Door Bell Used To Reset WiFi Router

We’ve all have had to reset our routers or modems at some point because they were acting up. The typical scenario is; unplug the device, wait 30 seconds, plug it back in and wait for it to boot back up. While not hard, this can be an annoyance, especially if accessing the router or power cord is inconvenient. [Taylor] wrote in to tell us about his wireless router that seems to need to be reset more than he’d like. Although the simplest solution may be to get a new router, he thought it would be fun to do something a little more exciting by making a wireless reset controller.

[Taylor] started with an ordinary power strip. He spliced in a relay to the hot side of the AC line, connected to the common and normally-closed pins of the relay. That way, when the relay is not activated, the power strip is powered. Next, a wireless doorbell was re-purposed to act as the transmitter and receiver. The speaker was removed and the output lines connected to a mono-stable 555 timer circuit that [Taylor] made. When the circuit receives a signal from the door bell speaker lines, it will activate the relay for about 30 seconds. Since the relay was wired to supply voltage to the power strip when not activated, activating the relay cuts the power for 30 seconds effectively resetting the router. Now, whenever the router needs a reset, doing so is as easy as pushing the door bell button from anywhere in the house.

48 thoughts on “Door Bell Used To Reset WiFi Router

  1. Why switch the high voltage AC line when the lower voltage 5v or 12v line into the router could have been switched much more safely? Nice hack in the ‘because you can’ category, but using a timer to power cycle the router each night at 2am might be more practical. Glad to see the 555 used and not an Arduino :-)

    1. Yep, $3.00 light timer, it drops power to the router and cable modem every night at 3:00am for 5 minutes (smallest time division the timer has) works great, actually turns comcast into a semi reliable service!

          1. This is a pre-emptive tactic to refresh the router *before* it messes up. You hope the router can maintain a stable connection for more than 24 hours, so power cycling it at *any* point in a 24 hour period will do the trick. Pick any time that you are normally asleep. If you still have issues – it’s new router time :-)

      1. I have an AspireONE with a crap Atheros wifi chipset that doesn’t like my old Linksys Router (or the newer netgear that originally replaced it (or the Western Digital that replaced the netgear)) and the only way to get the Aspire to connect is by reseting the router so a timer based solution wouldn’t work for me.

        In my situation I’m making due with old hardware until it annoys me enough to crack the Aspire open to replace the Atheros card with an Intel-based card I’ve heard works.

        Wireless doorbell hack is likely cheaper and easier than replacing the router or wifi card. Personally I was thinking of pulling out my old insteon hardware out and setting up a RaspPi webserver to reset the router… but still all that for a crap wifi chipset. PITA.

    2. I tried to switch the dc but I ran into a few issues and just decided to cut my losses and switch the ac. I must’ve sliced into the dc of the router and modem 4 times.

      1. I’d be interested to know the issues you had when you tried to switch the DC line since doing this is on my list of projects. Any insight based on your experience would be appreciated.

        PS. I clicked Report comment link – it was a mistake.

        1. For dc I had to tap into both supplies which would mean two relays. This caused a misfire with the relays. Definitely don’t want that. I could’ve tied ground together and used one that way but I just got fed up with splicing into their supplies.

  2. This reminds me of my arduino+nRF24 -based home lighting control setup in which the light switch next to the main entrance is connected to the Arduino node through cables that, for about 2 metres, run through the same conduit as the analog door bell cables. Whenever someone rings the bell the Arduino resets and on occasions it even goes totally crazy seeminly executing random parts of the sketch in a loop, until power-cycled. I’m yet to try adding a capacitor to try to fix this.

    1. Tried twisted, shielded pair for the control wires to the Arduino? I imagine there’s a huge amount of RF noise on the line – caps may not help, but inductors, twisting, and shielding will.

        1. 4 years ? My WRT54s are running 24/24h for 10 years using openwrt. The only reason I’m now thinking about “upgrading” is that they don’t support 5GHz wi-fi and the 2.5GHz band is getting crowded , so I’ll probably just use the latter for the ESP8266’s

    1. My router is OK, but the ADSL modem isn’t. I have a crappy connection from the phone company. Not sure what the negotiation is, but when it drops carrier and comes back it sometimes requires a restart to get it to complete the connection from the computers to the Internet.

      I have considered using some wireless lamp controller for this, but it has only one control box and sometimes I just need the walk. I have also thought about using an Arduino to watch the status lights and restart the modem when it gets into the stupid drunk mode, where every request gets echoed, but no data seems like is being transferred.

