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How would you make one on/off control for dozen(s) of battery operated tea lights? Answered

I have recently decorated my living room with three wall sconces that hold tealights.  Each sconce holds eight tealights (see attached similar picture.).  I am currently using battery powered tealights for safety.  It looks nice - but each tealight is turned on individually with a switch on the bottom.  It takes just too darn long to turn on the two dozen lights one at a time.  I am seeking some way to turn all the lights on and off with one centralized control. 

My first choice would be some sort of wireless remote control.  I have found some remote controlled tealights I could buy - but they are way too expensive ($10/ea).  I thought about replacing the tea lights altogether with a light string.  An extra advantage to this might be to connect to wall power or one longer lasting battery which would save having to replace many little tealight batteries over time.  However this would be OK only if I could hide the wires out-of sight.  All the light strings I've found so far have wires too thick to hide,  They come in sets of ten lights or more - and I don't know what would I do with the extra lights on the string.  

Any ideas?


This works with 'some' circuits, and cooks others -- hook all the tealights switch ground together, and all the switch + together, then one button (or extra switch) will operate all the lights.  Problem lies in if one has a problem and is turned on, turning it off will turn them all the opposite - they act like latching flip flops.

Do they have switches on the bottom or a software push on push off?  If its hardware, it might just work to hook them all to the same pole on a switch with something small like telephone or cat5 wire.  If its software, its more complex (as per the first explanation).

Regarding, LED tea-light candles:  If  they are the cheap dollar-store variety, then these have a "hard" switch, rather than a "soft" wake-up button.  See the attached pictures.  I think each candle is expecting a supply of approximately 3 volts, i.e. the same as a CR2032 coin cell.

I previously posted these pictures, as an answer to this question:


Exactly!  If it literally cuts the power to the chip, then just remove the switch and have them all wired in parallel to a permanent switched power supply.

I'm a jack of all answers...but do you seriously have that photo on hand? lol.

I didn't have the picture on hand, but I did have everything else, the candles, the wire, the 3V supply, so I thought what the heck.

No reason to reinvent the wheel if adding some bits of wire to the existing devices will solve the problem. Add a wall wart of the appropriate voltage for the load, and it's suddenly an AC device. Add one of those wireless Christmas tree light controllers, and it's a wireless AC device. No soldering or microcontrollers required.

24 NPN transistors (N2222 should work) should solve the problem and cost less than 10 cents each. Replace the mechanical switch in each tealight with a transistor. Then attach the base of each transistor within a sconce (8 lights per sconce therefore 8 transistors per sconce) together. Install one mechanical switch to each sconce that sends voltage from the batteries you already have there to the connected transistor base plates. Applying power should drive all 8 transistors into switching mode, turning all 8 lights on. Observe maximum power ratings on the transistor (I don't know how much power your tealights draw).

Now you have 3 buttons to press instead of 24 and no fancy wireless system.

If you wanted to go wireless, IR control may be the way to go. I would go analog:  photodiode-transimpedance opamp-filter. Would cost around 5$ per switch to build if you chose parts carefully. This would require quite some wheel-reinvention and requires knowledge of analog circuit design.

Have you got mains at the wall sconce too ?