Home Automation — IKEA Trådfri Gateway with LiDL Smart Plug

LiDL & IKEA

International supermarket chain LiDL recently announced their smart home line of products. Among other things, it includes a Smart Power Socket (a.k.a plug) that works on Zigbee 3.0.

Just like the other Home Automation ecosystems in the market, LiDL has its own smart Gateway that acts as a bridge between the smart devices and a LiDL Mobile App. Furniture conglomerate IKEA also has its own line of smart appliances and its own Gateway. I own an IKEA Gateway and some associated smart appliances. And like many others I hate the idea of buying gateways/hubs even though the devices more or less use the same communication protocols (Zigbee, BLE, WiFi). So the idea was to cross-connect Lidl Smart Socket with an IKEA Gateway.

Although the LiDL Smart Socket pairs with the IKEA Gateway, the IKEA Home Smart App does not allow operating the Socket. In order to get the Socket working, we need another integration that can relay the commands to the Socket to turn it ON or OFF, through the IKEA Gateway. There could be other ways, but I was able to get it done with “Google Home” as well as with “Home Assistant”. This article is a brief of stitching all this together.

IKEA’s Trådfri appliances like bulbs have to be paired with a steering device (e.g. dimmers) before they can be associated with the IKEA Gateway. When connecting the IKEA Gateway to the the LiDL Smart plug we do not need such a steering device. I tried pairing it with an IKEA dimmer first, but soon realised it was futile and unnecessary. To pair the LiDL Smart Socket with the IKEA Gateway, plug it close to the IKEA Gateway. Now open the Gateway lid by twisting it.

IKEA Gateway

Beside the 3 LEDs, there is a button labelled with the picture of a chain-link. Ensure that the LiDL Smart Socket light is blinking. If not, press the power button on the Socket for a while until it starts blinking. Now press the chain-link on the IKEA Gateway for a few seconds until the light on the LiDL Smart Socket stops blinking. Open the IKEA Home Smart App on the phone and you will find that the device is paired but there is no way it can be opened / operated. The App categorises the Smart Socket under Disconnected Devices with “?” beside it.

IKEA Home Smart App (Devices)

I renamed the device above as “Lidl plug” but you can use any other name as well.

In order to work around the “disability” in IKEA Home Smart App, we can use the Google Home App. This requires that IKEA Home Smart App is connected to the Google Home account and instructions for this are plentiful on the web. Here’s one I found useful. Once the Apps are connected, and IKEA devices show up on Google Home, you can also see that the Smart Socket shows up.

Google Home App (All Devices)

Click on the Smart Socket icon and you will see the option to turn it OFF / ON. Try and confirm it works. As with other devices on Google Home, you can also speak to the Google Assistant to turn ON/OFF the Smart Socket.

Google Home App (Lidl Plug)

Another way to operate the Smart Socket is to connect IKEA Gateway to Home Assistant. IKEA Trådfri integration is part of the Core configuration that supports “discovery”. In other words, Home Assistant will discover the Gateway if both are connected to the same network. For a pre-existing configuration, the IKEA Trådfri integration should be re-loaded in order to fetch all the newly connected devices. If all this goes through successfully, you should be able to identify a new entity that represents the “LiDL plug”.

Home Assistant Trådfri Integration
LiDL plug Entity Card

Now different automations can be built around this plug.

Although the IKEA Trådfri Smart Socket and LiDL Smart Socket cost the same in Finland (12.99€ at the time of writing), what I found useful comparing the two, is that LiDL Smart Socket has a button on the socket itself that can be used to turn ON/OFF the Socket which is very convenient when you don’t want to use smart devices or apps. In case of IKEA, the plug needs to be connected to a steering device which in turn acts as the switch to turn ON/OFF the socket.

Maybe other Lidl Smart devices can also be connected the same way. I am particularly interested in the Smart extension lead, which seems quite economical. Perhaps another article can be dedicated to that, if I get it working!

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