Nobody likes to be called a dummy by a dummy.

OK so I've wired some wall-mount lights

so that they will plug into outlets, because they need to go on external log walls (and there's no way to add electrical to those walls without conduit, and I'm not doing conduit).

And they're fine and dandy as a stop-gap measure and it's great to have some decent light in here.

NOW:

What's a good way to wire up an on-off switch for them? :)

I've looked into x10 stuff but it's pricey and may have to wait a bit (ultimately I'd like to wire the house up with x10 anyway)

Is there something cheaper? I'm looking for something dumb like a wireless remote outlet pass-through switch or something.

I can definitely do it with x10 but I want something cheap and easy for the interim. So far I've found nothing that I would trust in my house. :)
Permalink Mark Warner 
January 3rd, 2006
IKEA, and maybe your 99 cent store, has dimmers that plug in between the outlet & the lamp. Just a little box with a fader and a red LED. Mine is the Credenza by Lutron, and I think the model number is J39.

http://www.lutron.com/lampdimmers/default.asp?s=17000&t=17200
Permalink MarkTAW 
January 3rd, 2006
TT-300. I don't know what J39 is, but it's stamped on there like a serial number.
Permalink MarkTAW 
January 3rd, 2006
Thanks Mark.

I'm hoping for something RF or something so that I can mount a switch on the opposite side of the room.

Probably not a high-demand application. :-)

I'll look into the IKEA stuff for now as a better stopgap than pulling plugs from the wall. :)
Permalink Mark Warner 
January 3rd, 2006
the IKEA thing was a Lutron brand, Lutron is a major lighting manufacturer. Try local hardware stores or lighting stores.
Permalink MarkTAW 
January 3rd, 2006
Yeah that.
Permalink Mark Warner 
January 3rd, 2006
I have a feeling I'm not going to find three prong ones, though...
Permalink Mark Warner 
January 3rd, 2006
Probably not. I'm guessing they don't want to put dimmers on anything that requires three prongs and plugs into an outlet.

But a power strip could work. Ugly, awkward, and a stop-gap solution, but it'll work.
Permalink MarkTAW 
January 3rd, 2006
Of course faders don't work with compact flourescent if that's what you're using. CF is so awesome - not only is it far less energy, but the things last forever. I recently had a lightbulb blow, and commemorated it as being the very first CF to ever blow on me...then I realized it was the very last incandescent in the house.

Didn't you load up on the X10 stuff during the "LAST DAY SALE!" era of X10? I've got a bunch of that junk around. They probably still sell the $19 starter kits with a tonne of junk.

(One of the uses of the X10 for me was the ActiveHome kit and the infrared sensors - I hooked it up to my PC, and would telnet into a little app I wrote that told me what was happening in the apartment where I lived at the time. In all the time I had it going, a sensor went off once, and I responded by turning on a radio and phoning home. I suspect the landlord was taking a peek illegally.
Permalink Dennis Forbes 
January 3rd, 2006
I'm not using CF right now, but that's only because incandescant bulbs came with the fixtures. They'll probably be CF in the future.

I'm not worried about dimming really, I just want swithes. X10 seems like a good way to do it since eventually I'd like to wire up the whole house that way.
Permalink Mark Warner 
January 3rd, 2006
It's weird - in our old house I was replacing bulbs about every six months.

Here we've got bulbs that have been in since we bought the place six years ago.

Philo
Permalink Philo 
January 3rd, 2006
years ago i had a radio-based remote control plug. no clue what brand or where to get a new one.

you can also buy motion or sound sensors.
Permalink mb 
January 4th, 2006
I'm reminded that electricity is entirely different over yonder.
Permalink Simon Lucy 
January 4th, 2006
I've used X10 in my house since about 1991.

I agree, at $10 to $15 per outlet for the X10 modules, the 'startup cost' can be a little expensive -- but not too bad. And they last for a really long time. The only one I've had to replace are when I was using an 'appliance' module on a 10-amp heater.

The biggest limitation seems to be that there's only 16 addresses per 'house' (1..16), and there's only 16 possible 'houses' (A..P).

Add to that the simple controllers have 4 buttons on them, which can be switched to control 1..4, or 5..8, but NEVER 9..16. They do make a larger controller that does 1..16, and the RF remote in the ActiveHome kit also does IR, so it can control your TV, too.

Oh, and they do sell an RF remote for not too much that does 8 at a time -- either 1..8, or 9..16 (and I believe it has a switch on the bottom of the remote to select which set on the fly).

They also sell a module that mounts on the wall. Personally, I've found the 8-switch RF remotes mounted to a wall with Velcro work just as well, and have more buttons.

Short answer: Try the ActiveHome kit, and see if it will work for you. Or get one of the $19 RF remote kits and try that.
Permalink AllanL5 
January 4th, 2006
Oh, one other approach. Lowes does sell an 'in-line' switch (a little box with a roller-switch on it, that you mount on the cord.) You could outfit your plug-in lamps with one of these at the right height.
Permalink AllanL5 
January 4th, 2006

This topic was orginally posted to the off-topic forum of the
Joel on Software discussion board.

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