Remote Control for 110 vac outlet?

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I want to use a handheld remote, similar to a TV remote, at location A to switch power on/off at a 110 vac outlet at location B. Distance between A and B is about 20 feet.
At Home Depot I found, for about $30, a device that plugs into an ordinary home outlet and works for 110 vac incandescent and halogen lamps, but not for florescent lamps. What I want to control is a transformer that goes from 110 vac to 12 vdc, and then to 12 v light bulbs and relays that are part of a display. Basically, I want to turn this display on and off from about 20 feet away.
Ideas?
Best regards to all.
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CWLee
Former slayer of dragons; practice now limited to sacred
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On Wed 17 Dec 2008 05:13:32p, CWLee told us...

I'm either totally missing something here, or I don't understand the problem. The unit you saw, and others like it, are designed to control the on/off condition to whatever is plugged into them. I can understand that florescent lamps may be an exception if directly connected, but you stated that you wanted to control a transfomer. Such a remote switch should easily be able to turn power on or off to a transfomer, regardless of what was connected to the low-voltage side of the transformer.
Please explain further if this is not what you meant.
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Wayne Boatwright
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You understand correctly what I want to do. I too assumed that the little genie inside would just throw a toggle switch, regardless of what was connected beyond that. But, besides excluding florscent lamps the manufacturer warned "not to be used for appliances" as well.
When it comes to electrical devices I'm pretty cautious, and that is why I returned the item to Home Depot without trying it. In my mind it could have appeared to work well until, when I was out of the house or alseep, it burst into flames. Outside the package it said "controls all lamps" but inside the fine print had the exclusions, including florescent lamps.
Thanks for responding.
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On Wed 17 Dec 2008 08:31:31p, CWLee told us...

Understood... Then to err on the side of caution, I would agree with other suggestions that you use an X-10 unit, specifically the module designed to control appliances instead of lighting. I'm sure that would cause you no problem.
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wrote:

What you need is that the remote unit use a relay to turn the outlet on and off. If you buy a unit with a relay in the remote unit, in a quiet room, you should be able to hear a small click when you turn the remote unit on. You may not hear the click when you turn the unit off. The Clapper makes a radio-controlled unit, so does Radio Shack and several others. I do not know if any, none, or all of these units have a relay in the output. So, I would ask to test the unit in the store. The folks at Radio Shack might possibly know if their units use a relay, the other places are probably clueless.
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I have a bunch of X-10 controlled lights. The difference between lamp and appliance modules is that the lamps can be dimmed. Of course that feature does not work with fluorescent lights. Another poster pointed out that the fluorescents will try to turn on. Indeed it will as the lamp with a cfl will flash a tiny bit, sort of like seeing lightening off in the distant sky.
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I had one lamp module do the flash thing yesterday, I put in a different one on different house code and its ok now, but i will keep an eye on it. Its fun having everything on these remotes, I just hate their site to try to pick what I need, plus its tacky.
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wrote in message

I had one lamp module do the flash thing yesterday, I put in a different one on different house code and its ok now, but i will keep an eye on it. Its fun having everything on these remotes, I just hate their site to try to pick what I need, plus its tacky.
If a lamp has more than one lamp socket, one (small?) incandensate bulb left turned on will keep the flash thing from happening. Or, there's a patch to the circuitry to disable the "auto-on" feature of the module.
There are many sites selling X10 compatable hardware. Don't be dependent on the X10 site.
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[snip]

I need to replace one too. It's doing that, and about 30% of the time it won't turn off. It thinks it's off but isn't. You have to send an ON command before it responds to another OFF.

They made a bad choice for default.

There is smarthome, but they cheated me out of over $90 (for Insteon devices, which never worked reliably like X10 did).
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It's quite easy to clip the 'sense' circuit on X-10 appliance modules to remove the tiny flash from CF bulbs.
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wrote:

X10 modules also have a little feature that can be annoying at times. Most are meant to sense the load's switch and allow you to turn it on that way. With some loads this will make them refuse to stay off. I have a TV that does that. Turn it off and it comes back on a couple of seconds later.
The controls for my holiday lights are ones I built from solid-state relays. It's more work, but avoids the limitations and unpleasant surprises you get with X10. It's also faster, allowing computer-controlled flashing of the lights. I still do use one of those RF things to control the lights. It just powers a wall-wart that supplies power to the relays. I have a little video (4MB MPG file) at http://notstupid.laughingsquid.com/graphics/XMAS2008.mpg
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On Thu, 18 Dec 2008 04:30:08 GMT, Wayne Boatwright

X10 appliance modules have limitations for certain types of load. The receptacle modules allow 15A for anything.
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I have x10 stuff, it says the same warning on dimmable lamp modules, No flourescent, No apliances-motors. But I have had one lamp module on a small fan for years that I wanted to run slower than its low set speed, with no failure or overheating and I use them on flourescents. Alot of warnings are for liability and missuse, if logic and care is used you have more options.
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ransley wrote:

It totally depends on the character of the load. The lamp module uses a triac for switching. Some devices can't deal with that and others don't have a problem.
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And I have a brand new X10 467 wall switch that has the same operating restrictions. I recently tried it with two 15W CFLs for an outside entrance light. When the switch is off, the lights remain on, very dim. And the switch doesn't respond to X10 commands. When you turn it on manually, the CFLs come on but at maybe half brightness.
This is due to the fact that some of the x10 modules, like this switch, work on 2 wires, hot and load. There is no neutral. So, it has to pass a small current all the time through the load to keep the receiver going. That small current is enough to paritally fire up the 15W CFLs. And when it turns on, with the CFLs connected, it only gets up to 90V. Which goes to show you that some of the restrictions are for good reason.
For the OP, as suggested, I would get one of the X10 modules rated for appliances. They use a relay. In fact, one is included in the basic wireless receiver unit, which is a small plug-in unit with an antenna. You can plug one load into that and then it also sends X10 commands to other units. It's exactly what the the OP needs. Smarthome.com has a lot of X10 as well as Ebay.
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On Dec 18, 8:21am, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

I have 3, x10 motion sensors with cfls, the 110v programable ones that one will turn on and off anorther unit and have no issues, the light switch I have, and now understand why it didnt work, but lamp modules I find one does and one doesnt work right.
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wrote:

I have x10 stuff, it says the same warning on dimmable lamp modules, No flourescent, No apliances-motors. But I have had one lamp module on a small fan for years that I wanted to run slower than its low set speed, with no failure or overheating and I use them on flourescents. Alot of warnings are for liability and missuse, if logic and care is used you have more options.
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I had a X10 module controlling a 1/3 HP hot tub pump a lomg time ago. One day IO looked at it and relized that the module I was using was a lamp module, which had worked fine for many months. I did quickly swap in an appliance module.
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On Wed, 17 Dec 2008 19:31:31 -0800, "CWLee"

They will control flourescents if they are ALSO controlling a standard incandescent lamp or resistive load. They will handle transformers just fine, but will likely have problems with switch mode power supplies unless they also have a resistive load connected at the same time.
They are not recommended for "appliances" because of high starting currents etc. For your application, from what I made of it, you would have been just fine.
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On Thu, 18 Dec 2008 16:55:17 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:
[snip]

That's when I have used the receptacle modules, which lack the limitations of appliance modules (those are marked "15A unconditional" with no additional limits for motors and lamps).
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If you might want to do more in the future, check out X10 components. It's a power line carrier system, but there are RF remotes available. An appliance module, RF remote, and RF remote receiver would do it.
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