$10 wireless remote control electrical outlet switch

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/09/13/10-wireless-remote-control-el.html

So I’m assuming you’re using it to thwart people using frequency transmitters to defeat your garage door? The range must be pretty good on this thing.


This sounds like a poster child for vampire power.

I got of 5 pack of those, and they were totally worth it. I had a similar application, along with other things that needed switches. I was living in a rental house, so I didn’t want to do the proper wiring.


Good for holiday lights, and sometimes I put a Vornado outside to blow cool night air at the window screens. Good for controlling that, too.

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I had a bunch of X10 switches and outlets that were at or below this price point; I’ve gradually been removing them because they do not play nicely with fluorescent or LED bulbs.


I’ve owned a few of these, love them. They have about a 20% failure rate within the 1st 18 months, but at the price, I can live with that. Multiple sets can have odd overlaps in frequency that can be problematic: I have one deprecated set that would turn off all other lights from a different set, and turn on one.

This may sound like a tepid endorsement, but it’s really not. The ones that survive the 1st 18 moths seem quite stable. For me the best set is the 3 outlets/2 remotes set. Your mileage, and requirements may vary.


What about dimmable LEDs? I’ve had luck using dimable LEDs with devices that don’t play nicely with regular CFL and LED “bulbs.”

I thought these kind of remotes were a bit cheezy, until a friend got some. They are damn handy, actually. And not IOT, so no worries that the master server will go off line and leave them useless. While they may be trivially easy to hack, as long as I’m only using them for lamps or what not, I can’t say as I’m too worried about the consequences of plug in devices being hacked - permanently installed ones, on the other hand, would be more of a pain to remove if the devices were hacked, though.

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Additional notes: they are repair-friendly. I’ve replaced a micro-switch on one of them, canniblized from a broken set. Also, the batteries last a very long time.

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The X10 we had did not work well with dimmables either. Their technology might have improved. The fact that you only need one remote for the whole house did make X10 better than something like the device here.

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Does anyone know if these default (or can default) to “on”? I have a manual light switch to turn off a lamp. However, I want to be able to shut the light off with the remote while in bed and then turn the light back on by turning the power off, then back on at the wall switch as I re-enter the room.

Such a device has been very hard to find!!! Thanks!

How about one that comes with two remotes?

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I liked this, but needed the ability to turn off the light using the remote OR at the outlet. This option looks similar, but (in addition to the remote) the outlet has a button on the side that can turn on and off the lamp/device.

We have a bedroom with no overhead lights and no switched outlets. Walking across the room to turn on/off the lamp is a PITA, so we mounted the remote onto the wall. We turn off the lamp by pressing the button on the outlet. Works well.

It looks almost the same, but it was about $1 more than the one Mark mentioned.

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Dude, if they can hack your garage door, they can hack your magic outlet. Just find a better place for your stash.

Thanks for the tip, Skeptic. Two remotes would do it. I am really surprised that this is not a more frequently requested/desired function (to select default state on/off/last-selected). However, I have searched quite a bit have not found a simple remote unit that allows for this.

We ended up going another route, namely a new remote for our ceiling fan, that does default to light-on after power off/on. Humorously enough, one of the reviews comments was “I thought it was quite odd that the light defaults to on.” lol.

Analog has a much warmer tone.


What do the unlabelled buttons do?

You do realize that these have NO security whatsoever?

For less than $5 you can buy the needed components to remote override that switch.

(Arduino Nano = $2.98 + 433MHz transmitter & receiver = $1.50)
There’s even a handy Arduino library: RCSwitch

I have this exact switch for a couple of lights on my headboard that have power-cord switches I can’t reach. It works beautifully. Originally had a different brand of remote switch that for some reason became less and less reliable, despite changing the battery. This one works every time.

And if you put it in the upper socket, it doesn’t block the lower one.

You can buy the needed components to break into pretty much any house for zero dollars. Break a wind with a rock. Or, using 1 dollar key blank you can make a bump key and go in through the front door with ease, no lock picking skill needed.

Security is contextual. I don’t need quantum encryption for a reading light switch, especially for one that isn’t IOT and can’t be made into a DDoS bot or whatnot. Might be nice if I could have the security for nothing, but in the mean time, I’m ok with the lack of security. It means, for one thing, that for less than $5 I can make a second remote :slight_smile: