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Thread: Cool Method of 120V Control

  1. #1
    Bradfo69's Avatar
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    Default Cool Method of 120V Control

    Stumbled across a product yesterday that I decided to do a review on because NOW is the time to get them. In addition to lasers, I run a lot of other DJ style lights and, hazers like the DF50. The biggest problem with many of these is the ability to turn them on and off remotely. Especially in a venue as big as mine where fixtures can be 50-60 feet apart. What I have been using in the past has been remote controlled electrical outlet adapters that you can find mainly only at Christmas time for turning on and off Christmas lights. They're often sold in 3 packs at home supply stores like Lowes and Home Depot. Usually 3 adapters and a keyfob style remote. The trick has been getting to the store right when the holiday things go out and having to open a couple of the cases to ensure you're getting multiples of the same channel. They're often assigned an alphabetical character to identify the channel they operate on. It's fine if you only have one light to control but, if you have two identical fixtures, say for an example a derby light, that are 60 feet apart on T stands in the corners, and you want them to come on at the same time, you need two adapters each on the same channel. Often the case may have 8 packages labeled A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H. So you have to make sure you grab an A out of one case and an A out of the other so that a single keyfob can turn on and off both lights at the same time. It's been working ok but... sometimes, if the battery is getting weak or, line of sight is partially blocked one might turn on and not the other and you have to get up and walk a little closer to the light to get the remote to work.
    .
    I commissioned Ed Keefe a couple years back to make me a couple boxes that I could control the power to DF50 hazers with using DMX since I do use DMX to turn on and turn off some of the other lights that I have and figured I could just run a DMX cable to each DF-50 and that way I'd have more success in always turning them on an off. Well... quite honestly I've never gotten around to using them since I hate running cables.
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    Enter the new goodie. Last night at Home Depot I discovered a similar product but controlled via WiFi. They're called Eco Plugs by KAB Cable. And the cool thing is you can control them via an app from either the app store or Google play. Setup was quite easy. Plug the adapter in the wall. Look for the flashing blue light and then, download and install the app. Go to your phone settings and change the WiFi network to the Eco Plug that appears and launch the app. It identifies your existing wifi network and makes the adapter discoverable. You then enter your zip code and if you have one, the password for your network. You can also name your device. Such as DF-50 Left or DF-50 Right. American DJ Aggressor Left or American DJ Aggressor Right. The app will then return your phone to your regular wifi network. Exit and re-launch the app and voila... the labeled buttons are in the app to turn it on and off. You can have up to 12 adapters set up.
    .
    They're rated for 15 amps resistive or general, 1,000 watts tungsten, 500VA electronic ballasts or 1/2 HP motors. So they handle the DF-50's just fine. Some reviews expressed concerns that it could be an entryway for someone to hack your wifi but, I really don't know how well founded that is. What I DO know is I was able to walk around anywhere in the building and could turn on and off the hazers. I even went in my office and watched the monitor for the security cam in the ballroom and saw that they were turning on and off. Pretty slick and I'm sure some people may find some ingenious uses for them. Things like turning on and off mirror balls in high ceilings and such.
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    There is a lot more you can do with them with respect to timers and turning things on and off in your home remotely and programming remains stored even if it's disconnected from the router so, I'm looking forward to using these over at Skyzone to control the hazers since they'll be a few hundred feet apart.

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    They're $19.88 and I bought all my local Home Depot had. I don't know that you'll see them until next Christmas. I know it falls under home automation devices which some people may already be quite familiar with and may have other sources for but, for the price and for how well it seems to be made and work, I figured I'd share.
    Last edited by Bradfo69; 10-08-2016 at 21:22.
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  2. #2
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    If someone wants to see how to use those units....
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDv...h4r3Lpd_dhqW1A

    BTW... if you were doing a show at a venue the venue would need
    to have a Wi-Fi hot spot for you to use those units or am I mistaken?

    Have you looked into the X10 products for your application needs ??


    Jerry
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  3. #3
    Bradfo69's Avatar
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    Hi Jerry, Thanks for that link to the video. I took some pics to add to the post but didn't have the cord to transfer them last night when I posted. I'm not familiar with X10. I think you would need to be able to get into the venues wifi or, you could potentially bring along your own router.
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    Hey Brad,

    I'm a big home automation fan and control over 100 mostly Insteon devices. Insteon is one of a few newer competing home / business automation protocols using a combination of wireless and over-AC power line communication. Insteon is fast and has good signal reliability. Each device you add only increases its reliability. The downside is that its relatively expensive. X10 is a much older power-line-only (usually) communication that is being phased out. I used X10 for my home automation starting about 15 years ago, but it was a lot of work to get a sufficient degree of reliability. The more devices you add, the less reliable it would get, requiring repeaters, zone bridges, and filters for just about every TV/amp/computer plugged into the space. As such, I'd say you don't want to implement X10, although I have lots of old or unused X10 devices I'd happily give you.

    I'd like to sell you on one of the newer protocols / devices like Insteon and ZWave, but these devices are significantly more expensive than what you are currently using. On the plus side, you can install them permanently in your venue (by replacing light switches and power outlets) and there is no limitation on the number of devices you can implement. All-in-all, for a small scale implementation like you are describing, you may be better off sticking with what you found. I would just keep in mind that those devices may not be around for long and you'll have to find an alternative when a device stops functioning.

    Finally in regards to security, this is an area of significant concern for modern home / business automation. Thieves have gotten smart about quietly hacking home automation systems and using things like automatic door locks, cameras and motion detectors to their advantage. I've been hacked by an ethical hacker in the past year and it was a good wake-up call to remind me to address security holes in my home network/software configuration that were introduced during a recent environment upgrade.

    Good luck with your install!

    -David
    "Help, help, I'm being repressed!"

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