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WIFI outlets stand alone remote

 
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sti491



Joined: 04 Jan 2015
Posts: 118

PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 12:05 pm    Post subject: WIFI outlets stand alone remote Reply with quote

Hi all. I bought 4 inexpensive smart outlets on Amazon to remotely control four lights from my iPhone using the Tuya app. All is good.

Until my wife, AKA "the Boss", says, "how do I turn them on without my phone... because you know I don't carry it around all the time like you."

Well, if I have the outlets switched ON, she can turn them off & on manually all she wants. But if I have them switched OFF with the App, she can't turn them ON manually.

I think I need a small, cheap stand alone remote she can have sitting there, that will control them as the iPhone Tuya app does. I searched the web came up blank.

Any ideas?
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vickyg2003
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Joined: 20 Mar 2004
Posts: 6946
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 12:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A remote is not going to cut it. You need a network device. i too am finding more and more devices need a network device to operate. I am using an iPod touch and old iPhone and an underpowered android tablet as remote controls.
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Tip: When creating an upgrade, always include ALL functions from the oem remote, even if you never plan on assigning them to a button. Complete function lists makes an upgrade more helpful to others.
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sti491



Joined: 04 Jan 2015
Posts: 118

PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 1:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was thinking the same thing. An old phone is a good idea. Rats, I just chucked one!
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yaworski



Joined: 22 Jun 2014
Posts: 336
Location: Warsaw, Poland

PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 3:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What's the brand/model of the outlets? There are different Home Automation solutions which can integrate different end devices together. For example, I'm using a Home Assistant software (open source) running on a Raspberry Pi 2.

If your outlets are supported by the Home Assistant software, then for example, you could also use a LIRC plugin with IR sensor connected to the Raspberry and create rules connecting specific IR signals to control your outlets.

If you want a RF remote, then it'd be probably a little harder to do, but still doable. For example, you could get some ZigBee gateway (for example, the one for Philips Hue or the one from new IKEA Tradfri system) with a ZigBee compatible remote.

As for the alternative software solutions, there are multiple. For example OpenHAB is probably one of the most mature open source solutions, but given that it's written in Java, it requires more processing power. I've been running it on RPi2 for some time, but I think RPi3 or even some other, more powerful board would work better.
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Marcin
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vickyg2003
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Joined: 20 Mar 2004
Posts: 6946
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 7:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm thinking this technology might really be an irritant. Yes you can control your lights from accross the country, but not while you are there with hands on. I love tech, but I'm right there with the "boss". I want a simple way to turn on the lights when I'm there, and yes I don't want to have to look for my phone whenever I'm enterntaining, and a guest wants the light on.

The people that owned my house before I did had a few remote controlled lighting fixtures. Of course they didn't leave any of the remote controls!

When I tried to figure out how to turn on the lights over the pool table I looked in the drop ceiling and found an RF receiver. I bought cheap RF controls at Lowes. Mounted it to the wall. Problem solved.

They had some Lutron IR controlled fixtures in the home theater. Those also function with the regular wall plate. I didn't even know that it was an IR switch until one of the little ones managed to reprogram it so that it wouldn't come on at all. When I was looking for the manual on line, I found out it was IR controlled. I found an upgrade in our file section, so now when we are done watching a movie the house lights can be brought up. Really Cool.

However when it comes to using IP, for as the ONLY way to control something, that just doesn't sound practical, especially for lights.

We just got that multi-zone AVR and it is nice that my DH can whip out his phone while he's in the garage and change the music/volume... And we do have an old android tablet plugged into the wall in the basement to accomplish the same thing, and the iPod in the bedroom. But we can still walk into the family room and control it at the unit, or with ANY of the 3 remote controls that are sitting there, or if desperate, the OEM remote.
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Remember to provide feedback to let us know how the problem was solved and share your upgrades.

Tip: When creating an upgrade, always include ALL functions from the oem remote, even if you never plan on assigning them to a button. Complete function lists makes an upgrade more helpful to others.
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Barf
Expert


Joined: 24 Oct 2008
Posts: 775

PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 8:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Even in a world with IP-based IoT and home automation systems, I think that IR and cheap IR remotes still has an important role to play. I am using a simple IR receiver that injects IP commands to the home automation "master". You can place them everywhere, and they are cheap.

If someone cares: this is what I am using

1. Arduino nano + TSOPxxxxx as receiver, using the Listener firmware, connected with USB to a
2. Raspberry Pi, running the dispatcher Java software.

Possibly the "Lirc plugin" previously mentioned could be an alternative to 2, but Lirc and I are not really friends...
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sti491



Joined: 04 Jan 2015
Posts: 118

PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 9:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks everyone. Maybe I leaped before I looked on this one.
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yaworski



Joined: 22 Jun 2014
Posts: 336
Location: Warsaw, Poland

PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 9:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm also not very fond of pure IP/WiFi based solutions in home automation. Especially not for critical things like lighting.

In my flat, all the lights are RF controlled. Initially, I've done it because it was actually easier to do that when we where moving in. I've found a system produced by a polish company Zamel called ExtaFree. In basic setup it doesn't need any central control unit and consist of a wall switches (coin battery powered transmitters) which look similar to most European wall light switches and a relay based receivers. They use a proprietary protocol on 868 MHz (legal in Europe).

After some time I've managed to reverse engineer the protocol and I've built my own RF gateway on top of Raspberry Pi :). This gives me full control capability over the lights over the IP, but it's not dependant on it. The wall switches will still work even when the Linux on the RPi freezes, as long as it's powered (RPi is not connected directly to the RF chip, but there's an Atmega MCU between them with some extra logic what to do when RPi becomes unresponsive).
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