Welcome to Synthiam!

Program robots using technologies created from industry experts. ARC is our free-to-use robot programming software that makes features like vision recognition, navigation and artificial intelligence easy.

Get Started
Asked — Edited

I Need A Wireless Solution For Ezb V4 To Trigger 110V Outlets On And Off

Just like the title says I need a wireless solution to turn outlets on and off. Specifically that ezb V4 can trigger. I don't want to have one ezb for every single outlet , that just seems silly because I would need like 5 to 10 ezb just to turn things on and off. I would like either a kit , module or even a schematic that I can buy the items and build it myself.

Ideas? Schematics?

Basically this is a wireless substitute for using a tip 120.circuit or a tip122 wired switching circuit and relay. Obviously wires running throughout the house isn't ideal especially since I rent.:)

Ezb are 99 dollars each so remember this needs to be more economical then having a ezb on every single wall / outlet.

OK so ezb , signal wires or ttl serial connection to a wireless module that can trigger multiple Outlet modules.

Does it need to be triggered by the v4, or would something that ARC can trigger on the PC driving it be OK?

The least expensive option for outlet and switch automation is X10 powerline (there is better more reliable stuff, but X10 is cheap). There are wireless solutions, including a serial device called the Firecracker that can plug into a serial port (or a USB to RS232 adapter) and can be triggered by the command line, something easily done by ARC). It communicates with an X10 wireless tranceiver that then controls X10 switches or outlets.

If your PC is in a fixed location, there are also controllers that plug directly to serial or usb and eliminate the need for the wireless transceiver.

I have a box of X10 and Smarthome stuff I am not using. I could probably get you started so you just need to buy switches and outlets, and I have a few of those. I would trade for either robot bits and parts or a future 3d print (might need some small custom bits when I start building my Steampunk dog).

Sure alan , I don't know what I have you want (besides the 3d printing of course):)
@WayneA..... How would he use that with an ezb? This 8 Circuit relay board can be driven directly from the ezb4 data pins and each circuit can switch up to 10amps of household current.... Locate it beside the fuse box and splice in the household wiring that you need to switch or splice individually the item (like a lamp) directly to one of the relays as so on...
United Kingdom
Josh, I have hacked the X10 RF remote control code, so you can send RF from your robot (to the X10 transceiver) that then controls any X10 power outlets around your house through the house wiring. I have a PIC that converts serial commands (from V4 etc) to X10 commands, it also emulates IR commands from TV controllers etc, here is a video of it in action.

This is the X10 tranceiver.

User-inserted image

The neat thing about this is that not only can you control lighting etc via the V4 you can still also use the X10 RF keypads like this one

User-inserted image

If you can make up a simple circuit on stripboard, I could send you a pre-programmed PIC, you will also need simple AM transmitter module but they only cost a couple of bucks.

I have used x-10 since 1999. I have found the devices to be flaky, faulty and poor quality. The worst in my experience are the x10 wall switches. Those things last a hot minute. Lamp modules do ok-ish for me. The appliance wall modules crap out frequently. The motion sensors are a joke! The PC interface lasts a hot a minute. Their wireless cameras are not horrible.

With 15 years of use I can not stress the point of how much I would avoid the x10 brand.

There are a lot of other products that do what x10 does. Insteon is similar but higher quality in my opinion. z-Wave is another good one. I would recommend those if you want to do full on home automation.

If you just want to let your robot control a couple of things in the home, then you might be interested in hacking something like this (which is what I am planning to do):

It gives you 3 remote outlets and a remote control which you could hack to electronically control the 6 switches for on/off (3 on/off, 1 for each module). You probably would not want to have the EZb futz with that many I/o lines, but rather have a PIC module or a standard microcontroller communicate serially with the EZb. That module also comes in a 5 outlet pack. Lowes and Home Depot carry things like that as well. The same remote controller hacking concept could also apply to x10 or any of the other brands.
United Kingdom
I have used X10 for lighting and appliance control (nothing else) for over 10 years and never had a problem, my whole house is covered and also an outside fountain with lighting. All units still working after all this time, so I must have a better manufactured system? Also I have never experienced flaky operation, it just works.

My custom PIC is a serial connection to the V4 so it would just use 2 port lines or the UART.

You guys are all too cool. I feel fortunate to be a member of this forum that has so many talented, creative and knowledgeable members. Very exciting stuff happening that can be taken advantage by minds like yours. We live in very interesting times. :)
I mostly have x10 compatible, rather than x10 brand. I agree the build quality is not great on the x10 brand stuff, but Josh was specifically looking for low cost. Z-wave is much more reliable, and if I get into home automation again, that will probably be my direction, but the cost is significantly higher.

@Toymaker, I have heard before that the x10 stuff made for the UK market is higher quality and better performing than the US stuff. I suspect they user better components to handle the higher voltage (230 vs 110).

Josh, I will put together a box of stuff for you. Send me your address again? (alan@thetechguru.net) I recommend taking @Toymaker up on his offer of a PIC you can drive from a v4. I'll send my transmtters, but that sounds like a really elegant solution for controlling from ARC.

I second what Alan said about UK version of x10 perhaps working better. I've known lots of folks that have used x10 brand in the US and everyone has had reliability issues. I wish I could say my experience has been as good as Tony's.
@Tony , that would be fantastic , email me at kandyred@gmail.com

The X 10 idea does seem to be the most viable for a wireless solution. I emailed you as well Alan/thetechguru
United Kingdom
Josh, If you also want the ultrasonic array custom PIC can you wait a couple weeks until I get around to doing the tutorial then I can send you both PICs and that will save 2 separate postings to you.

Here is the AM transmitter hybrid that you will need, your (license exempt) frequency will be different to the UK (433Mhz) probably 315Mhz


@ toy maker , sounds great to me. Waiting a couple weeks is no problem. Thanks Tony