Within the past couple of months I purchased two Ring video devices to monitor a property. The first device I decided to get was the Ring Video Doorbell 2.
This device can replace an existing doorbell or be installed where there isn’t one. It provides video and audio recording and can be used to record motion events and interact with someone at your door, live and remotely, from a devices using the Ring app, which works on iOS, Android, Mac OS and Windows.
I used a dashcam, phone charger and bluetooth adapter in the car for a while but I grew tired of having to manually unplug those devices when not in use or when I turned the car off. Unfortunately, in my 2008 Chevrolet Impala the vehicle would continue to provide power to any plugged in accessories even when the engine was off. Most of these devices are low power but even a dashcam, given enough time, could eventually drain the vehicle batter, especially if the car wasn’t being used for several days.
Re-wiring the electrical system and messing with fuses is beyond my experience so I decided to see if I could find an automotive power strip that would have a built-in power switch and sure enough I was able to find the perfect device.
The EUGIZMO Cigarette Lighter Splitter only costs about $16, offers three DC outlets, four USB power ports, a large power switch for the unit and also a very good visual indicator to show whether or not it is on.
I chose to mount this upside-down, just below the vehicle’s built-in DC power ports. This placement moves most of the power adapters and cables out of the way; whenever I turn the car on or off it’s very easy to just reach down and hit the large power button.
At first affixing the unit beneath the dash was a bit of the problem as the first type of velcro that I had used simply wasn’t holding and it would often come loose during the day. Eventually I ended up using some VELCRO Exterme Outdoor Strips and it hasn’t come loose since.
Updated 04/18/2018: The splitter and power button continue to work perfectly. In addition, the VELCRO has held; it hasn’t come loose yet.
About a year ago I started swapping out some X10 dimmer and appliance modules with new Insteon modules. They’re much more reliable and more secure than X10 gear. However, the in-wall modules have one requirement that prevents me from using them. Specifically, they require a neutral wire.
Since our home has a mix of older wiring, or the neutral wire wasn’t brought down to the switch, I can’t install most Insteon modules. I am able to use plug-in modules, which work well so I still have a mixed environment of Insteon and X10.
There are some 2-wire Insteon modules available. However, the wiring requirements aren’t as simple as those for X10 devices. I’m probably not going to purchase any of these. I may just continue using plug-in modules until we can afford to have our electrical wiring upgraded throughout the house.
The issue is that the 2-wire modules actually use two components. One component is installed at the switch and the other is installed in the electrical box at the light fixture. According to the documentation it creates a neutral wire between the two devices using the existing two wires.
This just isn’t as simple as what I’d prefer. I’m not stating that the 2-wire Insteon modules are faulty or not good. The purpose of this post is just to help others learn that using these won’t be as simple as replacing a light fixture switch.