Live in NYC? Test Apple HomeKit for free with with your air conditioner, ThinkEco SmartAC & Homebridge

Live in NYC? Test Apple HomeKit for free with with your air conditioner, ThinkEco SmartAC & Homebridge


If you’re a ConEdison customer, iPhone user and Mac owner in New York City and you want to dabble in HomeKit with your existing Apple hardware, you can turn your “dumb” window air conditioner into a smart device for free with an accessory and some relatively simple hacks.

ConEdison customers in New York can apply for the power company’s Smart AC program to receive a ThinkEco SmartAC adapter gratis. This small plug sits in between your window air conditioner and wall socket.

The ThinkEco SmartAC has a built-in thermostat that measures the room’s ambient temperature. It pairs with an included remote that allows users to program their desired temperature for their room.

For example, set the SmartAC to 74 degrees, and the air conditioner will run until the room reaches the desired temperature. Once it’s low enough, the SmartAC will cut power to the window air conditioner, saving electricity.

The free accessory takes a normally dumb appliance and makes it smart, though it works best if your window AC remembers its previous state of use once it is turned back on.

The ThinkEco accessory relies on its own app and is not, on its own, HomeKit compatible. But thanks to enterprising enthusiasts who have greatly expanded the HomeKit lineup with outside accessories, it’s easy to integrate the SmartAC into Apple’s smart home platform.

The key is Homebridge, an open-source third-party effort that allows non-HomeKit devices to still work with Apple’s Home app and Siri. Previously, Homebridge was an unsanctioned project, but starting this fall with iOS 11, Apple will open up HomeKit to third-party homebrew platforms, meaning such hacks should…



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