El cheapo mains remote

Dr Hoo

New Member
Hi All

I don't know if it will interest anyone, but I've just been into my local Morrisons (UK supermarket) and they are selling these for £5.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/EcoSaver-Ecosavers-remote-controlled-sockets/dp/B001FTNENU/ref=pd_sim_sbs_ce_2

You can get the remote and one socket for £2 which is cheaper than an M&S cheese sandwich ;). It's actually branded as Status model KCS-K09

I just need the case for another project, but the parts are even worth more than 2 quid!

It looks like someone has had a good hack at similar ones already.
http://www.sconemad.com/deconstruction/remote_outlet/article/
 

ciseco

Senior Member
I would have thought they'll use 433mhz (most of these things do) so you could probably control them directly without even hacking the remote. I've an ardunio + ?5 data module that controls the cheap ?11 B&Q jobbies, the code is so basic a picaxe could do it with abslute ease.

I wonder if they were made in the uk, dippy...over to you :D
________
box vaporizer
 
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Dippy

Moderator
Prognosticating can make you deaf and blind. (Pardon?)

They are bound to be of the highest quality.
And they are bound to use the highest quality components and materials.
And they are bound to conform to all Euro and UK safety standards.
And you will never check to see the standards are genuine or whether the CE marking is valid, because you can't be bothered and are tightfisted and lazy - just like me. :)

Is that OK or do you want some more... ;)
 
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inglewoodpete

Senior Member
Are they the ones where the relay contacts occasionally weld together when switched with a load of 20W? (but they claim to be rated at 10A/230W)
 

Dippy

Moderator
Firstly, I have never used these or similar.

The Amazon advert implies you plug these into the wall socket and then your 'Whatever'(e.g. TV) into it.
When you have finished with your TV you then have to hunt around for the Ecosaver remote and press the button.
This disconnects the Mains from your TV so no TV standby consumption.

Is that right so far?

How do you switch your TV back on?
Do you have to press a tit on the wall-unit to allow power to your TV? (A)
Or do you press a button on the remote? (B)

IF (A) then
What a pain in the neck if your wall socket is somewhere awkward.
Elseif (B) then
The ad claiming "No electricity is wasted while the appliance is not in use." = Borrocks.
ENDIF

After doing a lot of work on a Mains switching/metering unit I learnt 3 things.
1. It IS possible to have very low standby power levels with H.E power conversion , well under half a watt.
2. There IS a new-ish directive for very low stand-by powers so new equipment will be efficient and you won't need this cheapo stuff.

And the other thing that I have had confirmed...
That is:- If it's cheap enough then who gives a damn about quality, safety and standards.
That's disappointing , but helps certain places become No.1.
... and people will stop using them regularly very soon, especially when the remote battery runs out or gets mislaid or it breaks.
 

marcos.placona

Senior Member
I don't use it for TV myself, as I reckon the remote control serves the same purposes, and the energy saved by switching the whole thing off won't really be worth the effort of having to switch the plugs and then hitting the V remote to really turn it on.

However, I use it where the plugs are in awkward places I'd have to stretch to be able to switch it. My wall plug switches are always on, but these things "control" that whatever is plugged to it, will only work when I've hit the clicker and switched it on.

Works nicely for all the paraphernalia I have connected to my un-switched extension lead.
 

Dippy

Moderator
Ah, so it is powered then?

What is the power consumption of the ECO socket device ?

As a slight aside, some of those cheap X10 devices are disappointing (and poorly manufactured). But as all this green stuff is trendy then we believe any old carp.
 

Michael 2727

Senior Member
These have been available in OZ for a few years, under various brand names,
Jackson, Power Tran and others.

I've had one on my TV for a couple of years, corrected, since 29/03/2006
http://www.picaxeforum.co.uk/showthread.php?t=4206&highlight=transmitter
and it's still going strong.

I bought another few some months back, different brand, I accidently blew up
the onboard PCB fuse twice. It had M205 fuse Clip mounting holes as well so
I put PCB Clips and a M205 5A Fuse in for next time ~ ;o)

Mine are rated at 1000W, so speed-3 on my electric fan heater is well over
that limit, I usually only have it on speed-1, Duh!.

BTW my Old and New ones are interchangable re: the remotes, same channels work.
 

hippy

Senior Member
my local Morrisons are selling these for £5.
I went to Morrisons this week and bought two sets!
Asda also has them for a fiver
I suppose the number one question is; are Morissons' and Asda's identical units ?

