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Simplest possible wifi remote power switch

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I would like to find or develop the most simple way possible to wirelessly switch on a light or appliance using a smartphone and/or computer. As I see it there are two radically different existing solutions, but neither are simple enough.
First are the home automation systems that are expensive and are a four component solution - smartphone, control module and power switch units. Second is a remote power strip, which always has its own remote and is therefore also a three component solution - smartphone, smartphone IR universal remote adaptor, power strip.
I would like to remove the second component in both these solutions and have the smartphone switch the power strip (or other switching unit between the power point and appliance) directly, via a wifi network (technically the wireless router is another component, but let's just assume it's there already).
Has this been done before? I'm going crazy trying to find it on the web! A simple, wifi network controlled power strip or similar?
Thanks in advance,
post #2 of 9
802.11 wifi isn't the best solution for controlling devices on the level you desire. First, 802.11 devices use too much power. (the devices are always on and communicating) That is a good enough reason not to use this technology for energy management. Hence no devices available for control using the 802.11 method. The same folks who came up with the 802.11 method came up with a better method for your application, 802.15.4, known as Zigbee. The radios don't have to be on constantly to communicate. Furthermore, it's a mesh network so WAP's etc. aren't necessary to cover large areas. In the near future what you will see is zigbee HA devices from HAI, etc. be accessable via zigbee to IP bridges that plug into one's router. This bridge will allow your iOS apps, android apps, etc. to control the devices fromt the LAN or externally via the web. Yes, this zigbee to IP bridge is another cost but it is much less than current HA platforms you mentioned.
post #3 of 9
As Boogers says, what u propose is MORE complicated ($) if it exists.

Go with the existing HA solutions. Sure if you are going to control 1 thing only, it's gonna be like $50 bux, excluding iPhone, when ur done. But then adding a second, third control will then be incrementally cheaper.
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
thanks both for your informative replies. The impetous for my question comes from making lamps myself, and I wanted to be able to simply switch one of my lamps on and off using an extremely simple single switch app on my iPhone, and perhaps sell the solution as an add-on, or seperately. I know 802.11 is overkill, but the advantage is its current ubiquity. The zigbee to IP bridge sounds very sensible, seems like zigbee ought to be built directly into wifi routers.
post #5 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by xsqueez View Post

The impetous for my question comes from making lamps myself, and I wanted to be able to simply switch one of my lamps on and off using an extremely simple single switch app on my iPhone, and perhaps sell the solution as an add-on, or seperately.

Not to be a buzz-kill, but just a slight warning if you plan on selling it: be careful because I believe lutron has several patents dealing with controlling switches via RF, or the like. You may wind up receiving a demand letter from them, especially if your solution becomes successful.
post #6 of 9
I was thrown askew by your "simple" and "802.11."

If HA by iPhone is your goal, am sure it's been done. Try THIS.
post #7 of 9
Also, if you want your lamps to be interoperable with other devices of the same RF family then you should most definitely use Z-Wave and not Zigbee.

You say WiFi is overkill for the application and I'd also suggest that Zigbee is overkill too. There is way too much in Zigbee that you'll never use. Z-Wave will give you all of the functionality you need, it will be low power, secure, and the most important part is that it is interoperable with any other Z-Wave device/controller/app and is backwards compatible to older Z-Wave devices.

Just so you understand, you'll still need a Z-Wave to WiFi bridge of some sort. Checkout the guys at SquareConnect.com, they have the WiFi to Z-Wave component coming and they already have the killer app to go with it (I use it at my house).
post #8 of 9
hey,

you can find exactly what you need as wifi power remote,
here : htt://www.wifipower.fr

regards
post #9 of 9
More than you need:

http://www.digital-loggers.com/lpc.html

..but it gives a good idea of what's already been done.

[Edit: Ack!!! Just saw that this thread was dormant for almost 2 years before space31 just resurrected it! ]
Edited by DGF - 7/19/13 at 2:20pm
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