off-the-shelf automated 240v power switches: arduino compatible...??

hi all,

i'm controlling an arduino (amongst other things) from a puredata patch with the aim of making a programmable climate control system.

i need to turn on and off various 240v/10A heating or cooling devices automatically. BUT i'm not a qualified electrician and as this project is taking place at a public institution, i can't construct the 240v side of the system myself as this would void the building/liability insurance.

so i'm looking for a cost-effective off-the-shelf solution that can somehow interface with either arduino or the computer i'm running the puredata patch on - which happens to be an OLPC XO laptop running xo-ubuntu intrepid 8.10.

my ideas so far are:

  1. some kind of midi-controlled power board similar to what theatre lighting techies use. i know nothing about these, and they sound expensive to me. but i can easily send midi messages from arduino.

  2. some kind of X10 or IP-enabled home automation switches. maybe i could bypass arduino altogether and somehow have puredata communicate with a home automation switch over a wifi network...?

  3. a commercially manufactured power switch designed to interface with a microcontroller using a relay. i've tried looking for these, but not knowing what they would be called, i've had no luck yet. this would be the ideal solution i guess - simple, and sounds cheap.

any ideas??





awesome! thanks markbee- that's exactly the kind of thing i need...

only problem now - does anyone know of a similar unit that can work on australian 240v?

If you can find something like this locally then you should be able to get arduino to trigger the remote control buttons to turn the socket on and off

A preview of the Arduino Cookbook showing how to interface something like this can be found here:

240V version:

Some info: Wireless Sensor Networks or "Look Ma no wire!": 230 volts power switch interface
Wireless Sensor Networks or "Look Ma no wire!": Lights, Camera, Actuate?

I use the 230 volts version of the ELV switches in germany and they work great.


@mem - thanks for the link! i'm looking into that now - certainly seems promising... it might just be a matter of using a plug adapter for australia as the UK voltage is generally compatible (230v vs 240v...).
has anyone experienced 230v power boards triggering safety cutouts when they get fed 240v?? seems like an insignificant over-supply to me...

@markbee: yeah, thanks - i saw that product too... so tempting, but unfortunately i can't use it for my application. as soon as i do any 240v wiring, i void the insurance :frowning: one downside of working with public institutions... sigh.