Number two; has anyone taken them apart ( remote and controller ) yet to see what's in them, determined how useful they are for re-purposing and using them with a PICAXE ?

Would be nice to know before we all go shopping on Saturday :)
 

fernando_g

Senior Member
Last Christmas, my wife purchased a similar unit to control the outside lights. Three units with a three-channel remote, for only US$23.
She actually purchased two sets, but returned one set since one of the slave units in the set was DOA.

Made of course, you know where. They have a relay which makes such a wimpy click when activated, that I'm pretty sure it will melt down if loaded to half its 1000 watt rating.
But since my maximum load is about 90 watts, I believe I'm safe, for now.
Let's see if they still work this Christmas...
 

Haku

Senior Member
My nearest Morrisons didn't have any :( I guess the store is too small as it has almost nothing in the way of home electrics, and the nearest Asda is twice as far away
 

eclectic

Moderator
I suppose the number one question is; are Morissons' and Asda's identical units ?

Number two; has anyone taken them apart ( remote and controller ) yet to see what's in them, determined how useful they are for re-purposing and using them with a PICAXE ?

Would be nice to know before we all go shopping on Saturday :)
A partial answer to the first question
(Hopefully, Marcos can supply similar info. for his ASDA units)

One of the units (M) was from the “bargain-corner”
originally labelled at £14.99
The second (S) was from the electrical section.

One sender can program and
operate any four of the receivers,
but sender2 then has no effect.

Resetting and programming, using sender2
works fine, with sender1 now having no effect.

Practically, I can now run two “banks”
of three receivers, without interference.
Perfect for my shed/workshop.

If there are any left, I'll buy a couple more
for disassembly
during next week's shopping

e

Hmm? I've crossed posts with the Doctor!
I'm a bit slow.
In fact, I'm re-Tardised. :-(
 

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eclectic

Moderator
As I'm of a nervous disposition,
(aka coward),
can I ask one of the grown-ups
a serious question?

re. the Doctor's post #17,
image 13 (the inside of the receiver).

Any qualified opinions?
I'm looking for example at the Earth pin.

e
 

hippy

Senior Member
Thanks both. Re the Earth pin; hard to say. That could be a solid receptacle so the equipment mains plug goes into that which connects straight to the earth of the wall socket. That would probably be safe. There are CE certificates on the web from the manufacturer, with the usual caveats like MoT, only apply at that time for the batch tested.

I was perhaps hoping too much that they might have separate TX or RX boards that could be pulled out and re-used but I might be able to think of a use for them - though got rid of my X10 kit because I couldn't !
 

Dr Hoo

New Member
Re the Earth pin; hard to say. That could be a solid receptacle so the equipment mains plug goes into that which connects straight to the earth of the wall socket.
Yip the earth plugs straight through. Just like an extension pin if you like
 

boriz

Senior Member
“press a tit on the wall-unit” – Like Basil Fawlty?

I have seen stuff like this for sale, of various designs, from various sources for a long time. And every time I thought... I could do that quite easily with a Picaxe for a fraction of the price.

If it’s a new idea, then it’s probably overpriced. And if it can be done with a Picaxe + a few discretes, then it’s probably hugely overpriced. And if you wait a year or two, it will find it’s proper market value anyway, thanks mainly to China. (Sorry Dippy)
 

boriz

Senior Member
I was in Poundland the other day, in the tool department, looking at a display of big hard metal things. Like chisels, hammers, adjustable spanners, crowbars, etc.

I noticed a man beside me was also looking, shaking his head. I think it was his first time in Poundland. He said with what seemed to be a startling combination of disbelief and resignation, “How can they make this for a pound?”.

I began to say something about China, exchange rates, economies of scale etc, but he just drifted off like he wasn’t listening. It was then that I realised it was a rhetorical question and I was actually talking shite.

If a Chinese factory can manufacture crowbars and ship them to England and sell them for £1 and still make a profit, then why can’t a British factory do the same? What’s special about China?

Maybe there is a ‘Quality gap’. But obviously it seems to be what the people want. Why can’t European manufacturers respond to what people want?

Obviously, you can’t manufacture the part without paying the machine operator, and he/she needs to get paid enough to in turn pay for housing/food/heating. So why is housing/food/heating so much more expensive here than in China?
 

