Lo-tek Remote Lightswitch/dimmer Control





Introduction: Lo-tek Remote Lightswitch/dimmer Control

Light switch too far across the room?

Hate it when you're starting to get it on and have to get up & walk across the room to dim the lights?

Impress the geek boy/girl in your life with your clever use of fly fishing line & a binder clip!

I actually came up with the basic design when i was 8 and terrified of turning off the lights before my head was under the blanket (because that's when you're the most vulnerable to monsters). This solved that problem also quite well, proving its usefulness & practicality for all ages.

Step 1: Collect Materials

You will need:

- an installed lightswitch (or, preferred, slide dimmer)
- 4 sewing bobbins (preferably with small diameter cores)
- 4 nails (with heads large enough that the bobbins won't fall off of them)
- a binder clip (optional; for the "non-destructive, non-adhesive" installation style *
- enough thin fly fishing line (preferred) or regular fishing line to complete a full path to your target location and back, plus up & down the walls.

  • You can alternatively drill through the light switch/dimmer to attach the line and save your binder clip for other exciting uses.

Step 2: Install the Bobbins

If you live in a victorian, etc. with wood trim high on the wall & wooden baseboards, bonus. They're perfect for mounting your bobbins.

Otherwise you may need to find studs in the walls or something else suitable to mount them to.

You want one bobbin mounted almost directly above the lightswitch, one almost directly below, and the other two bobbins directly across from the first two, at the place where you wish to have control of the switch; the bobbins should mark the corners of a square with the vertical sides passing through the lightswitch and through where you want to control the lightswitch.

The bobbins really don't need to rotate at all, as long as they're smooth enough to let the line pass around them without much friction.

Step 3: Attach the Binder Clip and String the Line

Attach the binder clip to the switch/dimmer. Tie one end of the line to the top, string it over the bobbin above the switch, over to the second bobbin, down, over, and back up. make it taut but not too tight, and tie the other end to the other side of the binder clip.

You may need to play with the clip with a pliers a little bit to de-springify the little levers (you ideally want the central clip to still be tight but the finger levers to be free to move without bouncing back into place; this will help keep the clip from spontaneously detaching from the switch/dimmer).

Alternatively you can tape, glue, or drill the lightswitch to better attach the line. Of course you should know what you're doing and how a lightswitch is put together and disconnect electricity or whatever's necessary to make it safe if you're drilling. Standard "don't be stupid" warnings apply.

Step 4: Enjoy Your New Sense of Liberation

Operation is pretty obvious. Move the line up and the lightswitch goes down and vice-versa.



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    20 Discussions

    This is great! I can't believe I never thought of this I guess cause I never had a dimmer.

    I did this when I was about 8 too! I also used some Lego bits...

    i did the same thing a year ago but with bendy straws and masonry string

    I have had that idea for a long time I just didnt figure out how to get the string on the switch. With my light switch its either tilted up when its on or tilted down when its off so the string would slide off. Think im going to try it. Good instructable either way.

    If I had a brother with this, I would reconnect it to set off some monsters. :-)

    While possible.... Something tells me otherwise... Especially since the show went off air right around the time this person was born. I know it was syndicated for awhile, but it's been a long long time since I've seen it :P A pulley is a simple machine, as is a lever - both of which are not novel ideas of Bill Nye.... That, along with Beakman's World were may favorite shows when I was a little kid... You know, right up there with Ninja Turtles :P

    actually i'm on the other side of the bill nye gap; the show started after i was in college... i'm more of the mr. wizard generation. if bill nye did a version of the same thing, cool -- but i haven't seen it.

    Bill Nye always scared me... no one could be that happy... something fishy was going on. A rat however, you can always trust to be a rat so I could trust beakman's associates.

    fair enough :P hehe, that was a rather big assumption I made :D

    Ever wonder that the monsters might come along and cut the line? :-|

    1 reply

    Cool! I used to have a loft bed and I cant climb up it when its dark to I tied a string to the lightswitch hanging down, looping around the bottom of my bed and coming back up to me. This looks like it stays on better :)

    Very Rube'esque :P And totally Ferris Bueler! You deserve a day off for this :) I might actually make this if I have the parts :P You know, just for fun... And put a nice handle on the end :P

    This is pretty neat. I've always wondered about doing something when I was younger (yes the monsters under my bed thing).

    _ This reminds me of building 'burglar' alarms and traps to catch my little sister at things when I was that age.
    Wonder if it works on conventional on/off switches?

    it's a known fact that the moment your toes are under the bed when you're getting in...is the moment that you're most vulnerable to monster attack...well...at least under-the-bed-type monsters...they tend to feed on toes... for all those suggesting a clapper...pffftt...what's the fun in that? LOW TECH IS THE RIGHT TECH...

    Cut the line at some point and tie into it an extended spring from an old ink pen. This would help keep the line taut throughout.

    1 reply

    Good idea -- with the fly fishing line I used it's got plenty of springiness and the tension is great... but a spring would certainly allow use of other materials for the line (probably would help if using regular fishing line).