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Quest: I am looking for a remote Wifi-enabled switch or relay that switches 120 volt household power OFF via some type of remote Wifi connection, then back ON automatically by itself after 5 minutes or some preset delay. Any suggestions for a specific product or solution?

Explanation:

The Situation: I have a country cottage with a WiFi modem and router and several other devices connected for various home automation functions including cable modem, router, security lights, appliance switches, heat, bridges, security cameras, Logitech Harmony remote for TV and Sonos music and more. Normally, it all works very well, even remotely when I am away from the cottage using apps on my iPhone and Siri for some functions. Everything is powered and connected via one single wall outlet plug (15 amp circuit, 120 volts) and, from there, several other power bars with GFCI-type circuit breakers etc. And, FYI, I cannot get around using this one single plug at the start of the power sources, it's a small cottage but I do not think that by itself is a problem.

The Problem: The problem is that, sometimes, when I am away, a couple of these components lose their WiFi connection randomly (for some mysterious reason) and the simplest solution is to perform a whole system a "reset" to make everything work properly again. Please see "Additional Info below" for a more detailed explanation. I do not know why this happens exactly but it only happens, on average, say once a month at randomly different times but the solution is simple.

The Solution: The usual solution for any problem with my system is to simultaneously unplug the power to all the components, including the modem, wait 5 minutes for internet and other signals to power down completely, then restart everything all together so that a complete reboot of all the components automatically re-establishes all the required connections and everything starts to function normally again after a few more minutes. I do not know the reason why a few of my components drop their signal but that is not my question here.

Query: I would like to reboot my system remotely when I am away from the cottage. The problem with rebooting could be addressed by having a remotely enabled relay or switch (with appropriate amp and watt capability, so, not a light switch) which would be at the front end of the power supply to my system's source of 15 ampere, 120 volt power, i.e. a dedicated household wall power outlet. However, if I just disconnect the power remotely, I cannot remotely power it back ON since the modem and router would have no power.

Additional Info: The modem needs to be rebooted for this solution to work; rebooting of everything other than the modem (or the router) won't properly reset the system. However, interestingly enough, I don't think the modem or router is faulty (or their settings), it's some of the component bridges that sometimes fail and seem to be the problem, but a modem and router reset along with a reset of everything else, does fix the problem. More specifically, just for a complete understanding as I see it, the problem seems to have something to do with the interaction of the Harmony Remote bridge, the Lutron Casseta bridge and the Nest Thermostat WiFi connectivity.

That is why I am looking for a switch or relay that can power back on after a delay of 5 minutes or more. Any help or advice would be appreciated but please keep in mind that in this discussion I am really just looking for an appropriate switch or relay.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ So what have you found so far and why complicate this - just use a wall socket timer that reboots it everyday for a minute. \$\endgroup\$
    – Andy aka
    Nov 10, 2016 at 15:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, Andy. I thought of that and it does theoretically work, and I agree it doesn't complicate issues. Do you know of any specific wall socket timers that delay for about at least 5 minutes? I couldn't find any. \$\endgroup\$
    – user129530
    Nov 10, 2016 at 15:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ Not really but I'm sure there are some. \$\endgroup\$
    – Andy aka
    Nov 10, 2016 at 15:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @user129530 I've seen them that'll do 15 minutes granular on/off settings. Put the off cycle when you are sleeping and there shouldn't be a problem. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 10, 2016 at 15:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ Did you just write 7 paragraphs to say that you need a device that power cycles your devices a few times a day? \$\endgroup\$
    – Wesley Lee
    Nov 10, 2016 at 15:38

3 Answers 3

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It seems to me, if you used a Wifi enabled Outlet which you could switch on or off (wouldn't matter) remotely, you could have that hooked as the trigger for a normally closed Timed relay, and at the trigger (say the socket gains power, when you turn it on) the relay opens cutting power for a pre-set time, maybe 5 minutes if that's the time you need, after which it will automatically close again and allow power to flow free.

If you configure it correctly with the right timing options it would avoid possible down sides such as getting caught in a triggering loop.

Unfortunately i know little about this so hopefully someone will come along with a more helpful answer, but maybe this will get you going in the right direction.

This Multi-function Relay should be able to be configured to meet your needs, but again i'm a novice at this stuff so maybe it won't but i hope it helps you get on the right path. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00VR1F3LC/ref=ask_ql_qh_dp_hza

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You could program an Arduino Microcontroller with Ethernet shield and an external 120V Relay to turn the power off for 5 minutes. It could be operated using the "Blynk" app on your iphone/android to allow remote operation. The only trouble I see is that you would have to have a power source for the microcontroller which is uninterrupted (and of course the programming requires some commitment to learning/troubleshooting). The Arduino can also be programmed to send data to you on the app such as temperature etc; it is a very flexible system limited only by your creativity. I use this setup to control a solar hot water heater and report the temperature/status back to me. The microcontroller determines when to turn the pump on based on the temperature of the water and the panels that it receives locally.

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I have an identical problem. I couldn't find a mechanical timer that allowed for very short intervals either. Like the suggestion above, my solution was to add a 24hr digital timer that turns power off a few minutes just before midnight and comes back on one minute after midnight, which makes it is easy to reset any flashing clock that resets itself when power is restored to 12:00 by adding just one minute to the time. The timer has an internal battery back up for time and programs.. Simple, not perfect, but it does work. It could do this more than once per day. The loads are connected to the contacts that are normally closed. When the timer energizes the relay, the router and other devices are shut off. This way, the relay is energized only a few minutes per day. My timer is connected to the whole branch circuit.
This one is a wall outlet. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01G6O28NA Looks like it will work, but the relay will be on almost 24hrs/day. Or you could try this: https://www.amazon.com//dp/B07BXTB67Z

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