SnapPower has lights to guide the way – home automation lite

SnapPower first reached out to me back in 2015, with their second product ever, a wall outlet cover plate that added USB charging to wall outlets without taking up a plug, and without requiring you to be an electrician.

They’re back, with an outlet cover plate that adds lights, the SnapPower Connect. Triggered by motion, and networked, so that you can have multiple lights turn on when one is triggered. How’s it work? How do install them without rewiring the home?

SnapPower takes their name from how their outlet cover plates install. Shut off power at the breaker box. Remove the old cover plate, and push the new one onto the outlet until it snaps into place. Secure it with a screw, and turn the power back on.

The cover plate gets power from the contacts that apply pressure to the sides of the screw contacts on the outlet. Note that it’s not subtle – like the USB charging product before it, there’s a little bit of a chin protruding from the wall.

There are three switches on the device:

  1. How long the light stays on (15 seconds, 1 minute, 5 minutes)
  2. Brightness control (bright, dim, off)
  3. Zone (whether it operates alone or as part of a group)

This is the simplest form of home automation. There’s no smartphone control. There’s no Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Instead, there’s a switch that assigns a plate to be standalone, zone 1, or zone 2. If a switch in zone 1 senses motion, it triggers all the SnapPower lights in zone 1. Simple. Automated.

They have 100ft of range, and you can install an unlimited number of SnapPower Connect devices. As long as they’re within range of each other, the zoning system will light them all.

There are benefits to being simple: it’s easier to manufacture. It’s easier to support. And it’s got less to go wrong.

Each SnapPower Connect costs $20 on Kickstarter’s early bird pricing. A 3-pack is $54. A 5-pack is $80. If you wanted 10 (ten!) that would run you $140. This can be as much as a 40% savings over regular pricing outside of the crowdfunding campaign.

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