Make A Remote Power Switch

Make A Remote Power Switch
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Need to turn items on and off via a remote switch? Learn how to make one with our step by step instructions.

• Home: Electric • Home: How-To • Home: Office

For my computer setup I like to be able to kill the power to everything at night when I shut down. Normally you would do this with a power strip by using the switch on the strip. In my case, the power strip is located under my desk so getting to the switch is not easy.

The solution was easy, buy a remote power switch. I purchased this one on Amazon #ad. A couple of months later the switch stopped working. Thinking it was a fluke I bought another. A few months later the switched stopped working again. Garbage, thank you once again China!

So I decided to make my own remote power switch. It's all pretty easy to do but does require that you're comfortable working with 120 volt wiring! If you're not confident in your wiring skills then get the help of an electrician.

Parts List

You'll need the follow parts to make this remote switch:

  • Standard light switch

  • Duplex outlet

  • Cover plate

  • Electric box

  • Wire clamp that fits your chosen electric box

  • Six feet of 14/2 indoor house wire (it will have 3 total wires in it)

  • A three prong plug

Tool List

And here are the tools you'll want:

  • Philips head #2 screw driver

  • Flat head screw driver

  • Wire cutters

  • Utility knife

The Build Process

As far as electric wiring jobs go, this one is pretty straightforward. See the wiring diagram below for the end result that we're trying to achieve.

You'll have a plug at one end that feeds power to the electric box. The neutral wire (white) will go into your outlet. The hot wire (black) will first go into one side of the switch. A short jumper wire (black for hot) will then come out of the other side of the switch and into the outlet. The incoming ground wire will connect to both the outlet and switch for safety.

Step By Step

Step 1 Cut your wire to desired length, 4 feet in my case.

Step 2 Punch out only one of the holes in your box, see photo below.

Step 3 Install the wire clamp into that hole.

Step 4 Feed wire through the clamp, but don't tighten it down yet.

Step 5 Cut the outer insulation off around 6 inches of wire sticking out of the box as shown below.

Step 6 Now trip 1/2 inch off the white and black wires.

Step 7 Connect the white wire (neutral) to the silver terminal on your outlet or use the push connector on the silver screw side.

Step 8 Connect the black wire (hot) to one side of the light switch. It makes no difference which side on a regular light switch.

Step 9 Cut a new piece of wire about six inches long, you'll only need the ground and black wires from it. Trim 1/2 inch from both ends of this new black wire.

Step 10 Attach this new black wire to the other side of your light switch and into the gold (brass) colored screw or push terminal in your outlet.

Step 11 Attach the short copper wire to the green screw on your outlet. The other end will attach to the green screw on the switch. The main copper wire coming into the electric box also must attach to one of those green screws. It should look like the photo and wiring diagram shown below now.

Step 12 Screw the outlet and switch into the electric box.

Step 13 Make sure no wires are touch areas they should be so you avoid a short circuit and potential fire hazard.

Step 14 Attach the outlet cover using the included flat head screws.

Step 15 On the other end of the main cord, you'll attach the plug. This should be as easy as screwing in each of the 3 wires after trimming away some insulation. Again, the black wire will go to the gold/brass screw, the white wire to silver, and bare copper wire to green.

Test It

You'll now plug the plug end into a wall outlet. Plug your power strip, or device you wish to control via the switch, into the outlet. When you turn the switch on and off you'll be turning power to the outlet on and off as well.

And there you have it, a remote power switch that should last for many years.