This is kind of a strange request, but im looking for something that could remotely power a Hard Button switch. The kind of switch im referring to is like the ones on a computer power supply.

I was looking at all sorts of motors and such....but couldn't quite figure out what would do the Job. Maybe an Arduino with some sort of Network Enabled function that could drive some sort of Mechanical lever.

It's an odd request I know, but does anyone have any ideas?

  • \$\begingroup\$ can you replace the 'hard' switch with a relay? \$\endgroup\$
    – kenny
    Commented Feb 6, 2012 at 14:52
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ It's just a tip, but look for intervalometers made with Arduino; they're used to trigger cameras that have not the remote control, so they use mechanic triggers to push the hard button \$\endgroup\$
    – clabacchio
    Commented Feb 6, 2012 at 15:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ A relay in parallel with the hard switch could work. This way, the switch doesn't need to be removed. \$\endgroup\$
    – AndrejaKo
    Commented Feb 6, 2012 at 15:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @kenny and AndrejaKo, it works if he can go inside the device; otherwise, he has to trigger from outside and a relay it's harder to place \$\endgroup\$
    – clabacchio
    Commented Feb 6, 2012 at 15:48
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Have you considered a remote controlled switch on the power cord? You could place it between the wall socket and the device. I wouldn't recommend you build one yourself since you'd be messing with mains voltage. But there are many existing products in this field. \$\endgroup\$
    – snoopen
    Commented Feb 6, 2012 at 22:38

2 Answers 2


Take a look at the X10 devices. Its an older protocol that uses your power lines to transmit signals to each X10 adapter (a small plug with a couple of dials to set an id code). So if you use a X10 plug to connect your PC's AC, then you can toggle the power to that switch remotely. Options for remote are over the phone, ethernet (via Firecracker PC serial adapter) and wireless remote pad.


I've looked into this before... You may have to define what OFF will actually mean.

= An external Latching Relay is ideal, because you will not waste any power for the coil while the system is ON.

However, once you send a data pulse to change the system to OFF, there is no power available to allow an ON data pulse to restart the system.

If you are willing to accept an IDLE Current for a power supply that will "always be on", then this will work (meaning that the remote system will never be 100% in an OFF state), assuming using data pulses.

= The other option is to actually send a stronger Power Signal (not just a data pulse) to trigger the latching Relay from OFF to ON. Enough power (V & I) will be needed to actually actuate the COIL on the Latching Relay.

= I have seen Remote Controlled Power Strips which may solve your problem, too.

= If you actually NEED to "Operate a Switch" (such as in a test stand), then I've used two solenoids, each solenoid having a rubber-tipped plunger, and mount & control each solenoid (one for ON, one for OFF) as needed.


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