Servo-Controlled IoT Light Switches

The Internet of Things is fun to play with; there’s all manner of devices to automate and control remotely. It can be sketchy, though — make a mistake when coding your automatic plant watering system and you could flood your house. Make a mistake with a space heater and you could burn it down. Combine these risks with the fact that many people live in rental properties, and it can be a difficult proposition to bring the Internet of Things to your home.

[Suyash] came up with a way around this by building 3D printed light switch covers that add servo control. It’s a great solution that it doesn’t require the modification of any mains wiring, and interfaces with the standard switches in the normal way. It makes it a lot safer this way — there are municipal wiring codes for a reason. This is a great example of what you can do with a 3D printer, above and beyond printing out Yoda heads and keychains.

The backend of things is handled by the venerable ESP8266, with [Suyash]’s custom IoT library known as conduit doing the heavy lifting. The library is a way to quickly build IoT devices with web interfaces, and [Suyash] claims it’s possible to be blinking an LED from the cloud within 5 minutes using the tool.

For another take on an IoT light switch, check out this Hackaday Prize entry from 2016.

25 thoughts on “Servo-Controlled IoT Light Switches

  1. A bit intrusive on the side, maybe a linear actuator on something like a bubble wand (stick with a loop on the end) screwed below the switch? Thinking of a floppy head or CD lens mechanism: And have the screw drive be shallow grooved so when you manually toggle the switch, the wand can reposition without extra effort

    1. Interesting idea, particularly with the shallow grooved screw in the actuator! Could be cool because the switch itself would be less obstructed, but I’m also toying around with ideas for a wider “fork” (or one with a steeper angle) to allow the device to switch the light in the proper direction and then return to a neutral position where it could be switched manually as suggested by some folks below!

  2. Sweet! Glad to see this on here. I used the conduit library a few days ago and it really does only take a couple minutes to start interacting with your ESP8266 device from a web interface and/or API.

  3. This a cool little gizmo. My one change would be to make the fork thing bigger and have the servo go into a neutral position. This way the light switch can also be manually turned on/off.

      1. Yeah, manual switching could be improved–however since the servo is unpowered when not undergoing state changes, the switch *can* be manually toggled but likely isn’t great for the servo. The button addition as described is coming soon (along with an apple watch app to make switching easier)!

      2. Yeah, manual switching could be improved–however since the servo is unpowered when not undergoing state changes, the switch *can* be manually toggled but likely isn’t great for the servo. The button addition as described is coming soon (along with an apple watch app to make switching easier)!

        @Pete, I think a neutral position may actually also be workable if the prongs are widened and the angles changes–good idea!

  4. What about those “big flat” switches? In that case would need only a standard servo, with an arm placed perpendicular to the flat switch, and there would be an easy, not bang, neutral to user usage.

  5. I have a decora switch in my office (the big flat one mentioned above) and I just used scotch mounting tape, a $2 Chinese hobby servo, and a $5 Arduino Uno and it works over serial… Right now I have it toggled by a Amazon Dash button at my desk… The sketch waits for a 0 or a 1 to be received via the serial interface and then moves the servo to the on or off position and then returns to center so the switch can be actuated manually. I’m using an old laptop as a serial to telnet server but this could be made standalone if I really wanted to… works well enough as is…

    Here’s a video.

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