Wireless Light Switch or Bust

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Posted in TechnologyRemote-control

Introduction: Wireless Light Switch or Bust

I stumbled upon the website lightobject.com while looking for an affordable thermocouple for the immersion circulator I’m planning on building. I found the part I was looking for and I also came across a “Mult-function 1CH RF Remote Control Tx/Rx Set ” which is a small remote controlled relay switch that runs on a 12v power supply and will switch 120v 10A. This is one of those things that I knew I had to have but had no idea for what reason, it just seemed handy to have around. Then inspiration struck.

Batman, a constant source of inspiration.

In the original Batman TV show Bruce Wayne used a switch hidden within a bust of Shakespeare to open a hidden entrance to the Batcave. While I don’t have a hidden door to open I honestly can’t think of a cooler way to turn on and off the lights to my “Mancave”. So now that I had a goal in mind it was time to gather the required parts.

Parts list:

* Momentary push button
* Multi-function 1CH RF Remote Control Tx/Rx Set
* Various hinges/bits of metal
* An impressive bust (I went with Beethoven)
* 6 outlet plug strip
* 12v power supply
* Various lengths of wire
* Small piece for wood for switch mount
* Glue
* Wood stain

Step 1: Make One Beethoven Two.

Like all good projects this one started with cutting off someone’s head with a band saw. In this case Ludwig van Beethoven was the unfortunate soul to have his head separated from his body. From what I can tell, the hard outer shell was a fiberglass like material while the inside was a poured porous plaster. The plaster created a terrific mess but was pretty easy to chisel out to make room for electronics. After chiseling, I gave the plaster a nice coat of Elmer’s glue to reduce the amount of plaster dust leaking from Ludwig’s orifices. I also cut and stained a piece of plywood to act as a mount for the push button and hide the plaster.

Step 2: Fun With Soldering Irons

The next step was finding a cheap 12v power supply to drive the relay. I used an old power supply I had lying around, I also picked up a cheap 6 plug power strip and removed enough of the outer shield to cut into the positive (120v) line. This was extended and plugged into the relay board. Additionally I removed the wireless remote from it’s plastic casing and soldered the push button to the PCB. After mounting the push button on the plywood insert I added an extra bead of hot glue around all the connections for added support, including the battery on the remote.

Step 3: Putting It All Together

The last step was mounting the electronics inside the body and attaching the head on a hinge. There wasn’t too much to this part, I just drilled some holes and used old brackets, hinges, nuts and bolts to hold everything in place.

Step 4: Overview and Completed Video

This project was a lot of fun and required minimal effort. Since very little modification was required this is a great project for a beginner (like me). The relay board can switch up to 10 Amps so it can handle switching a lot more than the couple lights I’ve got it attached too. It’s also worth mentioning that you can buy additional relay boards that operate on the same frequency (allowing you to switch even more lights). The range on this remote is really impressive so in theory it could be used to turn on and off lights all over the house with the press of one button. This is one of those projects that is only limited by your creativity and imagination.



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    68 Comments

    this is so cool thanks for the idea

    Hello again, I've been making progress on my own secret bust. Had a little challenge with the remote, I was able to wire it, but I was really disappointed when it came to button selection. I really wanted a latching switch, I like the satisfying click you tend to get with those. The problem was that the button connected to the remote is a momentary switch. Does anyone have any knowhow on changing a latching switch so it operates like a momentary one? If I use a latching switch off the shelf it's just going to drain the battery.

    This is such a cool project! I might have gotten overly excited about trying this build for myself. I ordered some materials on Amazon, but I grabbed a different remote switch without thinking. It's a Woods 32555 (link at the bottom) the big difference seems to be that it has two buttons, one off, one on. I'm a complete novice when it comes to soldering, so I was wondering if anyone has any suggestions on how to still convert the remote to use the red pushbutton? Thanks for the help and for the inspiration.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001Q9EFUK/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i09?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    Makes me want to add a keypad to open a hidden bookcase.

    ???…
    Two important things are missing on this inst' :
    Where is the secret door to the safe ?
    You failed to give your address !…

    The again I like the idea of Beethoven's brain getting extra wiring. Linus would be happy.
    Plus the visible hinge on the back of his head gives a a Frankenstein flair which is quite amusing !

    All in all : excellent project. Well done. And very informative. Like it a lot.

    Thanks for posting.

    PS. Please do not forget to add a picture of the secret door and safe + address : this would make you Inst' the most valuable !… ;))))

    Excellent project.

    However, I find no pleasure in messing around with circuits, relays and power supplies, so I am going to cheat, and just go with something like this.

    I'll just mill a pocket in the neck to hold the remote, and I'm done!

    In the middle of my own build now and I found a great resource thought I'd share:

    http://www.plastercraft.com/web_store.cgi?page=themes-busts-001.html&cart_id=3510474_18004

    All the Busts on their site that are 12" or less are solid plaster, but the 13" and larger are all hollow. I'm going with Einstein.

    Also, I think a lot of people who'd be interested in doing this might be as novice as I am with electric work, so I thought I'd share something the author left out regarding the relay: If you want the button to turn the light on / off (i.e. turn the power to the power strip on/off), then you need to change the jumper mode on the relay to "Toggle" instead of "Momentary". In its default Momentary setting the button just causes the light to turn on (or power to go) while the button is pressed down.

    To set it to Toggle Mode you need to cap the 1st and 2nd jumper, while leaving the 3rd open. Mine had the cap on just the 1st jumper by default. If you need help on identifying which jumpers are which or mode settings see the manual here:
    http://www.lightobject.info/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=7

    1 reply

    Oh, and don't touch the little round button on the relay unless you know what you're doing, its a program-learning function that can mess with the modes and cause it not to work right.

    If you do press the button some and mess your modes up, you can press and hold it for 10-15 seconds and it should reset everything.

    I'm trying to recreate this project!
    The problem is, I can't tell from your pictures where exactly all the wiring goes. Could you do a quick drawing or explanation of the circuit? For example, I need to know where the 12v wires, + and - go, which wires from the 120v go where, and if you used the plug for both the power strip and the 12v power supply....
    I'm new to this stuff! Thanks

    1 reply

    Looking at the inputs from Left to Right:

    1. 120V+ In (this should be the Positive 120V line feeding juice from the wall)
    2. 120V+ Out (same as above, going out to the power strip)
    3. empty
    4. 12V+
    5. 12V-

    If you're not sure which one of the 12V is + or -, try it both ways and plug the power source in the wall. If the red light turns on you got it right. You cannot hurt the relay by doing it wrong, it just won't work.

    Alternatively, attach one or both of his eyes to momentary push buttons, then poke him in the eye to turn on the lights.

    Super cool,way to go