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Christopher_G 01-31-2011 03:54 AM

Relay Based Lightswitch - How to?
I'm an electrician of sorts (Went through some schooling on radio maintenance and electronic theory), however I'm having issues coming up with a good plan for a relay-driven lightswitch.

It may be a common item, however I haven't found anything that fits my needs.

I'm planning on installing a relay-driven light switch system in my house, controlled by a central control panel. I figure installing a relay at the light switch that would have a control wire going back to the panel or hub.

I know most of the jargon, so you don't have to dumb it down for me. Thank you all for your attention and help!


jlmran 01-31-2011 07:12 AM

Try or

Can I ask, "why?"

Christopher_G 01-31-2011 07:28 AM

Thanks for the links!

It's for a project I'm working on - a voice-activated light switch system. I've seen a few companies already doing it, and I thought that there would have to be a better, cheaper way of accomplishing the same type of system.

jlmran 01-31-2011 11:06 AM

Sounds like fun.

nap 01-31-2011 12:12 PM

what kind of control power are you considering?

can you draw and post a rough sketch of the system? It would make it easier to understand what your plan is.

Christopher_G 01-31-2011 12:30 PM

Unfortunately, I'm on a certain network that will block any kind of image hosting websites, and with no access to real internet. Afghanistan networks can be a bother sometimes when 'visiting.'

Anyway, I will try to describe the schematic in as much detail as possible;

To make it simplistic, I'll use a single room as a whole circuit. A microphone place strategically in the room will record the commands. Once received the correct string of keywords, it will activate - say turning the lights off in that room. All microphones will lead to the graphical user interface panel located on a wall. The panel will have a program that will stop sending a voltage to the relay thus turning off the lights. It will probably require an electrical hub of some sort inbetween the panel and switch relay - but you get the jist. If you have any ideas on specific mechanisms or parts, please to bring to light!

Thank you all again for your attention and help.


nap 01-31-2011 02:49 PM

so, what kind of power is the GUI device going to be able to supply as a control voltage and current? That is going to determine if a mechanical or electronic relay could be used or had to be used. If there is enough power (both voltage and current available) a mechanical relay would likely be the cheapest method. You would run your control wires to the relay and your power for the light through the controlled contact and viola' you have Bill Gates lights.

If the GUI controller can only supply a very low voltage and or current, you will likely have to look into an electronic controller/relay. The system is the same but it is made to utilize the lower power in the control circuit to operate it. Most likely more expensive but I haven't really looked since this is in such the prelim stages, too many variables to even start.

so, once you figure out some power availability, a relay/controller can be spec'd and sourced.

Christopher_G 02-01-2011 11:28 PM

That.... is a very good question. I was looking into 'GumStix' as the platform to use, as it's so modular and relatively cheap. But I haven't had luck figuring out how to make this all work together. I figure either a box between the board and relay, or use a specialized board piece - however I can't find anything that would fit the description.

The power to be used I would assume could be the house power, or the power from the GumStix panel. The internet capabilities I have are extremely limited, so I apologize for the uneducated answer / questions.

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