Friday, 9 March 2012

First Foray - Socket Adapters

Today I unboxed my LightwaveRF socket adapters. In simple terms, they fit into a standard mains socket and you plug your electrical appliance into them. You can then turn the appliance off and on remotely.

Here's one of them with my kettle plugged in to it:

The adaptor is the rectangular item with the kettle plugged into it. You can just about make out the blue LED on the bottom right of the adapter which means it's switched on, (it goes amber when it's off).

Also shown on the picture is the RF remote control. This has 4 pairs of on-off buttons plus a 4 way switch. So overall the remote can control 16 different devices (so effectively 4 on-off buttons for each switch position).

The remote and the adaptor have 433.92MHz marked on them which is the frequency that the LightWaveRF kit works in. A quick check on the internet indicates that the LightWaveRF kit works on some form of proprietary protocol within an unlicensed band.

There's a small orange switch on the side of the adapter that can be used to manually switch it off and on. Press and hold this switch and it goes into "Learning" mode. Press an on button on the remote and you've paired the remote to that socket adapter.

The fact that the remote control works on a radio frequency means I can operate the socket from anywhere in my house, (I did test this!).

Hence I could set up my first experiment. Before bed I:

  • Switched the main built in socket on.

  • Switched the LightWaveRF socket adapter OFF.

  • Part filled the kettle and switched it on.

Then went to bed with the remote left by the bed.

Next morning, when I woke up, I used the remote to switch the kettle on from upstairs. Hence when I got downstairs the kettle was boiled and I could make tea in double quick time. (Saving all of two minutes - a great improvement in efficiency!).