Remote Control Light Switch, Savior of the Pre-War Apartment!

When Christmas rolls around, most dads and husbands can expect a tie or a World’s Greatest Dad mug, or maybe a cloisonne tie clip in the logo of the favorite sports team. (OK, my dad can expect that.) My husband? I figured he has a few years before the dad gifts roll in, so we’ll go with gadgets for now. He got the Li’l Guppie, a supercharged carabiner, and the Instant Switch.

(The Guppie, by the by, is an amazing invention, a kind of fish-shaped Swiss Army carabiner with a blade sharp enough to gut a rhino. Highly recommended for the RocketMan in your life.)

What’s the Magic Instant Switch? A remote control light switch, of course! Why do you need an Instant Switch? Because you have a pre-war apartment with only two outlets per room and a deep loathing of unflattering overhead lighting, of course! The little wireless unit—slightly thicker, but roughly the same size as, your garden-variety switchplate—controls a lamp on the other side of the room. For new-house-dwellers, this might not be such a big deal. For us, it’s The Clapper 3.0.

We’ve always been big fans of the outlet light switch so we can control power without needing to unplug anything, but the problem is, that means extension cords. A lot of extension cords. Some are unavoidable (like the one needed to power the white noise machine and nightlight in the nursery, where there are a grand total of zero outlets), but with the Amazingly Magic Instant Switch, the bureau lamp in our bedroom? Extension cord no more! Plug it into the switch receiver, install the switchplate by the door, and the Incredible Amazingly Magic Instant Switch does the work of three extension cords and a walk across the room.

I’m interested in getting more for other rooms in the apartment, but since it works from sixty feet away and we don’t have sixty feet of distance anywhere in the RocketDigs, I’m worried we’d have lights flipping on and off all over.

Speaking of which, wouldn’t The Clapper go into overdrive during the State of the Union address?

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10 Responses to Remote Control Light Switch, Savior of the Pre-War Apartment!

  1. julie says:

    Dear Rockette,
    I am writing in desperate confusion over the issue of remote control light switches. Like you, I live in a prewar apartment (other coast, and I should say, post war, the civil war that is) but the problem with mine is not a lack of outlets but a total absence of wall switches. Do you remember the Honeymooners? Or those New Yorker cartoons by Price (I think it was) in which wretched men, women, dogs and always many cats would do ironing and such below a bare light-bulb with a pull-chain hanging from it? That’s my apartment. Well, in truth mine is lovely and renovated all except for the overhead lights, which all have strings hanging from them. I would love to install a nice fixture and shade in one or two places (there are a lot of these ceiling bulbs here) and my question is simple: Are there remote control switches you can use with ANY fixture, or do you have to buy a special one that is made with some sort of special sensor for that switch? Or can you buy the sensor and attach it to your fixture of choice? I have looked it up all over the internet and can’t find the answer anywhere.. Hoping you can help. Thanks so much.

  2. julie says:

    Oops sorry, By “special one” I meant “special fixture”: Do you need a fixture especially made to be used with a remote-control switch, or will the switch work with a normal fixture, was my question.

    • RocketGirl75 says:

      Thanks for reading, Julie! The remote control light switch we have is connected to the outlet, not the light fixture–so it actually turns on a lamp across the room by controlling the outlet power, not the switch itself. So, no, the one I have doesn’t have any effect on a ceiling fixture. That said, lamps shed MUCH nicer light, and tend to make a room look bigger–overhead lighting casts shadows and makes a room look smaller. If you light from eye-level or below, the room feels warmer and looks bigger. Of course, you’d need wall, furniture or floor space for lamps! Good luck to you–I hope you find something that works!

  3. Pingback: Product Review: Two Gorillas and The UberRemote « Rocket City Digs

  4. Joe Smetona says:

    This is an outstanding device to have anywhere. I got one from a Goodwill store and it’s very impressive.

    I can hear a small relay click (on the outlet) portion when I flip the switch. This means it can control incandescent and compact fluorescent type fixtures along with small appliances.

    I would recommend being careful not to overload it by trying to control something with a large power requirement. For example, toasters, hair dryers, power tools etc.

    Check the power rating on the outlet portion and try to keep within that rating. If you want to calculate watts and you know amps, multiply amps by 120 to get watts. If you know watts and want to determine the amps, Divide the watts by 120 and that will give you the amps.

  5. Valencia says:

    Hi there, i read your blog from time to time and i own a similar one and i was just wondering if you get a lot
    of spam responses? If so how do you reduce it, any plugin or anything you can advise?
    I get so much lately it’s driving me insane so any assistance is very much appreciated.

  6. Jody says:

    I have a plugin installed called Akismet that kills a lot of the obvious spam.

  7. Julia says:

    It’s really unfortunate that ThinkGeek stopped selling this… any idea where I can get one or something similar to it? Could really use one (or 4!!) in this apartment. Do you know what company made it? I know ThinkGeek sold it but it’s possible the original manufacturer still sells it on their site, if only I could find it.

  8. Jody says:

    It looks like Amazon has a slew of varieties that could help:

  9. marcelle says:

    Ok. I saw this on a talk show, hence trying to web find. I need more lighting in kitchen and perhaps other areas. Can I install a fixture less wiring and have a light work

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