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Remote controllable mains switches

prpr

Well-Known Member
Anyone got any recommendations for remote network controllable mains switches?
And I don't mean things that rely on some bl@@dy smartphone only app.

(Both my HDRs are dead and I've had to press the HD into service for recording.)
 

cdmackay

Active Member
Have a look at LightWaveRF. I have been very happy with the remote-control sockets. They also do lights, heating, etc.

There is a network-bridge and a smartphone app, but the lights are also controllable from a radio remote control. I'm not sure if there is computer control other than via smartphone though.
 
OP
prpr

prpr

Well-Known Member
I'm so depressed by reading their useless 'documentation' which tells you almost nothing and what it does tell you is open to speculation and misinterpretation because it is written in such a terrible non-technical, salesman type manner. BH would have a fit.

As far as I can make out, there is some sort of web control as well as ****ing smartphone, but no details of any protocol information. There is an 'API' but no detail obviously, and they want you to register as a 'partner' and provide company details and other irrelevant rubbish just to access it. I'm just me. I just want to know how to control it.

They look like another bunch of useless jerks who want you to send all your control traffic via their server. No ****ing way.
 
OP
prpr

prpr

Well-Known Member
Crashed and not at home to power cycle them, hence the need for something controllable to do so for me.
They're going to get "a damned good thrashing" when I get back tonight though.

Best I've seen so far is this: https://energenie4u.co.uk/catalogue/product/ENER019
(£90 direct or £65 on Amazon - bit pricey for what I need) but it doesn't get very good reviews. As usual, a reasonable product let down by badly implemented software.
Remind you of anyone?
 

Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
You've got coding ability - why not knock one up yourself from a mini RPi and a cheap electronic timeswitch? The timeswitch provides the mains stuff, and the RPi provides an Ethernet interface and an output port to drive the mains stuff instead of the timer circuit. Wire in a USB power supply and you're done, very cheap.
 

cdmackay

Active Member
I'm so depressed by reading their useless 'documentation' which tells you almost nothing and what it does tell you is open to speculation and misinterpretation because it is written in such a terrible non-technical, salesman type manner. BH would have a fit.

As far as I can make out, there is some sort of web control as well as ****ing smartphone, but no details of any protocol information. There is an 'API' but no detail obviously, and they want you to register as a 'partner' and provide company details and other irrelevant rubbish just to access it. I'm just me. I just want to know how to control it.

They look like another bunch of useless jerks who want you to send all your control traffic via their server. No ****ing way.
It's been a few years, but I don't recall any problem setting it up. It's fairly trivial to link the remote control to the sockets. I use several sockets, and the remote which has four pairs of on/off, and an all on/off. I was able to pair more than one socket to each "pair" of the four on the remote, and it all worked perfectly.

None of that requires the smartphone-link bridge, although I do have that too.

If you're concerned about privacy - which is fair enough - then you don't need to get the bridge, and it's all local, obviously.

I'm pretty sure there are lots of other makes around now doing similar things, although at the time the LightwaveRF stuff seemed the best - was also on a good deal at various places, sometimes re-badged as Siemens.

there is (or was) also a useful support community.

---

hmm, sorry, I may be missing your point: if you're after doing your own computer control, e.g. from scripts, etc, then this probably isn't what you're after, sorry...
 

Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
I think what prpr wants is to be able to control it via Ethernet, and to be able to reach in from the Internet.
 

cdmackay

Active Member
I think what prpr wants is to be able to control it via Ethernet, and to be able to reach in from the Internet.
Well, not just that, since both of those can be done with the smartphone link, but prpr doesn't want to use that. I can't remember what other methods can be used with the radio--wlan bridge, apart from the smartphone (if any).
 
OP
prpr

prpr

Well-Known Member
I want something, i.e. not me, to be able to monitor pings from the units and control the mains switch when a certain number are missed or an interval has passed. That's much better done by a machine polling every so often than a human (using a R-Pi for example). I don't get why everyone wants to do everything manually on bloody smartphones. Perhaps they don't and this is what's been decided by someone somewhere and everyone else has jumped on the follow-like-sheep bandwagon.
 
