Power Switch Tail

Anyone ever use one of these? Seems like it could be good for turning lights on automatically when it gets dark. Too bad it won't automatically put all my clothes in the washer and start the washing machine.

http://www.makershed.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=MKPS01&Show=ExtInfo

The PowerSwitch Tail allows you to safely control a standard wall outlet (120VAC) device with almost any micro controller. Simply connect 2 wires and your ready to go! It's perfect for use with an Arduino.

AC input: NEMA 5-15P Plug, standard 120VAC with ground. AC output: NEMA 5-15R Receptacle, standard 120VAC with ground. Switching capacity: 10A @ 125VAC, 3A @ 250VAC, 5A @ 30VDC, resistive Life expectancy: 50,000 operations @ 10A, 125VAC DC input: 5 volts nominal, 40 ma (200 mw); terminal block accepts #26-16 AWG wire. Operate times: 10 ms max actuate, 5 ms max release. DC to ac circuit isolation: 4,000VAC @ 50/60 Hz, 8,000 volts impulse. Indicator: LED indicates when dc side is energized. Other: DC side protected with 500W transient protector, AC side protected with MOV.

That looks really neat. The 40mA current draw means it's probably too much for a single microcontroller pin (well....it's on the edge) but paralleling pins should do the trick. Just turn them all on or all off at once :)

http://www.ruggedcircuits.com

Yeah I had seen that earlier.

It's a bit (OK, very) pricey for what it is, but I suppose you're paying for the pretty finish and the guarantee that you didn't wire something wrong ;D!