My New Kinetic Light Switches

Here’s something new (for some of us at least). I’ve been struggling with faulty hall wiring for some time since another room rewire – well, not faulty, more disconnected. The problem is while I can easily seal up the original wiring with just one hole in the (flat roof) ceiling and acquire new power from elsewhere, the two interlocking wall switches are another matter – they go up inside stone walls and into the ceiling space at each end of the hall … not a problem but for the flat roof and the fact that I have no idea where the two of them meet up.

I’d really rather not dismantle the entire hall ceiling to find out where the switch wiring meets the power and there is no way to get to the switches or the wiring from above. My choices were boiling down to one – some kind of battery powered remote switches – and how would I do changeover? two circuits?

Battery free remote switching

Well, I trawled through EBay and I have what I believe to be a sensible solution. One small mains powered receiver (not a problem as I have to provide power to the LED ceiling lighting anyway) and two cordless, self-powered (no batteries) switches. And they work spectacularly well.  Go to Amazon and pay £30 for the privilege or EBay for £15 the lot as I did (inc. post).

As you can see, SIMPLES, initially hold down the button on the round receiver for 3 seconds – then press each switch for the same amount of time and they are paired. It is that simple (10 seconds on the receiver to forget the switches).

How does this work? Kinetics! Pressing a switch normally produces enough electricity to send a short radio signal – claims for distance with radio kit are usually not worth a light (20-30 metres indoors), so suffice it to say I put the switches at one end of my large office and the receiver at the other end – everything worked completely reliably.

Check out “Wireless Remote Control Kinetic Self-powered No Battery Wall Light Smart Switch” on EBay, they were from the first place I came to. Saved my bacon, that’s all I have for now, more once the install is complete. I hope this gets someone else out of the same jam I was in.

Assuming this works well, I have some shelf lighting to add, I may do the same thing.

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31 thoughts on “My New Kinetic Light Switches

  1. With living in an apartment with similar solid wall, I've been using Enocean energy harvester switches which are basically the same. Using their USB received I get the data directly into Node-red and can switch lights on and off. Had a bit more work that you and cost wise as I needed to make my own mount for them but I designed it to go over the existing light switches which stopped people switching them on and off.
    I also found some 433Mhz versions on BangGood but not yet ordered any. For now I also use 433Mhz touch panels I found on BangGood. This is the wireless kinetic ones I found but not yet ordered to try them out.
    https://www.banggood.com/433MHz-123-Key-Stairway-Remote-Control-Light-Switch-p-1399883.html?rmmds=search&ID=46920&cur_warehouse=CN

    1. They are - I was thinking of that, it's a long time since I used RFLINK - I now have it attached to a combined MEGA/ESP8266 board so no more Respberry Pi serial worries - but I've yet to tackle the software side.

      1. Just to say that the RTL_433 setup using the SDR dongle (which I think has been discussed here previously) seems to pick up all the cheap 433mhz switches and sensors that I have acquired and again it avoids using serial connectors. It seems to acquire a great deal of sensors locally (mainly tyre pressure gauges) but if you are selective over the protocols deciphered you can eliminate most of the chatter.

          1. Receive only - I only use wifi and Lora for transmission and by serial I meant avoiding the Node Red serial node which has occasionally given me problems but as you say the physical interfaces are indeed serial otherwise there would be no S in USB.

    2. I just set up a Sonoff RF Bridge with Tasmota. Apparently it can receive many 433Mhz switches and sensors but only send codes to 16 devices. Simple setup but I had some trouble flashing the device. 57600 baud worked for me after a couple tries. Sends codes to NodeRed which are easily redirected to whatever.

      The kinetic devices sound great but at the price I think I may stick with the battery powered versions from BG and others at around $4.

      1. i prefer Espurna to Tasmota for sonoff rf bridge, and i did the DIRECT hack on espurna wiki to enable MUCH more devices support, bypassing the internal signal generator and using the other lib that the hack allows to use...

        and Espurna has a better web gui, which allows easily to learn and associate codes... and the limit is only if you go directly via their web guis, if you post payloads via nodered there's no limit...

        https://github.com/xoseperez/espurna/wiki/Hardware-Itead-Sonoff-RF-Bridge---Direct-Hack

          1. i know that but... if something works, why messing with it? Tasmota is adding TONS of new options, but in the end, if you have a sonoff basic hidden somewhere that just turns on and off a lamp, why bother updating it?

  2. I bought one of these to play with a while ago and tried decoding the 433MHz signals, but with no joy.
    It’s the first 433MHz device that’s stumped me so far, so I’d love to hear if anyone is able to make sense of the output that they generate.

