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Old 07-08-2013, 12:10 PM   #1
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Looking for an "auto-off" electrical autoswitcher

Does anyone know of a 110 volt "switching" outlet, that will turn OFF a 2nd appliance, if the 1st (or primary) appliance is turned on? Example, I have two 110 volt appliances. One is mostly always one, but I have a 2nd appliance that is needed intermittently, and when it is turned on I want the other appliance (outlet) to be turned off. There are a number of hardware specialty components that do the exact opposite of that (they turn ON accessory appliances when the primary appliance goes live, see links below for examples of those).

Searching the Internet for "auto-off switch" or 'electrical a/b switch' etc. has found me nothing. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I did contact a local electrical supply company (in the Dallas-Fort Worth area) and they told me "we can sell you the parts to build such a device, but we aren't aware of anyone selling one currently".

I'm really not interested in "reinventing the wheel here" to accomplish this task.

Auto-ON hardware, for applications requiring turning on a 2nd circuit when a 1st circuit goes live:

Thanks, CJ


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Old 07-08-2013, 01:57 PM   #2
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You might try a couple of smarthome devices (though they are plug-in):

Search for: synchrolinc.

You will also need an appliancelinc for the slave appliance.


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Old 07-08-2013, 02:32 PM   #3
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If I understand your 'real' question.....you have two devices that pull more current together than what the ckt will supply so you want a way to exclude one?

If so....what you want to do is a hack...but doable...the proper solution would be to give each ckt it's own power.

Anyway...you can use a relay to accomplish what you want to do. Wire the 1st device through the Normally closed contacts. The second device would be wired directly to your power.

You then wire the coil of the relay to the switch of your 2nd device. When you turn it on...the relay energizes thus removing power from your 1st device. As long as the second device is on...no power to the first one.
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Old 07-08-2013, 03:20 PM   #4
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Actually, I can see a number of uses for such a device, not just to prevent circuit overloads. In the case of my current problem, we have a 40 foot 5th-Wheel RV on our cattle ranch in Texas. This past year some elderly relatives moved to the ranch, temporarily (as in 1-2 years likely) and they are living in the RV. It's a 1 bath, 1 bedroom, with combo kitchen, living room, dining area - all run on one 30 amp line.

Because they are living 24x7 in the RV, we had to install an extra (15 amp) room air-conditioner in the unit (to supplement the existing central air unit), but we ran a separate 15 amp circuit to the unit just for that purpose. Unfortunately with some elderly folks, they used to running a fairly large number of small appliances (microwave, dishwasher, electric oven, electric skillet, etc.) not to mention the existing installed hot water heater, a/c, and refrigerator/freezer.

What happens is that they forget to turn off heavy load appliance users (like the dishwasher) when using the electric skillet or electric oven (both also heavy load users), or they use too many small appliances at once, while something like the hot water heater is cycling. It too expensive to try to pay to upgrade the RV from 30 amp to 50 amp (or something like that) and also very expensive to attempt to do a lot of rewiring.

It would be easier if we could use several of these "auto-off outlets/switches" so that, say, they want to use the microwave, and we can them auto-shut off the hot water heater (which runs continuously now, though that's not normal for most intermittent RVers). Once the microwave stops, the hot power circuit (outlet) is restored to full power - no need to remember to throw a switch, and the short loss of power (mostly for 10-20 minutes for a microwave) won't really have a deep impact on the hot water supply.

Same thing for the electric skillet / dishwasher (both have heating elements). If the dishwasher is running - the outlet for the skillet won't power on - so no need for elderly people the remember about the dishwasher causing a heavy load. If the dishwasher loses power (like the microwave) it loses track of what cycle it's on, and must start over - so it's more critical.

What's happening now, is that circuits in the RV are tripped, when they attempt to run too many appliances at once. Also the circuit breaker box on many 5th-Wheels (like ours) is on floor level (under the refrigerator) which is hard for elderly people to reach / work with. There's no "electrical problems" because the circuit box handles any overloads just fine - tripping the breaker, but it's still a hassle for them to remember / work with.

Since "auto-on" devices like what I pointed out, are almost common place, I thought surely SOMEONE must make an "auto-off" one.

But again, don't want to rewire the RV, and too hard to re-train 80 year old folks who just want some peace and quiet. (The RV is actually very comfortable for them, since it has a number of 'pop-outs', and they have a 50 inch HD widescreen TV, Blu-ray player, which they don't know how to use - it's for their grandkids who visit often, and we even put in an additional refrigerator [compact, small power footprint] for them - so we often don't see them for weeks at time, since they're very happy in this 'temp' home.)

If this was a situation in our home, I wouldn't hesitate to just add new circuits (which I've done many times before), or perhaps a small rewiring job, etc.
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