Instructables Computer Control of AC Devices

The Lights Are On, But No One's Home

There's a scene in Iron Man, where a woman wakes up at Tony Stark's house and the windows automatically lighten from a nighttime tint to bright, glorious sunshine. And it's all done via computer.

You too can control your home electronics from your computer by following the instructions in a step-by-step electronics project from Instructables. This project helps you to control any AC device from light and televisions to a fan or even the vacuum cleaner – all through your personal computer.

Crime prevention sites always talk about leaving a light or two on in the house when you go on vacation. Not that it's terribly wasteful, but wouldn't it be nice to be able to remotely turn on and off the lights from your computer? Or, how about switching the television on for a couple of hours?

Or, how about having some fun with the babysitter? Tell himr you're going on a date at night. Then, when he sits down to watch some television, you remotely shut it off. Maybe turn on the vacuum cleaner for fun. On second thought, you might have to find a new babysitter after that and when he tells the neighborhood your house is haunted, you may never be able to hire another babysitter again.

And what about coming home when the weather outside has turned your house into a sweat lodge? It would be pretty nice if you could turn on the plug-in air-conditioning unit and perhaps a few house fans a few hours before you arrive. You can do it from your computer, as far as half a world away.

Iron Man

Creating an AC switch that can be controlled by a personal computer is fairly simple technology. The how-to article offers step-by-step instructions with visuals to explain the process. You can take it as far as the author does, or use it as a building block for a far greater innovation. You're only limited by your own imagination.