No-Fear! Do-It-Yourself IT Projects


6 months ago

By Eric C. Montague

Are you a master of the DIY world, but still a bit intimidated by do-it-yourself technology projects? Let’s face it, there are some things that are best left to the professionals—but these aren’t 10 of them. Here are 10 DIY IT projects that will add some seriously cachet to your home.

Amazon Echo

It doesn’t get much easier than the Amazon Echo, a 360º speaker and voice-command recognizer. Take it out of the box and set it up using the Alexa App, which is compatible with Fire OS, Android, iOS, and desktop browsers. Then enjoy doing everything from listening to your favorite book or checking the weather to turning on your sprinklers—all with nothing more than a voice command. Take some time to read more about the Amazon Echo and all it can do. And then ponder the fact that if you already had the Echo, Alexa could have done that for you.  http://www.amazon.com/echo

 

USB Outlets

Currently tracking as one of the most sought after upgrades in a home, USB outlets couldn’t be simpler to install. It’s only a matter of removing the old outlet, unhooking the wires, and reattaching them to the USB outlet (after shutting off the power of course!). Most USB outlets come with smart-control, meaning they can read exactly what each device needs, so you never overcharge a device.   One of the most important parts in choosing the right one, is the amp rating it has.  We love the Cooper Electronics model, it is wonderful.   http://www.cooperindustries.com/content/public/en/wiring_devices/products/receptacles/commercial/_20a/nema_5_20r/usb_tr7746.html

Ring

Ring is the video doorbell that allows you to answer the door, via your smart phone, from anywhere. What a great way to freak out the neighborhood kids on Halloween! But more importantly, Ring can give you a greater sense of security. Ring will notify you whenever someone is on your property, and you can see and speak to them from anywhere. And installation couldn’t be easier: the Ring app walks you through setting up and installing your doorbell. It even comes with its own level, for the perfect DIY finish!  Best part of Ring is the funny videos you will get of your neighbor for some good blackmail!  https://ring.com/

SnapPower Guidelight

SnapPower Guidelights are an energy-efficient alternative to standard nightlights. And they couldn’t be easier to install. You simply unscrew the cover plate currently in place, and replace it with the SnapPower Guidelight. There’s no wiring required, and the SnapPower Guidelight leaves all of your outlets free to use. You can install a single SnapPower Gudelight in your child’s bedroom or ambient lighting throughout your house in just a matter of minutes.  https://www.snappower.com/

Alternating Coil Wrap

If there’s one problem with the great technological age we live in, it’s all those cords we live with. Cords everywhere! Twisting, tangling, getting themselves tied into knots. Not anymore! Being the DIY master you are, you’re going to master the alternating coil wrap. Hold the end of your cord in one hand; with the other, create a loop. Now move your free hand farther down the cord and create a loop that wraps in the other direction. Repeat until the cord is coiled. Clear as mud? Maybe seeing it in action will help. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pEd7ru24Vx0

Wemo Outlet

Wemo Outlets simply let you make all of those dumb appliances in your home smarter—by connecting them to your smart phone. Control any device you can plug into an outlet directly from your phone. Turn your washer on and the dryer off. Start the space heater before you get home. Or find out how much electricity your teenager is using on video games. And talk about a quick DIY! All you have to do is plug the Wemo Outlet into the wall and your appliance into the Wemo outlet. Life just got a whole lot smarter at your house.  You can run Wemo outside of your home via the app….fun way to scare the spouse and kids turning stuff on and off!  http://www.belkin.com/us/F7C029-Belkin/p/P-F7C029;jsessionid=40775085A4B5AB84F1CCFDEE00F2092D/

Chamberlain Garage Door Opener

Chamberlain garage door openers with MyQ® connects to your home’s WiFi allowing you to open and close the garage door, get notifications if you left the garage door open, and turn both your indoor and outdoor lights on and off using your smart phone. Chamberlain garage door openers are available at most major retailers, and Chamberlain has a series of videos online to help you install your new garage door opener yourself.  http://www.chamberlain.com/smartphone-control-products/myq-smartphone-control

Rachio Sprinkler Controller

The Rachio Sprinkler Controller isn’t only run from an app on your phone or computer, it can automatically adjust your watering schedule based on the weather, type of soil you have, and the types of plants you’ve got. And the Rachio Controller will notify you whenever it makes a change to your watering schedule. All you have to do is replace your current controller with the Rachio Controller and connect it to your WiFi. Want to make your life even easier? The Rachio Controller is compatible with the Amazon Echo, so watering is as easy as telling Alexa to turn on the water.  http://rachio.com/

These last two are a little aggressive to be classified as DIY, but these products are so awesome we couldn’t leave them out.

ON-Q Intercom

Are you a child of the 70’s who grew up with an intercom system run from a central brown box located in your kitchen, roughly the size of a small car? Well, the On-Q Intercom is not your father’s intercom. That big brown box has been replaced by a sleek modern unit that can be mounted to your wall or placed on a table in any room. Adding additional units throughout the house or connecting to an exterior video doorbell is a breeze, because the units are all connected wirelessly. Finally, a DIY project that will quiet down your home!  The days of yelling through the house at my kids are over.  This is one I love and recommend highly.    http://www.legrand.us/intercoms-and-door-entry/selective-call-intercom.aspx

In Drywall Speakers

If you’re one of those DIYers who doesn’t mind a little drywall dust in your hair, then In Drywall Speakers may be just the project you’ve been looking for. These speakers are built for sound, not sight. Once installed, In Drywall Speakers are completely hidden. That’s right! You don’t see a thing. These speakers are finished over with the same material that’s on the wall—from drywall compound to wood, and everything in between—making them completely invisible.  http://www.sonance.com/in-wall-in-ceiling/invisible-series

And of course….the disclaimer.  A couple of these items require some electrical work.  If your knowledge of electrical work is “220….221 whatever it takes!” call us before touching any wires :)

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