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Why no bluetooth controlled power switch exist ?

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Hello experts !

I am an engineer in Computer Science (the software developper type, not the electronic freak type).

I am currently working (not my final year project or so ...) for an engineer school on a smart wheelchair for disabled people.
I was thinking of implementing a way to control lights and other apparatus through a mobile phone bluetooth connection. The good thing with Bluetooth (compared to wifi network) is the possibility to locally detect the surrounding available bluetooth connections.

However, I was astonished not to find a single Bluetooth controlled power switch (or plug if you prefer). The idea would be to give the possibility to remotely switch on or off any object plugged into this switch from a bluetooth remote control (any phone could be used as remote control ...)
I was wondering if any of you knew why no company ever produced such an object.
(I was thinking of giving this project to an student in electronic... but I want to be sure of the feasability and interest before. I assume that if none ever did that, there may be some reasons).

- Would the Bluetooth communication chip consume too much current ?
- Would it cost too much to add a Bluetooth communication chip ?
- Any other reason I did not mention ?

I found moreless a porential way to start for the student on this page:
**broken link removed** . It would not be much different from that I guess....

Thanks for your time and considerations !
Hi nomiSch,
Have you learned of any Bluetooth controlled power switch since posting? I would want one too, so that I can instruct a phone to turn appliances on and off, just like in your wheelchair user scenario.
Best, Bjørn T
They make ZigBee & Zwave power switches. Bluetooth is a very small network 7 device I think it's also just fast enough for stereo audio. The others are mesh capable & 65536 device (low speed perfect for switches and such)
We need to reinstall the power lines and keep a blue-tooth receiver at the power switch end. This receiver needs installation with power eliminator and act as blue-tooth receiver end. Our typical mobile blue-tooth is 10 m range. so within a room's diagonal it can work effectively. In this case each room switch board should be equipped with a receiver(cost involved). A single mobile application can pair as many blue-tooth receiver and communicate with it. We need to perform some minor programs to the blue-tooth receiver and board receiver.
Hello people !

I almost forgot about this topic !

I finally developped myself a custom powerstrip (on a single powerstrip, I can have multiple plugs). This powerstrip is controlled via Bluetooth and a small electronic card (similar to an arduinoBT). You can see a picture of the actual prototype in attachment.

I also developped a simple Windows Mobile application to control the powerstrip. The software automatically detects the surrounding devices and updates them. Turning on/off a plug is almost instantaneous, however, detecting a new powerstrip takes about 10 seconds.

This technology would cost too much to be inserted into each lightswitch of a house, but it could be inserted in switchboard with multiple light switchs. In this manner, one bluetooth receiver controls multiple devices and hence the cost is reduced.

You also need to be aware that only 7 bluetooth connection can coexist at the same time ... thus if you have more devices, you potentially have to reconnect to a device (5-10 seconds).

So for small installation, it is really good.

Advantages of the BT powerstrip
- Simple powerstrip system, plug and play
- No environemental impact (no new cables, no holes in the walls, no installation)
- Implicit localization
- Bluetooth available on most smartphones

- Battery consumption on the smartphone side
- Limited to 7 devices simultaneously (but can control more with delays)
- Detection and first connection delays (7-10 seconds)

One single powerstrip prototype cost about 40 Euros to produce; however this cost could be reduced with an industrial production.

I have not extensively searched for company willing to develop my product .... as it was mere a proof of concept and an add-on to the wheelchair control mechanism.

Hope that helps and clarify a bit the subject !


  • BTSwitch.png
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I have an application that this type of set up may well work, What I need to know is if you could please tell me i its range, security and also if the tecnology could be used under license. Thank you
Hello !

The range in practice is about 10-15 meters. Could be enhanced by using a different Bluetooth module I guess.

Concerning security; not much has been done yet, but it would not be too problematic to include some security in the communication protocol.

Concerning the license, I guess so; depending on your application and the agreements.

If you are still interested; you can contact me by private message so I can send you my mail address.
Bluetooth has a range of 30'. There are applications out there that basically use the web browser on the cell phone and WIFI in the house. That gives you good coverage area. The iPAD, iPhone and Android markets are opening up other stuff such as TV programming etc.
Another issue with Bluetooth is phone can only pair with one device at a time. There is a BT car key alert on the market that pairs with your cellphone so if you start to drive off and forgot your phone the keychain alarm sounds. Problem is if you have a BT hands free speaker phone in your car you have to manually drop the keychain and reconnect with speakerphone. Real pain.
A few more informations:

The device has not been commercially produced. The built prototype is still in use for our researxh & development applications in various projects. It is always useful to be able to turn ON/OFF appliances from a Smartphone or a server.

The idea here was to have a simple setup. The advantage of Bluetooth is its implicit localization, you will only see and have access to the devices that are close to you; in the room you are cureently.

@RCinFLA : I can control/access up to 7 BTSwitch simultaneously through the phone. Meaning that I can control up to 7*4= 28 plugs/appliances simultanously and control them with no delay once paired. The 1 device limit also depends on which type of protocol you use. Of course, pairing multiple devices takes a bit more time than only one device.

Concerning the ZibBee and Zwave protocols; if Smartphone could use those protocols, I would have used those but unfortunately most of the Smartphone do not ! Indeed Bluetooth is not as good as those I would say, it is just a standard.
IR may be an alternative way to go,,, IV seen on tv a institute of some sort where they use eye sensor as a PCmouse, and RFID used to open doors and turn lights for wheel chairs, i think..
Hi I am very interested in doing a similar thing, could you send me the circuit plans and components if you have any (and still have them [: )
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hi nomiSch

Here is the a module named Blueswitch which can be connected with the existing wiring without removing the existing switches. and it can control 7 outputs of AC or DC which ever you give input. it has android, Windows and Linux Software which you can which your electrical s in your preferred way. you can get it for cheap price. for details[MODNOTE]Deleted link[/MODNOTE]

here is the demo video
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Hi Blueswitch,

I am very interested in the product you said above, would you mind give me your contacts, such as MSN or others which are available? Is it possible for me to purchase it? Maybe we could talk more about it.:D
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