Where to find a remote power outlet switched on/off by another outlet?
January 20, 2011 6:26 PM   Subscribe

Remote power outlet switched on/off by another outlet, not a wall switch?

I have a room with a light switch that controls a wall outlet, but that outlet is on the wrong side of the room from where we've put lamps. I know there are many options for RF switches that will control power receptacles, but they are all switches that you mount to the wall. I don't need that—I already have a switch, and it works fine, but it just operates the wrong outlet. What I'd like is a plug-in device that controls another power plug. I could then plug the transmitter into the outlet controlled by our wall switch, and when that's turned on/off, it would signal the other outlet to turn on/off.

Sure there must be such a thing? I've searched but couldn't find one. Can anyone point me to a suitable product? (Or tell me of a clever way of accomplishing the same thing?)
posted by StrawberryPie to Home & Garden (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Depending on how the room is wired, it may be a trivial wiring change to make the outlet in question switched. I'd hesitate to call an electrician just to find out if this is possible, but if you know anyone who is handy with wiring, they can tell you if this is possible in a couple minutes (and possibly do the work in about the same time).
posted by ssg at 6:40 PM on January 20, 2011

If this isn't a thing... the other hacky option is... an extension cord around the base of the room from where the outlet is to where you want the lamps to be.
posted by brainmouse at 6:58 PM on January 20, 2011

You could take out the existing switch and hardener the existing switched outlet to on. Then install the rf outlet in the old switch's place.

There is no real way to have one outlet control another as you specify. There are things made to only turn on when current is flowing but that would still require you to run extention cords.
posted by d4nj450n at 7:16 PM on January 20, 2011

Response by poster: @ssg: I'm unfortunately in an apartment building, and don't have the option of rewiring. Otherwise, you're right, that would have been ideal.

@brainmouse: that crossed my mind, but I was hoping for a more, um, attractive solution.

@d4nj450n: I agree, that's an option. I thought about doing that, and might still go that route. It just seemed that there must be some form of transmitter that would be turned on when plugged in (or in this case, when the power to the plug is turned on via a switch). It doesn't seem all that different from the typical RF switches operating a remote plug. I just need something that senses when power is turned on at the transmitter side, rather than a button-operated transmitter.

I can't believe there isn't a gadget that does this :-). (Guess I'm an eternal believer in gadgets.)
posted by StrawberryPie at 7:36 PM on January 20, 2011

Can't you just wire the currently switched outlet to be permanently on (as d4nj450n suggested), then replace the switch AND the other outlet with appropriate RF devices?
posted by jon1270 at 4:39 AM on January 21, 2011

Something like this.
posted by JJ86 at 6:13 AM on January 21, 2011

Also Belkin makes fully wireless remote control surge protectors.
posted by JJ86 at 6:16 AM on January 21, 2011

Response by poster: @jon1270: Indeed, yes, that could be done, but I am hoping to find something that would avoid all that. If key-fob-based RF switches exists, and RF switches that mimic the look of regular wall switches also exist, then a switch triggered by power at an outlet coming on/off may exist as well. That's what I'm hoping to find.

@JJ86: Thanks for your suggestions, but these are exactly the things I mentioned I'm trying not to use.
posted by StrawberryPie at 11:44 AM on January 21, 2011

What about something like this:
Vacuum-Switch? There are various flavors of this in the woodworking realm, since this one probably isn't very decor-friendly.
posted by specialnobodie at 1:31 PM on January 21, 2011

Response by poster: @specialnobodie: Not quite, but getting close. If only the two halves were wirelessly controlled! Thanks for pointing it out, though, because it introduced me to new stuff I didn't know existed.
posted by StrawberryPie at 2:34 PM on January 21, 2011

Response by poster: I just discovered someone on another forum on another site asked exactly the same question as I'm asking. Sadly, they did not seem to find a suitable system either. However, it somehow reassures me that I'm not crazy to ask for something like this :-).
posted by StrawberryPie at 2:38 PM on January 21, 2011

Response by poster: Another way to put the problem: in all the existing RF wireless switches/outlets that I've found, the transmitter is battery-powered, and what I need is a version where the transmitter is line-powered. I could then simply plug that transmitter into the wall outlet that's controlled by my current (wired) wall switch and leave it turned on all the time. When that wall switch were turned on, the transmitter would be powered on by virtue of being plugged into the wired outlet, and only then would it signal the remote outlet to turn on.
posted by StrawberryPie at 2:43 PM on January 21, 2011

There are various home-automation related items that might fit the bill. X10 is a powerline thing....there are other powerline systems, though. I got a kit at RadioShack. You have a "switch" and a "receiver", both plugged into the wall. Your device plugs into the receiver, and when you flip the switch, it sends a signal on the house wiring, that the receiver detects. The kit I bought was completely line powered.

When I was looking into this, there were even some switches build to replace typical wall-switches.
posted by specialnobodie at 12:49 PM on January 24, 2011

Response by poster: I neglected to close this item.

So after all that, in the end, I got one of the Belkin remote power strip/surge protectors and mounted the switch to the wall. It was just less time consuming that pursuing this any further.

Thanks for everyone's help!
posted by StrawberryPie at 8:47 PM on April 12, 2011

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