Switch on mains device from my PC

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I have a program that I have written that works with a certain camera. I'd
like to be able to switch the camera on and off from within my program. All
I'm after is something like a powerboard that connects to the usb port that
I can turn each socket on and off though some sort of command. Does anything
like this exist? I thought it might for home automation but couldn't find
anything that did exactly what I want. It doesn't have to be a 4 way
powerboard, 1 would do.

Thanks again,
Michael



Re: Switch on mains device from my PC


You mentioned home automation, have you looked at X10 products? Tricky
Dicky sell them.

Actually, after a quick look it seems all they have now is a remote
control. They used to have things that let you hook up a computer, turn
lights on and off, etc. Perhaps I'm looking on the wrong part of the
site.


Re: Switch on mains device from my PC


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I've had a pretty good look at home automation. The problem is they don't
have anything that switches power on and off from the usb port because usb
can't extend between your PC and where ever the thing you are switching is.
It does seem like it is possible to control it from your PC but through a
wireless link or something. The sites I've looked at have been *extremely*
vague as to how it all works. I found something that works through ethernet
but getting my customers to set up ip addresses and have a second network
connection near the pc is too complicated.

Michael



Re: Switch on mains device from my PC


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Are they residential or business customers? From memory they need to be
on the same power phase for X10 to work.

If you do a google AU search for "X10" you can probably find something
suitable. This is one kit I've found:

http://www.eon3.com/content/products/product-detail.asp?intProductID56%5

Basically all you would need is the sender and one of the power
switches. I do see that it requires serial, but as the page says a USB
to serial converter can be utilised.

HTH, and I wish Tricky Dicky still sold this stuff, because I'm now
inspired to have a play! :)


Re: Switch on mains device from my PC


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They are dentist.

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That is close to what I'm after although not quite perfect. Serial would be
ok but combined with having to have a sender and receiver it is getting a
bit complicated. I'm suprised nothing exists considering the range of
electronics available today but I guess there just isn't much need for it.

I could just use the relay kit someone suggested and use it only for cameras
that have an external power supply.

Michael



Re: Switch on mains device from my PC


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If I understand correctly, this is what you want, a USB Relay Card:

http://www.ar.com.au/~softmark/page32.html

It looks like it comes in kit form and it's priced at $115.50 ($105 + GST)

Regards,
Chris



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Re: Switch on mains device from my PC


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That's exactly what I want except to be able to safely and legally switch
240V, basically the same thing inside one of those 4 way powerboards.

Michael



Re: Switch on mains device from my PC


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By safely and legally switch 240v you mean something that you can plug a
standard 3 pin plug into ? (without cutting, etc)

The kit says it has an input isolation voltage of 2500V, so switching 240V I
would think should be fine..   what if you cut the ends of an extension cord
(for input and output) or something along those lines ? maybe you can come up
with something and then have it electrically tested and tagged ? (that way it's
legal)

Regards,
Chris



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Re: Switch on mains device from my PC


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Yep, I'm hoping for something that will work out of the box.

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From what I understand it's expensive to get anything passed for 240V mains
and it opens up the possibility of me being sued if someone gets
electrocuted. I could use this kit for low voltage switching but it might be
a bit much trouble for the scope of this project to get it switching mains.

Michael



Re: Switch on mains device from my PC


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Silicon Chip November 04 issue - USB PowerUp - exactly what you are
looking for (I think)


Re: Switch on mains device from my PC


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I've seen this and it's not quite what I'm after. There's powers on when the
PC powers on, you can't turn it on and off from software.

Michael



Re: Switch on mains device from my PC



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Dontronics have some USB stuff, maybe there is something there that is
what you are after. (www.dontronics.com)

Re: Switch on mains device from my PC



 Michael C wrote:
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If using linux read the Coffee-FAQ

if not the harware there described can probably be made to work in other
environments.

Bye.
   Jasen

Re: Switch on mains device from my PC


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I had a look but the problem is it's out of my budget to make my own product
that switches 240v because I believe getting it passed whatever it needs to
pass is expensive. I really need a ready made product.

Michael



Re: Switch on mains device from my PC


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http://www.dataprobe.com/power/iboot.html

Possibly useful, not exactly cheap but it will work anywhere.

If you direct connect to the downlink port from the controller pc, you
should be able to write a simple script to control the unit.

Plus the added benefit you could control it from a very, very, very long
way away :)

It could also monitor the controlling pc to make sure it's still running
and reboot it if it isn't.

They even let you self drive a unit via an online demo:
http://www.dataprobe.com/camera/democam.html

Dave

Re: Switch on mains device from my PC


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Thanks dave, that's the closest to what I need so far. If only it worked
from usb :-) I think what I might do is start with one that can switch low
voltage cameras as many have external power supplies. If this is popular
then I could look for something that switch 240volts.

Michael



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