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I want to build a contraption using an arduino that allows me to turn off my light from across the room. I plan to use a solenoid to move the lights switch up and down. I'm sure I'll have some specific questions later on but to start with, has anybody made or seen a similar project? All I'm really looking for is a link to a project (unless you're willing to give advice/suggestions). Thanks!

  • Light switches are made with a variety of actuators. You will have to share what type you intend to control because that will impact the remote triggering mechanism. (I will show examples in an answer due to not being able to add pictures here). – Michael Karas Dec 27 '15 at 13:22
  • Using a solenoid to control a manual switch is possible for sure, but very uncommon, so I guess you won't find references easily. A solenoid capable of moving switches may consume a lot of power, so most engineers will replace the combination switch/solenoid by a relay. Controlling a relay is a very common task, with many references available. But as a relay contains a solenoid, you may find helpful hits there, too [electroschematics.com/8975/arduino-control-relay/]. – Ariser Dec 27 '15 at 20:18
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MicroBot Push: a robotic finger for your buttons...

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https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/microbot-push-a-robotic-finger-for-your-buttons#/

The Robotoic Light Switch

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http://hackaday.com/2015/11/06/the-robot-light-switch/

Wifi controlled light switch

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https://hackaday.io/project/5141-wifi-controlled-light-switch

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This isn't exactly what you asked for, but may be a better idea.

Light switches are electrically just switches. Either two points are connected or they are not. In this case they are meant to be mechanically actuated by humans.

Instead of making a electrically controlled contraption that mechanically activates the existing switch, you could more easily use a electrically-activated switch directly. Such things are called relays, and are quite common and readily available. You can easily get a relay that can be actuated from 5 V that can switch 120 or 240 Vac at a few amps.

Put the relay in parallel across the switch if you want the switch to be able to override the light on, and in series if you want the switch to be able to override the light off.

To allow both the relay and the switch to toggle the light on/off independently, each needs to be a SPDT (single pole double throw) switch or relay. Actually, you'll have a hard time finding a relay that isn't at least SPDT. Ordinary wall switches aren't, but ones meant for multiple switches to control the same light are, like you often find at the top and bottom of the same set of stairs.

  • I fully agree that this is a better idea and I considered it but decided to go with mechanical actuation for a few reasons. First, I want more experience with mechanical projects, not just electrical. But also I want my device to be easily removed or switched. Assuming the switch type is the same, I want to be able to move it to any random light switch and have it working in seconds. My goal is to create a mechanical one for now (something that just works) and in the future, design a better system like the one you suggested. – James M. Dec 27 '15 at 14:01
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Various types of light switch actuators. Which is it?

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  • I apologize, I should've been clear about that in my initial question. Pretty much all the switches I intend to use are the same and standard, corresponding to your first picture. – James M. Dec 27 '15 at 14:02
  • @JamesM. - Good to know. By the way, "standard" really does not apply because if it did there would be only one picture. – Michael Karas Dec 27 '15 at 14:15

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