So a couple of weeks ago I checked the vendor website for my ADSL router and found that there was updated firmware available. Just as I’d done two or three times previously I downloaded the firmware, logged in to the router’s administrative page, uploaded the new firmware and pressed the on-screen button to restart the router. Only one problem, there’s a tick-box to select whether to restart with the current settings or to perform a factory reset. Of course in typical bastard user interface design, the default is the more destructive of the two and there’s no confirmation question asked, even more annoying is that I’m convinced that previous versions of the firmware had “restarting with the current settings” as the default option.

Cue an hour or so of hunting out the piece of paper with the ISP settings, reconfiguring the router’s ADSL and wifi, then finding that all of our wifi-connected devices needed to be reconfigured even though it looks as though the wifi has the same SSID and password. What a pain. Two phones, two tablets, a Garmin with a tiny touch-screen, the TV, the Windows laptop, is that it?

Well that wasn’t it, I’d forgotten about the Wemo controller, sitting unobtrusively under the desk and mysteriously, working just fine without being reconfigured! The saved schedule was running every night; on at sundown, off at bedtime, otherwise I’d have noticed.

Today I dropped a piece of paper and when reaching under the desk saw that the Wemo was flashing orange – quick hunt around found “connectivity problem” – and I realised that it needed reconfiguring too.

A bit more searching and I find how to reconfigure it, unplug, hold the button in while you plug it back in and for a further five seconds. So I did that, then waited for it to appear in my wifi list … and waited … and waited. After five minutes I suspected that the “up to three and a half minutes” wasn’t happening so I did it again. Another four or five minutes and no appearance in the wifi. Third time perhaps… This time I left it unplugged for 2-3 minutes, held the button in for at least 15 seconds, then waited fifteen minutes and lo, I could connect. Once again had to enter the home wifi password through a phone touchscreen and finally it looks as though the Wemo can now function.

Not so easy. Of course now it can’t see either of the two lights, I suspect I reset things in the wrong order. Various iterations of scanning, waiting and switching off and back on – all while cooking dinner – resulted in a few instances of the controller finding the lights, dimming them to 70%, flashing them off and back on and finally offering to update their firmware. Accepting this there was a long delay, more flashing and dimming, and finally I had a Wemo controller, online, and connected to the two light bulbs, one in the hallway and one in the study.

Roll on sundown and the scheduled timer…. Nothing is ever easy, I suspect that although the light was shown under the same name and ID and linked to the schedule, something internally had recorded an instance identifier, so it didn’t come on. Edit the schedule, delete the light from it, add the other light, save, edit, delete second light, add the first back in and save. Then do the same for the “bedtime” schedule.

Finally, tada, back to where we were two weeks ago!

Now all I need to do is find out how to control one Wemo from two phones, it seems that a lot of these “smarthome” devices assume that there’s only one person in the house.