Switching AC Powered Components

I'd like to use Arduino to switch on and off a florescent light and an accompanying fan that run on AC.

My idea is to have both the fan and the light plug into a box which is plugged into the wall. Inside the box I'm imagining some sort of switch that gets flips by Arduino. This isn't something that will be switching quickly and repeatedly, something like once or twice a day.

From what I can tell, I think I need a solid state relay. Or do mechanical contacts make more sense?

I'm surprised about the price of SSRs. Here's one from Mouser: http://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/Crydom/CL240A05/?qs=sGAEpiMZZMtHD6BhCPGf2rhtzH9txeZ5eznW42UzTSk%3d

And another that a lot less expensive. http://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/Omron-Electronics/G3MC-201P-DC5/?qs=sGAEpiMZZMtHD6BhCPGf2pzm%2flBpqtlmx0FfHN0AA%252bg%3d

What's the safest way to set this up?

Is there a forum topic that already covers this or a Web site that details the components needed to this type of AC switching?

Thanks, Keith

Get used or new SSRs on ebay. One with screw terminals. An arduino output drives one on and off nicely. Interrupt the hot lead with the relay, pass the neutral conductor right through the box.

You absolutely want plain mechanical relays for what you are doing. They are cheap and reliable.

If you want a simple off the shelf solution, Sparkfun has what you are looking for. http://www.sparkfun.com/products/9842

They also sell circuit board and related components to do what you wish. http://www.sparkfun.com/products/9096

Also look at X10. Cheap, more or less reliable, UL listed.

I'm going with this solution. It's exactly what I'm looking for.

http://www.sparkfun.com/tutorials/119

Thanks everyone for your responses.

I did end up going with the sparkfun project here: http://www.sparkfun.com/tutorials/119

I built it today, it’s exactly what I was looking for. It’s really easy to put together and works perfectly with Arduino.