!!! D'Oh! :oops: Thing is, ever since I've been trying through Google browser using https://api.alertme.com/v5/login/MYUSER ... ORD/Laptop (obviously putting in my details) but it aint having it!? Constantly get {"error": {"reason": "NOT_AUTHORIZED"}}
Any thoughts?
The main trick here is that a web browser isn't really the tool for the job. The chain goes like this:
  • Authenticate to server using username and password.
  • Server hands out API key in response.
  • Use API key as a cookie in any following HTTPS request.
Your username and password are sent in the body of the first HTTPS request, not in the URL. Really, for testing you need to use something like HTTP Client which easily lets you mess around with different calls and see the responses.
ChrisB75 wrote:I'm not impressed with AM customer services, sent various messages but not a sausage! :x
They're much better on the phone, but don't expect any help with the API. There's a vast gulf between their customer facing side and their technical side, particularly now that they're not really in the end-user game (rather reselling the tech to other companies).

Where they are awesome is dealing with typical end-user problems. I've had a couple of SmartPlugs go weird and they've either repaired or replaced them with no hassle at all.
Alerty - control your AlertMe system with my third-party app for iPhone and iPod Touch. Available on iTunes!

ChrisB75
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2013 6:55 pm

Re: Still going and SmartPlugs

Post by ChrisB75 » Tue Nov 19, 2013 1:10 pm

Hi and thanks for the continued replies :D
I'm still not getting anywhere though, no doubt "user error" :oops: I followed your advice but as I use Windows 8, I downloaded a copy of WizTools.org RESTClient3.2.1 but I'm getting the same "NOT AUTHORIZED" reply!? :? I'm entering https://api.alertme.com/v5/login/ChrisB ... ord/Laptop - is this right?

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roobarb!
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Re: Still going and SmartPlugs

Post by roobarb! » Tue Nov 19, 2013 2:34 pm

ChrisB75 wrote:I'm still not getting anywhere though, no doubt "user error" :oops: I followed your advice but as I use Windows 8, I downloaded a copy of WizTools.org RESTClient3.2.1 but I'm getting the same "NOT AUTHORIZED" reply!? :? I'm entering https://api.alertme.com/v5/login/ChrisB ... ord/Laptop - is this right?
No, the username and password don't go in the URL - they need to be encoded into the body of the request. All this is further complicated by the fact that AlertMe seem to have password protected the v5 API for some reason now.

The v2 API still works fine though; perhaps take a look at the documentation and examples for that and see if it suits?
Alerty - control your AlertMe system with my third-party app for iPhone and iPod Touch. Available on iTunes!

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