SwitchMote project update and demo

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!

12 thoughts on “SwitchMote project update and demo

  1. This looks great. Very impressive.
    Please put me down as someone interested in purchasing early versions of the SwitchMote. I’m a Production Engineer and can handle the line-voltage installation. I think I can also deal with the inevitable inhancements that are bound to come along later.
    Also, I have done some consumer-product testing. UL requirements are pretty tough to meet (at low cost) and the approvals take considerable amounts of time and money.
    I am confident in my skills and abilities to sucessfully and safely use your device. Therefore, I take full responsibility for the proper assembly, programming and safe installation of the device in the electrical wiring in my own home. I will not hold you responsible for missing, wrong or incorrect components or instructions in the ‘kit’ of parts you may provide.
    Thanks for developing this useful device. I am looking forward to building several SwitchMotes soon. John

  2. I’ve been following you website for sometime. I’ve purchased some of you moteino’s and LOVE them.
    I’m also going to be rigging up lights and my sprinklers using your moteino’s as well!
    I would be a happy guinea pig for any testing. I’m currently using your moteino’s for PIR and door sensors with the use of some reed switches!

  3. I’d love to test a switchmote. I’m in the EU (Italy) and I currently have a little home automation going on in my house using a raspberry pi + moteino (notifications on my phone for doorbell, intercom, alarm goes on, landline calls, new post in the mailbox).
    A feature I’d like to add it turning off lights when I go out (triggered by turning the alarm on).

  4. I am also very interested in helping move this effort forward. This is a wonderful project, thank you Felix.

    I work in a lab that designs integrated electronics. We have gone through the ul process successfully several times. If I could purchase a few samples I can run it by my contact at ul to help determine what it would take to get a cert.

  5. Hi Felix, looks like you did a great job with the switchmote, i’m interested in helping you out testing the switchmote. Let me know when you’re ready to send me one or two samples and how much they cost. Thanks.

    • Getting closer to releasing it. Still got more coding and documentation to put together. But functionally it’s ready.

  6. nice project!
    I’m from EU and it wouldn’t fit in my switch box . I was also thinking about replacing my switches for home automation (who didn’t ? ;).
    What power supply type are you using ? SMPS ?

  7. Thanks for the update! I’d love to test this out. If there’s a need, I’ve got some cycles to help with test/dev work as well. I’ve done a fair amount with atmega chips and RFM12/69 radios. Can’t help with the technical details of UL testing, but if you do a crowd funding thing, I’d support that. A truly open home automation system is something very much needed.

  8. I have to admit, I’ve been waiting for updates, because this is exactly what I’ve been wanting to do for the last couple years. I have experience with relays/triacs on mains which has been a slow and cautious road.

    I’d love to put the switch mode through testing with some moteinos I have. Time to order some more moteinos…

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