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Remote control lights Answered

Right simple situation
Solar powered remote controlled LED lights.

I want to be able to change their colour remotely. ideally in "groups" not specifying RGB colour or anything.
Just colour A or colour B

How do I do it? ideally cheaply!


Rope lights -- one strand in color A, a separate strand in color B.  Plug them into your solar charging system.  You may need to make your own connector cables to replace the wall-wart that comes with most rope light system.

Now get one of those plug in table-lamp remote control units.  There's a box which plugs into the wall, and a battery-operated remote.  Use the circuitry in the wall box (yay!  void the warranty!) and rewire the switch (relay) outputs so that instead of just "on vs. off" it's "on A vs. on B".

For the signal receiver to work right, the remote control box may have to be plugged into an outlet (the solar panel may not put out enough voltage/current to drive the box).

These are individual "points" of light, instead of ropes.

they're all custom made (by me)

The wall wart table lamp remote system is a good idea. but it needs to be able to do multiple client (lamps) which are not connected to each other

Check out this month's MAKE magazine, then.  There's a great article on hacking a three-outlet system to be able to drive an effectively infinite (about 260 thousand) number of channels.

I will be sure to give that a look.
Sounds like it could be ideal.

Of course I've got to find a way of getting it in the UK... hmmm

You should be able to find the remotes (or something like them) at any big home improvement store.  If not, Amazon is your friend :-)

If you end up getting a different brand, you might have to go through your own signal decoding procedure as the author described, since the signals are likely to be different from one manufacturer to another.

Good luck!