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PostPosted: July 23rd, 2017, 1:53 am 
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Joined: October 20th, 2015, 6:57 am
Posts: 573
Location: Northern NJ
For a long time I've wanted a nice easy way to have multiple wall switches to control the three main overhead lights from throughout the entire RV.

(I hate coming in the rear and having to reach up and feel for switches. Or have to stand up after sitting or laying down. Not to mention that it's hard for the wife and impossible for the grandkids, which is why my bath lights are on a motion/IR sensor... see this thread for details: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=299&p=2187)

So when I saw these on eBay, I ordered right away. Three 12v remote relay receivers and four battery powered transmitting triple switch sets (three wall and one keyfob).
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File comment: remote wall switches
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It took about two weeks to come from China, but they arrived yesterday and I started installing the receiver-relays in the three overhead light fixtures. (You might choose other lights, like the sink or couch lamps.)

PLACEMENT

I plan on putting the switch sets: by the rear door, on the aft dinette wall, and on the forward sofa wall. This should allow easy access from almost any sitting/standing/laying position. In addition, the fourth transmitter is a small remote that'll go on my keychain, so that I can control the lights from the cab or outside.
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I'm mostly using 3M Command strips, so the pushbutton switches can be easily moved/removed.

Those green markings are just painted on, btw. I'll be covering them with glow tape so I can find them in the dark. Pressing any button lights up a dim red LED behind the middle of the buttons. When a relay switches, it makes an audible small "tink" sound. The relay has both normally closed and normally open outputs.

PROGRAMMING

After a receiver is wired into the light circuit and has 12v to it, you press a learning button on its board and then any remote switch you press is added to control that relay. Repeat as needed. In my case, the switch mounted on the passenger wall has its leftmost switch set to toggle the frontmost ceiling light, whereas on the driver side wall, it will be the rightmost switch (I'm setting them visually to match position front to back). If you goof up, you must erase them all and start over. So figure it out before covering up the boards!

Oh. Which reminds me. I think there's moveable shunts to change the relay operation from momentary to locking (toggle) but it's best to say you want Self-Latched as the default, in your eBay purchase note. That's the mode where the same switch(es) can toggle the relay on/off.

PROS AND CONS

So far I love this setup! One minor negative: the relays and their black cases are pretty big (like 2" long x 0.75" tall) and thus are visible as shadows in the light, so I'm thinking of forgetting the cases and just wrapping each board in duct tape for electrical isolation... then try to cram them under that middle metal cover inside the fixture. You know, the one for the flourescent starter that you disconnected when you switched to LEDs :D

Another minor negative is that my previous remote control setup with single fob switch would remember if it was last on or off. Thus once remotely turned on, i could use the original fixture power switch to turn it off/on. But in reality, I never did that! Nor did I use the dimmer feature it had. This new setup with multiple remotes is far more useful in real life.

I cannot tell you how great it is to be able to come in the rear door and tap to turn on all three lights, then toggle them while sitting/laying down up front. I just wish they had multiple frequencies so I could add more switch sets (you cannot, at least using these). Although... I do also have a single dual switch that looks like these but is on a different freq. I need to try them in parallel.

NOTE: see below. maybe more than one set can be used.

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1994 Concourse, wood & heated tile floors, tin ceiling, custom lighting


Last edited by kdarling on July 24th, 2017, 3:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: July 23rd, 2017, 8:35 am 
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Joined: July 31st, 2014, 1:01 am
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Location: 1999 Concourse
You always come up with the cool solutions :D And then you document them so well, for our benefit.

I'm not as high tech when it comes to lighting, but the FIRST thing I'm going to do when I dig into (read: partially remove) that little square corner wall thingie between the bathroom and the door is run a wire down and put a switch for the hall light down low, where I can reach it from both the doorway (standing outside) and inside. I would already have put more effort into a fishing a wire, but I think this winter I'll dig into that wall a bit further anyway. Conveniently, the existing "tee" from the power wire to the light is right above the door where I can already easily get to it.

Yes, I'll be doing the old school "two cans and a string" method between light and switch :mrgreen:

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PostPosted: July 23rd, 2017, 1:54 pm 
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Location: Northern NJ
Sounds good! I would've done the same except I also wanted control of the front lights :)

So here's where another of the wall switches ended up -- behind the driver's seat. Again, they are arranged in order, back to front, controlling the rear, middle and front main ceiling lights.
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I was going to put the third one behind the passenger side window over the dinette, when I realized that lowering the right side shade would cover it. So now I have to think of another spot.

The front and middle ceiling lights were converted to the new relay okay today. And as predicted, I ended up not using their stock plastic cover, but instead just their base and the original chinook lamp insulation under the middle inside metal cover... where it easily now fit. Now you only see the LEDs. Much better.

---
Had a bit of a puzzler while doing the last ceiling light. I had not converted it to LED yet, so the good thing was that I knew much better now how to lay everything out inside. Far cleaner setup on it.

But when I started programming the rear light's relay with all four remotes, the switch I assigned (the last one available of course) ALSO always turned on the middle light!! On every remote!! What in the world?? Now I was worried that there had been some kind of circuit production mistake.

Long story short, I finally realized that someone at the factory must've tested the relay I used in the middle, with that last switch on all remotes. So the middle relay not only responded to the middle switches that I had newly registered with it, but also the last switches which someone else had already registered at least several weeks previously. And by sheer bad luck, that was the last switch position I used, so I had not noticed.

Aha. It ended up just being a matter of erasing, and then reprogramming, the middle relay switch associations again to just the middle switches.

Lesson: before registering switches for each relay, first clear the relay's switch memory, just in case!

EDIT: Lesson #2 - If you want to control the lights from outside, and you're putting the receivers inside the metal cover like I did, then probably a good idea to also pull a bit of the antenna outside of the metal :lol:

---
Absolutely loving being able to control all three lights while coming in or while sitting down later.

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1994 Concourse, wood & heated tile floors, tin ceiling, custom lighting


Last edited by kdarling on July 27th, 2017, 3:08 am, edited 4 times in total.

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PostPosted: July 24th, 2017, 2:25 am 
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Joined: October 20th, 2015, 6:57 am
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Location: Northern NJ
Arrgh. Why do I have to keep logging in every few hours. So frustrating. Anyway...

I could be wrong about not being able to use more than one of these sets at once.

After doing some research, I now think that transmitters register using a random number out of 20 million, and would have to fall within about 256 of another to interfere. Unlikely to occur.

So I've bought another set to check it out. When it comes in a couple of weeks, I'll let everyone know what I find out!

Hmm... let's see, three more lights to control while laying down, eh? Maybe the kitchen sink, sofa, and dinette lamps?

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1994 Concourse, wood & heated tile floors, tin ceiling, custom lighting


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