OP
prpr

prpr

Well-Known Member
I think what prpr wants is to be able to control it via Ethernet, and to be able to reach in from the Internet.
I really only want LAN access. I have VPN into the LAN if I need it.
I don't want infra-red and I don't want 433MHz and I don't want Wireless networking. I just want it to work reliably and plugging into a wired network and into the mains is exactly what it needs to do. The Energenie LAN PMS I linked to above would be ideal... if it's reliable. I'm in two minds about whether to get one and just try it and make up my own mind rather than rely on other people's reviews. They even publish programming details (well, two versions of a two page document which are slightly at odds with each other <sigh>) so you could, in theory, roll your own control program, but it still seems to rely on the 'intelligence' in the device.
 

cdmackay

Active Member
I want something, i.e. not me, to be able to monitor pings from the units and control the mains switch when a certain number are missed or an interval has passed. That's much better done by a machine polling every so often than a human (using a R-Pi for example). I don't get why everyone wants to do everything manually on bloody smartphones. Perhaps they don't and this is what's been decided by someone somewhere and everyone else has jumped on the follow-like-sheep bandwagon.
I think so - I use mine for controlling hard-to-reach lights; I prefer to use the radio remote that comes with it, although the smartphone app is fun for confusing the wife. Or it would be, if I dared.

What you describe, i.e. proper remote power, like we have in our labs at work, is far more useful, but hard to come by, cheap.
 

Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
I don't get why everyone wants to do everything manually on bloody smartphones.
Because "everyone" - ie the mass market - don't have the ability/requirement for anything else. To sell an end-user product in sufficient quantity to be viable, the makers cannot assume there are home computing facilities beyond a WiFi router and an Internet connection. The intelligence is then provided remotely, via a server, so there are no local configuration or maintenance issues.

For local use smartphones are sufficiently ubiquitous they can replace yet another RC handset.
 

Trev

The Dumb One
No. They end up AS "yet another RC handset" rather than replacing one.
But I can control my CH when out and about with my phone. Not that I have ever had the desire so to do to date. (But I might have that irresistible desire to raise the temp of my house a degree or so when we are out sometime in the future). I think that most of this geeky stuff is done 'because we can' rather than 'because it's needed'.
 
OP
prpr

prpr

Well-Known Member
The intelligence is then provided remotely, via a server, so there are no local configuration or maintenance issues.
I know, but that's the bit I object to. You are at the whim of the people running the server who can change the protocol, shutdown the server, make it pay only etc. and who's to know how long company X running the server is going to stay in business anyway. If ANY of this stuff changes, your device is obsoleted overnight and turns into a not very efficient toaster. It's already happened.
 

Mike0001

Well-Known Member
And I don't mean things that rely on some bl@@dy smartphone only app.
For those looking to manually control things via a pc rather than a phoneblet...

The android developer kit contains an emulator. I am not sure if you can run your bl@@dy apps via that, eg, WeMo, which I consider the best for switches and bulbs.

Droid4X may also be worth a look. I just spottted it and will try it tomorrow, but it seems to have the play store integrated within it.
 
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OP
prpr

prpr

Well-Known Member
For what it's worth, I did get the thing mentioned in post #5, although now it seems to be no longer available.
It is big, heavy, ugly, has lots of pointless lights and gets warmer than I would expect (especially as the company who make (made) it claim to push their 'green' credentials).
It has a horrendously bright green LED across the network interface that flashes when it has traffic. It is so bright that it literally lights up a dark room. Even a piece of thick black insulation tape over it doesn't tame it completely. Said network interface runs at 10 Mbps half-duplex - seriously, in 2016 - the mind boggles about which shitty chip they built it with.
The web interface is as crap as all the reviews said and is essentially worthless apart from simple manual on/off operations. It frequently crashes and reboots itself, thankfully not taking the mains relays with it though. The simpler control protocol interface is also just as buggy.
I expect all these flaws are why it is no longer on sale.
Having said that, it does just about do what I wanted of it and I've used it several times to resurrect crashed T2s.
 
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