Daily Archive: December 5, 2013

Good Remote Control, But Limited to Three Channels

The newer designs do NOT block the second outlet, while the older ones do. I bought the 3-pack for the newer version.

I’ve been using them in my 810 sq ft. 1-bedroom apartment for a few months now, and I love them! I have three lamps, the switches of which are difficult to reach on a regular basis, and the remote control makes it extraordinarily easy to turn them on and off at will. It was also very easy to program the buttons to each switch (I labeled the buttons on the remote with Sharpie to help me remember which switch was controlled by which button, but the control is labeled with numbers by default), and it was also a matter of seconds to program the 4th button to turn all the lights on or off simultaneously. I’m certain if I bought a 4th switch, it would be easy to program it to the same remote.

My only con is that there’s no built-in loop or attachment to enable hanging the remote from the wall or something. I could envision the little control getting lost easily in a house. I worked past this by putting a rubber band with an attached jump ring around the circumference of the remote and hanging it from a thumbtack, but it’s worth noting.

I have two washers, each plugged into a one hour timer outlet, then plugged into this remote outlet. In this way I can “click” to turn on the plug that feeds the timer and the guests have one our to complete the load. They are hidden behind the washers, and I do have to hold the remote close to the wall to activate them, as the signal doesn’t seem to penetrate through all the metal of the washers. Might do well in an open living space, though. But I am happy with them.

However, I had a similar system when I lived in Germany, which had two important features that I have not been able to find in the U.S.: First, the German system came as a set of four receivers and a transmitter with four corresponding buttons (similar to this one with three receivers and three buttons), but it was possible to buy additional receivers and transmitters and to assign different channels to them. This way, it was possible – for example – to have separate remote control systems (using different channel ranges) for the lights in the bedroom and in the living room, or to control up to 32 individual receivers with a single remote control (using the four buttons and the channel selector). Second, the German system offered the possibility to add receivers with built-in dimmer functionality. If I find a system with this combination of features in the U.S., I will probably replace the Eforcity system, but aside from its limited functionality I am very happy with the latter.