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A Learning Remote Control AC Power Switch

 
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Tommy Tyler
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Joined: 21 Sep 2003
Posts: 405
Location: Denver mountains

PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2009 10:12 pm    Post subject: A Learning Remote Control AC Power Switch Reply with quote

If you're not already familiar with a web site called http://www.dealextreme.com, you're in for a few hours of fun browsing through thousands of Chinese made gadgets of indescribable variety at unbelievably low prices. Example: a Bluetooth adapter that is literally smaller than your thumbnail for $2.65 -- and that includes a CD with software and FREE SHIPPING! Check it out at http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.11866. Even if a lot of what they sell is junk, the low prices tempt you to satisfy your curiosity without spending much money. One nice thing, everything is priced with shipping included, which makes it easy to shop their excellent web site. On the negative side, be prepared to wait three or four weeks for your order to arrive.

I stumbled across a gadget in their store that is related to what we do, and I thought it was such a fantastic bargain at $5.68 shipped (three for $5.08 each), I wanted to share it with you guys. It's a plug-in AC power switch that can be controlled by most universal infrared remote controls. It's small, just 1-5/8" x 2-5/8" x 1", and has a 2-prong plug on the back and three receptacles on the front and sides. After plugging it into a wall outlet and connecting whatever you want to switch ON and OFF, such as an amplifier, lamp, TV, fan, etc., up to 500 watts, you press a button on the front to put it in "learn" mode. Then fire whatever remote control signal you want it to learn, and thereafter that signal toggles a miniature relay inside the unit that switches power to the receptacles ON and OFF. It even stores the learned signal in an EEPROM so it doesn't have to be reprogrammed after power interruption.

You can buy it here and you can read the technical evaluation of it I posted here under the name "Okasional".

I have three of these things. Other than the one I used for controlling a hard-to-reach table lamp, I don't know what to do with them. I just know they work great, and for the price I can afford to hold onto them until a need presents itself. So let's make this a sort of challenge to see who can come up with the most innovative use for this remarkable gadget.

Tommy
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josh1e



Joined: 11 Apr 2009
Posts: 11
Location: UK

PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2009 9:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

going to see if they do a uk version....

at those prices, it wouldn't be long before they pay for themselves saving energy for kids appliances on standby..

I made some switching relays for metal halide lights on my marine tank a while ago, able to switch higher loads, not that this would require it but kids xboxes, nintendo wii, computer base, computer monitor, stereo etc etc....

they could be included in a macro to allow them to be turned on / off fully rather than just standby.... they reckon standby on these devices & phone chargers etc use sooo much electric, you could easily setup a macro to ensure they were turned off properly, without it being a hassle....
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underquark
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Joined: 20 Jun 2005
Posts: 869
Location: UK

PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2009 3:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If it's just the ability to remotely control power switches (rather than a need for them to be IR-controlled by your universal remote) then, in the UK, you could check out Lidl or Aldi stores first. From one of them (can't remember which as I get the two confused) I got 3xRF remote control on/off AC sockets and 1xRF remote control dimmer as a set for 12 or so. The controller has seperate buttons for each socket, up/down for the dimmer and an All On/All Off button. Being sold in the UK, they have UK 3-pin plugs.

The dealextreme site is good. I've bought small things like styluses (styli?) for Nintendo DS, LED flashlights 10 for $5 etc. Haven't been tempted to buy a NOKLA phone or IFONE or anything else like that which they sell. The prices they quote include shipping.
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kevjs1982



Joined: 05 Apr 2008
Posts: 35
Location: East Midlands, UK

PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2009 3:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

underquark wrote:
If it's just the ability to remotely control power switches (rather than a need for them to be IR-controlled by your universal remote) then, in the UK, you could check out Lidl or Aldi stores first. From one of them (can't remember which as I get the two confused) I got 3xRF remote control on/off AC sockets and 1xRF remote control dimmer as a set for 12 or so. The controller has seperate buttons for each socket, up/down for the dimmer and an All On/All Off button. Being sold in the UK, they have UK 3-pin plugs.


How have you found them? - I have some RF ones (Smith's Timeguard and Maplin) and the range is dreadful - sometimes you need to be right next to them for it to register.

If it makes any difference I have used CFL for years (not that you can buy incandescent bulbs any more).
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URC-7780 OneForAll Digital 12 and URC-7556 OneForAll Digital 5
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underquark
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Joined: 20 Jun 2005
Posts: 869
Location: UK

PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2009 2:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mine work well from conservatory at back of house to rooms one floor up at front of house. Like all things radio the range will be affected by things such as metal in the walls of your house. I use rechargeable batteries and find it best to change them regularly.
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