In my back garden I have a shed which has power, fed through a cable buried deep underground and into the house through the conservatory. In the shed I have a pump running 24/7 for my pond and I also have a number of external lights which are connected to a timer switch within the shed. Instead of being on a timer switch in the shed I would like to have the external lights switchable from inside my house. Can anyone recommend the simplest (and cheapest) way to achieve this. I guess that I could get some kind of wireless switch (the Shed is about 20 feet from the house) or alternatively some kind of switch which talks to the external lights via the power lines (e.g. X10).
This is a good application for the INSTEON three-way dimmer kit
which consists in a pair of INSTEON dimmers that come pre-programmed "so there is no setup or programming required in order to control one light with these two switches".
The pre-programmed pair costs $79.99, but if you are willing to forgo some extra LEDs (which some folks like me find distracting ;-), and to do a usually 'simple' tap-switch-to-program set up, you can accomplish the same thing with two ICON dimmers at $19.99 each
1) You _may_ experience some flickering if the lighting load is more than ~200 watts _and_ dimmed to below 50%. The dimmers come standard with a
2-year warranty that can be extended (for the pair) to 7 years for an additional $7.99. Smarthome knows about the flicker problem and has said that it will be announcing its 'solution' in the next few weeks. If you use the dimmers in ON-OFF (not dimmed) mode, it won't be a problem in any case as I understand it and if you do, it will be covered by the standard two-year warranty. (FWIW, I have about 16 INSTEON devices and none exhibit flicker.)
2) It _may_ be that the system would benefit from a pair of signal enhancers. This will depend on the specifics of how your wiring is arranged.
also available less expensively in starter kits, especially the
3) The installation requires that there be a neutral wire in both switch boxes.
Note that this approach requires no PC and no home automation controller
-- nor any 'home automation' for that matter. But the installation is fully compatible with a wide range of home automation approaches from a variety of sources should you decide to get fancier.