    Pete.

  3. I have various cheap Aliexpress 433 MHz wall switches that I have at home for "woman friendly" integration with my home automation. I receive the 433MHz signal on my ESP8266 based 433 to MQTT gateway and then have rules set up in "Pimatic" on my Raspberry Pi for dealing with switching lights etc on and off.

    The wall switches were only a few quid and each transmit a unique number which I just 'sniff' with my RF to MQTT gateway I found on github: -

    https://github.com/1technophile/OpenMQTTGateway

    To get full coverage at home I have multiple 433 to MQTT esp8266 devices as they can be all used at the same time as they all share the same MQTT topics. Parts cost is low as it's just a WEMOS D1 Mini plus a 433 RX module and 433 TX module and wire antenna.

    In my holiday chalet, I only need a single 433 to MQTT gateway as it's a small place with thin walls but at home, I have a larger area to cover. Improving the antenna in the wall switches helps though.

    All the above means I can switch lights etc from my phone, from a web page or from a wall switch keeping 'er indoors happy and no need to tap into the 240v mains as the wall switches have a tiny internal battery.

    Here's the kind of switch I use: -

    https://www.aliexpress.com/item/86-Wall-Panel-Wireless-Remote-Transmitter-1-2-3-Channel-Sticky-RF-TX-Smart-For-Home/32793117889.html

    I just add a coiled antenna inside to improve the range. The larger KERUI panic buttons have much better range as standard though - without any modification being necessary - these are my favourite:-

    https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Free-Shipping-Wireless-Panic-Button-Emergency-Button-For-Home-Alarm-System-Security-Emergency-Calling-Doorbell-System/32292189468.html

    1. Hi Darren thanks for your post it looks like it can solve an issue I had. Could you tell me RF receiver you use with your Wemos D1 to form the RF -WiFi bridge please.

      1. These are the 433 RX and TX modules I use.

        https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1pair-2pcs-433mhz-rf-transmitter-and-receiver-kit-For-Wireless-Power-switch-socket-remote-control-LED/32311933574.html

        You want the ones that say "superheterodyne" as the cheaper smaller ones don't work so well - lower range.

        I use instructions found online somewhere to cut to a tuned length a coiled solid wire antenna for both the transmitter and receiver as this makes a massive difference to range.

        I buy small coiled wire antennas for soldering inside the wall switches to increase their transmission range - you could try these on the 433 tx/rx units above too but as there is not the same size restriction for an external antenna on the 'RF MQTT gateway box' like there is on an antenna that has to be hidden inside the casing of the wall push switch, I take the opportunity for making either a longer wire antenna or using a proper 'rubber duck' antenna tuned for 433MHz.

        https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/5PCS-Set-433MHZ-Helical-Antenna-coil-for-Arduino-Remote-Control-w/183126343273

        As DrFragle and MrShark says - there are two types, a cheaper type that isn't so good and the super heterodynes ones that are better.

  4. My kingdom for kinetic energy harvester modules attached to programmable 433 RF Signal transmitters (or random codes hard coded). These plus an RF Bridge means unlimited self-powered switches anywhere within radio frequency reach... extra switches for garage doors, lights, fans, everything. An ESP at the light, a switch wherever you want it. I can’t find these! The switches you found are like $15 each and they’re paired with encryption to those receivers. Why can’t we have open source, cheap, self-powered RF buttons?

      1. Those are pretty close, but they must be battery powered, right? They say they're low power consumption, but nothing about where it comes from (battery or kinetic self-powered)

        1. Yes, these ones (I use them) have a tiny battery inside - I'm still on my original batteries as they last a long time as they're only consuming power for the duration of the button press.

      2. Darren,
        Are the above models kinetic or do you need a battery ?
        Description is not clear. It says "low power consumption"

        It says that it learns codes. So how did you teached a code to yours ? You need a transmitter to generate a reference code ?

        Thanks

        1. The learning codes thing is incorrect as far as I know. Mine had pre-stores numeric codes, per switch, which I detected using my 433 to MQTT gateway and then just associated rules with in my mqtt driven home automation system. I am not aware of a way of making them learn codes although I have used 433MHz devices in the past that do have such a facility where you put them into learn mode and they learn the next code they receive. I think in this instance the documentation is incorrect and they are fixed code only.

            1. Given the higher prices of the kinetic switches and the apparent very long battery life of the cheap wall switches, I am really happy with my cheap battery powered switches. They have been in daily use at home for over a year. I am rolling out more of these as part of the continual evolution of my two home automation installations

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