Smart Switch

Thursday, January 6, 2011 by darco
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I just wanted to share a few pictures of project I'm working on. This is the next logical step from the appliance module I mentioned a while back: a smart light switch. The design is modular, which allows for all sorts of configurations, but the first prototype will be be a simple on/off switch with the ability to be remotely controlled.

There are four boards: a main board, a relay board, a power board(which also handles remote communications), and the touch board. Eventually I'll be making a dimming version of the relay board, and I may possibly implement a power-over-ethernet version of the power board.

The user interface is a Decora-sized 1-dimensional capacitive touch plate with a frosted glass surface, with slight indentations on the upper and lower portions. Pressing once on the top will close the circuit, pressing once on the bottom will open the circuit. If the switch is equipped with a dimmer module instead of a simple relay module, touching the top and dragging your finger down will dim, and the reverse will brighten. A piezo-electric element on the main board will provide some tactile feedback as you touch the glass, making a satisfying click when you press it. Right-angle Status LEDs shine light into the top and bottom of the glass, which is diffused by the frosted surface.

Cool, huh?

I've been sitting on these designs for a while now, so I figure it is about time I pull the trigger and order a few boards to populate.

relay-board

power-board main-board touch-board

It may say "XBee PRO" on the power board, but that is just coming from the footprint I'm using. I'm actually intending to use a FauxBee.

I may also make a power module that doesn't have any remote I/O, making it simply a fancy normal wall switch.

Comments and thoughts are welcome.