Action at a Distance: Turning Off the Lights From the Comfort of Your Own Bed




Imagine the following scenario: You're curled up in bed with a nice book for a bit of bedtime reading. The book is interesting, but you're getting more and more drowsy because the bed is just so unbelievably comfortable. When you realize you've been reading the same sentence for the last 10 minutes, you decide it's finally time to go to bed, so you put the book down and go to turn off the lights. You take off the covers, step out of bed, and BAM! You're wide awake again, and it's going to take you ages to find that comfortable spot again. There must be a better way..

It's rather simple, really. With just a few feet of string, some rubber bands, and thumbtacks, you can create a pulley system to turn off your lights without ever having to leave your bed!

Disclaimer: This instructable only works for the type of light switches shown.

Step 1: Materials

String - The amount depends on the layout of your room, since the string has to reach from the head of your bed to the light switch. For most rooms, you shouldn't need more than 50 feet of string, but again, it varies.

Thumbtacks - Again, the number depends on the layout of the room. The longer the distance from your room to the light switch, the more thumbtacks you'll need in order to reduce the slack in the line. You can pick up a pack of 50+ thumbtacks for about $3 at a nearby hardware store, so you don't need to exactly hit the mark on this one.

Rubber bands- You'll need one for the light switch, and one for every three tacks. 

Step 2: Thumbtacks

The first step of this process is to set up the thumbtacks. Whenever thumbtacks go in, you'll want to put them in groups of three, as shown in the picture below. This is because there are two strings; one to turn the lights on and one to turn them off. Setting up the thumbtacks in a triangular formation makes it easy to rout each string through a slightly different path, preventing knots and tangles from forming. Once the rubber bands are added to the mix, as shown in the second picture, the triangular formation makes it more difficult for the tacks to be pulled out of the walls by repeated pulls on the string. 

Now start at the head of the bed and start moving towards the switch. A good rule of thumb is to put in tacks at every 2-2.5 feet. In addition, make sure the tacks follow a sort of arc towards the light switch, in order to reduce the strain on any individual set of 3. This is shown in the third picture.

When you reach the switch, you need to put one thumbtack below the switch and one above. These two should line up vertically with the switch in order to be most effective. This is because turning the light on and off requires the switch to be moved in opposite directions. This is shown in the  fourth picture

Step 3: String/Rubber Bands

Now that the thumbtacks are in, you need to thread the strings through the tacks.

Begin by tying one end of the string onto the light switch, as shown. Don't worry about the rubber band yet; that'll come later. After tying one end on the switch, start threading the string through the top route, following the trail of tacks until there is a length of string hanging down by the head of your bed. Cut the string at this point, and start again from the switch. Tie the string on the switch, but go from the bottom route this time. Refer to the pictures to see examples. Once you've threaded both strings through, put rubber bands on all the thumbtacks. This holds the tacks together, and also ensures the strings stay against the wall.

Step 4: Finished!

Congratulations, you will now never have to deal with ruining your comfort zone again! As a few final steps, you can consider labeling the strings "ON" and "OFF." You may need to play around with the exact placement of the tacks, but the basic structure has already been set up.



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    4 Discussions


    5 years ago

    I almost did this before, not kidding! I didnt want strings all over my room though :p

    This brings back memories ! Back in the days when TVs had rotary dials to change channels & volumn,I worked for a cable company. Once I went to a customers house & he had a similar setup with pulleys & string to "remote control" his TV. Good thinking !!!