Hidden and discreet smart light switches in plaster walls

Thread Starter

Tom2459

Joined May 23, 2020
16
So my aim here is to research/design/prototype a light switch by means of capacitive or non contact sensors, i.e. capacitive touch, microwave... BUT crucially to implement them in the way that I need;
That being seamless with a finished plaster wall, no visible square or display, perhaps just a small inlay or graphic, I'm imagining something like the three parallel lines you'd see on your mobile, copper, black, what ever fits the décor.

I get frustrated with the fact that "smart" home devices, especially light switches, tend not not look very good, so that's where this idea comes in and I'm sure I'm not the only one out there thinking like this!?

To begin, a simple on/off function would be fine as realistically this switch will ONLY be there out of necessity. Other 'smart' functions can be done through voice or other devices.

Once the most suitable means of switching is worked out and its power requirements, the second half of the task will be to design a mount/surface that might be secured to a standard single pattress box, this would have to be securely mounted and I imagine this will lay the foundation to be plastered over and painted.

Anyway, that's my talking out loud done. Hopefully there are some like minded people here who have been tackling similar issues?
 

ericgibbs

Joined Jan 29, 2010
15,351
Hi,
How would one locate the switch in a darkened room, especially a stranger.?
I usually find a switch in a dark room by locating the physical switch housing with my hand.

Replacing a faulty switch would mean digging out the plaster and decorating.
 

eetech00

Joined Jun 8, 2013
3,109
How would someone unfamiliar with the room find the light switch?
The touch area of the switch could be faintly lit so it could be seen in the dark, then shutoff automatically when the room is lit.

However, there are safety standards that would have to met by such a switch.
 

Thread Starter

Tom2459

Joined May 23, 2020
16
Indeed, I've also stumbled around in the dark trying to locate the switch! so 100% there must be an obvious raised area of some sort or a 'temporary' light. I prefer the light more as its in keeping with the seamless look I'm attempting.
So you'd have a light in the dark and some sort of icon visible in the light.

I'm confident I can get the finish of the wall clean, At the moment, I'm imagining a textured pad of sort. At the moment!

The light could be tricky, but I guess I've either got to light the icon somehow or find some other elegant way of producing light.

As for the Safety standards, I'm an Electrician by trade so I know my regs, however I will have to do some research on selecting suitable components etc.
 

drjohsmith

Joined Dec 13, 2021
383
Indeed, I've also stumbled around in the dark trying to locate the switch! so 100% there must be an obvious raised area of some sort or a 'temporary' light. I prefer the light more as its in keeping with the seamless look I'm attempting.
So you'd have a light in the dark and some sort of icon visible in the light.

I'm confident I can get the finish of the wall clean, At the moment, I'm imagining a textured pad of sort. At the moment!

The light could be tricky, but I guess I've either got to light the icon somehow or find some other elegant way of producing light.

As for the Safety standards, I'm an Electrician by trade so I know my regs, however I will have to do some research on selecting suitable components etc.
https://squalu.com/products/touch-s...l_-1VZ6nBpbtO07-fqfu9in5f-E0OZqgaAm7fEALw_wcB
 

Thread Starter

Tom2459

Joined May 23, 2020
16
At this design stage, I'm using 2 x microwave sensors, #1 at a distance of about 400mm to light up the LED's, #2 at a distance of about 100mm to toggle the relay (at a delay of say 2 seconds) so the whole thing would work without contact to the wall.
Ha this is all in theory of course!

I'm yet to look at how accurately distance #1 & #2 can be set on a microwave sensor, and if two of these can operate side by side without any sort of interference?!
 

Thread Starter

Tom2459

Joined May 23, 2020
16
drjojsmith, I'm fully aware of the many many products like this available. Some prettier than others. My task was "simply" to rid the wall of a protruding square
 

Thread Starter

Tom2459

Joined May 23, 2020
16
I strongly believe so. I've installed lights with a built in microwave sensor, and had to turn down the sensitivity as they would come on if someone got close to a wall in the next room.
 

Thread Starter

Tom2459

Joined May 23, 2020
16
tbh its been great arguing my case, and that's opened my eyes to issues I need to overcome. But second to that I was hoping someone here might have had some experience with something like this or at least its components. Are there any pitfalls that I might come across when I start trying to put this thing together and working as intended??
 

drjohsmith

Joined Dec 13, 2021
383
tbh its been great arguing my case, and that's opened my eyes to issues I need to overcome. But second to that I was hoping someone here might have had some experience with something like this or at least its components. Are there any pitfalls that I might come across when I start trying to put this thing together and working as intended??
The hassle I have seen using a few "special" light switches,
is the designer assumes a neutral is present,
which in the houses I have , its not,
just a live down and a switched live back up

Powering them is the hardest part,
 

Thread Starter

Tom2459

Joined May 23, 2020
16
Neutral or no neutral, the switch should only need a single cat5 or similar at the switch position to power and any work required will be done by me as needed.
 

Janis59

Joined Aug 21, 2017
1,383
Microwave sensors specially are produced in China and Poland. They cost about 3-4 Eur thus to solder it would be contraproductive. Buy via E-bay or Aliexpress and Polish by Allegro.pl. However I would not like to sleep every day in th room where all th time circulates, let even the tiny small, electromagnetic pollution smog of microwaves. When obtaining via Polish store let use the querry "mikrofalowy-czujnik-ruchu".
 
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