I found this set of remote outlets at Menards while perusing for project ideas (something I quite often do) and decided to have a go at making something fun. My uncle every year gets a kick out of Christmas lights synced up to music and sends me the next bunch of links every time it gets close to the season (I think that link is one of the first houses he sent me). I figured that for $8 and an Msp430 launchpad I might be able to give him something this year to play with. I realize the best solution for switching lights on and off would be solid state and that the mechanical relays in the wireless outlets won’t be able to keep up with anything pro like DMX but it could still be fun.
The first thing I noticed when I opened the package was the addressing for each outlet. there was a possibility of 12 outlets that could be used by the same remote! that’s fantastic!! Ok, so maybe I’m a little more excited about that than need be, but it’s the little things, right? Above and below are pictures of the inside of the remote. There’s a mysterious chip inside that I didn’t recognise but the circuit seems simple enough. there are three pins for input from the buttons. Pull a pin high, and the outlet turns on. Pull a pin low and the outlet turns off. On the back of the device there’s a small rotary switch that selects which outlet group (A, B, C, or D) to transmit to. Simple right? Not quite THAT simple, but that’s the gist. There’s a 12 volt battery that powers the whole thing and an LED that flashes when a button is pressed. I soldered wires onto the group selector pads, the (+) and (-), and the 3 input pins. With some transistors and a bit of luck, I’m hoping I’ll be able to control this remote from the launchpad. I normally try and make projects that don’t require the launchpad when finished, just the Msp430G2231, but the USB interface is useful in this case. Uncle Sam is worth the extra $4 of usb controller goodness. I’ll post my findings and failures (I’m sure there’ll be plenty) as soon as I have a chance. Happy Hacking.