Episode 49: Technology Bytes. . .HomeKit Failures

This is Technology Bytes, episode 49 for February 11th, 2024.

Technology Bytes is a microcast where I share brief bytes on interesting technology.

My name is Joel.

Enjoy, and here we go.

This week on Technology Bytes, I’m going back to talk about HomeKit a little bit.

I’ve spoken a number of times on the smart home and all the things that I’ve set up and walked through all the different devices and how much I enjoy having them in place.

This past week was a time where things fell apart a little bit.

So I want to talk about that a little bit, how I recovered and what it looked like.

And yeah, we’ll go through that.

So one of the things that we know if we do any HomeKit smart home stuff is while our devices talk to our smart things fairly reliably, there’s still information that is lacking.

And one of those things is batteries.

If you use the manufacturer’s app and something has a battery, in our case it’s the smart locks that we use, then it will let you know when that battery is running low.

But if you’re in HomeKit, there is no warning.

And so the other day, my wife said, I can’t get the door lock to work, and thankfully it failed open.

And so I was pretty sure I knew what it was.

I’m pretty sure I knew it was the battery.

But then we realized that in our reliance on the smart locks, we don’t carry keys anymore.

And so that evening when I got home, I had to go through my boxes of things and find the keys that go with the locks.

We have two, one on a garage door, one on our front door.

And so we put those keys in our car so that we could have them if the batteries fail and we are unaware, or maybe a power outage, or who knows what.

It’s still not in a state for smart devices where you really get the opportunity to use them if there’s no power to them.

Now with door locks, they’re pretty smart.

They have batteries, so you can get to that.

And they have some Bluetooth, so if your phone’s close enough, you should be able to get it open.

But even then, sometimes the mechanical is your best option.

In my house, we rely on the smart technology very, very heavily.

And when things fail, it makes it troublesome.

And this week, our garage door opener, the attachment to the garage door, it’s really just something that wires into the existing garage door opener and makes it smart.

And I’ve talked about it before from Moross, if that’s how you say it.

And it’s really been super.

It’s worked very well.

But the other day, it just decided to stop working.

And troubleshooting that can be quite difficult.

So did a couple things, unplugged it, and plugged it back in because often just turning off, turning on can help.

And watched the light configuration, and it connected to the Wi-Fi no problem.

But I still could not get it to be recognized in HomeKit, in the Home app.

And so we have garage door openers, or at least one.

But we’re not even exactly sure where that is.

So it has to work.

We have need for that door to be open and closed with our smart home setup and with our watches and iPhones and whatnot.

So after doing the most simple troubleshooting, just the on-off, make sure the wires are connected, make sure the lights look correct.

I actually downloaded the Moross app, which I don’t ever use for any of the things that I have from them.

And I have eight or nine devices from them.

But then you’ve got to log in and create an account and put all your devices in.

And I was struggling with doing that.

So then I just deleted it from my house.

And then went on the ladder in the garage so I could scan the QR code and added it back in, and it worked great.

And it has for now the better part of this week and last week.

And so it looks like it’s back together.

But that’s kind of a pain because all my smart things, all the routines that I’ve written, all the ways that we use it had to all be reset, and that can be a little bit of a pain.

So there’s still some growth that’s necessary in the HomeKit world.

I’ve always known it wasn’t perfect, but I enjoy the things when they work and am still amazed that they work at all at times.

So those are the heartaches of what we faced this week.

The garage door opener, like I said, is working fine.

But that reset process caused all kinds of heartache for us.

I don’t know if there’s a better way.

It would be nice, but I could find no other way to get it done this week.

So that is my tale of woe for this episode.

And that’s all I have for today.

If you have any comments or suggestions, you can send them to technologybytesatmarriedfamily.com I want to thank you for listening to the Technology Bytes microcast.

And I look forward to the next time we are together taking another bite of technology.

Joel Mearig @technologybytes