Random On/Off switch for 110v

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by ttbernett, Jun 1, 2008.

  1. ttbernett

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jun 1, 2008
    Hi Gang, new member here. I found this forum whilst searching for a product to meet my needs, and am now wondering if I can make what I need myself. I would like to find a random on/off switch to control 110v plug-in items, such as a lamp, or a turn-table, or a fan, or a vibrating platform.

    Ideally, I would like to build a self-contained "extension cord" type of unit that would have, say, a six foot power cord, leading to a box that would have a couple controllers of some sort and a regular 15-amp electrical outlet.

    I would like to be able to adjust the unit so that the power to the outlet would come on and go off in a random pattern, but I would like to be able to control the minimum and maximum time parameters that the 'random-ness' would be selected from.

    In other words, I'd like to be able to adjust the unit to turn the power off for, say, a minimum of 5-seconds to a maximum of 5-minutes -- and the same for the ON cycle... be able to choose the minimum and maximum ON time and the minimum and maximum OFF time.

    Ideally, the final result would be that I could plug a small turntable into the outlet and set it to swirl a solution at random intervals for random lengths of time, with a minimum and maximum on/off time based on the parameters of the controls. Also, ideally, the minimum and maximum adjustment ranges (for both ON time and OFF time) would be from a few seconds to several minutes... maybe as many as 15 minutes.

    It would be nice to be able to adjust the OFF time length parameters separately from the ON time length parameters so the OFF times could vary from 10 seconds to 15 minutes while the ON times varied from 2 seconds to 1 minute, but if that makes the project ridiculously difficult or expensive, then I'd be happy with having them both be on the same controls. (Separate control of both the ON and the OFF minimums and maximums would probably mean four controls instead of two, wouldn't it??)

    I've found a couple products on scientific supply website, but they appear to all be computer controlled and VERY expensive. I just want something for tinkering with crystals in my garage, and also for occasionally using random lighting to mess with the minds of the young thieves who occasionally roam through the neighborhood late at night :)

    As for my experience; I've built three recording studios, so I know enough electronics to be dangerous to myself, but I'm certainly not a technician. Just because I know how to wire a patch bay and repair switches and LEDs on my console doesn't mean that I understand how a logic circuit is designed. In other words, I can probably build this thing if someone can give me moderately clear instructions, but I'll probably need more than anachronisms and "just wire it normally" instructions. I'll probably also need some suggestions as to where the proposed parts can be acquired if it's anything more than Radio Shack.

    If anyone is willing to throw some tidbits of wisdom and experience my way, I would greatly appreciate it.

    Thanks in advance,

    Tom Bernett

    Swing Street Band
    Southern Pines, NC