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Welcome to Ben’s Smart Home

Welcome to my humble blog. If you have visited this blog before, you may noticed it’s now totally different. It’s no longer a personal blog about my travel and food but a blog dedicated to my passion I found 3 years ago which is smart home or home automation.

Around early 2016, I stumbled upon an open source project created for smart home known as Home Assistant. Before that, I was wondering what else I could achieve with my existing home network? I already have a Network Attached Storage (NAS) that host my files and media server, IP PBX system that enabled room to room calling and interactive voice response (IVR) when someone called my office and networked CCTVs across the house. Once I got to know Home Assistant, I fell in love with it right away. It was the final piece my home network needed to reach its full potential.

However, Home Assistant is not your typical plug and play solutions you will find in the market. Even though efforts are there to steer it toward that direction but there is still a learning curve you need to take. Even after 3 years of tinkering with Home Assistant, I still refer to the documentations whenever I work on it. That is why this blog is mostly about Home Assistant and how to make things work for you based on my own experience. This blog also serves as a log of whatever I have learnt along the way and hopefully with the shared knowledge, you will learn something from it too.

Continue reading “Welcome to Ben’s Smart Home”

Enchen Sharp3S, is it better than Boost or Hummingbird?

Powerful 7300 RPM (No More Crying Kids Due to Hair Stuck) – ENCHEN Sharp3S is equipped with a silver-palladium alloy 300 motor, with a powerful 7,300 RPM and an ESM intelligent anti-card system, which gives an extremely smooth hair cutting experience. Easily cope with a variety of hair, smooth hair without leaking, and cut hair faster.

Alloy Cutter Head, Easily Cut Off Copper Wire, Automatic Grinding, Not Dull After Long Use – The cutter blade is made from martensitic steel with excellent quench hardening ability, high abrasion resistance and high strength, commonly found in surgical tools. The cutter head will grind automatically so that you don’t have to worry that it will go blunt over time.

R-Shaped Round Head, Sharp But Safe – The contact points of the cutter head and the skin are rounded for safety and comfort during the hair cutting process. The cutter head also undergone strict design and testing process to ensure safety during operation.

20-Segment Rotation Adjustment Length (Easy For Novice Parents) – ENCHEN Sharp3S hair clipper uses a knob-type positioning comb design, which can lock the haircut length ranging from 1-20mm. Just a slight turn on the knob will change the cutting length. No need to change the limiting comb anymore. So convenient even people without any experience can use it.

ESM Intelligent Anti-Stuck Hair, Double Protection, Double Energy Efficiency – ESM (Energy Smart Manager) intelligent integrated circuit system is the “brain” from Infineon. It consists of two modules: energy management and motor main control, which can ensure consistent high-speed even during low power. ESM also helps in extending the battery life and provide safety during charging processs. On top of that, the ESM provided battery indicator accurately display the status when the battery is low, charging, and fully charged.

Full Charge Can Use for 4 Months – Sharp 3S also supports fast charging, which can reach 90% of the charge in 1.5 hours. After that, it will switch to smart trickle charging, and will be fully charged in 2 hours. On full charge, the battery can last for more than 2 hours.

USB Interface, Use While Charging – You can continue to use the hair clipper while charging. The Sharp 3S uses the universal USB interface. You can charge the hair clipper using common devices such as power banks, computers, and USB charger.

Easy Hair Cutting For The Whole Family – Suitable for anyone from babies to old folks. Can cut your own hair in the comfort of your own home, without the noisy environment, anytime at your convenience, no need to waste time queing up at the barber shop and save money.

Xiaomi Enchen Boost vs. Enchen Hummingbird

Xiaomi Enchen Boost Hair Clipper vs. Xiaomi Enchen Hummingbird Hair Clipper

  1. Limit comb: Adjustable (3mm – 21mm) vs. 3 limit combs (1mm, 2mm, 3mm)
  2. Hair length without comb: 0.7mm vs. 0.3mm
  3. Full charging time: 1.5 hours vs. 3 hours
  4. Full charge usage time: 90 minutes vs. 4 hours
  5. 90% charging time: 1 hour vs. N/A
  6. 90% charge usage time: 80 minutes vs. N/A
  7. Motor power: 5W vs. 10W
  8. Motor RPM: Low: 4500 RPM, High: 5800 RPM vs. 7100 RPM
  9. Noise level: 55db vs. 50db
  10. Blade material: Nanoceramics vs. Stainless Steel
  11. Weight: 127g vs. 148g

How to Install Alexa App (or any Geo Restricted Apps) on Android in Malaysia

If you have purchased an Amazon Echo Devices, you need to install the Alexa App in your phone to set it up. Unfortunately, the app is geo restricted and Malaysia is one of the country in the restricted list. However, there are two ways to get around this restriction.

Using VPN

  1. Download your favourite VPN app in your phone. If you have no idea which one to use, I suggest KeepSolid VPN Unlimited or TunnelBear VPN.
  2. Open the apps and sign up an account.
  3. Select the country where Alexa app is not restricted and then connect to it. For this case, please select USA.
  4. Before you go back to the Play Store to install the Alexa app, you need to clear app data and cache for Google Play Store. Go to Settings -> Apps -> Google Play Store -> Storage -> Clear Data. Then, click on OK when it asks the data will be deleted permanently which includes settings, databases, etc. Don’t worry. All purchased apps and data will be safe.
  5. Now go to this link and you should be able to install it while stay connected to the VPN.

Using APK Downloader

If the VPN method doesn’t work, you may try installing the Alexa app using APK Downloader.

  1. Go to APK Downloader in your browser.
  2. Enter this URL into the Google Play URL field: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.amazon.dee.app&hl=en
  3. Click Generate Download Link.
  4. Wait for the APK file generation to complete and then click on the green button to download the APK file and save it to your phone.
  5. Now you can install the app using the APK file. Remember to allow installation of apps from unknown sources if your phone gives any warning.

Launching of Ben’s Smart Home Online Shop

I am proud to announce that I have finally launched my very first online shop selling gadgets that I personally find useful in my own smart home setup. For starter, I am bringing in more than 20 products from various brands such as Amazon, Bose, Fitbit and Roku. I plan to bring in even more products soon once my deal with the suppliers are finalized.

You can visit it at https://shop.benleow.com/

3X Bonanza Sales

To celebrate the launching of my online shop and also in conjunction to 12.12 promotion and Christmas sales, I am giving HUGE discounts to all the products in my catalog with some discount reach up to 52%. It is truly a triple bonanza sales! This sales starts from 12th to 31st December 2019. So hurry because the stocks are limited.