Dippy

Moderator
"I began to say something about China, exchange rates, economies of scale etc, but he just drifted off like he wasn’t listening. It was then that I realised it was a rhetorical question and I was actually talking shite."
- maybe he was too polite to tell you? :):)

Is this why you have asked for a Forum section where 'anything goes'?
I'm in two minds about such a section. Nice idea and has been mentioned before , but I can see some problems.

But, on a serious note and back to your subject:-
People could write a hundred page essay on this subject as it is complex.
Sure a manufacturer will pay their employees an amount varying from b-all to a little bit more. depends on the manufacturer and it depends on 'waht they can get away with'.
What are the manufacturer's overheads?
Are they being susidised by their Government?
Is this bankrupt stock?
So many options and you'll get so many replies and explantions... and few will get read properly... and none will be remembered....
 

BeanieBots

Moderator
Obviously, you can’t manufacture the part without paying the machine operator, and he/she needs to get paid enough to in turn pay for housing/food/heating. So why is housing/food/heating so much more expensive here than in China?
I take it you've never been to China or researched their way of life:rolleyes:

Also, many items found in poundland DON'T make a profit. They tend to be end-of-line, surplus stock, bankruptcy stock or even knock-offs and/or seconds.
 
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hippy

Senior Member
My local Morrissons had sold out of the 3-pack plus remote, but I got a couple of single plus remote; seems the A23 12V battery will be more expensive to replace than each cost!

The remote is just one chip, wireless included, 16-pin SMT Holtek. Looks like "HT46R01T3", but that doesn't match datasheets - the light and my eyes aren't up to better at present !

The socket has an LM358 & Co detecting RF and a "KX-002" doing the decoding. From a link posted earlier that may be a rebadged PICmicro. Powering off 5V and monitoring between the two might be interesting, or just watching with a 433MHz receiver module. Note that only live is switched, not neutral.

Either I'll think of a use or they'll make cheap stocking fillers for Christmas :)
 

hippy

Senior Member
Watching the transmitter (RCT-08) with a 'bog standard 433MHz receiver module' with an arbitrary assignment for 0 and 1 coding based on short or long high in the data stream ...

0 = 300us high + 900us low
1 = 900us high + 300us low

About 9ms between repeated transmissions while button held.

Codes for each button seem to be repeatable with no rolling codes or other encoding, no CRC or any checksum bit(s). Each remote control has a unique ID.

25 bits in total, with Bit 0 as last bit sent, approximately, E&OE ...

bits 24-21 : Header ( 4-bits = zero, zero, zero, one )
bits 20-5 : Unique ID for remote control ( 16-bits )
bits 4-1 : Button code / command ( 4-bits )
bit 0 : Always zero ( 1-bit = zero )

It should be possible to decode the received stream using a faster PICAXE; perhaps interrupt on a rising edge, delay and check if the bit is still high or not, simply shuffle those bits through a word register or two. Could use a ~2ms timing-out RC interrupt to trigger 'packet just received'; lsb's in the word variable indicate what the key press was, msb's used to verify packet is valid.

Perhaps more interestingly, it should be possible to generate the bit stream from a PICAXE with a standard 433MHz transmitter module. That would allow control of a lot of sockets.

Maybe the real usability / usefulness issue is how readily available the units are, whether this was a cheap WIGIG deal and that's the end of it. Given prices, £4.99 for three plus remote, £1.99 for one plus remote, it's probably worth buying three of the later, just a pound extra for two spare remotes plus batteries. Any socket can be controlled by any remote, multiple sockets can be controlled by any remote, sockets cannot be controlled by multiple remotes.

Note this only applies to the Morrisons' Status(R) RCT-08 and RCS-K09. No idea if the Asda units are the same.
 

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hippy

Senior Member
Decoding the RCT-08 remote using a standard 433MHz receiver module and 20X2 :)

Typical output ...

0001 <0110 0000 0111 1011> <1000> 0 Remote=$607B All Off
0001 <0110 0000 0111 1011> <1111> 0 Remote=$607B 1 On
0001 <0110 0000 0111 1011> <1111> 0 Remote=$607B 1 On
0001 <0110 0000 0111 1011> <0111> 0 Remote=$607B 1 Off

0001 <0011 1110 1111 0000> <1000> 0 Remote=$3EF0 All Off
0001 <0011 1110 1111 0000> <1000> 0 Remote=$3EF0 All Off
 

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hippy

Senior Member
Out of stock at Asda but as they are labelled on the shelf as "Status" I'd guess they would have been the same. Found some nice £2 LCD alarm clocks with temperature display in Asda so not an entirely wasted venture. QD also stock some "Status" brand but no wireless mains controllers I could see. If Signalex knock out a clone I'd expect to find them some time in Poundland.

