Device to IP Control Anything - uSwitch Relay

Author: Brian Rhodes, Published on Jan 13, 2014

A common challenge integrators face is controlling non-networked equipment. Once systems 'go IP', there is typically a desire to stick everything on the network too. Unfortunately, even turning equipment on or off can be a chore requiring manual operation or clunky expensive machine controllers. The uSwitch Relay aims to change all that for less than $150. In this note, we look at the relay, potential security applications, and explore the limits of its usefulness.

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Potential ************

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Product ********

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Drawbacks & **********

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Comments (16)

Network attached relay devices have been widely available for some time-- is there something unique I am missing ?

Hello Josh:

Which makes/models are you most familiar with?

As a whole, there is not much distinction among any type of addressable relay, aside from price and difficulty in configuring - both items that we point out in this update as 'pros'.

We have not tested the uSwitch, so if you have field experience with any particular type I am interested in hearing feedback.

Been using the CBW devices for several years with good succes.

Equivilent model ~$110 or POE version ~$135.

I haven't used that particular CBW device but the ones that I have used have quite a bit of functionality, scheduled events, emailing, counters and a BASIC script interpreter for anything else.

These types of devices are a very good tool to have and can make the seemingly impossible a reality.

BASIC language will never die! Must you know BASIC to program Control-By-Web devices?

No you do not need to know BASIC to program CBW devices.

BASIC scripting is a feature within the web GUI to give more flexibility to the units. It is a very basic (no pun intended) interpreter and doesn't support many of the standard commands but I have used it successfully when I needed more functuinality.

I'm using control by web as well. Very happy with them and you can add temperature, humidity and other types of sensors. Very powerful product and cost effective.

CBW is good. Their mobile app is very useful and gives you full control of all the devices.

DLI is another great option.

Plus they have GREAT commercial!

That commercial should win an award for the most sexist, ethnic, geographic stereotypes and sexual double entendres in a 2-minute ad, with an honorable mention for best cleavage by a police impersonator.

We have used the Axis P8221, to connect door sensors and fire alarm panels to the VMS, receive on screen alerts and pop up the relevant camera”s”, works great.

Connecting more devices to the network is good, but the challenge is when the client ends up with multiple independent applications controlling different devices.

If you are a little “technical” and want a superior interface with more bells and whistles, check out the BeagleBone Black.

Mike,

How would you compare BeagleBoard against Arduino ?

BeagleBoard is new and has fewer resources. Arduino has ton’s of online resources and projects. Arduino has an interface and is better for the “weekend warrior” vs. Beagle being more language intensive. This wouldn’t be a huge deal if there were more online resources and projects to work from.

I suppose it comes down to the project that you are trying to build as well.

There are plenty of YouTube videos out there comparing the two.

I bought a BeagleBone to build a temp-controller / monitor for my Green Egg. I eventually gave up on the BeagleBone and went to the Arduino because there are several projects in full production. So for me, it came down to the limited resources and my limited unix knowledge.

However, the BeagleBone comes with a faster processor and has the built in ethernet capabilities. It can also communicate with far more interfaces / protocols. I had to buy the ethernet cape for the Arduino.

thanks , very enlightening

Is this the Green Egg you mention? I seriously bow down to you. Building an arduino temp monitor for a smoker would win you first place at the Radio Shack Grill Fest.

We integrate some i/o interfaces with modbus and OPC protocols.

I/O devices with modbus were like the Lantronix IntelliBox-I/O 2100.

In the other hand, OPC is wide use in the automation industry.

Moxa Makes an excellent line of industrial I/O boxes, that are compatible with common VMS' And we use them when integration or control of other devices/sensors are required.

But this is an interesting offering with an inexpensive price.

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