I put together a quick video to show the progress of SwitchMote and a simple demonstration of how it works and how it can be used in home automation. My goal is to offer a smart wireless light switch controller that allows syncronization with other units independently (without the need of a gateway/coordinator) to create light scenes, and increase the usability of a regular light switch.
Currently SwitchMote is designed to drive light loads up to 100-120W only. This is perfect for lights and small chandeliers. In the US the incandescent bulbs are being discontinued so even larger arrays of CFLs or LEDs can be driven by SwitchMote. The solid state relay can support up to 8A however it requires a large heatsink for larger loads. There is no UL certification at this time and this is an area that I need help to research since I haven’t gone through that process before. So if someone can help and offer guidance, please let me know.
I have a batch of SwitchMotes that I will prepare for those that are interested to do more testing. I consider this a beta even though I’ve gone through several revisions and tested it quite a bit, but it involves mains electricity so it’s a little more than my average electronics project. I do need more testing done by more people to perfect it. I must warn anyone interested that they should be very comfortable and understand mains electricity well before attempting to install or use a SwitchMote.
As you can tell, the current layout will fit a US standard light switch box, sorry EU users. I’m not sure if there’s a standard across EU, but it sounds like there’s different types of switch boxes in different places. It was hard and time consuming enough to bring this format to life. It’s possible to re-adapt it but I don’t have time to do that at the moment. I need to focus to make SwitchMote come to life and add more features.
I still have a lot of work to do before I can release it. I prepared this video to raise awareness, but the documentation and tutorial required for installing will take a while. Also the firmware is usable but I have a few tweaks and improvements I need to make. As simple as it may look, the code can get quite complex. This is where you have to really be careful and keep RAM consumption on the small Atmega328 to a minimum. Even so, I’m very proud of the simplistic atmega328 that it can handle such a project without a problem. And if there’s a problem it means the code can be improved and memory consumption reduced. This also tells me that I don’t need to mess with ARM and spend another year perfecting two or three Moteino alternatives based on other microcontrollers. The Atmega328p is doing great and is perfect for wireless sensors and home automation.
SwitchMote will come as a kit. You will get the assembled and tested SwitchMote PSU along with back cover plate, the SwitchMote shield PCB along with buttons, LEDs and the front shield cover, screws, and Moteino of your choice. It won’t be very cheap. I’m not Belkin or Dell to buy parts with the millions to make this cheap. I also don’t have $10,000 to invest in injection molds to make this commercial looking. For what it is I think it’s pretty good, and the lasercut plates look appealing. I will try hard to make it accessible. So I won’t say a number because I don’t have one, need to do some math and make sure I can economically sustain this as a product. Compared to commercial/retail competition I think it will be reasonable. Especially given some of the unique features and that you can reprogram it any way you want and synchronize SwitchMotes, something competition doesn’t really have, at least not as readily “out of box”. Some people seem to think everything should cost $10. So pleasssse don’t email me trying to push me to offer it cheap because you think it should be or ask for a discount if you buy more than 3 units. Thank you.
I will post updates when SwitchMote is ready to go. Stay tuned!