Anyway, back from shopping and the great RF saga continues. Attached is code for controlling the sockets from a 20X2 using a 433MHz transmitter module. The sockets have to be programmed from the remotes first and the correct remote's ID must be used within the program.

Bit-timing could be tightened up but works for me and there should be some slackness in the receiver.

Apart from working out how to utilise the receiver other than in the socket module, as they say at the end of all classic movies; "My work here is done". It's been a fun weekend's project.
 

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John West

Senior Member
A quick note on China:
The folks at Foxcom (who make most of the cellphones and I-whatevers) recently got a 30% raise - that brings them up to about 75 cents US per hour. They can live on that because they live in (and pay to rent) company dorm rooms close beside the production facility and they eat in company cafeterias. No cars are necessary. Company life. It's considered a step up from village life out in the countryside.
 

Dippy

Moderator
Does that apply to most of Chinese Companies?

And then we have US and Europe saying that China is keeping it's currency artificially low to keep their export prices low. But , of course, all Governments are too frightened to say anything just in case it upsets them.
So, that's another subject that we can't discuss. What's Cantonese for "They have us by the short and curlies." ?
They're doing the quietest bit of Empire building the world has ever seen.
 

hippy

Senior Member
Edited : had 0V/5V to wrong legs on U3, swapped - The following is now correct

"The force is strong in this one, Yoda; he has a repurpose in life" ...

Disconnect switch-socket from mains, cover the prongs with the plastic protectors, open the unit, remove the two PCB screws, fold PCB out.

Connect 0V to leg 1 of what would be U3 ( an Eeprom by the looks of things )

Connect +5V to leg 8 of U3

Connect scope probe to leg 11 of KX-002 ( second leg from edge of board on resonator side ) and to 0V.

When you press the remote buttons you'll see a perfectly decoded command as an RF receiver module outputs ( as in Post #28 ). This is the LM358 & Co working as an RF receiver, that's the leg into the KX-002 which does definitely look like it's an 18-pin PICmicro. Everything works as would be expected except there's no power for the relay so it doesn't switch.

Leg 12 seems to be the Relay Drive, active high, +V when switched on, 0V when switched off. Presumably tracks go down to the transistors near the relay.

Haven't fully investigated but looks to be based on a standard transformerless supply, big blue cap as a reactance ( resistor in AC terms ), dropping 240V to a 24V supply for relay and 5V zener supply for LM358, KX-002 and U3. Seems to draw just 1mA from the 5V, 3mA when LED on. Should be possible to inject 24V and have the relay and chips working. Chips seem to work down to about 3V5.

So there's two potential uses apart from what it was designed for; a cheap 433MHz receiver module or a wireless controlled logic-level switch.

Code:
                KX-002
             .----__----.
       0V -->| 1     18 |--> LED
       +V -->| 2     17 |-
            -| 3     16 |--- XTAL
    Reset -->| 4     15 |--- XTAL
       0V ---| 5     14 |--- +V
  I2C SDA <->| 6     13 |-
  I2C SCL <->| 7     12 |--> Relay Drive
Button In -->| 8     11 |<-- RF In
   I2C WP <--| 9     10 |-
             `----------'
Leg 1 fits with being Vref-
Leg 2 fits with being Vref+
Legs 3, 10, 13 and 17 Not Connected
 
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hippy

Senior Member
And just for reference, and to save anyone else from having to measure it; when powered from mains, the LM358, KX-002, U3 supply is 4V5.

It's definitely not advisable nor recommended to use these as transformerless supplies for PICAXE or any other projects; don't.
 

Andrew Cowan

Senior Member
I can confirm that the Adsa units are the same - labelled Status RCS-K09 for the multi pack (£5). I'd imagine that the missing EEPROM (U3) is to remember the commands - I have some B&Q switchers (more expensive), and they remember their codes even when unplugged. This seems like a very simple safe way of control a 240v device - the 'magic box' Dr Acula was looking for the other day.

Andrew
 

Dippy

Moderator
In the interests of safety have you checked that they have Euro and UK 'Approval' and that they are CE?
Have you checked the Approvals and CE are valid?
I only ask as these are SO cheap ans Status is such a well known brand name (NOT!).
 
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