  3. Unless that’s a wireless doorbell that has a decoder chip, anyone in the neighborhood will a similar frequency doorbell can give him a personalized DNS attack by ringing their own doorbell.

  4. It’s a cool hack, but seems a bit overkill for what it’s accomplishing. I had the same type of problem and hooked up a Christmas light remote controlled outlet to my router. Click off, wait 30 seconds, then click on. Problem solved for something like $5 on clearance in January.

    1. It’s a 555 timer and a ten dollar doorbell. It’s far from overkill. If I wanted to over do it I would have bought fm modules. I made it for me and shared it.

      1. I liked reading about your solution. I too would have cut the AC, just less chance of messing up the modem. I particularly like how neat the 555/relay driver board looks, and how everything is properly insulated and even put in a box. That’s the way to make something reliable. It may still be useful when you eventually replace the modem.

        I wondered about switching my modem+WiFi off when I’m not around or asleep (10W at 0.25 euro/kWh), but the ISP pushes most software updates at those times, so it would never be updated.

        1. I wondered why my Netflix would often stop playing and require a refresh at exactly 1AM on Saturday night. Now I’m thinking maybe it’s not Netflix but a update from the ISP?

      2. Sorry if it came across that way, but I didn’t mean to disparage your project. If I had the parts lying around, I probably would have done something similar instead of purchasing a solution, although, I probably wouldn’t have thought of using a 555 due to my inexperience with the chip. Likely I would have used an arduino thus defining overkill and, if posted, generated a ton of “why didn’t he just use a 555” comments. I might adapt this for use in some home automation outlet controllers I need to build, so I really do appreciate your work.

        1. A 555 is one of the fundamental groundworks of circuit construction with ICs.

          Not knowing how to use a 555 in a basic circuit is like using… ahem… an AVR without knowing how to access R0-R31. You can get by but the trip is going to prove painful.

          Broaden your horizons and add a new tool to your toolbox.

  5. I switched my ISP’s router to bridge mode and added cheap Mikrotik router to handle PPPoE and NAT. Uptime : 8 months by now. Reset, don’t know what’s that.

  6. In the dark ages when my old ISP had a low monthly usage limit during day time, but unlimited usage after 2am. I want to queued up the stuff I wanted to download before bed, but the software doesn’t have a timer for batch download. I had wired up a telecom low current relay to the handshake line on a serial port that I control from a timer program. The relay is in series to the PC’s Ethernet connection. There was other ways of doing it by messing with the PC, but that was most direct path. Also those were the day well before WRT54 etc.

    Being using Tomato USB on my routers and typically have uptime for a few years at a time except when I mess around with new firmware or the power supplies. The firmware does a good job on detecting and reconnecting my old DSL that drops out all the time. For cable, it needs to be from the wed gui, but thankfully my current cable connection is pretty stable. There is a even a scheduler for running user scripts and rebooting.

  7. Plus you can synchronize more than one TX with a single RX so a dongle plugged into the laptop can reset the router remotely without needing to be outside.

    I could do with that for my router, its always losing sync for no reason at all (cough poxy microwave/bike interference /cough)

  8. I was in a similar situation years ago.

    I had an ISDN modem that went crazy about once a week. The most annoying bug was it would hold at least one of the lines open costing me a fortune even when the entire LAN was powered off. Examining the firmware showed no cause that I could find. My solution had to be one that would trigger a reset even when I wasn’t home.

    I eventually used a small computer (this predates Pi or Arduino) that accessed the serial port and watched for connect time on the ISDN side and compared it to the active PCs on the LAN side. If the number of PCs on the LAN side equaled zero (besides itself of course) and the ISDN exceeded a couple of minutes it would force the modem to reset.

    This eventually failed as the ISDN modem eventually started connecting 24/7 with no amount of firmware or watchdog tweaking could stop. Best I could manage then was to turn the watchdog into a gateway and force the modem to stay powered off until a packet request was received.

  9. We constantly have to reset our wifi and it is really annoying to unplug, wait 30 seconds+ then replug the system so this article gives me hope. Thinking of getting this done. It’s just a doorbell click away!

  10. I’ve redrawn the schematics shown on the whiteboard photo in a black and white GIF to make it easier to read for visitors, and I would I like to offer a copy for upload to this topic if someone could contact me, and could verify the schematic matches the designer’s circuit.

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